I’m twenty-two, so please expect no pearls of unknown wisdom.
The first thing I want you to know, is that I know very little. I don’t know how to drive a manual transmission car (big deal when your man is a mechanic). I don’t know how to turn the electricity back on when a fuse blows. I’m still kind of on the fence about handling raw chicken.
I am by no means what I would consider ‘learned in the ways of life,’ but in saying that, by the time you’ve escaped your teens and been roped into the world of fulltime work, rent and insurance payments, it’s every man for himself. Suddenly age means nothing and achievements are far more liable to be judged.
In my case, it’s always career and living arrangement. People want to know if I have a career. I gain points when I tell them I make a living and basically work from home. I lose points when I tell them it’s for my inlaws’ business because they assume I didn’t work to get where I am. The points skyrocket when I mention Corey and I bought our own house but they start falling again when I say it needs some work. Opinions vary when they learn Corey and I are not yet married. Sometimes there is judgement, sometimes admiration. Personally, it all means very little.
If I had to summarise the short but deeply thought list of things I have worked on, and am still working on but have found myself floating rather than sinking, I would have to put forth the following points.
- I don’t know anything about many things.
This is an open space. Let us be real and honest. I used to feel insecure in the face of not knowing, but now I get it. I’m good – really good – at some things. But then there are the other things. Things I’m not good at. I’m not great at forming practical opinions in general conversation. This would frustrate me two years ago, because I stood out as being perhaps a little flighty. If you’re one of these people, let me tell you, it’s okay. Go fill up your drink and learn to laugh at yourself, because you definitely don’t know everything, but you can certainly learn. I’ve become an expert at regurgitating facts that others have told me.
- It’s not as big of a deal as I think it is.
This is the most calming of understandings as you grow. It’s natural for some of us to escalate our worries to great heights, even over problems that seem justifiable. It can be easy to think the worst when your dog isn’t eating and is sent to the vet, and it can be easy to panic over your fuel light flashing (gets me every time), but in the bigger scale of things; it means very little. True story here: I spent yesterday afternoon crying my eyes out on the couch because, get this, my internet company didn’t include a particular cable in their package, and my wifi wouldn’t connect because of it. I then, very stressfully, drove to the closest department store and bought the cable and took it home. It was the wrong cable. I burst into tears, which is something I rarely do so dramatically. I’m laughing as I write this, because what’s the big deal? I picked up the right one this morning, and everything is fine. It’s wifi for goodness sake, not a lifeline. I still have phone data and other means of entertainment. But let me tell you, at that point, it was the end of the world. It’s a good reminder, irrespective of how you feel at the time, that it’s not as big of a deal as you think it is. The sun is still coming up tomorrow morning, the world will continue. So pick yourself up and keep going.
- It’s easier to take responsibility.
There was a time, way back when, where leaving responsibility to parents or older siblings was the most favorable of choices. Not so much anymore. After a few years of ignoring things that were mine to care about, I reached the point of understanding that taking of the responsibility, therefore discarded of any proceeding annoyances that were to result of not taking responsibility. Let me put this bluntly. If you suck it up and take the food out of the fridge and get rid of it now, you won’t have to spend the next three weeks smelling it go off, finishing with the horrendous task of shoving grey goop into the bin, peg on nose.
My point. Take responsibility and do it quickly, and then move on and make a cup of tea. An easy acknowledgement of growing up is the lack of time, and in all honesty, I don’t have time to sit around putting things off, and my life has run far smoother since I decided this.
- I can always become better.
When I was pushing through my teenaged years, an embarrassing moment or thoughtless comment that I had done would torment me for days. I would go over and over the words I had said or the way I had done something, analysing what people would have thought, what they must now think of me, and how I would never be sophisticated nor as good as everybody else. It’s a common teenaged dilemma I think, and one I am glad to say, I have moved past. It was a tiring time to go over and over and over, one sentence or one way I’d said a sentence, but eventually I realised that I am an independent and progressive young woman, and I can make the decision to move past these moments. I still say things I’d rather not, and I still act in ways I wish I wouldn’t, but every time I do, I gently remind myself that I am growing into a better version of myself, and these moments are growing fewer and fewer. The encouragement seems to work more effectively than the overthinking did, and it certainly leaves me with far more time to focus on bettering myself. If you’re one of those people who panic over the small things, remember firstly, point 2, but secondly, you are in charge of you. And you’re perfectly capable of shrugging it off and moving onto better places.
Every day, I grow further into a woman who supports others and betters herself in a way that is healthy and forgiving. I hope that one day I can take care of myself in a way that is so effortless that I can focus completely on others. Today, I am hyperaware of my naivety, my weaknesses, my insecurity and my selfishness. It’s something many women in their twenties will probably experience, and in this window of life, I am endlessly thankful that I have the freedom to focus on myself while I grow into someone to be proud of.
I hope that in all of your own insecurities, you too can be sure that something better is coming and a greater version of you is on its way.