I was cleaning out my iPhoto today and in the process realized how much running around I have done in the past 5 years. My years between 25-30 are one insane adventure after another. One leap of faith followed by yet another tight rope walk and free dive of experience. As I sat on my computer deleting images I realized “wow no one told me it would be like this”. I somehow made it out alive… with hundreds of stories… but did I use my time as wisely as I could have? No, I didn’t. I’m not beating myself up for it but it would have helped to have more guidance prior to my roller coaster ride of 5 years. I’ve decided to give you my top 5 tips for making it through your 20’s…. or late 20’s as was my case.
In no specific order:
1.) Spend as much time searching for self-love as you do for love from others. I know it sounds like a hallmark card but as someone who has been searching, finding, giving and succumbing to love for the last 15 years … trust me when I say if you love yourself half as much as you love others the amount of painful relationships you end up in will be few and far between. It took me until I was 30 years old to finally slow down enough to work on self-love. What do I want? Do I know what being treated well feels like? Looks like? What are my boundaries? Do I even have boundaries? In my case, I didn’t have clear answers to any of these questions and so I bounced from experience to experience … learning the hard way… what love really was…
The thing is if I sat down with myself sooner… listed qualities I had … worked on loving myself first… I would have avoided years of turmoil. No, I wouldn’t have had as many skinny dipping stories… or the nights of sex on the beach… but who knows maybe I wouldn’t have had the nights that send frightening chills down my spine either.
There are easier ways to learn
Read self-help books
Find a mentor
Find someone (or a couple) you can look up to
and aim for that.
2.) Learn to say NO to anything that isn’t a YES. My partner always says
“If you want to get what you want… say NO to what you don’t”
Now maybe it’s my upbringing… maybe because my job (acting) requires me to change form to play a character… I ended up saying YES way more than NO.
NO is powerful. NO doesn’t waste your time. Your time is the most valuable thing you have. You can’t get it back ever so be wise where you spend it… it is like money… but you will run out and no you can’t get more. BOO! Scary stuff right?
I said YES to being paid less than my male costars.
YES to abuse… by not saying NO
YES to having my boundaries walked all over… blown to pieces
YES to having my finances used and abused
and countless other Yes’s.
I’m not placing blame or shame on anyone not even myself. I am taking responsibility for my YES’s and they were my choices… I just wish I knew it was ok to say NO more often.
Guard your time…like a mean dog in a junk yard. It’s your territory. Your life. Respect it. You only get one shot at this incarnation…have fun… but know your worth. You. Your time is priceless.
3.) Cut the fat. In other words, it’s okay to move on … move from old friends… old neighborhoods… old ways of thinking… the old stories you tell yourself over and over.
We are meant to evolve. One of my favorite quotes is from our good friend Darwin
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
You have every right to evolve… to change… ideally for the better. Strive for better. As you elevate people will say “you’ve changed” with a hint of disdain… that’s fine. Let them say what they want. You’re cutting the fat. You’re making room for a higher consciousness… you are trying. Good for you. Keep going. Keep changing. Allow people in so they move you… shape you… and keep molding yourself into a better and better version. Curate your life… chip away at the edges like a sculptor…
it takes time
and yes sometimes you’ll just let the slab or marble sit there
but if you keep at it
one day you’ll look up and see the masterpiece that is you.
and fuck you’re beautiful.
(yes I swore get over it)
4. Learn to save your money… or just learn how to use it… spend it … and earn it. Talking finances isn’t usually people’s favorite topic but if someone had taught me how to manage my finances better it would have created more stability for me. Internal stability that resonates through the rest of your life. It’s important… vitally so. If your parents don’t teach you… find someone that will. It’s the age of information… google it… buy books… use your resources. Build your own castle of security… your own getaway car… so when life gets a little too exciting you can bail…in style.
5.) Learn to listen. Really listen. To people around you. To your life teachers. To your goals. To the voices in your own head. What do they keep repeating? Are you conditioning yourself to believe what the song on repeat is saying?
For me, it was always about success and body image.
No matter how many projects I had done it wasn’t enough. Somehow I wasn’t cool enough… good enough… keep going… keep proving yourself… etc. etc. etc.…
Imagine me lacerating my own back with an endless supply of demoralizing comments. Super sexy huh? Now I know why I did this… years of therapy and lots of self-help books have helped me break most of this nasty habit. But what would have happened if I had cleared this repetitive cycle sooner… earlier in my life? I can’t even imagine.
Then the body image thing… I have been telling myself I was fat since I was 12. I remember that day… a girl in my class had leggings on and I realized I wouldn’t look as skinny if I had leggings on… and that was the first day “ I’m fat” took residence in my mind. It’s taken me years to evict this thought. I chose to torture myself for more than half my life with these weapons of self-destruction. What are yours? Find them… and kill them… show them no mercy. Be ruthless. Your life depends on it. GRRRRRRRR! Fight for yourself and watch the world applaud for you. You are far braver than you know.