Turning 24: A Year Older and a Year Wiser?


 

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Crap.

When did this happen? When did I turn 24? Well —  technically it happened on April 26, 2013 — but I’m still having trouble accepting that I am living in a Cyberspace age like 2013, let alone that I’m 24. I’m the baby — how could I actually be this old and remember my past as recent history? Sometimes I feel like I should be sitting in a rocker telling tales of the “golden days” to the “kids” of today. But that doesn’t seem right either because I feel like these birthdays are just creeping on me without so much as a notice, and I must be actually much younger!

That’s what it is.

I thought that I’d get some sort of prepped notice every year reminding me of all the events that took place in the last year, so that when the time came to turn another year older, I would actually feel like I had lived an entire year. Somehow time isn’t that forgiving, and there is no friendly reminder — just birthdays that make you wonder where the time is really going.

So, now I’m 24. Don’t ask me how it happened, but little ol’ me, the baby of the family, reached her “mid 20s.” And taking a few minutes to actually reflect, I’m relieved to say that time didn’t just speed me through 365 days without teaching me at least a little something in return. I had 10 life lessons to share last year, but this past year has taught me some things that I’m hoping I can say have made me a year wiser. Here are a few:

  1. You have to know when it’s time to stick up for yourself without letting your ego get in the way. When I find someone trying to take advantage of me or my time, my ego tends to want to speak for me (because how dare you treat me like this, right?), but that’s never a good idea. There’s a way to put your foot down without being flippant, and finding the balance is always the key.
  2. Some people will never change, and you just have to change your expectations that they will. I’d banked on the hope that certain people or certain relationships would change, so that I could be happier. But in the end, all that investment only made me more unhappy and disappointed when things didn’t work out how I hoped. Some people have surprised me in the last year for the better, and that was a great feeling. For the rest, I’ve realized that I need to let what will be just be.
  3. Irrational anger will just eat you up and feed that pesky ego again. Blowing up about being stuck in traffic? Complaining that someone bumped into you at a crowded place? Just idiotic and pointless. What’s even the point of being angry about something so small, when it means nothing at the end of the day? I’m no one special; it happens; get over it, and move on.
  4. Most of my problems are maintained by me. Ever notice how easy it is to blame others for “making” you feel one way or another? Other people definitely contribute to trust issues, insecurities and hurt feelings, but no one can actually make you feel any other way than you want to feel. I can make everything worse if I want to, but I can also make them at least a bit better by just letting it roll off and moving on.
  5. At some point, leaving the party early or turning down plans just to stay in and enjoy alone time is really, totally okay. I used to be afraid I’d be missing out on something if I said no, and sometimes I still feel like I need to do as much as possible because otherwise I’m denying myself some great memories — but sometimes it really is just best to stay in or be alone. Now, I try to do what feels right in the moment — without fear of regret — and then accept my decision, whatever it is.

Do you feel like you can say you learn a lot year by year? Share some of your learned wisdom with me!

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