I am turning twenty-one this year. That would be incredibly exciting if I were looking forward to taking my first legal sip of alcohol, but all the years of watching Forensic Files and Law & Order:SVU have left me with the incessant fear that my liver will instantly begin to cirrhode once I take a sip. I’m overcoming that fear, however, and looking forward to drinking some red wine, or some Patron Tequila, in mid-July 2014. The bolded portion is the crux of this post, as recently, I’ve been overcoming some fears, and I’m feeling pretty damn good about it. They say that your teen years, high school especially, is the greatest time of one’s life. If that’s the case, I need a do-over, and I’m getting that in my twenties.
1) Let Go. My greatest fear wasn’t rats, lightning, or even death. It was judgement. Not necessarily a life-sentence from a judge (although that would terrify me), but an disapproving glance or statement from someone else. I could get an A- on my Latin exam, but if someone said that he/she didn’t like me or saw me as ugly, the effect of the A- would end. I’d no longer be happy for the educational feat that I accomplished (I love Latin now, but I hated it then), but I’d be brooding over, and crying over, someone’s disapproval me. All throughout high school (from age 14 to age 17), as well as my freshman and sophomore years in college, this plagued me. Now, I’ve come to, and embraced, the realization that, one, someone’s disapproval is not going to kill me ( seriously, my brain won’t cease functioning); two, I’m not the center of the universe, and people probably aren’t thinking about me as much as I think; three, a judgement is usually a momentary, temporary perspective; someone might not like what I’m currently doing and judge me for that, but if the criticism is warranted (what I’m doing is really bad), then I can change for the better; four, that I must focus on myself, because I’m the one who’s living in this body, I’m the one who will die with this body, and caskets don’t have room for bunk-beds.
2) Patience Is a Virtue. If there’s a statement that has been repeated to the point of banality, here is one. I fretted all throughout my teenage years about getting a boyfriend. I’ve had a few, and I honestly appreciate the trials and tribulations that got me there. I seriously believe that all good things come in due time, Those years that i was waiting for a guy to come into my life and validate my existence, were pivotal points for me. As mentioned in my previous point, caskets don’t have room for bunk-beds. By this, I mean that we should always take care of ourselves first, because fundamentally, ourselves are all we have. instead of having a guy show me that i mean something, and that I am worthy of happiness and all that stuff, i needed to prove it for myself. like they say, you can take a horse to the river, but you can’t make him drink. if you don’t believe in your self-worth, others can state it until they’re blue in the face, but you won’t believe it. you have to believe in yourself. i have my flaws. i’m often impulsive, sensitive, and impatient. i’m working on them. Heck, Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it practically was destroyed in a day, huh, Nero (Latin humor)? i’m still impulsive, but not as much as i used to be. i’m working on it. I am my most prized investment. i find that, when i’m ready for my next relationship, it will be because I value myself enough to choose to be with someone, not that i have to be with someone for the sake of my self-worth.i am virtuous because i value that.
3) Be Humble. Well, Kind Of. i have some pretty amazing qualities about myself. i’m incredibly considerate, smart, and pretty damn hilarious. disagree if you want with the latter, but it’s true. i am not a megalomaniac, and i don’t talk about myself incessantly. that’s humility. if you’re really as good as you say you are, you don’t have to go mouthing off about it. if it’s obvious, it doesn’t need to be mentioned. however, some people are humbling themselves in that they’re elevating, baselessly, the status of someone else. if you’re a make-up artist, for example, and you’re shouting-out beyonce or rihanna and providing your services free,just because you’re elevating the person so highly, then you’re doing yourself no favors. you’re inflating someone else’s ego. why humble yourself before another human-being when he/she is promised the same thing at birth as you are, and that, my friends, is mortality. it’s one thing to note someone’s talent or other positive attributes, but it’s another to boast them as if they’re something other than human, which they are. i used to do this a lot. i would fan-girl over someone else, generally a popular girl whose favor i so desperately sought, in an effort to be approved by her and thereby have my existence and self-worth validated.take my word for it, this does you no favors.
4) It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint. I was talking to a friend once, who attempted to console me after I was rejected from my dream school. “You’ll feel like your life is over so many times before your life even begins. You’ll come back up more determined and resilient than before.” I felt like not gaining admission into my dream school was the end-all. I was seventeen, and I was prepared for my burial. Yes, it still pangs me a bit that I am not attending that school, but it’s okay. The rejection, now that I consider it, allowed me to realize that, one, abilities—academic and otherwise—are, in fact, mutable, and that they’re just one facet of the multi-facetness that constitutes character. I know now to work hard, and that my whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The person who I am today is not who I was ten years ago, and is not who I will be ten years from now when I turn *gasp* thirty-one. I’m in my marathon. I’m not done yet, but I’m still moving. I’ll drink to that.