When we are teenagers people are always telling us how young we are and how we have so much to learn about life. Duh. We did stupid things (I still do) and we learned simple lessons the hard way. Our teenage years taught us how to start being independent while still getting tons of advice (that seemed like criticism) from everyone older than us whether we wanted it or not – naturally we didn’t. In your teens, even though we think we have, we haven’t figured out who we are yet (but don’t tell us that, we need to realize it on our own when we’re in our twenties).
21…Now we feel invincible, we are on our own and for the most part doing it well and we thrive on the freedom . Still unsure of exactly what we want or how we will get it but pretty damn sure of what we do NOT want. I was quickly realizing that so many of the people giving me advice were people I wanted to be NOTHING like and that I do have the power to take it or leave it. Once I started tuning them out and tuning into the ideals of people I looked up to, I started building myself into who I wanted to be. We are opinionated and take no shit from anyone who tries to tell us what we cannot do. If you channel this feeling into action, you will be amazed at yourself.
Your twenties are a time to be selfish. Do what you want. Live in the moment. Never let your feet touch the ground. Learn to say no instead of trying to make everyone else happy. Be alone and be comfortable with it. Travel and immerse yourself in every experience possible. There is no better time.
A few days ago I turned 29 and it was nothing short of amazing because when I look back on the last few years of my life I feel nothing but pure satisfaction. I selfishly packed my backpack and left America for bigger and wilder things. With brave wings I flew wherever the wind blew me and I took more risks than I ever thought I would. It was not always magical bliss, sometimes I felt defeated and lost for sure. But, that is part of the process. I selfishly stopped talking to pretty much all of the people in my life including my family. Not because I didn’t love them, because I needed to be alone. Why? I am still not exactly sure. I did miss them, but they weren’t what I needed at the time. Being alone in Asia disconnected from everything seemed to terrify the people that love me but it actually gave me an overwhelming sense of peace. An excerpt from my journal in Thailand…”December 12 2014. People may make assumptions or judge me for leaving their entire world behind but it is not their journey to understand. It’s mine and the beauty of it is I don’t feel the need to explain myself or justify anything. I feel content despite knowing they don’t understand because I am finally centered.” I knew most people did not understand why I was doing the things I was doing and when they asked me when I was coming home I had no answer for them except “when I want to” but for all I knew that could be in a month or a year. Well its been way longer than that but I’m ready. I have done everything I wanted to do. Travelled to exotic lands, experienced new cultures, new languages, learned way more than I thought I would, figured myself out, accomplished goals, worked my dream job with coral restoration, and became more self aware than ever. Self awareness is the recognition of your weaknesses and the ability to use your strength to work on them and make yourself a better person. I am stronger & wiser, but still have work to do on myself because that is never ending. We are always evolving.
When I look back on the person I was when I was 21 I smile. Some things will never change and I am still the sunshine-loving, fearless hot mess that I will always be but these days I know myself better than ever before and it puts my mind, body and soul at peace. My twenties were exactly what they should be so how can I be upset about getting older? I love everything about where and who I am in life and I honestly would not change a single thing. Every choice we make in life defines who we are, and I am pretty proud of my choices. If I could do it over, I would do it the same. Everyone deserves to be happy so my advice? Do what you want because people will judge you anyways but in the end your life is yours to live. Live it for you, unapologetically.