25 Lessons in 25 Years

So, I recently turned 25 and, whilst having another casual quarter-life crisis, I’ve been reflecting back on decisions I’ve made and experiences I’ve had.

Here are 25 lessons (of varying importance & in no particular order) that I’ve learned in my 25 years:

  1. Most things don’t go as you originally planned, but Plans B, C, D or even E usually aren’t so bad. They might even be better.
  2. High school sucks and it feels like it will last forever, but it doesn’t. In fact, you’ll be able to laugh with friends later about how much it sucked.
  3. Mental health issues are always hard to deal with, but they’re made much easier when you let people help you.
  4. Punctuality might not be something that everyone can master.
  5. The job you think is “the actual worst” is most likely not. Things can almost always be more terrible.
  6. Having awful jobs will help you appreciate the better ones.
  7. Who you work with is just as important as what you’re doing.
  8. Finding and keeping at least one hobby that centers you and chills you out is super-duper important.
  9. You can, at any point, return to a hobby you had given up.
  10. Old friends are hard to beat, but you’re not required to keep all of them around just because you’ve known them for years. You’ll realize which friends you’ll always have room for.
  11. Recognizing that someone isn’t good for you, and acting accordingly, doesn’t make you a bad person.
  12. Not everyone is going to like you. This is sometimes hard to accept, but you’ll become more okay with it the older you get.
  13. You don’t always have to be agreeable and “nice.” Some things are worth getting angry and passionate and frustrated over.
  14. Trust your gut, it’s usually right.
  15. Being organized is important, and it does not come naturally to some of us. But it’s always worth improving on.
  16. Literally everyone is dealing with difficult stuff. Some people are just better at hiding it.
  17. College can be great, but thinking they’re the absolute “best years of your life” can make you feel stressed about appreciating it. The years after are different but can be just as great.
  18. Keeping up with college friends is so important, and sometimes all it takes is the occasional text or call.
  19. Starting in college, coffee will probably become one of your best friends.
  20. Even when experiences with dating turn out to be terrible, they’ll help you figure out your deal-breakers.
  21. Being single is usually really nice, despite what society tells you. You don’t need anyone to validate you.
  22. Most people don’t know what they’re doing, it’s not just you.
  23. It’s important to take risks because you will definitely regret things you didn’t do more than things you did.
  24. Sometimes all you need is a good book.
  25. Being able to laugh at yourself will make everything easier.

xx bits of prose and whimsy

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Needing to Create

As a small child, I would cut and staple computer paper together and make tiny, lopsided books of my drawings. I drew people, bunnies, houses, and clouds. I painted wooden birdhouses and made things out of pipe-cleaners and popsicle sticks.

Creating something out of nothing was what I loved to do, and it kept me busy. I would tell people I wanted to be an artist when I grew up.

From my younger years through high school, I was always in art classes, whether in or outside of school. I honed my drawing skills and began painting. My favorite thing to draw were faces, and I loved making them as realistic as possible. I used shading and highlights to make them look just right.

Towards the end of high school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my artistic abilities. I began college as a double major in studio art and political science. My painting class during my first semester was particularly inspiring. It taught me so much that I still refer to now.

After a year at that university, I transferred to another in my hometown. And while I loved my new school, I strayed from the arts (for the most part) and concentrated primarily on the social sciences.

And now here I am.

I am more than two years out of undergrad, taking a graduate-level English course, and still not knowing where exactly I, and my creativity, fit into things.

I’ve realized that naturally creative people will always have the need to create, and denying this side of myself will only make me unhappy.

I’m trying to decide what kind of creative life I want to live.

xx bits of prose and whimsy

Self-doubt

Self-doubt is a close friend of mine.

We’ve stayed up together on countless nights, into the early morning, mulling over things I’ve done and haven’t done. Things I said I’d do but never did. The list just keeps getting longer.

Self-doubt has convinced me not to go to new places. Not to dedicate time to hopeless pursuits, things I might have been good at by now. It’s taught me that with its guidance I will stay safe. I will stay comfortable.

But if this is what it feels like to be safe, to be comfortable, I will find a way to keep self-doubt at bay. I will become comfortable with the unknown.

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” – Sylvia Plath

So it goes…

For several months now, I’ve been overwhelmed. Exasperated. Saddened. By what, exactly? By the state of the world. Tragedies fade with time, and most people will retrieve some semblance of normalcy. The cogs of the world must keep spinning. And yet these feelings linger. When I was most overwhelmed by disbelief and sorrow, just days after the Orlando incident, I did all that I could to contain my thoughts. So I wrote something.

***

I don’t know them. All I know are their names and faces and a sentence or two about who they are. Were. Like that could ever be enough to sum up a human being. I feel myself becoming numb to it all. It’s been a few days now since it happened and my thoughts will finally move on to other things with some gentle nudging. Sometimes rough. But they cycle back to this, oh how they cycle.

When I feel, I feel deeply. I feel with my whole body. I feel with my past, with my present, with vague notions of my future. Whatever that will look like. But who knows that? No one does. I’m sure those people had seen other tragedies in the news and thought to themselves, “that won’t ever happen to me,” as they held themselves tight.

We cling desperately to this notion, that nothing that bad, that tragic, that inconceivable, could ever happen to us. But those people were wrong. To be at the wrong place at the wrong time, to feel your existence unraveling as a stranger pulls the thread. I just can’t imagine. Maybe I don’t want to.

People still find comfort in small things somehow. Like lovers dying together, now buried beside one another. Maybe this means something and maybe it doesn’t. We wrap as many things around ourselves so that maybe, just maybe, nothing like this will ever touch us.

***

xx bits of prose & whimsy

Back from an unintentional hiatus…

Hey. So, I haven’t posted on here in quite a while. And that wasn’t a conscious thing at all. I’m just really good at vaguely intending to do things and then never doing them. And I’m really good at convincing myself that I will.

I’ve honestly been sort of wallowing in my lack of direction in life. I’ve been in a funk pretty much since I graduated from college in December. The transition is really strange and I’ve always been pretty terrible at dealing with transitions. I’m not one of those go-getter types, so I usually feel lost in the shuffle. But, I think (and hope) I’m slowly getting out of my funk. So that’ll be good news for my reading and writing and art, which have all been lacking as of late.

Here’s to being more active (on- and offline) and consistently posting! (I hope I didn’t just jinx myself… Nah.) I’ll be back with another post soon!