It feels as though each of these decisions will shape our entire life and there's no escaping it, so, naturally, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get them right. If we believe we made a mistake, we beat ourselves up for it relentlessly.
It took me time to discover that each choice we make is the best one with the information we had at that time, and that there are no wrong decisions - each of them leads us on a different path, that's all. This is what I'll share with you today: how I made an incredibly difficult decision, which at that time I considered to be the biggest mistake of my life.
For a little background; back in summer 2021 I had just finished my Master's degree in marketing in Denmark, and all was well. I was unemployed, looking for a job and the amazing Danish system was helping me out with unemployment benefits. Unfortunately, I made the worst and most common mistake people make after finishing university: I had zero work experience, and employers were not impressed by my years of volunteering and the internships I did. I had graduated with a marketing degree but I was not sure that I wanted to go into this as a career, or if I would be good at it.
Despite having all the time to find a job, I fell into a deep depression and downward spiral, questioning my choices, my education and my future. Yes, even though I had everything going on, even money because of these lovely Danes. The rules of getting this money every month were also overwhelming at first; frankly, my life was a hot mess, no need to sugarcoat it.
It got worse and worse, I started quitting things left and right. I left my Communication Manager position in the National Board of ESN Denmark, and I had given up on serious job searching because I was afraid of being rejected as I had been numerous times since I started applying. I was not even enjoying the time off - all I did was overthink every single thing. In short, I hit rock bottom, or at least the rockiest bottom I've had so far.
I didn't know what to do, I was so lost. My family and closest friends were giving me job advice and being encouraging but it was all in vain. I was not getting motivated; I was stuck. And I did not want to give up, because you just don't do that, right? After trying and trying so many times to help me, they started suggesting that I come back home, get a job there because it's easier, and then reassess my next steps. But I couldn't think about this option! That would mean quitting and I couldn't live with myself if I made that decision (or so I thought).
You guessed it, that's the fatal mistake I made. After struggling throughout the entirety of autumn 2021 (I'll spare you the details, just know I cried a lot), I moved back home to Romania in December and started a job (no, not in marketing, but I love it). While most people were festive-ready, happy and jolly, I was crying my eyes out and struggling with reverse culture shock. I thought I made the biggest mistake of my life. I missed Denmark and the people there every day. To make matters worse, I moved back in with my parents, after 5 years of being away from them and being independent.
It felt like the bottom was getting even rockier. But you know that saying that it gets worse before it gets better? Well, that happened. I slowly started building a routine, first at my job then outside of it, and very slowly came back to life, and returned to the old me again. Right now, after six months here, I am happy, and I finally realised what I want to do next.
Ok, cool story, but what's the lesson here? Did I just want to brag about how good it is that I survived this dark period? Of course not! What I wanted to do is highlight an important life lesson: sometimes quitting is good, saying no is good, giving up (yes, giving up) is ok, and even good for you!
Now, I'm not saying quit everything while you're ahead, but when something has such a big effect on you and your mental health is affected, it's the sign that you might need to take a break or stop altogether. Your life is more important, I promise.
I know this sounds a bit serious, but it is. I had to give up so I could heal, and I did not need to beat myself up so much about it. It's ok, and I want you to know that. No matter what, put yourself and your health first! And even if it seems like the world is falling apart and nothing is working, take it slow, it will work out, and you'll find a way. You can survive most of the things life throws at you; you're stronger than you think.
Finally, giving up sometimes is ok if it is for the greater good; you have plenty of time to figure it out and achieve things. As I said in the beginning, your choices lead you down a particular path, but it's your call what you make of that path.