1. Being okay with the fact that you are not just bad at a lot of things, but also average at most things.
2. And realizing that success really is just about picking from that small pool of things you’re really really good at and putting your whole heart and soul into getting better and better and better, every single day, for the rest of your life.
3. Getting chastised at work for something that was your fault.
4. Getting chastised at work for something that wasn’t your fault.
5. And seeing afterwards that, even though it was awful and humiliating and maybe terrifying, you’re still alive and you’re still functioning and you are much more okay than you thought you’d be.
6. Catching up with a friend and walking away from the reunion feeling like they’re a million steps ahead of you in life.
7. And then learning how to address those fears and insecurities without pitying yourself or letting yourself fall into a pit of despair or panic.
8. Admitting when you’ve been a bad friend and then apologizing and making up for it.
9. Forgiving someone else when they’ve been a bad friend to you without acting holier-than-thou.
10. Having your heart absolutely broken.
11. Or breaking someone else’s heart.
12. Or experiencing both, sometimes within the same relationship, and learning how strong your heart truly is.
13. And realizing that – as painful and crushing and shattering as that breakup was – you are still more capable than you ever thought of picking yourself back up and putting the pieces of your life back together.
14. Learning that the measurement for success in your twenties is absolutely different for every single person.
15. And that you can spend all the time you want comparing your situation to your college roommate’s or your high school best friend’s, but that it’s going to be completely irrelevant and pointless.
16. Because, sure, maybe they bought a house and maybe that makes you feel really behind in your own life. But no two experiences and no two lives are the same – and it’s more important for you to focus on what actually does matter to you than to be worrying about someone else’s life.
17. Experiencing the dissolution of a friendship and learning that sometimes, it doesn’t happen for a specific reason or because of someone’s wrongdoing – sometimes, friendships just slowly fizzle out because life gets in the way.
18. And also learning that the friendships that survive are the ones in which you’re always there for each other, you’re always making an effort, and you stand by each other even when it’s a little inconvenient.
19. Learning how to acknowledge when a milestone in someone else’s life is irrelevant to your life right now and remembering that it’s arbitrary to compare timelines. If your life right now is more about improving your physical health or exploring your career or working on your marriage, then who cares if your coworker is about to have their second kid or your friend is quitting their job to travel the world. Everybody’s timeline is different and there’s not one correct path.
20. Being the least experienced or least skilled person in the room and not letting it mess with your head or make you afraid of trying something.
21. Wanting something really, really badly and then being told in one way or another that you haven’t earned it yet.
22. And then working your ass off to actually earn it.
23. And, more importantly, learning how to deal with the aftermath if you still don’t get what you want – and figuring how you can learn from this and become stronger from it.
24. Becoming comfortable with your own company and learning how to be alone with yourself – without feeling the need to instantly shut off your mind or distract your brain with loud music or a tv show or scrolling through your phone every second of every day just to avoid your own thoughts.
25. Saying ‘no’ to something, even though it made you feel uncomfortable or nervous or anxious, because you needed to prioritize your health or your time or your personal wellness first.
26. Sticking up for yourself to someone – a boss, a parent, a best friend, a partner, an in-law, whoever – when you knew they were treating you unfairly or disrespectfully. Even if it meant making a situation more uncomfortable, awkward, or full of tension.
27. Becoming at peace with the fact that you’re never going to be finished becoming you – you’re never going to be totally secure, totally at ease, totally confident in who you are or where you are. It’s always going to be a process, a journey, until the day you die. And at this point, after going through so much and learning so much, you understand that it has to, and should, be that way.