Twenty Seven

Ten things I know for sure.

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Three years ago, I remember waking up on the morning of my twenty-fourth Birthday wondering how life had gotten me to that place. I was brokenhearted and broke – in general; I remember looking at myself through the mirror in my studio apartment and wondering how that person had come to be. Knowing who I had been and who I wanted to be, reality seemed so cruel then.

I know now I’m not alone in those feelings.

Life for twenty somethings can be very difficult. Especially twenty-somethings without a strong sense of direction or tactful guidance. So many of us are thrust into the “real world” with a large amount of student loan debt, jobs that barely pay enough to make rent, and relationships that [somehow] manage to change at rapid speeds. It can only be expected that a feeling of profound loss and abandonment in how to handle it all would ensue. No one likes a twenty four year-old, including you.

Yet, we pull through it. Most of us manage to make it out of those scary times and into some sort of safe space. Out of the woods and into the light. Most of us are lucky enough to say that by the near-end of our twenties, we’re no longer feeling {totally} lost. But, incase you’re not there yet or need a friendly reminder, here are a few things you should bear in mind. A few things that I know for sure:

1. You’re not going to be lonely forever. Your twenties can be a very lonely and uncomfortable age – especially if you’re an entrepreneur trying to build something, alone. College is [most likely] over and your social life is probably doing some weird kind of magic trick in response to all of the changes. (It might even disappear altogether.) You might find yourself a little farther away from the people who know you better than you knew yourself, and still not emotionally close with the people that are beginning to make up your network.

Breathe. Breathe and allow your relationships the opportunity they deserve to evolve. Give yourself the chance to adjust to no longer living in your old ways. Yes, you will adjust – I promise you. Loneliness doesn’t last forever. Even when it feels like it has or will.

2. A Dream Job doesn’t happen overnight. It’s okay to take a shitty {low-paying / unfulfilling} office job to pay your bills. It’s noble and honorable, and more people should remind each other of that. It’s okay – if not amazing – to spend your spare time volunteering to get the experience you need to learn and grow in the industry you love. (And, you won’t even mind it – I promise you.) Chances are there are a million different routes you can take to get to where you want to be. Don’t beat yourself up in the process; keep swimming in the general direction. Steadily and slowly, you’ll find your way.

3. Everyone feels lost. Seriously. Every single person you have ever met, interacted with or can think about in the course of a day has felt lost in their lives at one point or another. That feeling of having no clue what you’re going to do, or be, or feel – that’s all a part of life. Welcome it. Relish in it, as hard as that may be. When the feeling of uncertainty finds you, look around and listen intently for the Universe to deliver your next move. It always will. In other words, if you don’t know what to do: Do nothing.

4. You’re allowed to set and keep new and beautiful boundaries. Being a young adult means you’re afforded the inherent right to surround yourself with whomever you want, whenever you want. Or not. It also means you’re going to have to say “Yes!” to a lot of new things: Long work hours, requests from partners and lovers, and other exhausting commitments. It also means there’s a lot to say “No!” to as well. But, here’s the “great power that comes with great responsibility.” Those boundaries you set on your personal and professional life will have an almost immediate impact on their counterpart. Play with them at your own risk, but always bear in mind (1) “No” is a very important and powerful word. It can cost you a lot. And (2), the objective is to live a happy, healthy, and stable life. You don’t have to earn the right to take care of yourself. You deserve it, as a part of being alive.

5. You are definitely hotter than you think you are. Something I constantly hear from my older friends is that they cannot believe they ever considered themselves to be ugly in their twenties. The reality is, we’re all our own harshest critics; at this point in our lives, it’s more likely than not that you’re most unattractive quality is the lack of confidence you have in yourself. Start believing in yourself a little more, smile a little more often – even when you’re out and about, and you’ll find little-to-no need to kick yourself later.

6. Cut yourself a break. Easier said than done, I know better than anyone. But, it’s too easy to get caught up in the working and progressing and all of those relationships you’re forming. It’s so hard to step away from the process of “finding yourself” that we ever really do it. So, breathe. Relax. And, for the love of Yeezus, take a break from sprinting toward the finish line of your future. You deserve to live and enjoy the process of it; remembering your future will find you soon enough.

7. There will be people you have to leave behind in order to progress; that doesn’t make you a bad person. Everyone grows up and we all grow into ourselves at a different pace, in different ways. And the older we get the more we tend to notice that some people almost deliberately choose to remain stuck in their pasts or hold on to their earlier versions of self. Holding themselves back. And it’s not your job or even your most remote responsibility to save them from themselves; all you can really do is support them and encourage them to flourish in their own right. But at the end of the day you can’t hold yourself back to their advantage. Remember that they have just as much responsibility over their lives as you have over yours. You’re not a terrible person to keep moving forward.

8. Comparisons are senseless – unless you’re using them as a motivator. I put an end to this when I realized I would never be who I was trying to be, because I do a lot better of a job just being myself. However, there are moments in time when I look to other people (mentors, icons, public figures) to see what they’ve done and how they’ve made a life for themselves. The trick is to not get lost in that; to not imitate their efforts but rather carve your own way. On a meta level: You’re not your friend. You’re not your parents. Or your co-worker that got a raise before you did. You’re you. Beautiful and talented, honest and hard-working; you need to use the skills that are unique to you rather than chase after the things that come naturally to others. That’s how you’ll truly find your niche.

9. Everyone is little bit terrified. Truly. No one really knows what is coming next. No one really has a plan that can outwit the wonders of the universe. (And, as we know – the universe has a hell of a sense of humor.) No one is 100% sure of anything; let alone what they want out of life, or how to go about getting it. And nobody has it all figured out. Even the most confident person you can think of probably has a little voice within wondering whether the big idea will ever work or not. It’s just a fact of life: Uncertainty is a key ingredient in the magical potion.

10. Everyone fucks up. No, seriously. Like, everyone. We have all made at least one big {read: huge} mistake in our lives. One that we all wish we could take back. It’s just that most people tend to not discuss their fuckups; that creates a culture where everyone is disillusioned into believing they’re the only one who has ever encountered an idiotic mistake. Trust me when I say you’re not alone. I’ve done some royally jacked-up stuff, and yet somehow I’ve managed to survive it. That means: You will too.

My point to all of you is that life is a series of somewhat unexpected, somewhat inexplicable, and certainly unavoidable events. There are going to be times when you find yourself looking into the mirror and wondering how on Earth you’ve gotten to that state of being. Then, there will be other times when you find yourself looking at the same reflection and at a loss for words – in the most beautiful and most humbling of ways. This year has been a beautiful one; filled with so much to be thankful for. That gratitude is radiating from me today, no doubt. Remember who you are. Remember where you’ve been. And never lose sight of where you’re going.

Cheers, to twenty seven years on this beautiful planet.

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