Regardless of how we choose to phrase it, finding our feet, figuring it all out or just plain trying to grow up, our 20s are a time of constant learning. There are often more questions than answers, more options than decisions and more things up in the air than within our grasp.
Relationships, careers and our dreams for the future are all left to hover around us, like unfinished sentences, beginning with enthusiasm but trailing off when reality rudely interrupts. It’s like we know how we’re supposed to start, but we’re not sure which words come next.
It’s not exactly a period in our lives when we’ve ironed out all the kinks and our plans are crystal clear. We may not even be fully settled within ourselves, so how are we supposed to establish our place in this hectic Millennial world?
Half sentences and cluttered minds leave little room for clarity. In the last year or so, the idea of clarity is one I’ve begun to value. I’ve realized I just don’t like not knowing what’s going on in my life, where I stand or why I’m doing what I’m doing.
I understand I may sound like a control freak, but it’s just because I spent a lot of time not caring or being able to see any potential in my life, so now, I want to spend my time where it’s worth spending and working toward goals for which I have a clear idea of how to see out.
And, if I’m unsure about these ideas, I want to make sure I’m en route to an answer.
My favorite definition of clarity is "freedom from ambiguity." Ambiguity offers positive aspects, of course, but there are places where its mystery can keep us off track and in mental muddles.
If our paths are surrounded by vague plans and half-hearted commitments, how will we get to where we want to be? If you don’t know what you’re chasing, how will you ever catch it?
Say what you mean and mean what you say
It’s frustrating enough trying to filter out the bullsh*t from society’s false promises and mixed messages, so there’s no need to add to it. Commit to what you say, follow through on promises and don’t lead people on.
It’s natural to want to say what people want to hear or to want to talk ourselves up. But, why not just simplify it and cut out the crap? If you mean what you say, I want to hear it. Otherwise, don’t waste your breath or my time.
Likewise, try not to talk in circles. Confusion in communication can create all sorts of avoidable headaches.
Following the above, real, pure honesty will lead to clarity. This is mainly about being honest with yourself. You must know when to call yourself out on your own rubbish. You can hear your own excuses and lies, so you can either ignore them or translate them into truths.
Think about it: If someone keeps lying to you, how hard will it be to get to know who he or she is?
Finding an articulate awareness of your life begins with figuring out who you are, and you can’t do that without being honest about what you truly want – from yourself, from relationships, from friendships, from jobs, from basically everything in your life.
A bit of introspection can turn your outlook around and open your eyes wide to your potential plans.
What I learned about gaining clarity was that it begins with many questions. I’m still seeking plenty of those answers, but at least I have a direction of where I'm looking.
Ask yourself the questions you might be avoiding. You know, those that could trigger changes for which you may feel unprepared: "Do I even like this college course?" "Why am I doing this?" "Do I love this person?" "Am I just afraid?" "Do I actually want this?"
After you raise a few questions, start to break them down further and further. Get specific, almost interrogating the initial question. Going from "What am I doing?" to "What would I like to be doing?" and, then, the all-important "Why?" unleashes a whole new barrage of bewilderment.
But, I swear, that’s a fantastic start. This is where your direction will begin to take on a more defined shape.
Getting a clear picture of your life is like throwing those questions like paint on a canvas. Splatter them across your mind, adding more and more depth and color with every stroke. It’ll most likely be a mess at first, but every single wayward splash of paint will create something.
Put yourself out there
This is where everything culminates. When you get to know yourself, you'll start to have your own back. Putting yourself out there gets things done. Doing so clears up uncertainty and shows you’re clear about what you want. You believe in what you’re saying, doing and representing.
For me, gaining clarity remains a work in progress and it always will because life simply isn’t clear-cut. But, having elements of clarity and knowing that it’s important to me helps me to speak up when I need answers and gain perspective where I'm lacking.
Clarity is the difference between a heavy fog and a cloudless sky; I don't need to understand the weather to know I can see clearer in the latter.