Five years ago, my life was vastly different than the one I live now. But somehow, not so different at all. Being a not-so-young adult in this modern era is confusing, hard to grasp and all around difficult -- perhaps not that different from previous generations but we sure are more vocal about it. Pair that with the burden of both physical and mental health issues and a handful of major life events -- shit got real, really fast, and I could not keep up.
Do you ever get that feeling like you’re drowning? In debt, in personal problems, in yourself? Yeah, me too. But if I knew then what I know now, I would have been able to tread that water in a way that wasn’t so completely and utterly exhausting.
1. Everything Changes, Nothing Stays Stagnant
Life is this fluid, always moving, always changing thing. It never stays still, at least not for too long. Move with it! Staying still in an always moving world will mean that you will stop learning, stop growing, and stop experiencing. Don’t let this happen. When you feel yourself getting stuck in the sand, find someone to help pull you out. Or, find a way to pull yourself out. Then move and change with the rest of the world -- you’ll like the woman you turn into if you do.
2. Disaster Will Strike; You Are Capable of Dealing With It
One day, a tree is going to fall on your car, and you are going to absolutely lose your shit. When this happens, it will have been less than 24 hours since it was picked up from the body shop where it was getting repaired. You are going to completely freak the fuck out. And that’s okay because this situation sucks. But the next time disaster strikes, you’ll know that it won’t be the end of the world and you’ll know that you are capable of dealing with it. Because, as it turns out, these situations are not the end of the world. They are annoying, exhausting and we’d all much rather not have to deal with them. We will continue to get tested in so many ways over and over again. This was just one of those times. It’s okay to freak out, but when you’re done, you’re going to have to pick up the pieces... sometimes literally.
3. Don’t Let Others Define You
You already know who you are. You know what’s in your heart. You know that you’re a little bit weird and eccentric -- embrace it! Don’t let anyone else tell you who you should be. And don’t let yourself fall into the trap of changing yourself because you think you’re supposed to or because it’s what is expected of you. “Being an adult” doesn’t have to mean losing yourself or the parts of you that make you special. “Being an adult” means you get to fully embrace those parts because you know who you are. The people who love you will love you for it. Those who don’t... well they’re not even worth mentioning.
4. We Are All Fragile Mortals -- You Will Learn This The Hard Way
In a year from now, you are going to go through the absolute worst thing you will have ever gone through. I’m sorry.
This is going to teach you so much about yourself, and so much about life in general. It’s because of this thing that you will stop caring how others see you. Unleashing yourself from this judgement is going to set you free. You are also going to realize just how compassionate and empathetic you are -- use this in every part of your life. It’s this that allows you to view people and the world a little differently, and it’s this that will bring you so much clarity and give you the ability to connect with people of all walks of life.
Perhaps the most valuable lesson you will learn is this:
You can’t save anyone. You can only save yourself.
5. Stop Hiding
You have spent far too long suffering alone. Talk about it. Tell people about your bad days. Talk about the things that trigger your bad days and learn how to cope. Learn. How. To. Cope. You are not a shell. You are not broken. You are perfectly you and the people who love you will love all of you, even if they don’t always understand.
Be brave and let people in. Lean on their support and let them guide you to a place where you can help yourself. They can’t do it for you, but knowing they want to will remind you of all the many, gazillions of tremendous reasons you have to live.
You are not your disease. You are not your demons. You don’t have to hide them.
6. Write, Write, Write
This is the thing that heals you. And guess what? You’re kind of good at it. Write. In journals, in blog posts, write novels or poems. Share them or don’t. Just write. This will lead you to more opportunities because it’s your “Thing.” It will even lead you to a bit of fulfillment. Eventually, we’ll find the thing we love the most and we won’t feel so lost. Writing is the key.