29 for the seventh time 35 a week or so ago, and while I don’t think it’s halftime just yet, I decided to take a look at what I’ve been up to and how I’ve been going about things. I feel as though I spent my twenties figuring stuff out, and I didn’t really have that much solid ground to stand on. I felt like things were always shifting on me, and that was disconcerting and disorienting at times.
When I turned 30, I sat down and made a list of all the things that I’d accomplished when I was 29. The list was long. It was exciting. I made a list of everything that I wanted to do when I was 30, but that year kind of went off plan, and I remember looking back on it at 31 and thinking WTF?
This year was cool. It didn’t go to plan, but it went nonetheless. I did all the things I set out to do, but not in the way I thought I would. End result: the same. And I got some skills. Cheers to that.
Big takeaway: there are now things that I can rely on as TRUE. I have spent time figuring it out and have developed a personal methodology for doing things that works for me. I might sound self-satisfied on this front, but that feels BAD ASS.
So – the things that I know are thus:
1. It’s just not that complicated.
I don’t care what it is – work, getting dressed, decoding a text message – it’s only as hard as you make it. Most things tend to sort themselves out with minimal emotional involvement, so rather than freaking out / throwing things / calling 5 times and getting voicemail, how about we pop some popcorn and see how this shitshow plays? Free entertainment. Less stress.
2. Life happens for you, not to you.
That victim mentality that has us asking “why is this happening to me?” Yeah, ditch that. Nothing is happening to you. Things are happening around you and for you – what you do in a given situation is up to you, so take some ownership and make shit happen the way you want. If you don’t like how things are going, make a plan to set it right. If something goes awry, try to see how to prevent it from happening again, and what you might have learned that could help you out elsewhere. It’s all a step in the right direction if you view every experience as an opportunity to move forward. And #1.
3. Don’t be a douchebag.
I mean, really. What are we, 13? Don’t tell lies; don’t talk shit; don’t steal; don’t cheat. Do it right so that if anyone asks: did you really say / do / make that? You can say “YEP. THAT WAS ME.” Accountability is awesome. So is having people say “(your name here) doesn’t fuck around. What a rad person.” See also: #2.
4. Grown-ups: I don’t think they exist.
Sure, some of us have kids or pay our bills on time or own our house / car / whatever. Some of us are paying off our student loans. Some of us care more about our ski pass than home equity. Some of us still like to drink too much whiskey and make out in public and skip work to go fishing. Whatever your thing is – have a good freaking time, people. We ain’t here that long. Oh, but also: #3.
5. We can all make it better.
We might not be able to fix it, but we can always ask “how can I help?” and regardless of what you can actually do, that offer makes a lot of things easier. Sometimes just knowing that there’s someone who is willing to help you carry the burden of whatever it is, lightens it a little bit. It gives you room for some perspective. Maybe you realize…. #1.
6. Opportunity never stops knocking.
You didn’t miss your one shot. She wasn’t your soul mate. It’s never too late. You didn’t blow it. There’s another day, another chance, another opportunity to get it right. We’re never locked out of happiness, because #2.
So, this shit just got real.