Age • 28
“I cannot even begin to tell you how many regrets I have for time that I’ve wasted.”
BEING Young & Twenty is to be aware of how meaningful and important every single day is. I cannot begin to tell you how many regrets I have for the time I’ve wasted.
As a recovering drug addict and alcoholic, with 2 short years of sobriety, the majority of my 20’s (and teens) was spent looking down the neck of the bottle or pipe.
I finally broke the law, got caught, spent a year in jail, and another 7 months in rehab. I’m still finishing up a 5 year deferred adjudicated probation sentence.
I couldn’t escape accountability.
I had to face it head on.
BEING Young & Twenty means I’m not a child anymore.
I say this not because I deserve a pity party – but to STRESS how important it is to be mindful of your actions and how they can, and will, affect your future.
If you know someone going down a questionable path, don’t be afraid to confront them. The future is depending on you and me, us twenty-somethings, so let’s not compromise our values & self-respect!
“For as long as we turn our head to the bad of reality, we’re missing our chance to stand up for the good.”
We live in a fast-moving world that often forces our heads to turn to the bad instead of the good. But we cannot live this way. We cannot focus on what’s wrong when there’s so much that is right. There is so much to believe in.
We must stop and look around.
We must stop and look around or we’ll miss a puppy see a flower roll in its first flower bed or a baby take its first steps. We’ll miss the ‘thug’ on the bus give their seat to an elder, or your neighbour – smiling wide – as they hold open the door. We’ll miss one homeless person share their sandwich with another and a child’s face light up, with a new teddy in their arms.
We have the ability to see what we want.
With every step, we remind ourselves of heartbreak and pain. The humans that start war and the evil on the news. We look away to avoid a society we’ve been taught to hate. Of course, this world is full of broken people.
But, for as long as we turn our head to the bad of reality, we’re missing our chance to stand up for the good. We’re missing the for better or worse that life promised.
This image was illustrated in collaboration with Lemon Chicken Por Favor
“Just because I don’t know what the future holds for me in college, doesn’t mean I need to be scared.”
BEING Young & Twenty means uncertainty.
We’re still discovering ourselves.
We’re trying to find our identity.
I never thought I’d be scared – but I am.
I’m worried about how I’ll do in college and what I’ll do after.
I’m worried about my finances. I’m worried if I’ll make my family proud.
I’m starting to realize that just because I don’t know what the future holds for me, doesn’t mean I need to be scared.
Yes, I don’t know what I’m doing in the next month, or what classes I’m taking this fall, but that’s okay. It’s okay to be uncertain. It should make us excited.
Excited to see what the future is going to hold.
I like to think that uncertainty means new discoveries.
“Hermits do not date. How could we? We sit at home 99.9% of the day and only see those in our socially awkward social group.”
Hermit’s don’t date.
How could we?
We sit at home all day and hang out with those in our awkward social group. A group which does not scream “Hey boys!” when out in public. Getting a date the old-fashioned way at a club or while standing in line at a Starbucks was not going to happen for me.
With few years left in my 20’s, I decided not to hit the BIG 3 – 0 with my V-card in hand. So, I did what any hermit in the digital age did – I headed online.
I started to focus on the sexual part of my humanity. It gave me this new found confidence and led me to a man that I could not see myself being without today. I’d spent every year of my 20’s being in a shadow up until that point, but I finally started seeing myself as a worthy person.
Ready for what? I’m still not sure.
BEING Young & Twenty is the exploration of self.
Exploration is the only way one discovers.
Make progressions and try and see who you are by 30.
It’ll seem less daunting when you have an idea of what the next chapter holds.
For me? That’s marriage, moving on from the comfort of the place I’ve lived post-college, and seeing the world.
Life’s not always easy.
Sometimes our families bicker, our days are long, our nights feel lonely, and our minds simply can’t rest. It’s in these moments we must realize that happiness truly is the smallest things in life. So small that we often miss them, in this fast and chaotic world that we live in.
And so, I created a list of things to do, thoughts to think, and actions to take, to hopefully help myself (and whoever scrolls through this post) to live life a little happier.
What’s something that makes you happy?
