*Originally published in 2019*
One of the best feelings in the world is being able to look back at a time in your life and say, “Gosh, I’m so much happier now!”
I don’t know about you, but all of my social media feeds have been filling up with pictures for the 10 year challenge. With the end of the 2010’s coming to a close, most of us are taking a bit more time to reflect on the past decade.
I was 20 in 2009. I graduated college that fall semester, started my Masters degree, was single, lived in my first apartment in Boston, and was figuring out adulthood.
Now I’m 30. I’ve gotten married, left a nearly decade-long teaching career for the unknown, moved to Colorado, and am still figuring out adulthood (but arguably a different stage of adulthood).
While over the past decade I learned to do things like let my eyebrows grown in, stop obsessively tanning, and not wear leopard print with lace-up jeans, I also became happier because I learned these 10 Truths:
- Your job does not define who you are as a person. While it is wonderful to make a career out of something you are passionate about, it’s ok if your job is just a job. Work to feel productive. Work to provide for yourself and others. Work to make the world a better place in one small way or another, but at the end of the day, your job is not what people will write on your tombstone or remember you for.
- When it comes to romantic relationships, look for a partner not a “project.” In the past I settled for so many people that I saw “potential” in. I thought that love was always enough, but truthfully, love means nothing if it doesn’t include respect. While nobody is perfect, a partner should be just that–a partner, an equal. Date the person you’re with, not the person “you know they can be.”
- No matter what, you come first. It’s not selfish because if you are not healthy, happy, and fulfilled, you cannot be there for anyone, or show up for anything that life requires. Put your oxygen mask on before helping others.
- Confidently say “no” to things that you genuinely don’t want to do. If people don’t like it, fine. Noone else’s happiness is worth living a life that isn’t yours.
- Being active and working out is essential, but sometimes rest is best. Also, working out has nothing to do with the way that you look on the outside–it’s all about being healthy on the inside.
- Friendships should be treated the same way as a romantic relationship when it comes to effort. If you are putting in more than you’re getting back, maybe it’s time to reevaluate. Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with having different friends for different stages of life. Not everyone has to be your “best friend” or “ride or die” for your entire life. Just because you were really close with someone in the past and you two have parted ways or become distant, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your friendship is any less valuable than your friendship with others currently in your life.
- Embrace change and the unknown. Not every single thing needs to be planned accordingly and executed to a T. In fact, most plans go awry anyways! The greatest growth only happens when you’re uncomfortable, and uncomfortability is what happens when you throw it all to the wind.
- It’s okay to ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of strength and self-awareness.
- Failure is a farce. Sure, there are things that don’t work out the way that we’d hoped, but “failing” implies that there is nowhere to go. As long as you can try again or try something different, you always have a way of moving forward.
- Lastly, life really does get better as you get older. Think of getting older like the aging of a fine red wine; the more it ages, the more seasoned and more bold the flavor.
While learning and embracing something new is always scary at first, I’m so glad that my life experiences over the past 10 years allowed me to realize these 10 Truths. I am so much happier as a result and promise that you will be too!