To the random teenage girl on the train: You were talking with your friend. She seemed really depressed because she could not get a boyfriend. I was half listening to the conversation while dozing off and heard you say:
“WHY do you want a boyfriend so much? What do you think will change in your life after getting a boyfriend?”
That woke me up. At the time, I was obsessing over getting a particular “dream job”. I was depressed and anxious about it, I was crying over it. I was feeling like such a failure. It was all I could think or talk (and complain) about.
As soon as I got home, I made a list: “Things that I think will change if I get my dream job”.
It ended up being such a long list. I was basically blaming all of life’s problems, big and small on not having this particular job. Not only that, but I was also putting things “on hold”‘ until after I got this job for no good reason. Like I needed a particular job title to join a gym or practice my hobby.
So I took that list and started DOING everything I wrote down. I started addressing the problems directly and finding outlets for the things I was not satisfied with. I still wanted the job, but my happiness did not depend on it. Since then, when I find myself obsessing over a particular thing, I always take the time to think if I’m using it as an excuse to not work on other problems I might have.
Thank you, teenage girl on the train. You were trying to help your friend and changed a stranger’s life instead.