This post will be more of a somber note. Which, in my terms, will still contain plenty of lame jokes. Call it a debilitating need to avoid negative emotion (still visiting that shrink, FYI) or just call it plain ‘ol grade-A immaturity. For the sake of blog topics, let’s just go with the latter. As some of you may know, I recently celebrated a Birthday. As for you that do not know, I turned the magnificent age of 24.
To celebrate, I’ve decided to compile not one, but two lists for you all today. (All for the low price of 29.99!) One list will cover the 13 things I’ve learned over year 23, and the other list will be 11 things I hope to learn/gain from the future.
13 lessons of 23
1. “No one likes you when you’re 23.”
This may seem pretty shallow, but there is such a deep truth resonating within these Sophomoric lyrics. At this age everyone considers you old enough to be an adult, fully ready to deal with all of your problems, but also you are still too young to be taken seriously in your family and work life. One thing I noticed this year is that no matter what, respected coworkers and select family seemed to disregard my emotions and experiences as a lesser occurrence. All of that was hard to swallow as this was arguably one of the most transformative years of my life.
2. No matter how bad things seem to be they could always be worse.
3. No matter how much acceptance there may be in the world, there is still a very far way for us all to come.
I have always known how close-minded humanity can be (rural America, hello), but as I’ve come to embrace some pretty steep self-truths, I’ve realized how much a person can feel isolated by people they’ve known and loved for years. There is really no blame or hostility to direct here. I will simply put that even though you may have known someone your entire life, just know that even the people you know and love are constantly growing and changing as people, so always be at the ready to learn, grow, and accept the changing nature of human life.
4. Wash your car.
Especially if you live in an area of the world that salts icy roads. Trust me on this. I had to prematurely send my trusty steed Harvey Dent the Lumina to the glue factory because the bottom got so rusted out.
5. No matter how long you’ve known someone, you’ll never stop learning about who they really are.
I mentioned this again, but from the flip side of things, because it is so damn important. This was a lesson that reared its head many times over my 23rd year. It was both an unexpected blessing, growing closer with people I would have never imagined, and a terrible curse, feeling the sting of rejection from people I thought I could trust above all else.
6. There are FAR worse things in the world than a breakup.
If you would have told me this a year ago, I would have laughed hysterically before crying into my Ben&Jerrys. But in all honesty, this is so so true.
7. I finally understand why some people fear commitment.
Again, if you would have mentioned this to me a year ago, I would’ve laughed/cried and hugged you tightly screeching “No, don’t go! I cannot possibly feel validated unless there is another human who cannot bear to live without me!! THESE ARE ALL PERFECTLY RATIONAL RELATIONSHIP APPROACHES!”
But after feeling the pain of all sorts of loss, I’ve come to realize that I cannot place all of my self-worth and happiness on another person. And even while building trust and opening emotional doors to another person is essential when done in a healthy manner, the prospect of placing even a small emotional stake in the unknown is a really frightening thing.
8. Living on your own brings out your inner conversationalist.
Since I have spent so much time on my own, I have really felt the urge for good conversation. Since there is no one to waggle my jaw at, I simply talk to myself. It may seem a little out there, but it really helps to pass the time and organize your thoughts, and practice your accents of course!
9. You realize how one-sided some friendships can be.
If anyone already relates to that, I’m sorry. I feel you. It sucks. For those of you who maybe don’t know what I’m getting at with this let me break it down for you in two ways:
-If you’ve ever had a ‘friend’ that seems to show curiosity vs empathy in the face of your hardships, congratulations, they’re not a friend.
-If you’ve ever decided not to be the one to initiate contact for once, and then never hear from that person again, congratulations, they weren’t your friend either.
Unfortunately for me, I have experienced this during some pretty rough patches of the year.
10. “The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.”
Oh yeah, I totally pulled out a Mulan quote that surprisingly didn’t involve business, Huns, or the dark side of the moon. Mushu would be so proud.
But in all seriousness, this quote rings so true. While some of the troubling things I have faced this year may have been tough, they’ve also led me to reach out to some people I would have otherwise never have acknowledged. And while those friendships may have been born out of very dreary origins, they developed into some of the most endearing and supporting friendships I have ever known. I am thoroughly convinced that those bonds may have been my saving grace through some of the tribulations I have gone through.
This quote also rings true to the some of the relationships/friendships I already have, that really showed their true and beautiful colors in the face of the tremendous adversity I faced.
11. Never underestimate the younger generations.
But as I’ve grown a bond with my nieces, I realize that they, like everyone else their age, hold so much promise for the future. I learned how to bounce back in the free-falling grief of a family death from an 11-year-old. The fact that someone so young is able to find the drive and determination to go on and achieve in life after losing a parent is truly a feat most adults cannot even reach.
I am also inspired by the incredible tolerance of a 13-year-old. Her willingness to understand and embrace walks of life that differ so much from what is ingrained as ‘normal’ truly inspires me. She doesn’t realize how much I draw upon her beautiful acceptance when I am trying to find the strength to battle my own personal doubts and self-dislike.
