On Saturday, I turned 28 years old. It’s weird to feel closer to 30 than 20. I’ve never felt like a young person in spirit – I’ve always gravitated towards the adults rather than the kids at social outings, always had friends who were older rather than younger than me. Is it the old soul mentality? I don’t know, but I feel better and better as I grow older. There’s no fretting about time passing by and my youth in my rear view mirror. It’s just… what it is. Time does pass and youth does fade, but what’s ahead of us is something precious.
(And honestly, 28 is not old in the grand scheme of things! I realize this.)
I wondered a lot about how I wanted to write about turning a brand-new age, and I figured writing about lessons learned might be the most helpful – both to me and to others. So, here’s what 27 taught me. I can’t wait to see what lessons 28 holds for me.
1) I don’t ever have to do anything I don’t want to do. Every choice I make is my choice and I will not feel bad about it. It’s also important to note that if I am repeating this phrase while dating someone, it’s probably not a healthy relationship and it’s time to reevaluate things.
2) Leftover pizza tastes a thousand times better heated up in a toaster oven than in a microwave. It took me 27 years to learn this. I cry over how many leftover pizza slices I wasted.
3) There is nothing more painful in the world than to watch a loved one take their last breaths. The finality of it is heart-wrenching. But being there as my grandma passed while surrounded by people who loved her just as much as I did? There’s peace in that. There’s hope.
4) Planning a small, intimate wedding is rather fun! But I’m still planning on eloping if I ever decide to get married.
5) Always speak up when I want something. Even if I feel it should have been given to me already, even if I want to pout about why I wasn’t considered first for this thing, even if the fact that I wasn’t chosen pulls me down into a self-doubt spiral, I should always ask for the thing. Because I won’t get what I don’t ask for.
6) A relationship that develops slowly is so much better than one that develops at lightning speed. Slow and steady wins the race here. There’s no need to rush into anything; let the pace be gradual.
7) If you love alone time but don’t fancy living alone just yet, move in with an extrovert who has a crazy social life. In the 11 weeks I have been living with Roomie, I think she has only been home for three weekends. It means I don’t have to live alone, but I also get plenty of space.
8) Learning what your anxiety triggers are is a big step forward in the right direction. This year, I learned that big change is a major anxiety trigger for me and recognizing that helped me to notice all the times when anxiety has reared its head when big change is headed my way. A new relationship, a change to my family structure, moving, loss, etc. All of it trips my anxiety wires. Understanding this helps me to move forward with compassion and self-care, not anger or frustration.
9) There is something so gloriously fulfilling about being happy as a single person. Being content with your own company is an amazing thing. It doesn’t mean I’m not open to something new developing; it just means that romance isn’t the end-all, be-all for my life.
10) I can do hard things. Giving up soda for Lent helped me to recognize that I can do hard things. It’s a silly example, yes, but when I accomplish things like this, it helps me to realize how very capable I am.
11) Stuff doesn’t make me happy. In fact, it stresses me out. I continuously want to own less and less stuff, but it can be very hard, living in such a consumerist culture. I’d love to make 2016 the year I don’t buy anything and find contentment in what I already own.
12) I don’t want to waste any more of my years fretting about my weight. I’ve spent way too long complaining about my weight, growing sad when I look at my body in the mirror. I want to end this cycle of negativity. I don’t want to set goals to lose X amount of weight in Y amount of time. I don’t want to feel bad if I eat junky food or miss a workout. I want to treat my body with respect – and that also includes the way I talk about my body. Could I stand to lose, erm, 40 to 50 lbs? Heck yes. But has beating myself up helped me lose those pounds? Heck no. What would happen if I showed respect and honor to my body by appreciating it as it is right now, not how I wish it could be?
Any lessons you learned this year that you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments!