Ways We Regress When Life Gets Too Hard

May 27, 2019  |  
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No matter how much you have your life together, what a total boss you are, and how much others perceive you to be the most composed, rational, and mature person in the world, we can all feel that life is a bit overwhelming sometimes. We can all wish we could crawl inside of a cocoon, or even our mother’s womb. When you’re in trouble for making a mistake at work, your neighbor is mad at you for ignoring your mailbox so long that the USPS has started shoving your excess in the communal box, and you forgot to do the thing you told your partner you’d do, you can just want to crawl away and hide. As soon as we stop feeling on top of our sh*t, it’s a slippery slope to feeling like we’re beneath a mountain of obligations we just can’t tackle. Sometimes, these bouts of feeling like we’ve lost a handle on our lives can go on for a while, like after losing a job or losing a relationship. And when it happens, we can all regress—just a little. Call it a temporary form of arrested development. And we do things like this.


Date a permanently stunted man

Nothing helps us feel a bit better about ourselves than dating a man who is living with his mom and unemployed while he tries to become a professional gamer. When we’re feeling like we aren’t on stable ground ourselves, we can be attracted to men who have their lives together even less.




Un-follow a lot of people. Then, re-follow

I’ve personally become certain that following this or that person isn’t good for me. I just compare myself to them. I just feel bad about how I’m doing because of how well they’re doing. So I do a massive un-follow. Later I realize that’s silly, and that I can’t avoid the potential to compare forever. I just have to learn not to compare.


Eat childhood foods

You know those foods that you don’t buy anymore because you’re an “Adult?” Yeah, you buy them now. Funions. Rainbow sherbert. Twinkies. Pizza bagels. Whatever the treats were you only got on weekends as a kid—you buy them en masse.


Watch those old classic high school films

For me those would be “Clueless” and “Practical Magic.” You might just play those films that were coming of age movies for you. They gave you a first glimpse of what you hoped love would feel like for you or a model best friend relationship for you and your BFF.


Get a bit flaky

I know I can get a bit flaky when life feels overwhelming. I may cancel plans I have at the last minute, making up an excuse, when I really just don’t feel like getting dressed or composing myself like an adult. I may send a text that says, “Swamped with work” when the reality is I’m wrapped in two snuggies watching YouTube videos of dogs reunited with their owners.


Stay with our parents

Sometimes it just takes a visit to the parents to recharge. You feel like a little baby right now, so you want to go be a baby, sleeping in your childhood room, having your mom cook for you, and having your parents ask where you’re going and what time you’ll be home.


Put on that emo high school music too

For me, that would be Radiohead. I can just put on The Bends album for an hour, lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling, not unlike I would do in high school when I was dealing with emotions I didn’t understand.


Ask a partner/roommate to baby you

When I was single, I’d ask my roommate to baby me. I’d just live in my bed for days and text her—she was in the other room—asking her to bring me juice, adjust the air conditioner, or answer the door for my food delivery when it arrived.


Dive into an old classic book

Something along the lines of “The Great Gatsby,” “To Kill A Mockingbird,” “The Grapes of Wrath” or any other super broody book that is as emotional and complex as I am feeling.


Live in a giant robe or old pajamas

This is a very good time for one of those super fluffy robes that have things like bunny rabbits, hearts and sunshine on them. Or footsie pajamas. Or both together. And those comfy old t-shirts from high school track or the college sorority.


Impulsively online shop

Something about perusing the endless supply of things online that I’ll never use, like sparkly leggings, hiking backpacks, travel pillows, and wine glasses with sassy saying on them helps me feel in control of my life. And clicking the “Purchase” button really gives me a thrill.


Order an exorbitant amount of delivery food

Like, everything on the menu from that greasy Chinese restaurant or that pizza place. You’re getting the wings, the garlic bread, the cheesy bread, three pizzas, and the brownies. Now, you can hide away a few days longer while you eat leftovers.


Call a childhood friend and reminisce

There’s something about talking to a childhood friend when life feels overwhelming. You can reminisce about sneaking out of the house to meet those older boys at the beach one night. Or how you’d sneak off campus for lunch and, um, participate in some recreational substances.


Congratulate our small accomplishments

I showered today. Okay, yesterday, but it was a good shower with hair washing and leg shaving. I emptied the dish rack. I called my grandpa. I finally removed that month-old nail polish from my toes. I replaced my electric toothbrush head.


Go stare at the ocean alone

If you ever see someone sitting at the beach, just staring at the ocean alone, she’s probably having some sort of emotional crisis. And she’s probably me.

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