When I was younger, I pictured my life differently. By 25, I would be well established in my career, engaged to the love of my life, and financially stable. Although I’m not far from some of those childhood goals, I cannot say it’s been easy or that it is easy right now.
I blame a lot of these life achievements (time markers) on fictitious movie plots and social media. For most of us, we all had this dream visualization of what our lives would look like at a certain age. But I realized what I really needed was my own affirmation that my hard work and self-love will help attract the things that are genuinely better for me.
I’m writing this a few months before my 26th birthday. I’ll officially be off my parents’ health insurance and I lost my full-time corporate job due to the largest world pandemic my generation has probably ever encountered. That alone is hard to admit without feeling completely helpless. With that being said I have been feeling both extremely overwhelmed and grateful. Overwhelmed, because it’s hard to see the positive when everything happening around the world seems so negative.
However, I am also feeling grateful because during the wake of all this I have also been on a self-discovery binge. Usually, I would book a trip and this would happen somewhere else in the world but this time it was in the comfort of my own home. I wasn’t aware of trying to figure these things out but with all the free time it just inevitably happened.
I started realizing that the years really don’t stop coming. One day I was sipping margaritas in my parent’s swimming pool. The next day I was working a 9-5 job in a major city. Now here I am writing this for myself and others that are going through a whimsical of changes. Things change and so do we. It’s hard for both things to stay cohesive. Regardless of all the ups and downs, there are lessons that taught me self-care and self-love.
It’s ok to not be ok. Ignoring an emotion is only making it more profound. I was someone who struggled with expressing myself on the bad days. This is still a work in progress but I realized I function so much better when I cry it out talk it out or simply just write it out. There are better options than consuming all the bad happenings. Instead let it out, even if it’s just a little bit. Give yourself that opportunity and space to let the emotion pass through.
Take a break. Personally, I am someone that loves to follow schedules and loves to plan everything. But sometimes there are things that are out of our control which end up affecting our end goals. I learned to not be upset over the matters I cannot personally change. Instead of getting worked up on it, adjust to the changes.
Along your life journey, there will be bumps that skew our course. But I like to remember all the good and not so good aspects that happened in order to get to the people and things I love the most. It is so much easier said than done but it really does help in the long run. Bottom line: Good things happen, but maybe not right when you expect it.
Let go. To just let go of all the toxic and negativity. Acknowledge the pains and grief but allow it to let it guide you to better beginnings. This was tough for me. In my early twenties, I had friendships/relationships that were compatible with others (most) not so much. To this day I have struggled with some. And I’m sure I will encounter this issue even later in life.
However, many times I remained friends with people for the wrong reasons or dated men that were not a good fit for me. Living like this created a toxic circle for myself and the people involved. The hardest part of letting go is revisiting the past: the places we’ve been to, the jokes we’ve laughed at, and even the unpleasant arguments we’ve had.
But if your current situation isn’t creating a happy space for you then leave the past where it belongs and move forward with the new. Starting over is not easy. But once you find what is really meant for you, it all starts to make sense. Once I took control of my space and well-being it was a lot easier to determine who/what was worthwhile. Why waste time on people that don’t make me feel happy, inspired, or proud to call them my friend? Ask yourself if that person makes you happy and if so, if you can reciprocate that feeling for them.
The lessons never stop. Along with letting go comes learning the lesson. What did I learn from this situation? What did I like or not like from this relationship? How can I be a better person for myself and for others? I’ve learned a lot more about myself this year than I ever have. I have learned things such as what I like about people, what I need to improve on, and what are the things that trigger my happy or bad moods. Take the lesson and let go of all the extra overthinking.
At times I have even forgotten about my own needs in order to fulfill someone else’s. But how can I really be a positive addition for someone if I have not figured out myself. So with that being said I encourage taking in all these lessons you learn from yourself and really figure out what makes you, YOU. You aren’t your mistakes and you are always able to alter your next step.
Life isn’t perfect. Things are not always what they seem… and sometimes that’s ok. Our purposes shift, our interests change, we outgrow people and places. It is more about what you want to be and how it will affect your well-being. Being honest with myself is my greatest lesson learned.
Turning 26 is a new adventure. Everything has a time and place. Some days I feel like everything is perfectly set in place while other days it feels like I’ll never reach my goals. Either way, I need to acknowledge that we’re all trying to be the best version of ourselves. It’s ok to not be ok, to not know what’s happening next, to make mistakes. Just give yourself time to forgive your flaws and to love your goodness because carrying the weight of what you love is so much better than carrying the weight of a life you are not happy with.
So with that being said, I say goodbye to my early twenties. You were full of laughter, sleepless nights, bad days, heartbreaks, career changes, new cities, and so much more. I’m leaving 25 with a better attitude, a whole lot of self-respect, and of course, with the people I love the most. I’m learning and outgrowing. But I am still a work in progress.
Here’s to 26. I love you.