I guess this is growing up

I used to think it was fun being a mess- especially when I was in my early twenties. I genuinely enjoyed making bad decisions that hurt me and sometimes other people. Unfortunately, I was born with too much empathy so I would end up being consumed by guilt… which was also very exciting. I liked having something to feel guilty about. Maybe it’s because I’m catholic.

I used to tell this funny story about my freshman year of college, when I spent my entire allowance for the month on an expensive hair straightener. I then had ZERO dollars for four weeks. I had to eat frosted flakes and cup of noodles because I could not explain to my parents why I ran out of money. I didn’t even have money for gas so I had to walk to campus every day and was constantly late to classes where attendance was mandatory. The end of this story usually ends in me saying “It was tragic and I practically starved to death…but at least my hair looked fabulous!” or something similar.

If I told this story now it would be a sad fable about a grown woman who is financially irresponsible and does not prioritize her education. I guess what I’m trying to say is, it’s just not cute anymore.

I think young people like to glorify the idea of struggle. It gives your goals meaning. You feel like you earned it because you made so many mistakes a long the way. For me, it felt almost like a rite of passage I had to go through before I became a “responsible adult.” If I wasn’t suffering enough I wasn’t trying hard enough. Most of the “suffering” I experienced was self inflicted. At the time, I mistook this self inflicted suffering for growth.

These days, I don’t have as many stories of dramatic fights with friends, nights I was too drunk to remember, or all the times my car broke down because I was too lazy to get the oil changed or fill up the gas tank. Now that I am approaching my thirties, my life revolves around wellness and self care.

I work out three times a week, I meal prep, I downloaded a meditative app, I read self help books, I go to therapy for my anxiety, I never black out from drinking too much, I apologize to my family and friends when I’m wrong, I wash my face before I sleep and I even schedule my own dentist appointments.

It’s not that I don’t make mistakes anymore, but I actively try to learn from them. If I could go back in time I would tell my 21 year old self that life doesn’t have to be so hard. Make good choices, be responsible, do your best and allow yourself to be happy.

I probably still drink too much coffee…