When a younger adult is feeling stalled in their life, they may wander for some time with little sense of intent or destination. While they may want earnestly to be advancing, they might actually spend little time working on personal growth or job-hunting, as they are just… wandering. And they can have LOTS of downtime.
When people find themselves wandering with lots of downtime, how they fill that time can be very helpful (or not) for how they get out of that rut and on with their life.
Boredom is super unpleasant; empty days can become torturous. People can fill the time with excessive sleeping, media watching, overeating, drinking, recreational drugs, game playing, gambling, or shopping. Cell phone addiction is of course epidemic.
These activities don’t just waste time, they likely diminish a person’s momentum. Specific detrimental things can happen as well, such as getting into debt, having health problems, or gaining bad influences. When a younger adult engages in these activities while “wandering” the negative impacts can be significant. (check out a recent post on the need to address these situations with urgency)
Fortunately, younger adults also have many ways to fill their empty time that support personal growth, confidence, motivation and energy levels. Easy examples are volunteering, fitness activities, taking classes, developing new skills, and growing/creating things.
I was talking about this recently with a young man who had spent years in a “not yet adulting” funk, and he emphasized that young people who are struggling to figure things out should be intentional in how they use their time. He made two specific suggestions. The first was that people should pursue activities that have some element of measured accomplishment over time, such as gardening or fitness, so that they would stay connected with the experiences of setting goals and achieving them. The second is that at least some of the activities should require them to get out of the house and engage with others (meeting new people) in live environments.
When we know a younger adult who is feeling stalled in their life, let’s encourage them to have some ambition in how they use those open hours. Constructive activities, done in a structured way, can help build the foundations and fortitude they need to sort out their career and well-rounded adult life. And those activities may lead to new ideas and opportunities to get out of that rut.
Let’s also reinforce that experiences from time spent helping others, gaining new skills and building / growing things look a lot better on a resume (and play better in an interview) than awkward admissions of months wasted playing Candy Crush or watching YouTube videos.
Anyone who would like to connect with me or explore these topics more is invited to visit my website at www.otoolecoaching.com.