Hey friends. Happy Bday to me! (bday me pictured below…)
A couple of weeks ago I turned 24. That seems really pretty old to me, I think because it’s so close to 25. And we all know 25 is real adulthood supposedly. Also, things have been kind of crazy. A little bit in a bad way, but I’ve adjusted and put things in perspective.
I’m not dealing with a hurricane or other real destruction to my life. I’m perfectly ok and I feel for everyone that is dealing with real tragedy right now. I also want to share some things I learned last year and hopefully provide some insight for people that are about to be in the real world, or are in the first few years of adulthood.
My current philosophies about adulthood:
life will throw a wrench in your plans. or, just throw a wrench at you. metaphorically. usually.
Yep! Life will throw hard stuff at you. It will probably hurt. But if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball. It’s all a big metaphor.
exercise when it’s going to help things, don’t exercise if it’s going to make things more stressful
I love how I feel after running or biking or being active. But sometimes, finding the time to exercise is more stress than it’s worth. I’ve exercised less consistently in the last couple of months because it’s not the priority.
On days that I don’t work out, I feel less guilty than I would have in the past, but I do still feel slightly less accomplished and more anxious. I think this is ok, because when I do have the time and lifestyle to train hard and compete, I will. It’s just not the right time, and feeling guilty and stressed is no way to approach doing something you love.
there are sooooo many people in the world, all with unique and different experiences and timelines and careers. how can you possibly tell yourself a certain path is “wrong” or “right” based on what someone else is doing? stop comparing yourself.
Social media and constant connectedness to the internet allows us to see what other people are doing and what life choices they are making etc. Often, we seek out anecdotes and advice from others to help us get an idea of what we ought to be doing at a certain point in life, based on what others have been doing.
It’s so easy to compare our lives to other people on the internet and think that we aren’t doing things right, or that we’re falling behind as far as career achievements go (or other things like marriage, houses, travel, dogs, etc). But the truth is, there are so many millions of ways to experience the years that you’re alive.
You can spend 80 years in the same small town, being content with raising a family and knowing everyone around you. You could join the military, come back and go to undergrad and start a career after that. There are SOOO many people that you don’t see online in your Instagram feed. And sooo many different ways to be successful and happy that don’t follow a conventional path.
Your experience will inevitably differ from others. Growing up means finding out that there is no set path to success. You’re completely free to mess up, take a minimum wage job until you figure out what you want, move around the country. Or whatever. Do whatever.
It might be a little too philosophical, but I remember having a frightening existential thought when I was in elementary school. This thought that may have stemmed from my problem with taking orders or taking authority figures seriously (I was a rebel, but in a cute way that ironically made me the teacher’s pet every single year).
Little Jenny thought, “Why do I have to listen to someone telling me what to do, when the universe is so big and there are so many planets and none of this stuff on earth really matters?”
Ahhh. I had the perspective that I shouldn’t have to do things according to a set path because the universe was too big for these small rules to actually have any real meaning.
I still feel that way, to an extent. I’ll always do things a little differently, but I’ve grown up to be less carefree and rebellious as I was in elementary school. Mainly because what you do, in a lot of ways, does have to conform to a path that shows you have a skill and the ability to work hard. This is how you pay bills and feed yourself and live a comfortable life.
Keep the rebellious spirit, make your own path, and find a compromise between being rebellious and being responsible. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to make your own way. Stop comparing. There are too many people and experiences for there ever to exist a “right” or “wrong” way to do life.
learn to pivot
What’s the best way to learn what works for you and what doesn’t? Try it. Try a lot of different things and immerse yourself in them. You’ll know quickly if it’s something you want to do. This relates to hobbies and careers and relationships. Just like visiting a city before you move there, try out many things before committing to a certain path or person.
I thought I wanted to be a dietician, so I got a job working in healthcare. It was pretty clear pretty quickly that I don’t want to work in healthcare or be a dietician. Do I want to help people? Yes. But I naively believed that the only way to do that was to work one-on-one with them and help them with their health. Now I see there are so many different opportunities to do good. I pivoted, even if it meant abandoning another set path that I thought I had. That’s ok. I’m another step closer.
stop taking advice.
It’s hard to be an adult because you have to make your own decisions and do what is right for YOU based on what YOU want to do. This sucks, because no one else can tell you what to do. Most likely, what worked for them won’t work for you. You’ll have to experiment and figure out what WILL work for you.
This is also amazing. You are completely free to do what you want, and if someone gives you advice, you have the right to completely disregard it as subjective opinion, rather than authoritative fact. Yes, some people will offer good advice if they truly know what they are talking about when it comes to your happiness, but a lot of the time you have to tune out advice. Even from people closest to you.
Other cliche things I’ve come to realize all on my own this year:
- Family is really really important
- Life is really fragile
- Keep in touch with friends or you’ll lose them
- Try new things
- Calm down. Enjoy things.
- Dogs are awesome
- Mac and cheese…
That’s all I’ve got! I’ll return with more running stuff soon. 🙂
Oh some more bday photos, our dinner was mostly melted cheese: