I have always considered myself to be ‘different.’
That is really the only word that seems appropriate to describe myself.
I’m beautiful, intelligent, I work well with people and I have a loving spirit, but I never quite felt like I fit in with the crowd and I remember feeling this way pretty much all my life.
And because of this, going into my 20s was a horrendous transition for me.
People who are closest to me may understand this based on what they have seen me go through and what limited access they had to my experiences on the outside, but no one will quite know your experiences the way you will, because of course, they are not you.
I’m late-bloomer, something I have only recently begun to embrace and because of this, my late teens were not spent drinking, partying, and having sex like most expect you to be doing. I just wasn’t. I was following the beat of my own drum and that seemed fine to me and I just figured that when I was ready, I would indulge where I thought suit.
But of course, in the society we live in today, not everyone was okay with me just following my own plans.
Cousins, people at work, and acquaintances would ask me why I wasn’t partying or would pressure me to become someone I wasn’t and I would often hear comments like, “You are so innocent aww.” Or, “You are still a virgin? Wow, you are so naive.”
We all know the saying, “Sticks and stones…” and I don’t care how macho you claim yourself to be, even the strongest of us still are haunted by what others have said about us. And especially when you are coming into yourself and entering your 20s, what people say about you, matters.
So the pressure got to me, and now that I am older and wiser, I know for a fact, what I experienced and how I digested the opinions of others actually played a significant role in me becoming depressed and even my experiences with suicidal thoughts.
I felt that I didn’t belong, that I wasn’t enough and those thoughts, eventually consumed my world.
It’s different for everyone, but I know for a fact, every one of us has experienced painful, awkward, and confusing moments as we matured into adulthood. And now that we are in our 20s, it may haunt us at times, but it’s as if the waves have calmed and the lessons we have learned have now become more clear to us.
And I am telling you, as someone who knows it all too well, that even though our 20s are difficult at times, it is one of the most refreshing, relieving, and defining stages of your life.
1. The shitty, questioning season of who you are is finally beginning to ease
Remember when you just turned 18? You thought to yourself, who do I want to be? Do I want to be the sex bomb, the badass, or the partier? At this moment in your life, life lessons hardly mattered compared to how you were perceived by everyone else. And what made it incredibly shitty, is that you would compromise all your values, all your personal beliefs, just to fit in.
You probably always went home and felt like a stranger to yourself, but it didn’t matter, because you had to be the person that was liked and who was in the ‘in crowd.’ And honestly, constantly trying to be someone you are not, is exhausting.
These days, however, you are finally beginning to take the time to love yourself for whoever you are. So fucking what if you are 22 and haven’t had sex yet? That is no one’s business but yours and if you want to wait until you are 30, you do that! You now don’t give a fuck, and you do what you want. Feeling: Priceless.
2. The endless comparisons are slowly becoming very minimal
I spent a good chunk of my late teens and early 20s comparing myself to, well, everyone. If my single friend got into a relationship, I would then feel like shit and question why I was still single. I wondered why everyone was having sex before me, why they got the job before me, why they did this, looked better, blah, blah, blah. It was so fucking tiring.
I wanted to stop, but with the age of social media, and my fragile mind and esteem back then, I just couldn’t. Everyone seemed to be ahead of me and I was left not loving who I was and feeling empty. And it’s one of the most debilitating feelings.
And I am sure, when you were at this stage as well, comparisons were common for you as well.
These days, however, you are better at controlling it now. You can see that it makes you feel shitty and say to yourself, “You know what, I’m sexy, I’m amazing, and I am awesome. The end.” And you deserve to know that. I am not saying you are over it completely, because comparisons are something that takes a lifetime to control due to our human nature, but now it is finally easier. You finally feel free and it’s a beautiful feeling.
3. You now have the power to say “Fuck off” to people who don’t bring you higher
Before you entered your 20s, if someone said one critical or just plain rude comment about you, you would go home and cry. Now, you just say fuck you and keep it pushing. You are an adult now and that means you are not obligated to entertain bullshit.
I will always be a super sensitive person, but if I am not feeling the vibes around someone, I just stop entertaining it because it’s not high school and I am not trying to be liked by anyone. It sounds harsh, but YOU come first. And your mental health and how you feel about yourself is more crucial than low -life people who just want to make you feel inferior. I am learning now, that most times, people’s comments are just a reflection of their mindsets and their inner self-talk and perceptions.
It matters more how you see yourself than how others perceive you. Don’t become a slave to the opinions of others.
4. You value your own company
I wanted to see a movie today and my boyfriend wasn’t available, so I just said, fuck it, I will go alone. As long as I have food and something to watch, I am good.
Before you entered your 20s, you probably cared a whole lot how it looked if you went out alone, ate alone, watched movies alone, etc etc. There are so many things I would want to do when I was in my late teens that I didn’t do because I never had someone to go with.
Now, you know you have the confidence and the strength to go after what you want and enjoy yourself without the company of others. Take some time to just do you and be alone. Adulthood means people aren’t really there to hold your hand anymore anyways, so take the risks and enjoy things on your own.
You now know you have the courage to do it, so enjoy yourself. Alone.
5. You spend most of your time now trying to become the greatest version of yourself
I am honestly in such a healthy and beautiful space in my life, and I give credit to the hard and uncomfortable moments I had in my late teens and entering my 20s. It sounds dramatic, but I finally feel like I am purged of everything that doesn’t serve me. I can use the metaphor of a flower. In the beginning, it starts off very small, embedded in lots of dirt and it has to push its way through all that gunk and dirt and slimy water in order to grow into a beautiful creation. And I was that flower, pushed through earth shit, dirt, bugs that ate at my roots before I grew into a beautiful flower.
These days, I am reading self-help books, working on creating another vision board, my first book, and just soaking up as much positive energy and experiences as I can. Because in spite of everything that may come my way, beauty always exists.
And I am sure for you, even though, like all of us, you are not 100% there yet, loving yourself is on the top of your priority.
I will end by saying this, who you are is no accident. Like me, you may have considered yourself an outcast, a late-bloomer, and may have often cast out who you are completely because you felt like you didn’t fit into the mold society wanted for you.
But your uniqueness, matters. It matters so fucking much. And I am so glad you are here, on the other side of all the crap you went through to be able to say, I made it. Because you are special and have so many talents, stories, and gifts to share with the world that was birthed through all of the tough times leading up to your 20s.
This, my love, is is teaching you. That there are lessons on the other side of pain and a better you as well. It has its ups and downs but it is molding you into the amazing person you always were.
You are wise enough to have gained these crucial lessons as you trudge through adulthood and you know that no matter how hard it gets, you will make it on the other side okay.
And the other side is beautiful.
Love it or not, your 20s changed your life for the better.