I’ve been wondering what my 21 year old self would say to me if she met me right now.
There was a time, what feels like a century ago, when I lived with all of my friends in one place. We were just a hallway away from each other. It only took a few steps and a knock to find a study or work partner, a glass of wine, or a late night chat about whatever it was that was on our minds. It was a silly, volatile time.
Right after graduating, I and many of my friends found each other in exciting, dynamic lives, living in large cities and living larger lives. Wedneday, Thursday, Fridays, and Saturdays all blended together. I, at least, was very much lost in time and lost in the world. I would escape further and further into meaningful and meaningless relationships, and into work that I could barely call a career.
As I reached my mid-twenties, I felt my life was at a precipice. I felt like I was on a quiet cliff, constantly waiting to see what would happen. There would still be big bursts of energy, but I could feel the world around me taking shape, ever so slightly. I probably experienced the most heartbreak during these years, but also experienced the most growth in terms of self-love and confidence.
And now, as I reach the end of what I still think of as young adulthood, I know what it means to be true to myself, set boundaries, and understand my actions and their consequences. I’ve heard when you reach your thirties, you just stop caring. Now, I don’t know if that’ll ever be possible for me, but I know I am not the people pleaser obsessed with people liking her that I was 10 years ago. And let me tell you – nothing can be more freeing. Needless to say, I’m nowhere near done learning about myself and what life can be, but it’s felt like a huge step in a nice direction.
I can imagine my 21 year old self might think I’ve quieted down a lot and I’m more boring. I drink less (most of the time) and don’t have plans every single night of the week. But I also think she’d envy me, for living a life I choose. I have friends I can always text or call on with years of foundational trust and reliability. I have a wonderful partner who cares for me so deeply, I can feel it even in the smallest of gestures. I’m so much more grateful for my family and all that we’ve done for each other. And I’m healthy and able to do all of the things I love, even if those things are a little different now.
Curious to see how the next decade of life will be. I recently watched the new Pixar movie Soul, and am left with the question, “How will I live my life?”