With just a few days left of being the beautiful age of 28, I want to impart some of my wisest of wisdoms before I move on to the last year of my sparkling, roaring twenties.
Keep only those that truly celebrate you around.
If you ever feel like you have to bring yourself down to lift another person up, it’s fair to phase them out. You should be surrounded by those who celebrate and can be happy for you, even when they’re at their worst.
On a similar vein, I really don’t have time or energy for those I don’t feel joy around.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I personally don’t have the time or energy for people that don’t give me real joy. I think my early twenties were all about exploring and learning about what makes me feel good. But I’m at a point where I know when someone makes me feel good and when someone doesn’t, and I’m at a point where my time and energy are becoming more and more precious. In other words, I’ll give my precious time and energy to the people I really want to give it to, not to the people I feel like I have to go it to.
People grow in different directions, and thank god for that.
Growing is good. But it’s hard to take everyone with you, so you should feel empowered to choose who you keep in your corner.
If you say something isn’t a big deal, it won’t be a big deal.
If you make something a big deal, it’s going to become a big deal.
Sometimes you’ll regress and revisit old (bad) habits.
But that’s part of growing. Life would be pretty easy if we decided to change something and were perfect with it the whole way through. Of course we’ll make mistakes and fail here and there, but ~*per above note*~, it’s not a big deal unless you make it one. I get it though – I get so frustrated with myself when I do stupid things I used to do when I was younger that I had worked so hard to get rid of (drunk texts, blacking out, getting jealous, etc.), but I really try to cut myself a break. If my friend did the same thing, I would tell them it’s okay and that it’s not a big deal, so I should do the same for myself. Self-compassion!
Protect your time and if people can’t respect that, they don’t deserve your time.
If there’s one thing I’ve gotten out of this pandemic, it’s learning the value of protecting my time. I used to run around from lunch to happy hour to dinner on weekdays and weekends, unable to say no to anybody. During this pandemic, I’ve learned that keeping my weekdays to myself make me happy, and if I make plans, I’ll make them for the weekend (of course, with a few exceptions). Protecting my time has put me in such a peaceful, healthy mental space.
I’ve realized, for myself, that nothing beats family.
I’ve come to really and truly appreciate my family, and feel my best when I prioritize them, particularly as my parents and other family members have aged (It feels like it happened very suddenly.) I’m also starting my own family now, so this has become ever more important. If the people around me can’t respect and understand that, I’ve decided that they’re not worth my time.
It seems a theme here is boundaries and respect.
I find the healthiest relationships I’m in tend to give me the time and space I need to take care of myself and the people in my corner. There are those who resent me for protecting my time and space, and I’ve found I resent them in turn.
Setting expectations and being connected on that level has proven to be incredibly important.
For example, my close friends know that when I’m with my family, whom I don’t get to see very often, I can be less available. And when some of my friends are traveling or going off the grid, I can respect that for them too. Different people need different things, and if you can’t give someone what they need, it’s not necessarily worth forcing the relationship.
Anger and aggression do not equal strength.
I went through a phase – relatively recently – where I equated anger, aggression and fighting back with power and strength. Honestly, I’d just feel terrible afterwards, and I’ve found the most regal, impressive people tend to be the ones that don’t hit back.
Oh my god – scheduling around my period.
I used to just push through mood swings, cramps, and fatigue, but now, I use my handy dandy period tracking app. Instead of pushing myself, I’m honest about what I need and just rest during that week. Doing this has done amazing things for me mentally and physically.
Working out is no longer just for weight loss.
It’s now also overall health, emotional regulation and physical stamina.
Work hard, play hard.
When you’re having fun, have fun. Work hard when you’re working and when you’re enjoying yourself, fully enjoy yourself, because it changes nothing if you don’t. For example, feeling guilty about spending a day hungover won’t change anything. If you had fun the night before and didn’t hurt anybody, that’s all that matters. Just drink a lot of water (with honey) today.
There are Givers and Takers.
That song “I can’t make you love me” by Martina McBride.
I first heard Carrie Underwood sing it for American Idol audition, and I came to really love the song. But now, I can really feel those lyrics. I’ve felt the pain of not being loved back, but I’ve also been on the other end of it. Whether it be friends or more than that, you just can’t force anything. The best things tend to be reciprocated in one way or another.
People flow in and out of your life.
As with all other things in life, things tend to not last forever.
Knock it off with the need for closure.
You may want it more than anything, but usually, if you need closure with a person, they’ve already shown you exactly how they feel.
All that matters is living your own best life.
I think this translates better in Korean, but my motto is 나/우리만 잘 살면 돼 (“All that matters is living your own best life.”) It’s so easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing and in comparing myself to others, but that’s never led to even a smidgen of true happiness. I feel my best when I’m doing my own thing – cooking, gardening, chilling, talking with family or friends – and not worrying about what others think of me.
I probably have a billion more things I’ve learned and want to share, but that’ll do for now. With that, I bid you adieu and farewell, 28.