Let me know in the comments
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- Do cardio for at least 15 minutes a day
- Wear a BIG, oversize sweater
- Start the successful blog you’ve always wanted to
- Remind yourself that things get better
- TAKE IT EASY ON THE BOOZE
- Avoid negative people
- Get a planner to use instead of your phone calendar
- Listen to your favorite songs in acoustic versions
- Clean your Email inbox
- Delete anyone from Facebook that gives you bad vibes
- Give yourself an honest compliment in the mirror
- Watch your favorite TV show from the 90’s
- Try a deep breathing exercise
- Rest your legs up against the wall for a few minutes
- Spend an entire Saturday lost in a game of ‘SIMS’
- Sign up for a ‘Survey’ website to start making side cash
- Take a ‘mental health’ day
- Make a BIG mug of your favorite tea
- Set new goals that you can aspire to
- Relax in a hot tub, steam room, or [dry] sauna
- Spend time absorbing natural sunlight
- Overcome your resistance to try online dating
- Learn how to celebrate other peoples’ successes
- DRINK MORE WATER
- Start picking out your outfit the night before
- Listen to an uplifting podcast
- Eat a slice of cake – guilt free
- QUESTION EVERYTHING
- Start using coupons & saving money
- Train, prepare, and run in a marathon
- DON’T OVERTHINK
- Have a meaningful conversation with someone
- Buy an ‘adult’ coloring book and brand new pencil crayons
- Find a way to forgive yourself
- Light a good smelling candle
- Find a loved one, stranger, or therapist, to vent to
- ^ if there is no one, FIND a way to vent
- Have an opinion about things going on in the world
- Drive to a country road and spend your night stargazing
- Write a new blog post
- Learn more about the political party you stand behind
- Drive to a new town and spend the day exploring
- Support an artist you love on Etsy by making a purchase
- Write a letter to someone and don’t send it
- Make a move (or initiate) to talk to the person you like
- Drink a glass of warm lemon water in the morning
- Flip through an uplifting book, like The Book of Awesome
- Always ask questions; no matter how stupid they may seem
- Learn how to make a beautiful, unique cheese platter
- Buy a lottery ticket and test your luck! *fingers crossed*
- Go to a discount store or SALE rack and find a good bargain
- Focus on one day at a time
- PICK YOUR BATTLES
- Create your dream home on Pinterest
- Spend time with people who make you happy
- Find your passion and figure out how to get paid for it
- Read a book that challenges the way you think
- Start waking up a 1/2 hour earlier
- DON’T FILL UP ON BREAD
- Add a “feel good playlist” to your phone or iPod
- Commit to your personal growth
- Don’t lose your cool – especially at work
- Write a poem about your feelings
- Refresh your phone with a new case and background
- GO GREEN!
- Find a way to voice your opinion on a topic you feel strongly about
- Find a local bakery and get a freshly baked baguette
- If you’ve made your point – stop talking
- Listen to a sad song a cry freely, when needed
- Buy a Polaroid camera and capture life from a different perspective
- Throw out every tangible item that makes you unhappy
- Treat everyone how you want to be treated
- TAKE CHANCES
- Turn your artwork into products, and products into money, on Redbubble
- Start to give sincere compliments to others
- Splurge on a high-quality facial cream
- Clean your apartment and THROW THINGS OUT!
- Listen to an old song that you haven’t heard in years
- Find a fun and creative way to organize and budget your money
- Create a new cocktail with the ingredients you have at home
- Make a physical scrapbook of your favorite memories
- Identify your negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones
- Turn off your alarm and SLEEP IN!
- Learn about another culture
- Reconnect with someone who you’ve lost touch with
- Become a volunteer at an animal shelter
- Return all of the things you’ve borrowed over the years
- Start to address your emotions instead of ignoring them
- Handmake the next Birthday card you need
- Write a letter to your future self
- Lay in bed amongst freshly washed sheets
- Get a plant for your apartment
- See how long you can go without complaining
- Learn how to revamp your most unattractive piece of furniture
- Watch inspirational TED talks on YouTube
- Blow bubbles from your apartment balcony
- Learn how to be okay with being alone
- Create a ‘meditation’ or quiet spot in your house
- AGREE TO DISAGREE
- Make your own list of things that make you happy!