Just last week I celebrated my half birthday, and by celebrate I mean I posted a picture on Instagram and went home and had a glass of wine with my dinner. Okay, I guess ‘celebrate’ was a bad word choice, but nevertheless, it got me thinking about twenty-six, the things I have achieved this year, and the things I have lost. It is numbingly breathtaking to look back on a year of your life and realize how much has changed, even though it doesn’t ever really feel like it.
Constantly in my life I am feeling like I am on society’s track, riding a train I’m on for what reason I don’t really know. It’s like a hazy dream of confusion; I’m only doing these x amount of things because someone told me to, but I don’t know who or why. There are times I take a step back and go all metacognitive (“meta”) on myself. In other words, I think about my thinking. How do I think? Why do I think this way? Who says I have to do the laundry this way or what book did I read that highlighted the correct way to curl my hair?
And more importantly why do I think this book is right? Who do I think of when I fail? Is there someone I’m scared to disappoint? Am I that person? Often times this consciousness pops me out of my daily hustle and bustle, making me realize I actually do not have to do things in society’s way or on society’s timeline. And, when it comes to age, society absolutely puts benchmarks on what we are supposed to do when or where or how or why.
Here are 4 reasons I say you should go meta on yourself and, if you want to, tell society to screw off:
You can think of at least one thing today that made you smile.
At this point in my life, I am scrambling to save money for a house, stressed about being financially stable for raising a family, and sometimes struggling to feel successful at work (and no, Mom and Dad, this has nothing to do with me “being too hard on myself” 😉). But all those things are white noise that should, as much as possible, be turned down like the static on the television. It can be there silently in the background, but don’t listen to it.
Life is going okay for you if you can think of something today that made you smile. And, even though all this white noise is on my mind, I can think of at least three things that I smiled at today. A thoughtful text from my husband, a conversation with a co-worker, and a baby’s genuine giggle at me saying hello to her. I may not have a house or lots of money to spend, but I do have reasons to smile.
You know what three (or two or seven) essentials you need in order to relax.
It’s different for everyone, but being aware of what can calm down that overthinking and those thoughts of negativity is half the battle. I know for me it’s a good book, a warm blanket, and a cup of tea. I get into bed an hour early, move and twist until I feel perfectly comfortable, take a deep breath, and get to reading and sipping. A bonus would be my husband laying in bed next to me, even if he is asleep. We all have those things that make us tick and we certainly know what those things are. So, just as much (if not more), we should know what calms us down too.
You are working toward something.
It could be saving enough money for a house. It could be a degree you’ve been working on since you were twenty-two. You could be trying to finish a sewing project or a painting project or a writing project. Maybe it’s trying to go for a run every morning. You could even be working on just simply getting out of bed for the day because you haven’t in weeks. That’s okay! Make yourself a list of goals. Does it have at least one thing on it? GOOD! Kudos to you for trying, for attempting. There are plenty of people in this world that are too scared to try anything, so take comfort in the fact that you have something to work toward, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
There are people in your life that care about you, and more importantly, that you care about.
You might be one of those people that has a ton of acquaintances and lots of best friends. Or you might be one of those people that spends a lot of your time with only a select amount of people, no matter the day or time or occasion. It doesn’t matter which ‘type’ you are. There are people I know that have thousands of followers on Instagram and aren’t very nice. And there are people I know that only hang out with a few friends and their family and they are the most genuine people I’ve met in years.
What is important is that you have people in your life that you can turn to, that you can lean on when society gets to be too much. Further, I hope there are people that count on you, too. Are you a good listener? Do you want to make people feel better when they are down or sad or mad? Good. Friendships and relationships should be beneficial to both parties; it should be a give and a take. Lift each other up, laugh, and make memories. You’re not doing so bad if you have these special people close to you.
Notice how none of these things are “you are in the process of buying a house”, “you know what you want to do with your life professionally”, “you know when you want to have kids”, “you have a lot of friends”, or “you are married to your soulmate and make all of the world jealous of your PDA”…?
If you have at least one of these societally important things, good for you! It isn’t a bad thing; you should be proud of yourself. But remember, those things are not as important as knowing who you are, feeling comfortable in your skin, and smiling and laughing (a lot). We are all on our own track, conducting our own train, and allowing exactly the things we want on it when we want them there. Don’t let society tell you any different.