How do we outlive ourselves? Or more specifically, the worst versions of who we are.
I know that I’ve made mistakes – perhaps best to do so now anyway. I’ve been told that people are a lot more forgiving when you’re in your 20s and I feel perpetually stuck here. In most cases, I can’t even imagine myself living within an aged body, or the responsibilities that come with that.
Yet, I hold myself accountable for years worth of disappointment that hasn’t even happened yet. I evaluate my life based on the things I’ve done wrong and I’m wondering now if I’ll always be this hard on myself. Surely, I can’t be the only one constantly questioning the circumstances of their life.
This year was particularly difficult. Of course, we are in the middle of a pandemic that has changed the world in phenomenal ways. But what changed in me is unfamiliar. I don’t recognize the person that I am. My judgment is clouded and I can’t seem to organize an inch of my life.
Within my agonizing uncertainty, I have come to understand a few things.
Seek advice, but follow your own intuition.
Nobody knows what you’re feeling better than yourself and following the advice of others doesn’t teach you how to trust yourself. Instead, you learn how to be disappointed by others for the advice you sought that didn’t work out.
Don’t expect anything from anyone.
At the end of the day, no one actually owes you anything. People will help you because they want to, because they care about you. This extends to friends and family.
Regret is inevitable.
Dwelling on your regrets is a choice. Accept what has gone wrong and move forward with what you learned. We can never do more than try our best the next time around.
You will be lonely.
As stoic and mysterious as your aesthetic may be, no one can do it all alone. Eventually, you’ll realize that you spent your young years being cold and uncompromising and now you’re in a place where you’re just alone. Don’t become too bitter to let good things in.
You will run out of money.
Whether reckless spending or poor saving, you are going to learn the value of a dollar. When you get to that moment, hungry and unsure of whether you’ll ever find a place that makes you feel safe and secure, open a savings account. Start with a dollar, every day. Prepare yourself for a life where you won’t have to worry so much.
Apologize to your friends for being shitty.
Everyone hates you when you’re 23. I get it. It’s this strange age where you’ve accomplished enough to expect more from your life. Yet, you spend most of the year being disappointed by the jobs you didn’t get, the relationships that didn’t start, and the travelling your student debt prevents. Pretty much, you adjust accordingly to a life you are satisfied with, even if it’s not the one you want.
What others say and how they treat you is truly a reflection of who they are.
Catharsis is a venomous companion and people will say the worst things when they are their worst selves. Please, do not let that poison linger.
There are going to be moments in your 20s when things just suck, but I’ve been told that by your 30s we find a purpose for it all. We just gotta get there.