I turned 26 on Friday.
It’s been a funny weekend. I’ve had a lovely time with my family and friends celebrating against a backdrop of a lot of important things in my life being totally up in the air – and all the anxiety that comes with that. A couple of people have asked me what I want out of the next year, but I’m at this strange moment where I can’t really make any decisions. Whatever is going to happen will happen, and when it does I have to figure out what to do next.
I do not handle limbo well.
So this morning, as I woke up and once again confronted the anxiety that is ever-present as I go through this odd in-between time, I decided to make a list of things I do know – some of the knowledge I have accumulated during my 26 years.
1 Balance is hard to find and very easy to lose
2 But that’s okay, you always have the option to course-correct
3 Have tampons, always. Even if you don’t wind up needing them you might save someone else’s day
4 Learned behaviours are fucking hard to put down when they stop serving you, but acknowledgement is the first step
5 You are on your own timeline. Yes, this can mean you get to things a little slower than everyone else, but you always get there in the end
6 Hiding at home instead of going out with your friends is rarely the right decision
7 Do the best you can with what you have. Be as environmentally friendly as you can, shop as ethically as you are able and eat as healthily as possible, etc. You get it
8 Talking about all of the things you hate about your body is a conversation that only leads down
9 You’re okay by yourself. Letting other people join you is the part you have to work on
10 Not everyone is out to get you
11 Letting go is hard. Holding onto anger is probably harder in the long run
12 Having angry, one-sided conversations with people in your head leads nowhere
13 This behaviour also leads nowhere
14 When heading out onto the moors, always take one more layer than you think you’ll need (this is a bit specific to where I live but I think the point stands)
15 Always wear sunscreen
16 Always take off your make up at the end of the night
17 Bring snacks – you’re never going to regret it
18 There will be long stretches of time when you feel like a garbage person living in a garbage world with a garbage future. As much as it feels like forever at the time, this feeling will pass. You can survive it
19 Sometimes you will feel so panicked about something you have to do that you’ll become convinced you’re going to die. So far you haven’t, so odds are you probably won’t
20 Always be more patient than you feel
21 The people who failed you made you a resourceful person, and there is beauty in that. Even when it doesn’t feel like it
22 When someone tells you who they are, believe them
23 Parents are humans too
24 It isn’t your responsibility to fix everything
25 Some things can’t be fixed
26 Most lessons you have to learn over and over again