A post on another blog got me thinking today – credit where credit’s due, Lyndsay! This is a toughie though, what would you tell the 21 year old you if you were to meet her/ him? Some days I feel that so much has happened since I was 21 [which isn’t today or yesterday] and then other days I wonder what on earth I’ve been doing in the ahem, few years since I was that age.
The first thing I would tell her is – and I’m so annoyed that I’m using a classic ‘Mammy’ line – time doesn’t stand still and that it won’t be that long before before you consider yourself old[er] and wonder where all that time went. Aaaarrgghh how depressing! But, FFS, it’s true! So don’t sit on your arse procrastinating about what you’ll do when you grow up!
For me, my twenties were all about adjusting. Adjusting to life after college, adjusting to having a job and earning my own money, adjusting to the big, bad world – to use a terrible cliche. Some things you have to move on from. Some things you have to take a run and jump at, maybe with your eyes closed because it’s not something you actually want to do but you realise you can’t avoid. And also about adjusting to people outside of the cosy family scenario, working with people you don’t like, sharing a house with people that are initially strangers and getting used to the fact that they do things differently to how you do them.
Another thing I would say is to question when and why you feel comfortable with any given situations. Comfortable can be good, if it’s different to a situation you didn’t like but comfortable can be bad when you’re just plodding along, letting things pass you by. Comfortable was my downfall in my 20’s. I stayed with a guy too long and ‘wasted’ years and I stayed in a particular job too long as well. I’m not going to say I regret either as I learned a lot about both situations in hindsight and sure that’s the main thing, moving on and learning from mistakes!
Definitely I found that I’ve become happier within myself now that I’m a couple of years into my thirties. I’ve been through shitty times and really shitty times but have come out the other end. Sometimes you really have to put everyone else aside and concentrate on looking after number one.
Which stems from my next point of picking and choosing your friends. In college you’re in a big gang, that gets smaller after college and gets smaller again as people move away with jobs etc but there comes a time when you have to realise that you’re not still in the school playground. There will always be a loudmouth bully who dictates what you do as a group and where you go as a group – sidle up to the person you really like hanging out with, the one who makes you smile and who you form a really good friendship with and let the others do whatever they like. When you have a bit of money it’s always great to be part of the cool gang but they won’t be on the end of the phone when you’ve a broken heart and won’t care if you’re struggling to pay your rent.
Accept that people are different. There’ll always be someone that lands a fantastic job, always someone that seems to jump from one perfect relationship to another. There’ll always be someone with more money than you and there’ll always be someone that has less money than you. There’ll always be people you don’t like and there’ll always be people you envy. Accepting your lot in life isn’t easy but when you do, the smiling makes up for anything you think you may have missed out on.
My final point would be to say that if you’re sad or lonely or just not happy, the only person that can really do anything about it is you. Therapy can be great, getting someone else to help you see things another way, having friends to listen to you and suggest how you could change things. But when it comes down to it, you have to get yourself out of the hole, decide to pick yourself up, get on with things and do them for you alone. Having friends and lovers to share your days with is fantastic and if they really love you the dark nights will become shorter and shorter. So don’t have regrets, they’ll eat away at you, just live your own life and make the most of it.