I feel like every time I publish a new blog post I start off with some detailed description about how I've been "reflecting" lately, which makes sense since I vowed to only blog when I actually have something to say instead of just posting to post.
So guess what guys, I've been reflecting...again.
Recently having just celebrated a birthday (woo!) that brought me into my 30's, I took a good hard look at my 20's. Oh how I loved my 20's but thirty is pretty legit too.
As Zooey Deschanel said,
"I'm a person who gets better with practice.
Getting older is awesome because you get more practice."
I can relate - big time. Here are 6 things I would tell my younger, doe-eyed, slightly immature, naive self.
RELATIONSHIPS SHOULDN'T BE SO DIFFICULT
Relationships, great relationships, relationship worth having, take a lot of hard work but that doesn't mean they need to be difficult. Relationships are meant to nurture and enhance your life, not make it harder. Whether it's a friendship with a chronically negative person or a romantic relationship with a dude who puts you in a perpetual state of uncertainty, if you're constantly drained by someone, you need to do some major reevaluating. Relationships should help you grow and build. They should be a source of strength, support, grace, and love. You should feel safe, protected.
In my early twenties I dated a guy who was a self-proclaimed pathological liar. Lol. Why I thought it was a good idea to date him in the first place I'll never know - chalk it up to being young and dumb. I spent much of that relationship wondering what the hell was going on. His words said one thing (wonderful things) but his actions, meh not so much. He quickly turned into someone I couldn't depend on. This realization was eye-opening. If I can't depend on him wth am I doing? If you can't depend on the person you're involved with you might as well be dating a wall. The minute I ended that relationship the worry was gone, my self-doubt vanished and the fog lifted. I was happy, airy, free, back to my old self. Sometimes we need to cut ties with people for our own sanity. This is not selfish, this is self care. I repeat, this is not selfish.
Looking back, I'm not sure why I gave him more than 5 minutes but I'm thankful for the experience. It gave me a clear vision of what I will not tolerate in a relationship which I think everyone needs to learn and I'm glad I was able to figure that out at such a young age.
In both friendships and romantic relationships: if someone’s constantly lying or letting you down, that’s not code to stick it out. Move on.
THOUGHTS BECOME THINGS
It wasn't until my late-twenties that I really started to pay attention to my inner dialogue. It's true, thoughts become things. I've always been a positive person so I was surprised at the outrageous things my brain tried to convince me were true. True about myself, true about others, true about my circumstances.
It's very, very, very important to ignore the negative BS your brain tries to tell your heart. Yes, you counted right, I used 3 verys.
I can't think of a single time when worry or negative thoughts aided in the progression of my life (don't give me credit for that fancy sentence, pretty sure some famous dude said that). Having a heightened awareness of the thoughts bouncing around my head has helped tremendously. Be conscious of your inner dialogue and redirect your mind when needed. It seems like a small adjustment but you'll be in awe at how everything starts to fall into place once you've got your head on straight.
ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED
Sheepishly going to admit that it took me awhile to learn this one. It seems like a no-brainer but actually putting it into practice can be a little intimidating. When you boil it down it's as simple as admitting that you can't read minds, so why in the world would you ever except someone to read yours?
If your needs aren't being met speak up and have a conversation. There is absolutely nothing wrong with voicing what you need to be your best self. And let's not kid, when you're at your best you're more fun to be around anyway. It's a win-win for everyone.
This doesn't have to be a long, drug out, dramatic heart-to-heart conversation. Everyone has a lot going on and if you're not getting what you need, chances are it's because of a lack of awareness on their end. Don't point fingers, don't make accusations, just calmly fill them in.
I would bet a lot of money that your partner will appreciate this approach vs. you being upset/moody/distant for reasons they're not privy to. But I will say this, if you're involved with someone who makes you feel guilty/stupid/needy/insecure for speaking your mind, or constantly lets your words go in one ear and out the other, tell them to get off your property and go find someone who appreciates the fact that you know what you want.
ESTABLISH YOUR TOP FIVE
have a close relationship with God
have a great marriage
have a strong family
be physically fit
have a purposeful career
He goes into detail about how virtually every decision he makes, whether it's about whom he spends time with, career opportunities he turns down, or who he chose to marry, is/was based on how it will impact his Top 5.
Having a list like this is a good way to keep from drifting and keeps your best life top of mind. Here's the thing, it's great to have a vision of the life you want but it's not just going to happen, you have to be intentional with it. If you're not actively working towards it, concentrating on things that will produce that kind of life, you'll make decisions based on how you feel in the moment which can be damaging to the life you really want.
Let me say it like this: if you picture yourself happily married with 3 respectable kids but give very little energy to your dating life, it's probably not going to happen. Sorry, stings to hear doesn't it? A spouse and kids won’t just show up on your doorstep. Unless you marry the UPS guy...and if so then disregard everything I just said.
YOUR INTUITION KNOWS WHAT'S UP
Trust your gut. If something feels off, it usually is. No need to freak out, just dig in and assess what's going on, don't ignore it. Be assertive enough to ask questions and gentle enough to listen. You'll be happy that you did. There hasn't been one time that I wish I hadn't listened to my intuition. If anything, I wish I would have listened to it sooner.
Your brain can play tricks but your gut knows what your head hasn't figured out yet. Trust it.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Physically, emotionally, mentally, financially. It all matters. It all really matters. Establish a workout routine and stick to it. Surround yourself with people that feed your emotional and mental health. Take a personal finance class in college and start your 401k ASAP.
Invest in yourself in these areas, you'll be happy you did as it will allow you to live more and work less down the road.
Oh, and please, please, please wear sunscreen!