Are you living a delayed life?

Have you ever wondered if you are living here and now? Or are you postponing your life for a better time? You can say: I will start to live when I change job, move out from my parent’s home, in January – new year, new me… You can add any possible deadline here. Waiting for a turning point, from which your existence would change entirely as if by magic, is pointless. The clock is ticking, and in that way, you are missing out on … life.

I read a story of a man who was suffering after a divorce. His friend came to cheer him up and saw a devastating flat. It was visible that the apartment had never been renovated. The toilet seat was broken, wrapped in tape, and so old that it was impossible to guess the color. She noticed that his ex-wife had taken all the furniture and asked the guy if his wife took even the toilet seat. He replied that no, it had been like this since they bought the apartment ten years ago. His family was planning to move to another city, but thousands of factors were against it, so they just waited years for better times. I hope you understand the analogy. Sometimes you count on miracles and forget about the here and now.

In the nineties of the 20th century, scientist Vladimir Serkin examined migrating patterns in northeastern Russia and the approach to life of residents of these areas. While studying “the northern scenario”, he also named a phenomenon “life deferred syndrome”. People were convinced that they were not living an authentic life but just preparing for it. Real life will start when they create favorable conditions for themselves, in that case – when they move out to another region with a better climate and infrastructure. They were constantly postponing living the life they wanted, even though they could start right away. He summarized this approach: “I want to, I can, but I don’t allow myself”.

Woman entangled in her pillows looking tired
Picture: Dragos Condrea

Okay, but how to spot if you are a victim of postponed life syndrome? It’s pretty easy! Maybe you are constantly waiting for something? You may be waiting for the weekend, holidays, Christmas, or the end of the day. Perhaps you postpone things because the “right time” hasn’t come yet? Your days are meaninglessly passing by because you wanted the time to run faster – and yay, finally, holidays (or whatever date you wanted). And then what? Can you magically start living? Nah, it’s not that easy. There’s a chance you will find another excuse not to do that. Why do I know that? Been there, done that. I’ve been waiting all my life – to finally turn 18, finish university, start a career, quit a job, and finally have perfect conditions to start living. And the time never came. None of these, even though I wanted to, was a turning point in my life.

You can start changes that would lead you to your dream life right away, but no, no, no… Something is missing, or you are not ready. Maybe you need to lose weight, learn more things, change your hair color, move to another city, get a promotion… Or possibly you have imposter syndrome, and deep down, you feel that you don’t deserve the life you wanted? The list is long, and you would probably add to the list even more things. Meanwhile, you will not enjoy the present, compare yourself to others (in your mind – more successful people. But are they happy?), look for excuses, or even blame external factors.

What can you do when you notice that you are postponing your life? Start from today (not tomorrow, not Monday, not a new year) and stay in the present moment. Use mindfulness techniques to ground yourself and be here and now. Just Google it and use it in practice. Don’t get me wrong, dreaming is not bad, but there’s one better thing – not staying only in your head but implementing wishes into reality. And one more piece of advice from a “no” person – go with the flow and start saying yes to the opportunities coming for you, even though you might not feel ready. You will thank me later.

Aleksandra Kanasiuk

Sources:

Kaylee Wood |Delayed life syndrome: 7 main symptoms, causes

Елена Мартынова | Невроз отложенной жизни

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