Approaching 26, life’s questions & the point of it all

3 Mar

So, I’m almost done being 25. And I feel like that’s sort of amazing. I’ve almost been bee-bopping around this planet for a full 26 years!

I’ve got a lot of questions for myself about this whole turning 26 thing: How did it all happen? What did I learn? How have I changed? Am I who I think I am? What’s next? Do I know myself better now that I’m creeping toward my late 20s? How did I accumulate so many books? What do I want to be when I grow up? Where did I leave my car keys?

In the interest of recording this me, this almost-26-year-old-me, I want to answer some of those questions.  I’m only going to be this me for today. Tomorrow I’ll be a little different, a day older, a little more knowledgable (hopefully) and ever so slightly changed.

I think life is all about learning. I think that’s the point, or at least one of the points. We come here to learn, to figure some things out and to discover who we are, what we stand for, and how to survive. Some lessons are harder to learn than others, and sometimes the biggest lessons and the most gut-wrenching. That’s just the way it works. You can’t appreciate the good days if you don’t live through bad. You can’t enjoy what you’ve got if you haven’t come close to losing it all a time or two.

the Top 7 Lessons of the 1st Quarter of my Life

1. Sometimes it’s okay to be an asshole. It’s that whole standing up for yourself thing. It’s easy to get stepped on, to be a doormat.  But it sucks, and it’s not enjoyable, and sometimes you’ve just got to pull out the bitch card and drop some dimes and take a stand for yourself, those around you or for the really big important things you believe in. You might feel like a jerk, but the ends justify the means if you make someone think twice about treating you like a shit sandwich.

2. Follow your heart. I know. It’s super cliché.  And I’m sorry for that, but it’s true. Your instincts know what they’re doing. They’re leading you in the right direction. Trust them. If you don’t follow your heart and wake up ten years from now and realize that – holy shit! – you’ve made a huge mistake, you’ll regret it. You don’t want regrets. You don’t want to settle and then wake up miserable years from now and realize that you’re not doing what you want do or that you’re not with the person you really wanted to be with. So do it. Leap without looking, keep your fingers crossed and your eyes squeezed shut and your heart in the right place and just hope for the best.

3. You have to selfish sometimes in order to find happiness. I can’t lie. I’m somewhat of a people-pleaser. Or at least I used to be. And I was all about making sacrifices to make the people I love happy.  My happiness took a back seat because if you’re happy, then I’m happy, right? Yeah…not so much. And so I hit a certain point in my early 20s where I realized I had made one million decisions about my life based on what other people wanted. They weren’t my decisions.  They were the decisions I felt obligated to make.  It was the hardest realization I had ever come to and it hit me like a pile of bricks. And then I figured it out: If I want to be happy – really, truly happy – I have to make decisions based on what I want for myself, not based on what everyone else wants for me.

4. Sometimes, life just sucks. And that’s just the way it is. Sometimes you have the best intentions, sometimes you try really, really hard to get some place or to achieve some goal and sometimes you just don’t make it. Sometimes things fall apart. Sometimes you feel like you’re out in the middle of the ocean, treading water, trying to keep your head above water and like everything you’ve ever wanted or strived for is gone. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, you fail. And that’s okay. Things get better. Sometimes it takes an hour, other times a year, but eventually, the sun comes back out.

5. I want popcorn. I crave snacks a lot. Like, all the damn time. And I spend a lot of time padding back and forth between the kitchen and the living room staring longingly into the fridge or the cabinets wondering what the hell I want to eat.  As it turns, I always want popcorn. It’s that simple. I’m hoping this revelation will same me time in the future and that, instead of mumbling to myself about what to eat, I’ll just pop some damn popcorn.

6. Sometimes the biggest decisions are the hardest to make and hurt the most. If change was easy we’d all be livin’ it up Vegas-style, snacking on fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, sipping on pineapple margaritas in a world free from war, hatred, injustice and violence. If change were easy, we’d have it all figured out and the world wouldn’t ever seem like a cruel, hard place.  But it’s not. Not even close. Change isn’t easy. It takes time and guts and balls of steel and sometimes it really, really hurts.

7. Keep going. Don’t stop, no matter how much you want to. Things get better. The end finally shows up on the horizon. Just take a deep breath and trudge on. You’ll get to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It just takes time. Everything takes time.

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5 Responses to “Approaching 26, life’s questions & the point of it all”

  1. Margaret March 3, 2010 at 4:28 PM #

    Ah Terra, You are gaining important Wisdom each day. Good words in this post.

    I’m a March Baby also. My years on this earth are many more than yours. You’re becoming the woman God intended, much earlier than I did.

    You’re on the right path.

  2. CuppyCakes March 4, 2010 at 2:44 AM #

    you know, you’re only technically two weeks older than me, but you’re so much more sure of yourself. You know more, you’re wiser, you’re smarter and you’ve got more balls than I will ever have.
    Is it weird that I look up to someone so much when they’re the same age as me?

  3. StaceyParadise March 4, 2010 at 11:05 AM #

    Oh, I’d give anything to go back one year to 26. Being 27 kind of sucks! But you are so, so right on. I always struggle with knowing that no matter how bad it might be right now, it will get better. And that everything takes time. Oh my God, I’m so impatient and I hate being sad…so those two are the toughest for me.

  4. Gooseberried March 7, 2010 at 7:30 PM #

    Yay! Thanks for this post. I’m turning 26 in a few months. I actually really enjoy getting older. It’s humbling, but I feel fine with it. Awesome list. Me being an asshole has led me to my true friends.

    Happy Birthday to you, at any rate! 🙂

  5. Margaret March 8, 2010 at 12:29 PM #

    It’s TRYING to be Spring. The temps. are wonderful and my tulip leaves are showing. 🙂

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