12. Laugh often.
C’mon everyone. You know me by know. This is tried and true to help solve every single problem I have faced. I recently had a conversation with a very close friend, who has also gone through some tough losses recently. They were about to tell a dark and morbid joke relating to their situation, but initially refrained, feeling guilty. I encouraged them to not feel guilty for that form of expression. To me it reflects taking exhausting and crippling emotions such as sadness and anger, and transferring them into more digestible feelings. You can only feel sad/angry for so long before your body and mind cannot take any more. You need to try to find some sort of reason to smile.
I’ve used this clip before, but I need it again to drive this point home.
Now you can’t feel too guilty because I doubt your sense of humor gets much darker than that.
13. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel bad for how you feel.
Some people may think I am incapable of experiencing human emotion, and may be a closeted sociopath. While examples like the previous video may not make a strong case for my emotional capacity, it does not mean I do not experience sadness and pain like others. If you value any sort of relationship with anyone, never discredit their emotions just because they may not fall into your personal understanding.
11 things I hope to learn/achieve in year 24
1. I want to keep my foot out of my mouth.
Over the years I’ve said some pretty stupid things born out of ignorance. Normally I have a ‘give-no-fucks, past is in the past’ mentality when I notice my faux paus, but now I’m reflecting on some of the things I’ve said and noticed that they are hurtful to who I am becoming today. That is regrettably something I know must change going forward.
2. Do what I love.
No, this doesn’t necessarily mean that I should quit my day-job and go to clown college (which is not something I’d love). But it does mean I should make time to do things I love. Just make sure it can coincide with the less-thrilling practicalities of everyday life. If it’s some sort of project, stick to it. If we all let our doubts about how ‘good’ it may be prevent us from actually doing something, then we are clearly missing the point of a hobby. Hobbies are wonderful beautiful brainchildren that we need to constantly hatch and develop to make the world a better, more joyous place!
..well most hobbies..
3. Family is everything.
But family can include whoever makes you feel loved, valued, and appreciated as a family is made to do, not blood or law.
4. Have a plan for Zombies.
Go ahead, scoff. It sounds completely asinine. You’re right. But what harm could truly come out of developing some sort of backup plan in case humanity and the order of the world comes crumbling down at our feet and those we hold near and dear turn into horrendous blood-thirsty monsters in our hour of strongest need and desperation? I don’t see the harm out of it.
5. Don’t let work take over my life.
Many workplaces have the philosophy that when you clock in, you leave your personal troubles at the door. Well, that goes both ways in my opinion. I see too many people sit and worry themselves sick over problems at work that our out of their control once they are out of the office. I myself have worked myself into a tizzy the night before a stressful workday. It does not good to do that, if anything it only puts yourself more on edge and depletes from your true life enjoyment.
6. I mustn’t fear love, even if I’m unsure of how it will come to pass.
Try as I might to pass off as cavalier about this subject, there is a barrage of uncertainty about this constantly inside of my head. When time normally brings more clarity on life matters such as these, for me it only seems to bring more uncertainty. I can only keep learning about myself and what makes me truly happy in life before I can find a person to compliment that journey.
7. Live healthier.
But I realize that my metabolism is slowing, and my expectations are changing. I have already taken steps to getting more active in life by eating more greens and homemade meals, drinking more tea, having a quasi-regular workout schedule, and SIGNING UP FOR MY FIRST 5K!!! (It’s a really easygoing one, but baby-steps people).
Even though I have taken some steps of self-improvement, I will always be who I truly am: a gal who’s Netflix Queue has a larger number than what she can bench, and someone who will lose her shit if red meat and dairy are eliminated from her diet.
8. Live life for myself.
This may sound selfish, but it’s actually quite important. While it is always important to always be mindful of other peoples feelings and opinions, it is harmful to live your own life truly for the sake of other people.
9. Party less.
This is seemingly an unnecessary addition to the list because I don’t really party anymore. I lack… what you could call… the social skills.
But recently I heard the brilliantly composed masterpiece “Shots” on the radio, and immediately burped up the sick taste of UV-Blue flavored collegiate nostalgia.
Why do I lament the fact that I cannot drink and party like I used to? It really isn’t that much to look up to.
10. Find the conviction within me to be open about who I am as a person, and strive for whatever happiness I desire.
You may be thinking, “Well, duh! We’ve had that drilled into our heads ever since childhood! How could you possibly forget that that is the true key to a good life?”
Well, I have some reasons.
First off, this simple statement shouldn’t apply to everyone.
And furthermore, even though I had that inspirational goal implanted in my sweet-little-Barney-loving heart, I wasn’t truly embracing that credo. I wasted years thinking I was embracing my true self, but time and life pulled out their usual fuckery and reminded me that I was so, so wrong. To this day there are incredibly large parts of my personality and soul that I am only recently stumbling upon. My journey ahead will involve me opening those doors within myself and embracing aspects of me that I have locked away out of shallowness and doubt.
11. “Wear sunscreen.”
…just watch it. It says everything needed to be said.