Having recently just celebrated another birthday, I started thinking about where I am in in life as opposed to where I used to be, say 5-10 years ago.
Am I happier? Yes.
Am I financially stable? Yes, but this could always improve.
Am I surrounded by good people? Yes.
Am I doing a better job of keeping negativity out of my life? Most definitely.
While 5 of my siblings are in their 20’s now (I have one sister in her 30’s, and my youngest sister just turned 20 a few days ago) I can’t help but think about how much happier I am now than I was when I was their age. I know what you’re thinking, but Lorenzo only has something to do with it; it’s not entirely about him.
Here are the 2 things that stood out to me the most:
I’m more confident and comfortable with who I am-this includes my flaws. I read in a magazine once that some actress said she was more confident in her 30’s than she was in her 20’s and my immediate reaction was “What a bunch of crap”. Now I totally see where she was coming from.
When I was in my 20’s I was very introverted and I put ALL of my energy into my friendships and relationships, putting everyone else’s needs and emotions above my own. I let people that claimed to love me tear me down on a regular basis while I tried to comfort them. I’d convinced myself that they were just insecure and needed my help, meanwhile their (unprovoked) negativity towards me wore down my self esteem. I let them walk all over me. Once those people were out of my life, I realized that I wasn’t so bad after all and made friends who actually used to return a compliment once in awhile. It was nice.
I’m no longer afraid of the future. My circumstances were different than most people’s. Right after I’d turned 21, my mother passed away and my 19 year old sister and I took on the major responsibility of being the primary care-takers of 3 of my teenaged siblings. We didn’t want to be separated, so my Dad and grandmother did everything they could to make sure we were okay. I’d just started my senior year of college and then was mobilized to go to Iraq a few months later. I was always terrified. Constantly in fear of what was going to happen to my family, then having to worry about if I was going to die in war. I ended up not going to Iraq, but came home and always worried about paying rent, having a place to live, if my siblings were going to run off and do something crazy like get pregnant or end up in jail. I was very hard on them, and I was even harder on myself. Always in a constant fear of all these crazy things that never happened. I was literally making myself sick. When I actually did end up going to Iraq in 2009, I made a promise to put a stop to all of that- and I’ve been 10x happier ever since.
Here are few more tidbits:
I no longer feel bad about not hanging out if I really don’t want to go out.
I don’t make excuses for being myself. If people think I’m weird then that’s their issue, not mine.
I’m no longer afraid to let people go. Every relationship doesn’t last forever and I’m okay with that now.
The food is better in your 30’s. Or I’ve just learned to eat better…either way.
Pointless drama bores me. If it’s not going to make me money or progress my career then I don’t care. Save it for reality TV.
Moral of this story is: 30-something year old me would go back in time and tell 20 something year old me to get a grip.
I’ve learned my lesson about letting people treat me badly and keeping them in my life – no more of that. I don’t do “frienemies” any more, or crappy boyfriends. And now I just plan for the future, instead of fearing it. It just makes things soooo much easier.