You Have The Most Fun At 21.

The other day my mom was looking through old photographs that we had boxed away. She found one of me at twenty one. I was with my sister and my cousins at the Empire State Building in New York, We’d gone to the city to celebrate my 21st birthday.

It was such a wonderful adventure. To start, we had breakfast at a really posh restaurant, did the whole Empire State Building experience, then indulged in some of the yummiest macarons at Ladurée near Central Park.

That day has always stood out to me as one of my happiest memories from being twenty one.

Having such a good start to a year gives way to setting high expectations for the rest of it. On my flight back to Florida, I watched New York’s skyline fade away with an optimistic smile. If my birthday trip that marked the beginning of a new age in my life went so well, the rest of the year had to go just as smooth, right?

Sometimes I wish I could travel into the past just to smack myself in the head for my constant overoptimism.

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It only took a couple of months for things to begin to go awry. I had encountered your typical bumps in the road:

  • Unexpected school expenses that I couldn’t handle. (I thank my lucky stars for the supportive parents I have)
  • Going to Urgent Care because one of my eyes wouldn’t open.
  • Being too shy to give myself the opportunity to hang out with this guy I thought was cute before he left the city.

Nothing that I couldn’t get over in a week, but still annoying to deal with. Life can’t always allow you to be great, right?

We all go through personal trials that test our limits every age, I naively thought these were mine. I didn’t know that my troubles would go deeper than that.

At the time, I sincerely believed that being twenty one was the official marking point in life where you cross the threshold of becoming an actual adult. You’re allowed to drink, get into more bars and clubs and people call you legal, so that means you’re an adult right?

Please, take as much time as you need to facepalm or shake your head at my twenty one year old stupidity.

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I was the typical mold of your average twenty one year old idiot. What made it worse was that I hadn’t fully come to terms with being comfortable with who I was, so I just did what I could to please people and to fit in. All of this doesn’t get any better considering that I’m one the most stubborn people you’ll meet.

Have you ever felt so distant from your actions that it seems as if you’re watching someone else? Doesn’t it suck when you tell yourself “Oh no, that really is me!”.

Twenty one year old me, was not who I truly am.

I don’t drink a lot, I hate clubs because there’s so many strangers all at once (and they smell terrible), I think the idea of hookups is weird and pretentious people anger me. Yet there I was, indulging these things.

Remembering everything about who I tried so hard to be at twenty one always makes me so angry. Sometimes I think about if there were ever a year that I could delete from my life, it would be twenty one.

As much as that age hurts me, I wouldn’t get rid of any of the memories it gave me.

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All the bad of becoming someone so outside of myself was a lesson. I didn’t want friends that only liked me because of what I showed them. I didn’t want to be with guys who made me feel that there was no reason to go past the surface of who I was. I didn’t want to pretend anymore.

I just wanted to enjoy being me.

It took a lot for me to learn how to step away from the herd and stop being a sheep. To this day, I still can’t believe that the moments I sacrificed being myself and exercising self-care just to please others are moments that were real.

The day I realized that it was time to step out of this personality I had adopted was simultaneously the most empowering and embarrassing day of my life.

The Embarrassing Part of That Day: I was crying in my sociology class and walking in and out of the classroom to scream at someone on the phone in my school’s parking lot over something really stupid – a boy.

The Empowering Part of That Day: I realized all at once that I was worth more than who I pretended to be.

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As much as I despise everything I did – and I mean everything – at twenty one years old, I’m grateful for what I learned from my actions.

I’m now twenty four and I’m not only comfortable with who I am, but proud of who I keep on becoming. I’m a young women driven towards her success and happiness. I still have my quirks, but Rome wasn’t built in a day and I’m always going to find room to improve myself.

I’m closing the chapter of looking at who I was at that time with distaste and moving on to accepting my actions. I can’t change those memories. I’ll never get rid of them, but I can accept that was who I was at the time and who I am today is growing to be better.

So to my bad memories, thank you. You’ve taught me who I don’t want to be.

 

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An Inner Revolution.

Have you ever heard of the January Blues? At some point in the early part of the year it feels as if there’s an all-consuming lull in positivity. The joyous and exuberant feelings that were celebrated with ardor throughout the holiday season – they become wisps of reality that we’re barely able to hold on to.

This year I honestly thought that I had successfully bypassed the dreaded January Blues. January wasn’t the smoothest sea I’ve sailed, but it was much more serene in comparison to any other start to the year that I could recall.

Silly me, my January Blues were just making a late arrival.

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To start, let’s talk about what went right in January:

  • I started up my blog again.
  • I bought a new car.
  • I reached a momentous level of confidence with how my mental health was developing.

It may be a small list, but with how stubborn I can be about making cosmic decisions in regards to my life and how long it took for me to feel comfortable with managing my mental health, it’s all monumental strides for me.

I was doing okay. I was able to express myself and diligently work towards my desired successes and be happy. From how my January was going, I really thought that for the first time in a while, I had successfully managed to step into a year without tripping over my feet. Things were going right.

Let’s not forget, I did say that my January Blues came late to the party.

Just when I thought that this utopian ride through 2018 would continue, I drifted into the doldrums as February came around. Out of nowhere, I lost sight of what I regarded as important and settled comfortably into stagnation.

Getting up everyday had a different meaning. Where I used to be estatic to start the day and get work done or learn something new, I just wanted to hide away from all responsibilities and activities that required me to move, and just take a nap.

Even being around some of my dearest friends and family members in places that bring my spirits to the highest level of ascension possible, I felt like I was experiencing something outside of myself. My bank of emotions had been significantly overdrawn.

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I genuinely felt that every word or action that I enacted needed a subsequent apology because I felt so distant from who I was being at the time. To put it simply – I felt awful.

What made me even more upset is that nothing prompted my behavior. There was no significant stressor that triggered my actions (or rather, cyclical inaction). It just happened.

I can call it a late arrival of the January Blues, but let’s be real. We can dress it up and give it all the nicknames we’d like, but the bare bones of it all is that this hollow feeling, It’s depression.

It’s not the first time I’ve experienced an emotional downswing like this, and I’ve managed it before. Once realized, I’m able to arrange my behaviors to do better, and best my depression as much as I can. It’s not something I’ve learned overnight how to overcome, and neither is realizing what it is that I need to overcome.

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Sometimes, you need to realize how low you feel to learn what you need to do ascend to the great heights you set for yourself. The lovely Kristin Ondocsin of the Skinny Intern   painted my feelings into life perfectly with this statement:

It’s okay to fall down and lose your spark. Just make sure that when you get back up, you rise as the whole damn flame.

As much as it frustrates me when these episodes come about, I’ve realized that despite the measures I take to manage them, at times they’re just unavoidable. It’s my due diligence to ensure myself that these depressive episodes don’t stay around forever.

As peculiar as it sounds, when my depression comes about, I learn quite a bit about how I feel, and what I need to do to spark my own inner revolution towards happiness.

The hapless truth about depression is that it’s unavoidable. Despite this, just because we get stuck in a low place doesn’t mean we have to stay there.

I’ve worked so hard to make sure that the mental space that I’m at is a good one. Just because my emotions take a downturn for a little bit, doesn’t mean that I’m going to allow them to stay low when I’ve experienced the best of being emotionally high.

I like being there. So it’s time to get up, and get back to the healthy space where I want to be.

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