1. I used to think I was pretty confident in myself because I wore basically varying ensembles of the same three things every day. In reality I lacked the self-confidence and bravery to experiment with fashion and colors and styles, and tried to play it off as self-awareness. Being honestly comfy in your own skin seems to allow for taking chances and being bold with your fashion choices, because screw it right? You feel awesome and attractive so who cares what everyone else thinks?
2. You’ve gone from reconsidering the things you want to say to people and just…saying them and seeing what happens. You don’t go out of your way to offend people, but you’re past the point where you constantly cater to other people’s feelings and opinions because guess what, yours matter too. Plus you’re tired of pretending that you ever enjoyed watching How I Met Your Mother.
3. You don’t make excuses for not wanting to do something anymore, you just… don’t do it. You don’t feel like going hiking? You just say it, man. Gone are the days of making up crazy stories about how your grandma’s cousin’s cat died and you have to go to the funeral. Don’t want to clean the house on Saturday? You’re a grown human being, you don’t have to fold your laundry if you don’t feel like it, go ahead and binge watch that T.V. show.
4. Eating healthy is way, way more about how you feel than how you look. You’ve probably accepted some of the less flattering parts about your physical appearance and have a pretty realistic understanding of where you stand with your own body. As we age, what we eat starts to have a real influence on how we feel, and eating well starts to become important because feeling like a piece of shit for three days after eating half a pizza is never fun.
That said you’re still occasionally gonna eat the freaking pizza because life is too short to not have pizza sometimes. Or Dairy Queen. Or Cheetos.
5. You own up to the things you enjoy without shame. You really like cheesy 90’s anime and you don’t care who knows it, man! You’ve always wanted to learn how to basket weave and damn it all, you’re gonna do it! Because it turns out that being weirdly embarrassed about the things that make you happy has never, ironically, made anyone happy.
6. You’re brutally honest about yourself and about your past, which is probably littered with fuck ups, wrong turns, happy accidents, and tough lessons, because life is messy and you sure got in there to get your hands dirty. Lying and hiding things is beyond exhausting. We’re all different people now than we were even a year ago, let alone ten. Letting the past air out and float away is beyond freeing. Being open and honest, especially with yourself, is how true confidence is found.
7. You’ve learned the true power of forgiveness, and that it has very little to do with the person you’re actually forgiving. Holding on to blame and anger and hatred never helped anyone. Seriously. It’s helped zero people. You’ve learned how to forgive and how to then neatly set certain people permanently out of your life because no one has time for toxic nonsense.
8. You’ve learned that total selfishness sounds great and all, but is actually pretty damaging (and exhausting) in practice. You know the importance of taking time for yourself, in making your wants and happiness a priority because, chances are, nobody else is going to if you don’t.
9. You aren’t afraid to be wrong. You are perfectly capable of voicing an opinion and then listening to someone totally shoot it down and light it on fire with a knowledge nuclear bomb. This isn’t a threat to your very being or worth — it’s a way to actually learn and grow and be a real human and not a walking misconception.
10. You’re past the point where you believe there is something different or special about you. There isn’t, you know that, but it’s not a bad thing. It makes your life and your dreams no less worthwhile or important. So maybe you’re not a closet savant or whatever — you’re still pretty kick-ass at being whatever it is you want to be, and that’s way more important than having delusions of grandeur.