On my 23rd birthday a couple years ago I had weird, slightly drunken, mental break down about being old. I think I could largely chalk it up to the booze, but the night ended with me crying at the bar while my poor boyfriend racked his brain about what he could have done wrong. Coming away from that experience, I think the reason I got upset was because I could feel myself getting set in my ways and got scared that the person that I was at that moment really didn’t have much room for growth. This week I turned 25, and as I started to think about my quarter century on earth, it became pretty clear that there were a couple of things I have definitely grown to understand.
Now if you’re much older and wiser than me, thinking “how is this 25 year old about to say anything of depth?” then you can ignore all of this self reflection. But the reason I am writing this is not to give advice to people, but to share a few of things that have become apparent to me as I reach this new milestone. Because if I was sitting at that bar again today, only 2 years later, I would have the following to say to myself…
First of all, stop crying in a bar and start communicating.
I’ve never really been a pro at communication. I tend to read situations by people’s body language and because of that I often assume people can read my mind with out me saying much. The places I’ve found communication most important are in my job and in my relationships. WELLL DUHHH ALEX. I really don’t know why it has taken me so long to figure this out, but communication really is the key to life. Before I fully understood this at my job I would walk out of meetings slightly confused, with a huge list of things to Google. I would waste so much energy stressing out, that I wouldn’t understand the full problem I was trying to solve. Now I’m working on speaking up when I don’t understand something, asking people to explain things multiple times, and confirming that I am also communicating clearly in return. No one wants to pay you to waste time Googling things. So being transparent in your conversations and admitting when you don’t know something can save so much time, stress and worry.
Secondly, if I was able to tell my boyfriend exactly what was going on in my head in that moment, and he didn’t have to sit there feeling terrible while getting judgmental stares from everyone in the bar, I bet we would have had a WAY better night. Now I know having a conversation is not necessarily the easiest thing to do when you are upset, but if I had been speaking my mind regularly then maybe I could have avoided this eruption of emotions. Since Barton and I moved in together, it’s become clear to me that your own feelings are not really just your own when you are in a close relationship. They effect the other person. So when I’m not feeling that confident and I start taking it out on myself, my negative mood also reflects on our relationship. Now I’m trying really hard to let him know what’s going on with me whether or not its related to him at all. And if I can get all my feelings out there sooner, I feel confident I can avoid another public explosion. [Babe, comment below if you think it’s working, and then I’ll DM you my response, and then we will never have to talk about our feelings IRL. PERFECT!] jkjkjkjk hahaha <—- but you see how easy it could be to never really have to communicate??
Secondly, own your decisions, and stop putting them on someone else.
This is something that hit me like a freight train the other day. I had forgone going out to lunch with my coworkers to go to the gym on my lunch break. I had gotten slightly teased for my healthy “lifestyle,” something I call salad shaming, and was jokingly told that I was just not going to be asked to come to lunch anymore. So as I got to the gym to do my workout I started second guessing my decision to skip lunch and started feeling really down and isolated for choosing to go workout. I was distracted in my workout only going through the motions with no real energy. It wasn’t until some song came on my playlist (probably some Beyonce) that I realized that I was ruining the thing I had decided to do, by thinking about how I could have been at some other thing.
Needless to say Beyonce picked me out of the self deprecating workings of my inner mind and forced me to really own my decision of going to the gym that day.
And yes ya’ll we are talking about the FOMO (fear or missing out). Needless to say Beyonce picked me out of the self deprecating workings of my inner mind and forced me to really own my decision of going to the gym that day. FOMO has accosted me in many shapes and forms, not just from exercising (well it accosts me when I’m not exercising too so I have two way exercise FOMO), but in other social situations as well. Saying no to going out to parties, or saying no to going on a trip with someone. In the past, the second I make that decision, I am second guessing it.
Now when I say no to going a party, I don’t sit there thinking about all the things I’m missing out on. I make it a point to remember why I chose this and really revel in the choice. Mostly that includes painting my nails and getting 10 hours of sleep. Or when I’m working out, I try and focus on how awesome I am going to feel afterwards and how great it is for my health. Don’t even give yourself a chance to dwell on the things you are missing out on. Instead focus on the reasons you chose what you chose and exaggerate that feeling. Maybe I’m just tricking myself into being in a better mood but hey, its working.
So I hope maybe some of these ramblings will encourage you to think about some things a little differently. When it comes to giving and taking advice I’ve realized that I could be told something over and over and it will never stick. It’s not until I reframe it in my own way that I finally understand how valuable certain pieces of advice are. Maybe try taking some advice you were given and challenge yourself to think about it a little differently. It might surprise you what you come to find out! Or really just challenge yourself to not drunk cry at bars, that’s at least a start.