As I sit here I ask myself the most cliché saying of all, “Where has the time gone?”
The last nine years have flown by in the blink of an eye and I think we can all collectively agree that it seems like time is somehow speeding up. Sometimes, I feel like the days melt into one another and before I know it, six months have passed.
The last night years of my life…that could be a novel in itself! I think about it from the aspect when I was little, it seems as though it took me forever to get to nine years old! Yet, the last nine years, 20-29, have flown by and I am sitting here in the last year of my twenties in utter disbelief and with so much gratitude, that I somehow managed to make it to 29.
I have been tested, so heavily tested in my twenties. I’d say it has been the most bittersweet time in my life and to know that I survived 100% of my hardest days makes me so incredibly proud.
I won’t sit here and sugarcoat it, I had to grow up so much quicker than my friends. It seems as though they rarely had a care in the world, while I was unknowingly also getting a degree in survival. I was surviving things that many didn’t understand and to be truthful, I didn’t understand.
I wish I could go back and tell that little 20 year old , “Everything is going to be okay.” I wish I could tell her everything that is going to happen to her, but then again…what fun would that be? The last few days, I thought about this as I was gathering my thoughts for this blog post. I asked myself, “If you could go back and tell your 20 year old self something, what would it be?”
I would tell her, “You’ll find her, Jess. You will find her and the empty feeling you just couldn’t ignore will be filled with more love than you could have ever imagined.”
I will just clear this up right here because I know so many people were utterly surprised to know I was suffering. I was great at hiding it and the act I put on was Oscar-worthy. Making people laugh and masking my hurt heart with laughter is an incredibly easy way to make people think you are doing fine and I had mastered that.
Something I think about so often is how people didn’t see it. I wonder how people didn’t watch me slowly unravel. Was I THAT good at hiding it? I must have been, but I know I didn’t fool everyone. My best and closest friends gave me a safe space to share how I was feeling and validated every feeling I had.
They did the brave thing for me. They asked the hard questions that I believe many people in my life wanted to avoid because it made them uncomfortable. Most importantly, they offered to help me and when you find people like this, you hang onto them real tight.
Pay attention to your friends/family who always seem okay, but you know have been faced with hardship that is out of their control. Ask them occasionally about it and don’t be afraid to bring up those hard conversations because they are likely just waiting for someone to notice. I know I was. I was waiting for someone to truly SEE me.
The oil in my lamp was running out and my light was dimming by the day. It’s hard to experience your light going out when it once shined so bright. That’s the loophole to growing up…our flame begins to flicker.
The magic and those who made it for us become real humans with real emotions and reality slowly creeps in and pulls back the curtain.
I was watching a documentary on the singer P!nk just the other night (linked here). I love her and she is one of the most authentic celebrities I have come across in my lifetime. Candidly, she shared this perspective on being the child in a family role and it was so compelling.
P!nk states, “It’s interesting, when you are a kid you think your parents are God and they are not human beings. They are just perfect parents and their one soul purpose is to love you perfectly…and then, that fall from grace. It’s like your first heartbreak realizing your parents are human and that they have their own lives, their own faults and mistakes and they can’t love you perfectly because they can’t even love themselves perfectly. Then you go through that struggle and then you become their parents.”-P!nk
After I heard this, I thought to myself, this is it! THIS statement right here is what I have been coming to terms with. My 20’s have been a compilation of taking on different roles without any warning that my role was going to change, but did I really need a warning? Of course I should have seen this coming, right? Was I suppose to see it beforehand?
I say this with a full heart, but I got myself to this point.
I became THIS Jessica who is typing this for YOU because of the internal and external struggles I battle every day. It was me who put in the work, got my ass to therapy and fought to be THIS girl. It’s been touch and go. It hasn’t come easy for me, despite what some may believe, and It wasn’t how I was raised that got me to this point. It was ME that got me to this point.
I compare it to a baby bird that leaves the nest for the first time. Baby birds are trained to fly and encouraged to leave the nest, but it is up to the bird to continually flap it’s wings when in flight without anyone in sight.
That’s where I have been the last nine years. I have been in flight continually flapping my wings- never giving up on getting to my destination which has led me here.
There’s nothing that can prepare you for growing older, but I have a few tips that have made it easier that I want to share with you.
Growing up is a constant cycle of trial and error and knowing that every decision is a learning experience. In case you were told otherwise, you are a reflection of YOU. You are not a reflection of your family, friends or anyone in between. In short, don’t be fooled by the propaganda that disguises itself on social media to make you buy into perfectionism.
Perfectionism is easily disguised and wears many faces. Keep those eyes open and focused on embracing imperfection.
Sometimes I catch myself thinking I am getting the hang of growing older and then I am reminded that with each year there are new things to learn and “getting the hang of it” just isn’t a thing. We never get the hang of growing older if we are truly changing and evolving.
No matter how old I get, the one thing I will never stop doing is keeping my mind open, looking at every learning experience as a gift, and loving myself unconditionally.
I’m ready year 29! Let’s kick it!