I turned 26 a little while ago, a milestone I was dreading since it was going to thoroughly push me out of the hedonistic bowl of ‘early twenties’ and into my ‘late twenties’; a period where I should surely have my shit figured out and start thinking about things like My Career.
Once 26 hit I realised I’m not so terrified of late twenties at all or, hell, even impending thirties. I’ve always felt like an annoyingly responsible human being; I was an early adopter of my own health insurance, I’ve practised wanky things like constant self-reflection and growth and self-knowledge since primary school — so I feel like I’m finally ageing into my personality.
At the same time, I love knowing that I’m a person who is constantly growing and learning. Even my mum, at 63, is a radically different person from her late 50s, and I love her for it.
So I try to keep track of the things I learn and the ways I’m different to the me from last year. These things are true for me and may not be true for you and that is all cool!
1. Just because you think a feeling is ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ isn’t enough to not feel that feeling anymore
“They would, for example, decide that jealousy was not a noble emotion and then imagine that this was enough to prevent them feeling it; so they would let the most impossible situations develop and then be surprised to find themselves suddenly gushing out hatred.”
– Marion Milner ‘A Life of One’s Own’
God, I enjoyed this book so much.
Okay, so the biggest thing I got from this quote is that we are generally pretty good at knowing what we value as ‘good’ traits and what we think are ‘bad’ traits. Like, we think jealousy or envy or gluttony is a bad emotion, but that doesn’t mean we’ll suddenly stop feeling jealous or envious or gluttonous. Turns out I still feel jealous sometimes! And I used to fall into a spiral of feeling bad about feeling bad and just hate myself.
I realise that sometimes jealousy will crop up, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean my values are any different than before, but I’ve learned to be better at accommodating those less-fun emotions.
2. You don’t need to hold onto friendships that make you feel bad
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fight for friendships that are important to you, but I don’t believe in the idea of holding onto relationships for the sake of tradition. That’s probably easier for me because I’m not a person who’s particularly motivated by nostalgia or custom, and I definitely think it’s possible to become addicted to the catharsis of letting go of people, but there’s a healthy middle ground of only being surrounded by people who make you feel good. Sure, it’s nice to have a history and think of all the cool experiences you’ve had with someone, but if that someone is now making you feel shitty on a regular basis, it’s okay to reevaluate that relationship.
There are a lot of people in the world, and plenty of them will be great at making you feel like a valued and supported person. There’s no need to hold onto the ones who don’t.
Only hang around people that are positive and make you feel good. Anybody who doesn’t make you feel good, kick them to the curb and the earlier you start in your life, the better. The minute anybody makes you feel weird and non-included or not supported, you know, either beat it or tell them to beat it.
– Amy Poehler being great
3. Indirect effects are unpredictably amazing
It’s natural to see a problem in your life and then try to fix it. Sometimes that doesn’t work, especially with people because people are organic and free thinking beings and not often something you can ‘fix’.
For me, I know now that if I stay physically, emotionally, mentally healthy, I am better able to deal with all the Other Stuff that comes up. And my biggest problems crop up when I’m not on top of that core health stuff. So I try to do good things to my body like drink a lot of water, get outside and walk when I can, eat nice food, and communicate well with the people around me.
4. Communication solves approximately everything
I talk about this all the time, but I think good communication should be at the heart of everything we do. Too much is lost from misunderstandings or not being on the same page or being too scared to tell someone how you feel.
Healthy communication breeds healthy relationships. But it only works if you’re willing to be nice and not hide behind snark.
5. God, I fucking hate snark
Sure, sarcasm can be super funny, I get it, and friendships where you regularly beat on each other is a thing I have taken great joy from in the past (and present) but if someone asks you a genuine question, and you respond by being a douchebag because you think that gives you some dumb amount of power, just… it grinds my gears so bad. You don’t gain anything from being a dick, and you don’t lose anything from being kind.
6. It is okay to outsource some things
I’m totally aware I’m not good at everything. I can’t deal with spiders. But I’m also really good at some things that other people aren’t and am happy to lend myself in exchange for eg. someone getting rid of a huntsman from my room.
7. Bunnies rule, man
Get a load of this guy! So good.