So here I am, another year into my thirties. I observe and I consider. I know myself better; but by that knowledge, will I do better now than I did in my teens…twenties? I hope so. In my teens, I was too afraid to take risks. In my twenties, I traded for the wrong risks and am still getting on solid ground to deal with the collateral damage. In my thirties, I hope to take some things from my early adult years and hone them in the present to finally become a successful adult. Ideally, I’d take the focus from my teens, the networking and ambition from my early twenties, and the sense to realize it’s okay to turn myself “off” for a while to do some self-reflection and self-healing but to also know when to be completely present in mind, body, spirit to lower my walls to see what lies ahead. I’ve recently been presented with such a moment. I’m still processing it and navigating trusting myself and others and re-evaluating my views on the subject of “yes”. I’ve observed my 30-something friends as they also navigate this decade of life. I notice the married and parenting ones, but my focus is more on the unmarried ones. How are they working to be their best selves? How can I do the same? In the last few months, I’ve drawn inspiration from these friends who are taking a skill, a dream, an idea and making things happen. I’ve finally decided to shut out my biggest doubter, myself, and get things done myself. I believe in doing this, I’ve already started to draw people and opportunities that nudge at my comfort zone and where I feel I am in my abilities; and I will admit to feeling the old fears as well as the will to push forward past the “what ifs” to see what could be. After all, if I constantly let myself be held back by fear of failure and being wrong, I’ll never climb higher. One step at a time is all I can let myself think. Whether that step is small or a giant leap is yet to be determined. Continue reading
Now let me preface this post by what I mean by “raised”. In this case, I don’t mean raised from childhood; I’m referencing that golden time of late teens to early 20s when high school is behind you, the bloom is not as off the rose as you project, and adulthood begins with a hazing that puts Greek life in college to shame. I’m talking about going from newly minted adult to “where did my 20s go?” adult.
Ok, now that we have that out-of-the-way, I will admit to being 27. To some, that puts me at a time of life that’s not in the position to write such a post with the proper amount of authority; but, this is my blog so I can say what I like.
My newly minted adulthood began at the tender age of 17. Since my birthday is Halloween, my high school graduation preceded my legal adult status. I couldn’t vote but I could start a new adventure into a different life. I’m originally from South Carolina; and before I started my adult journey, I was able to get a small taste of what else was out there in the big bad world at 15 when I was invited to attend an elite seminar for highly ambitious high school students interested in the field of law. Small town girl, meet Beverly Hills. It was about as different as could be for a girl who had never traveled outside of the Southeast and had only heard about or read about travel. It was only a week, but boy was it an eye opener. That week alone sealed my desire and fate for moving to California at 17.
California welcomed me to adulthood with a fistful of reality wrapped in big city noise, a healthy amount of cynicism and a challenge to put up or shut up. Could I survive the path of adulthood I forged for myself or would I give up because of what I put up with? At 17, my first job was as a live-in caregiver for a wheelchair bound man with a large temper, a taste of liquor and a vocabulary of curse words that would make a storied sailor feel right at home. I did this job for just about 4 months until just after I turned 18 and couldn’t take the sleep deprivation and quarantine from humanity with just barely enough to go searching for new work and new living quarters.
My new job was a variation of my last one, still a caregiver for a wheelchair bound man, but one decidedly more independent and instead had more of a taste for the ladies rather than liquor. He loved to look and had no problem paying a compliment, inappropriate or not. To say the least, the attention was very uncomfortable and made the working environment less than desirable. No girl really wants a lecherous man giving her a hard time at work and stalking her even after she removes herself from the situation. And no, I didn’t have it coming. I didn’t encourage it and I took myself out the situation as best I could with a trusted friend there as I gave my immediate notice and collected my last check on the spot.
Navigating love, lust, dating, and relationships was also an experience. I was to learn the hard way that the road to love is not as humorous or cute as it is in the movies. I dated one-trick pony guys, passionate musicians, divorcees, perpetual frat boy types, executives, bad boys, nice guys…you get the picture. I’ve called myself a chameleon for years and still stand by that description. My reasoning? Depending on the type of guy I get involved with, I become a different person. I don’t become the type of person I feel they want or need me to be to validate their choice in dating me, I change and evolve based on how that person makes me feel. I take compliments with a grain of salt and don’t let myself get distracted by the words. I’ve become a hardened believer in “actions speak louder than words” and they are deafening in their truth.
Am I using this post to push suspicion as a tactic in dealing with people? No. Realism, yes. Let others tell you who and what they really are by their actions. If they’re genuine, their actions and words will match. If not, then keep it moving.