I just celebrated my 26th birthday— with a nice hangover to remind me that I am, in fact, getting older. I have been reflecting A LOT on the past year. Originally, I wanted to title this post “Year 25,” but then I realized how year 24 and 25 felt like one big combined year. I mean, between planning a wedding and getting married, moving to Oregon, new jobs, new friends, moving again to Washington, it all seems unreal in a sense... sort of like watching things happen to someone else. Basically, I couldn’t tell you if something happened in 2017 or 2018 (other than my wedding day), LOL! With all of the changes in these two years, there have been lots of learning and growth.
Now, I am no expert on life.... but I do feel compelled to share the things that I have come to realize. As a twenty-something, one of the most important things we can do is talk about our experiences with others, because we are all dealing with the same stuff to some degree. The twenty-something stage is not easy. Whew, it really is not easy. We feel inspired and determined, but also lost. We’re not alone though, and that’s why I am writing this! So... for the things that I have learned in year 24/25, here we go!
1. It’s ok if you dont have it all figured out. I don’t think anyone really ever does, no matter their age. So the dream job isn’t what you thought it would be, or worse... you get laid off from your dream job. You feel like a complete failure. That’s ok. It wasn’t meant for you and there is WAY more out there. Speaking from experience, starting over can be the best thing to ever happen. Or, perhaps you aren’t dating someone with the promise of engagement in the future... that’s ok! Enjoy time discovering yourself and what you want out of a future life partner (remember, marriage is forever). So, you’re still eating ramen and cheap frozen pizzas for dinner and buying your wine at a convenient store... who cares?! Even the people whom you think have it all together, have to do that when things get tight. Ptshh... and they told us that was the “college diet”!
2. You don’t have to be friends with everyone. This one is tough. I had never experienced this until we moved away from home. Coming from a small hometown and being in a sorority, everyone is pretty much friends. It almost feels wrong not to “like” someone. However, I’ve realized that a friendship should be serving you and the other person in a positive and healthy way, MUTUALLY. There is no reason to force a relationship for the sake of having another friend. I have learned to trust my first instinct. If something feels off, that probably means something is off. If you feel in your heart that you really just aren’t “gelling” with someone, let them go. The truth is, it’s not possible to be the “right” friend to everyone. We all are looking for different things. Friendship is an investment. Now, I am definitely not implying that you should be rude to someone you don’t “like”. I simply mean that you should be investing your time into those rare gems, the friends that are there before you even know you need them.
3. Speaking of friends... you will lose friends. Losing a friend is the worst feeling. It’s heartbreaking to feel someone slip away from you, but it happens. Kind of like intimate relationships, you either grow together or grow apart. In my last blog post about change, I talk about how wrapped up we get in our own lives, forgetting that others are constantly spinning in their own world too. One day, you wake up and realize how long it has been since you last spoke to your friend— then you realize that the friendship wasn’t quite as deep as you thought it was, and it slowly fades. Maybe your friend has taken advantage of you, knowing that you will always be there and will always go the extra mile. Bottom line, you shouldn’t invest your heart into a friendship without reciprocation
4. Marriage is work. Personally, I think our generation tends to look at marriage as simply the “next step”. We date for a couple of years, get engaged, throw extravagant weddings, go on a luxurious trip for our honeymoon (probably more luxurious than most of our own parents have ever experienced before), and then what? There is SO much more to finding your life partner than throwing the wedding of the year. From the very second you say “yes” to that insta-worthy proposal, your top priority should be building that lifelong partnership with your significant other. Your marriage is forever— your marriage is the thing that remains long after the bridal showers, bachelorette trips, etc are over. I am utterly in love with my husband, I know that I am his world, and we love our relationship. But, damn, to say every single moment in the last two years have been total bliss would be a lie. Living with someone, making decisions together, making your own decisions based off of consideration for the other, financial respsonsilites— social media doesn’t show that side of marriage! Learning how someone reacts to stressful situations, learning how someone perceives and gives love, and learning those very things about yourself... it is a perpetual state of learning and growing. Some days you cry, some days you laugh until you pee your pants, some days you yell, some days you don’t speak much. What if your spouse lost their job, or you did? What if either of you are dealing with a mental illness? Family issues? You WORK through it. You will not see eye-to-eye about everything. That’s ok. One of the hardest things I have had to learn is that every battle is not worth fighting. Marriage is about loving your person through the disparities, and having their back no matter what happens in life because shit happens... arguments and upsets and life altering decisions happen. You work through it.
5. We all need “me” time— ohhhh, do we need it! I’ve recently learned how much value there is in this. It’s in our human nature to take care of and please others (especially in our intimate relationships) and we forget how important it is to focus some of that energy on ourselves. Take care of yourself by setting aside specific time for “me time”. I have a couple of different things that I like to do— one being writing to you guys. I also LOVE to light some candles and take a bath, and of course I face mask it up while relaxing in the tub. On the weekends, I look forward to waking up in the morning, grabbing my favorite Starbucks drink, and taking my dog for a long walk. Sometimes I even walk to my favorite stores (Nordstrom, TJ Maxx, Target, etc) just to look! I admire fashion and I love to just feel the clothes— its kind of weird, but it is what it is. And I love going alone, just browsing the racks in my own world. Whatever it is you like to do, don’t forget to make time for it!
6. It’s not wrong to be proud of yourself. Damn it... be proud of yourself! But seriously, am I the only one that feels like its wrong, like I am bragging? Why do we feel this way, like we haven’t done enough to be proud of? We’re so quick to pat our friends on the back, but not our own. Maybe you just got a promotion, quit a job that was not challenging you, bought a book because you said you wanted to read more, started a new workout routine, or you freaking got out of bed before 11am and cleaned your place like you told yourself you would... CELEBRATE IT! I don’t care how small or insignificant you think the deed may be, as long as you are doing things for your overall wellbeing, be proud of it!
I’ll end this by saying that I DO NOT HAVE IT ALL FIGURED OUT. Sometimes I feel that I fail more often than not, but that’s life— very specifically the twenty something stage of life, lol. I am contiuously learning and growing, and really, that’s all that matters. Despite the failures, I am grateful and I am proud of myself. I would LOVE to hear from you below— what are things that you have come to realize that you think all of us twenty-somethings (and beyond) could relate to?