What I Learned in my 20’s
Updated: Nov 16
Don’t expand too much energy on side characters.
You’ll learn that in life, that there are people who will stay around forever and people who will come and go. Don’t spend copious amounts of time focusing on those who go, such as your current love interest, and forget about your friends. Or spend too much time on your career rather than on your family. You give your life to these people. Hours and hours of life. Suddenly, you start to remember your life not in years, or periods, but by: “Oh it was when I was with (insert exes name here)”. It’s tragic really, to remember the history of your life by ex boyfriends. What were your friends doing during that time? What were YOU doing? What were YOU learning? How were YOU growing? You don’t remember, but you remember how you felt about your ex.
I guess what I’m trying to say here, is that everyone in your life but you - is a side character. Really - it’s all about YOU. Your health mentally and physically, your intelligence, your influence, your love, your inner work, your drive. You. You. You. YOU are what you need to remember to focus on. Imagine how powerful and smart we could be if we spent as much time on ourselves as we do eating, loving the wrong men, cherishing the wrong friends, working our lives away. All these hours. Gone. While we focused on bullshit.
You. It’s just you. It’s always been you. So don’t waste time on side characters, side hustles, side jobs, side boys, side pieces, side anything…
There are no rules.
The tapes you play yourself in your head, the ones that tell you “pots and pans don’t belong on the top shelf of the dishwasher” or “don’t eat and then swim immediately after” or even the harder ones like “God is judging you” or “being a lesbian is a sin”. Where did these tapes come from? And why do you still believe them? Who told them to you? Do you even respect that person enough to listen to what they say? Do you just repeat what others say without knowing the truth of the matter?
You’re not being fair to yourself by believing these random, probably untrue, passed down ideas about how you should live and how the world works. Or the “rules”. As it turns out: THERE ARE NO RULES. There are no rules. There is no ‘guide’ to life. There is no ‘plan’ but the one we choose. Stop limiting yourself by believing things you shouldn’t. Try what you want. Do what you want. Turns out - nobody is holding you accountable. You are an adult. You do you for you. Life is too short to be boring. Too short to believe dumb shit.
My friend recently told me the theory she has about time. She says that everything that could happen, did, or will happen, will, - just in a different universe. And there are an infinite number of universes, where all these other events are happening, all at the same time. So, what is happening here and now, to you, and the choices you make, is happening in this universe. But in another universe you MAY NOT have taken that job, MAY have dated that man, MAY NOT have gotten that dog, MAY have gone to that college. All of those things DID happen, just not in your universe.
So every choice you make, ask yourself: Do I want that for me in this universe, or can that happen to me in another one, because I don’t want to live through that here. Depending on your answer, the outcome of your life in this universe will be different. I find myself saying when I look at a choice I could or could not make, ‘Hmm, not in this universe.’ And I feel content, that in another world, I did do that, and maybe it was great, maybe it was bad, I will never know, but I am content with the choice that I made, because it was my choice, and nobody else’s.
“I should've listened when my mother said, all that my heart would do is wreck my head.”
Being self-aware is exhausting. Being intelligent is exhausting. Being understanding, empathetic, kind, and capable of strong, deep emotions: is exhausting. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be dumb, stupid, empty, confused, blurry. How simple and peaceful those people must all be without the crippling anxiety of the weight of the world on their shoulders. Ignorance truly is bliss. I give my heart fiercer than others, dedicate myself to my passions harder than others, know exactly who I am and who I am not, and listen and understand on a more intellectual level than others.
Being this way makes it very difficult to make friends, or find good partners, or tolerate petty/dramatic tendencies in my family, or put up with stupid people at work. The world becomes a hard place to live in. Makes you want to find new worlds, new places, new circles. And it makes you constantly tired. You begin finding more solace being alone or in smaller groups of only very good people. Because everyone else is so exhausting.
Once you understand that 90% of the world doesn't operate at your level, you learn not to let little things stupid people say affect you in the slightest.
People will show you who they are. Be blind if you want to.
People will do things that show you their true nature every single day. Listen to their words. Watch their actions. Learn from them who they are. Pay attention.
Don’t fall in love with someones potential. See people for who they are, not what you think they could become.
Strong behaviors manifest themselves in strange, small, other places. You should not say, “oh there was no signs” or “I had no idea they would do that”. Because you did. If you had payed attention. Behaviors manifested elsewhere, you were simply blinded by love or ignored the signs.
Open your eyes, and don't deny or make excuses for people. You will waste years of your life doing that.
Leave love out of it.
“Love didn't fuck you over, love didn't manipulate you, love didn't make you feel like you were hard to love, love didn't leave you traumatized. They did. Despite all this, love will heal you.”
Pain has nothing to do with love. Nor does fear. If they loved you, they would never have treated you that way. You are allowed to be a romantic, you are allowed to be in love with love, you are OK to want to be loved. Don't let anger or betrayal or a trauma of what happened when you were giving love and didn't realize you weren't receiving it - change your perspective of it. Love is beautiful, kind, gentle, welcoming, soft, happy, protective, empathetic, confident. If that's not what you're getting - then it wasn’t love. There are 8 billion people in this world, don't let one asshole’s opinions make you think differently.
"A man saw a snake being burned to death and decided to take it out of the fire. When he did, the snake bit him, causing excruciating pain. The man dropped the snake, and the reptile fell right back into the fire. So, the man grabbed a metal pole, took the snake out of the fire, and saved its life. Someone who was watching approached the man and said, "That snake bit you. Why are you still trying to save it?" The man replied, "The nature of the snake is to bite, but that's not gonna change my nature, which is to help."
The world will try to change you. It will hurt you, chew you up and spit you out. Don't let it affect you. Remember who you are, especially in the difficult times. No matter what they do to you, remain true to your nature.
You can't fix the world. Stop Trying.
I spent many years thinking that all the issues that went on in my family were my fault, or that it was my job, as the oldest child, to fix them. Or that I had to 'fix' every broken man who walked into my life. Whether it was my dad's abuse, my mother's mental issues, my sister's money problems, my exes alcoholism. I thought that being the oldest, wisest, most educated: meant that I had to somehow be the therapist of the family or a pseudo mom to a boyfriend. I wasted almost an entire decade of my life with that mentality. It wasn't until I purposely chose to love myself FIRST, and not my family or boyfriends or friends first, that I became truly happy and focused on my own personal growth.
You can't live other people's lives for them. You can't push them to be successful. You can't push them to get better. You can't push them to care about you or themselves or other family members. And it doesn't matter that they're your family. It doesn't matter that you love them. It doesn't matter that they're connected by blood. You must look at your life and solve your problems. And let them look at their life and solve their problems.