On What I’ve Learned

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I have a sort of biggish birthday coming up this year. I won’t share exactly when it is or what the age is (only the DMV needs to know that information), but it’s made me even more introspective and reflective than usual. I in no way think I am some beacon of wisdom, but I wanted to share a few things that I’ve learned up to this point in my life in case they resonate with anyone and if they don’t, maybe I’ll at least get you to laugh!

  1. You are not responsible for anyone else’s happiness – Family, friends, random strangers. This doesn’t mean you have to be an asshole to people, but the only person’s happiness you are responsible for is your own.
  2. Reading books is a lot more fulfilling than watching TV – Don’t get me wrong, I need my trashy Bravo shows and Netflix binges to entertain me too but I used to spend hours every weekend parked in front of the TV. When I changed that to reading instead, I felt not only more productive and less yucky, I actually started learning things. I average reading about a book a week now.
  3. You can set boundaries in life and be honest without being mean – This is a really hard one for me to do, but this year is the first time I really tried to start implementing it instead of just being silently mad at someone and letting that resentment fester internally.
  4. No matter how well you know someone or how much they say they care about you, they’re still very capable of taking you for granted – That sounds super depressing, but this is where #3 comes in. You’re worth putting in the time for, no matter if the other person is a friend, significant other, parent, or other family member.
  5. It’s ok to be happy with what you have and to not constantly aspire to do this or that or be here or there – A lot of people thrive on ambition. A lot of people always want to be moving up or moving out or whatever and that’s great. But it’s also ok to be happy with wherever you’re at in your life and whatever you’re doing right then.
  6. It’s ok to not have kids and not to want to have kids – I don’t think women get told this enough. As far as we’ve come, society still puts a lot of pressure on us to have kids because it’s still assumed it’s something women are all “supposed” to do or to want to do. No matter what anyone says to you, or how many times your family asks you when you’re going to get married and/or start a family, it’s a perfectly great choice to opt out of having kids if that’s something you don’t want, and you owe everyone zero apologies for that choice. Even if everyone around you has made the choice to have a family, it doesn’t make you weird or behind or less than.
  7. Use your employer’s 401K plan – I know this may not be something everyone is able to do. It’s something I was admittedly pretty resistant to up until very recently. I don’t know what kind of shape I’m going to be in when I’m older so I tend to avoid thinking about it. Thus, the idea of thinking about saving money for when I’m older has never been super appealing. But I know my mom is very smart so I’ve listened to her and contributed to a 401K plan since I started working full time. I want to stay living in SoCal and the reality is, you can’t afford to live alone here on savings and definitely not just on Social Security. Yes it sucks having that $$ taken out of your paycheck every month (if you’re able to swing that), but it’ll be more than worth it down the line.
  8. Having a disability is damn hard and it’s never going to be easy or something you’ll just get over – I feel like I take 2 steps forward and 10 back when it comes to my MD. But as I get older, I realize that it’s always going to be something I struggle with. There’s never going to come a day when I just walk out of the house and permanently feel like everything is ok and I’m never going to be upset about having to deal with my disability ever again.
  9. Sleep and a comfortable bed are two of life’s greatest pleasures – I’ve always loved my sleep and in a lot of ways, my body needs it more than other people’s. It really is the ultimate cure all for everything: bad days, if you’re sick, if you’re sore from a good workout, if you need some solace. And if you’re fortunate enough to be able to do it on a comfortable mattress, then you’re set.
  10. You are enough – I wish I could say I believed this even 50% of the time about myself, even though I know it’s absolutely true. No matter what anyone says to or about you. No matter what society says. No matter what the people on your TV and Instagram look like. No matter what everyone is doing around you. No matter what you’ve been through. You are awesome. You are worthy. You are enough.

photo credit: wuestenigel Reading glasses over a book via photopin (license)


2 thoughts on “On What I’ve Learned

  1. Very well written and it is always a challenge for anyone of us to look inside ourselves and to say ” I am ok”…

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