Why You Should Stop Worrying About Retirement

We all worry.

We worry about the future, our ability to achieve all of our goals and dreams, the world of our unborn (or born) children, and the fate of the planet in general.

With everything from sky-high real estate prices and increasingly competitive cities to terrorism and the threat of a Donald Trump presidency, the future is worrisome.

What I’ve recently learned (and it only took the majority of my life) is that there is absolutely no point in worrying about the things that could go wrong.

I honestly used to do it like it was my favourite pastime. But if you’re able to control that voice in your head that makes a habit of reminding you of all the ways everything could royally screw up in your life, utilize that talent.

During a particularly challenging period of self-doubt and questioning my life decisions, someone offered some sound words of wisdom. He told me to change my default assumption; that everything will go right instead of wrong.

It’s such simple advice, yet so powerful in practice.

Life is full of challenging situations; when it comes losing a job, house hunting, or a dwindling savings account, adding a layer of worry to that heaviness is only going to make things worse.

Of course, we need to be cognizant of risks and legitimate concerns – I am not suggesting we all walk around with a perpetually positive head-in-the-clouds mentality (that’s not me). But instead of worrying and spending time lamenting over what could go wrong, focus your energy on pro-actively doing everything you can to make sure that it doesn’t. As my mom always says, “Don’t worry until there is something to worry about.”

And she’s right.

Here are a few common insecurities in our millennial age of worry that we really need to stop losing sleep over…

“Is he/she the one I’m supposed to end up with?”
In a dating culture that makes it ever-so-easy to treat potential significant others just another option, it’s easy to overthink everything about the other person and your relationship in a constant assessment of whether or not he or she is “the one.”

Overthinking things is a quick way to ruin a relationship before it even starts. If your mind is already in overdrive when you’re in the other person’s company, starting a healthy relationship doesn’t stand a chance. Overthinking can also create perceived problems that wouldn’t be there otherwise and tends to heighten your expectations. Plus, once you vocalize any of your overthought insights, the relationship no longer becomes easy and effortless the way it is at the beginning.

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“Am I going to be single forever?”
Sure, it’s an ancient cliché that your grandmother told your teenaged mom – but it’s one that rings true for me time and again. If you’re actively looking for love, it isn’t going to happen: you often meet the ones you end up with when you’re not looking at all (told you it was cliché). Trust me, when you’re worried about your single status (and the thought of ending up alone forever), it shows. And it has the opposite effect when it comes to attracting others. Desperate isn’t a good look.

“Will I ever be able to afford a house?”
In cities like Toronto and Vancouver, the thought of owning even the tiniest of detached homes has become a pipe dream for many pavement-pounding young professionals. I get that. But instead of letting it get you down, do your research and work with the resources that you have. It’s about focusing on what you do have, not what you don’t have. If you keep your head down and use that energy to instead focus on the work, you’ll be able to afford something – eventually.

“Am I going to be a decent parent?”
Any of my parent friends will tell you that there is nothing you can possibly do that will prepare you for parenthood. They’ll also tell you it’s scary as hell. While you obviously need to do your research before the baby’s first screams fill your nursery, constantly worrying about whether you are or will be a good parent isn’t going to do you any favours. In fact, it could have the opposite effect if all that anxious energy starts to rub off on your kid.


“Is this it for me career-wise?”
When our professional futures face threats like robots replacing people – not to mention living in crazily competitive cities and dwindling unions and pension plans – there is cause for worry. It’s easy to fear that your current job is the best you’ll ever get, that you’re going to be replaced, or that you’ll never reach your carefully outlined career goals. But all that time spent worrying is only going to eat up precious brainpower that can be used to advance your career.

“Am I going to be OK for retirement?”
If you spend all your time worrying about how you’re going to survive once you retire, you may not live that long enough to see it in the first place. Of course it’s smart to set up an RRSP not long after your first entry-level position (even if you’re only contributing $20 a month), but if you’re so focused on the distant future, you won’t be able to live in the moment and enjoy experiences, relationships, and sources of happiness in your life right now.

It will all work out – it always does. After all, if you survived prom, you can make it through anything.