Photo by Amy Shamblen / Unsplash
I really came alive in 2018, though my life on paper technically got "worse".
My attitude, mental health and general well-being have drastically improved. I understand myself better and no longer feel shame when it comes to my childhood– a word I wish I never used in the first place.
In my experience, childhood trauma is hard to explain to people who haven't been through it. It really rewires your brain. Things an outsider would consider abusive or upsetting, you process as "normal" or expected. Lots of letting go. Lots of unlearning.
It takes years to undo and build back up. And for this reason, I feel like my life is just starting. Everything is clear now. I see so differently.
I'm one step away from making a major career change and I'm more than ready to get moving. Career changes are intense. I knew it would be very challenging going in, but this far exceeded my initial estimate and has been an insanely humbling experience. I now [kind of] understand why people stay in jobs they despise for 50 years.
My Saturn Return also hit last week and I couldn't be more excited. For the one person who knows what a Saturn Return is, I love you.
Here's what I learned last year– cheers to growth, happiness and finding yourself.
01. SOME THINGS CHANGE, A LOT WON'T
This is the main reason why I've finally found peace. You can't change someone or something, but you can control your reaction, energy and participation– a little thing psychologists like to call "internal locus of control".
My "parents" suck [understatement]. They will always suck. After 3 decades of the same exact cyclical shit, I'd be a moron to believe anything will be any different for the next three. Instead of being sad or angry about it, I decided I was done letting two assholes I don't even speak to ruin my life.
Once I decided that, the small things didn't bother me either. Admittedly, this turned me into a bit of a bitch.
A lot of people complain about things that don't matter, including myself at one point. I get frustrated hearing the same stories with no solution. I fiercely protect all that I've built, so if that means cutting toxic people out, finding a new job, or moving, I will.
02. DON'T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONAL AND ALWAYS ASSUME GOOD INTENT
Ruminating is the f'ing worst.
If you have anxiety, you know exactly what I'm talking about and if you're lucky enough to not have anxiety, I'm sure you still know what I'm talking about.
This is a simple a vow, barring your brain from thinking about the 39,202,849,320,489,302 alternate meanings of a situation that probably means nothing. Or, giving yourself permission to fix it and move on.
I think we give humans to much credit– we're much more simple than we let on.
Do I care that people use exclamations in emails sometimes and not in others? No. Am I going to go home and spend my personal time thinking about whether that person is upset with me? Also, no.
I think this is a skill men have mastered beautifully and they're really onto something.
03. YOU'RE HOTTER, SMARTER, COOLER THAN YOU THINK
I still struggle with body issues and self-esteem. I hate my face, my body– basically everything about how I look. Luckily, I feel fine about my personality.
Obviously, self-esteem is not derived from the attention of others and for the sake of this argument, men in particular. You should feel great for your OWN well-being..but what I'm trying to say is..maybe we, very much I, am overly critical.
Case in point:
My boyfriend and I always grab delicious sandwiches from this liquor store down the street (best food spots are always gross). I went to pick up the sandwiches one day and before I left, my bf told me to take a look at the lady behind the counter. Apparently, her hair was remarkably shiny– in fact, he's never seen ANYONE with such perfect hair. When I arrived, I nearly fell to the floor CRYING LAUGHING.
It was a WIG. A FUCKING WIG. The most obvious wig I've ever seen. Right then and there I realized men [like my boyfriend] have no idea.
Instagram has led us to believe you have to be perfect to feel good about yourself, date or even succeed. I always knew this was a falsehood, but I didn't really take that to heart until this year if that makes sense.
04. ANYONE WHO LETS YOU BE YOURSELF, HOLD THEM CLOSE
I've always felt really ~ blessed ~ because my boyfriend lets me be me. And, that in itself is a lot– I'm a lot. This thing that is my personality is something I'm still trying to understand and I've always kind of felt like an outsider, until I met my boyfriend. He's like yassss be yourself, do whatever you wantttt.
Hottest thing anyone's ever said to me.
I've never experienced this type of acceptance before and it's absolutely amazing. And, I was reminded just how amazing this was when I went to an Ali Wong show the other night.
While she talked about wanting to cheat on her husband now that she's a self-made millionaire for an hour, she knows she would not only lose financially, but finding someone who lets her be her true self is something far more important than new dick... I felt that.
05. YOU DON'T NEED AS MUCH MONEY AS YOU THINK YOU DO
We all know life on social media is the Disney Land version and many people don't like to share the "bad". I find solace in sharing the bad because I hope it helps people. If it's not helping anyone, fuck, this is embarrassing now isn't it?
Career changes aren't for the weak. If you have to return to school, this is a serious, SERIOUS life change. Having to go back to a part-time, minimum wage ish job after being salaried is very scary. VERY F'ING SCARY.
Going into this, I knew I would basically set myself back to 21, so I had no choice other than feeling fine about it because the alternative was being an anxious mess. So, after I got over the 3am sweats of not putting money toward my 401k or really saving at all if we're being honest, I realized I don't need as much as I thought I did.
I experienced what I thought would be the end of the world, my worst fear. It's now laughable how I dramatic this was. In the process of closely monitoring my spending, I realized I was spending money on stupid things I didn't even need. SURPRISE, SURPRISE.
Learning there is always a way to "survive" was very freeing. Maybe, it's not the way you envisioned or it's not as glamorous, but it still pays the bills. Things can always be worse.
What a year. Excited for 2019 and I wish you all the happiness and success in the world. Love you.