I’ve realized I just do not need some relationships – both close and cordial ones. I’ve stopped seeking the attention, friendship, love, etc. of people who, when I thought about it and reflected on who they actually are (from my prejudicial perspective), I actually didn’t like them very much. Most were/are not “bad” people; many were decent, kind, and deserve all the good things in the world. (Some were not.) And I would help them if they ever needed it. But they are just not “my people.” And that’s okay.
I’ve realized I’m single most of the time because I don’t really prioritize dating. If I like you, all my days revolve around thinking about you and listening to Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love” on repeat on Saturday afternoons (until I can be a sane person again). But if that’s not reciprocated, I’m not really the “look for love” type. Instead, I’m doing other things: working, starting cool projects, and living life and running and reading and learning new things and hanging out with friends and calling home.
Should I learn how to prioritize dating? Maybe. Maybe that’s what you need to do if you want to fall in love and have a family and all of that – all things I want (eventually). But I guess I just sort of feel like I don’t have to right now. Will this change? Maybe. Ask me again next year. (Or the next time I meet a guy that causes me to trip over my emotions…and probably my feet too.)
I’ve realized there are certain things about myself I find it hard to accept and to show other people. For example, “my love style” is conspicuously and (non-clinically) insane with a side of terrifying as fuck, albeit private, and something I consider sacred. Either way, it’s not for popular consumption, and it couldn’t be even if I wanted it that way. Another example is that for someone who has a stoic demeanor, deep inside, I feel tempestuous a lot of the time and about a lot of things. It’s not as crazy as it sounds.
I’ve realized that I spent too much time worrying about things I should have just accepted as temporary or a lifetime endeavor. For example, after finishing grad school, my finances came together and I’ve saved more since then than I have ever saved in my life. I shouldn’t have beaten myself so much about it when I was in a place where that wasn’t really possible. Another example would be my relationship with my body and what I put in it. Sure, I am on an interesting life experiment, giving up sugar and alcohol for a year since late October. But to be honest, sometimes I would stress too much about what I should and shouldn’t be consuming. It’s okay to want to improve; it’s not okay to let it paralyze you.
I’ve realized I’m still my harshest critic but I’ve also learned to try to be my biggest champion every so often. I’m still hard on myself (and others) but I will always believe in trying for kindness whenever and wherever I can. In that same vein, I’ve realized that in everything from my job to my personal life, there are some opinions that I will always heed, and there are some that I just can’t let have power over me. The practice of the latter is a daily habit.
I’ve realized there are a lot of things that I appreciate about who I am and I should acknowledge that more. I like that I think of the world as both grey and colorful, while sometimes feeling like an all or nothing girl. I like that I embrace that everyone is full of inconsistencies and contradictions. I like that I have big dreams, and failure and disappointment and defeat hasn’t taken away those dreams. I like that when I love someone, I make sure they know that I’ll go out of my way for them. And I even like the fact that if I don’t like you, I respect you enough not to pretend I do. But mostly I like that doing the good, kind thing is not something I reserve only for people I “like.”
I’ve realized that when it’s all said and done, I have a really good life. Not a perfect life but a life that is full of joy and laughter and love, and I don’t always appreciate it enough. But the truth is I have great family and friends who personify the phrase “ride or die.” I make a living by doing what I discovered I love to do more than anything in the world – communicate, teach, share, and write. How cool is that?
I’ve realized that even when things were bad, I had so many reasons to be grateful. Sometimes I just forgot or was too caught up in all the crappy things life does bring us. But when things are good, it is best to remember to share that goodness with the world, and to remember the times that you are happy. Call it lucky or blessed or both, for the most part, even when I didn’t know it or sometimes still forget it, I have everything I need.
I’ve realized I have a lot to work on, but there are many things that I’m doing well at, or at least getting there. I realize that’s what I’ll say about my twenties so far, and about my life: I’m getting “there.” Where “there” actually is, I’m not entirely sure. Something tells me it’s a place I am lucky enough to create and to change. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.