now I understand why Peter Pan didn’t want to grow up

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Sometime last week a friend asked me if I was ready for this upcoming Wednesday. I looked at the text message and tried to remember what was happening on Wednesday. My usual schedule for that day is gym and haircut or a lazy day with some Netflix. I make a rule that I cannot go out or drink during the week or that will make life so much more difficult for the rest of the week. I had to reply, “What is on Wednesday?” after being confused why a friend would want to know why I was excited for the gym…. She replied “Your birthday party!”

I sat at my desk and laughed out loud. Where did these last 365 days go? How was it already my birthday? How did I accomplish so much in one year but not enough at the same time? Could I get just one more week of being 22 years old so I could get my life in order before turning 23? Can I make sure I have a clean room and my laundry is done?

Unfortunately life does not wait for you to have it in order and goes by even when you are not paying attention. On the 24th of December I turn 23 years old and that age is very old to me.

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The last month has been a difficult one to to say the least with some family stuff, personal stuff and my lack of interest in my day to day life. For a while life has been so routine with the same thing over and over again.

Turning 23 and starting a new year of my life there are some reminders I have for myself to make sure I can alter my life with the changes of growing up and keep my true self in check.

  • I am not going to be this lonely forever

Twenty-three is ending up to be a lonely year and uncomfortable socially. I was never one to have a million friends and a busy social calendar but I knew I had some social interaction guaranteed on a weekend. In college I lived with other people and even on a busy weekend I knew I could go find someone in the library to chat with. There has been a lot of change in the last six months and my social life is kind of lagging. I moved back home so I am far away from the usual people who were usually surrounding me and making plans to see each other is very difficult to schedule. I am thankful to still have some high school friends here that I still see but even though we are all  short drive away from each other, trying to find time on the weekends to see each other while they have boyfriends to see and all of us have sleep to catch up on, we often choose a night in our beds over hanging out. And that is all completely justified.

For my 23rd year I have to give it some time. I work at a job where no one is my age since  I am at a level entry job. I need to adjust to this new PGL chapter of my life and establish a new group of close friends. I have resolutions to make an effort to go join things or take classes to be in a setting where I can meet new people.

  • I never thought in a million years I would be working for my town

I love my job and there is a lot I can learn from where I am. There are also a lot of benefits to this job including being able to walk to work which saves me a lot of money, the ability to be late to work every single day and I am not micromanaged while I work. That is a blessing! I can go about my day and get done what needs to get done at my own pace. At the end of the day, the rest of the office just trusts I did it. I know this is not my forever job and I think I know when it will be time for me to move on. But for now even though I am not making a lot of money,  I am happy where I work and you cannot put a price tag on that.

  • I have no clue what I am doing and that is okay

I know I am not alone in this at all. There are some days I wake up and want to know what I am doing with my life. What am I doing tomorrow? Next week? From all of the times I have no idea what I am doing with my life I have learned what I do not want to do with my life and this is a great lesson to learn from.

  • I have failed and this will not be the last time

There are so many things I want to do in one day that I never get too. There are relationships that have failed this past year. There are friendships I have seen failed. There are family situations I have seen failed over and over again.My mental health failed more than once this past year. Even with all of this failure, I am not afraid to take risks and determination to start over.

  • Someone will love me again (eventually)

For a long time I thought having a relationship is something that can put you together when you are feeling broken. I know that is very inaccurate but it was hopeful feeling I didn’t have to do the hard part of putting myself together. This past year I have had to grow up a lot. I have had to deal with a lot of difficult decisions and life events. Some people know about them and others do not. Some people know the light and airy description of the recent events in my life that I can laugh it off like it does not really bother me. Others are clueless and I like it that way. When some people hear my story they comment on how brave and strong I am. Really? Because I feel like a pile of goo or a lifeless person collapsed to the ground and cannot get up. Even with this personal battle(s) I have faced I was smart enough not to date or get involved with a boy. I had offers to date over the last year but I knew that if I was not whole inside as a person, I would not be able to give myself to a relationship. I will be loved again and I will have the ability to love again….. someday…..

  • I love myself

I hope that if I say it enough out loud I will actually believe it. Towards the end of March last year I had to start putting myself first. Yes that does sound horribly selfish but you can only put others before your self for so long until you crack. I cracked . Many times. I am still trying to learn how to love this PGL self. The old things that used to make me happy are not as easy to do as before. I loved spending hours at the library or walking across campus to go to Starbucks. I can’t beat myself up for not knowing what I want. I have so much time to grow into the person I become and so far I like this new fearless, powerful, standing up for myself, assertive person.

  • Yes means yes, No means no & and No still means no

During this new PGL chapter of my life I have to say yes to a lot of things that I normally would never do. Like having to be at a job at 8:30 in the morning, going up to bed at 9pm, dragging my butt out of bed when all I want to do is sleep on the weekend and saying yes to projects assigned to me when all I want to do is be on Pinterest at work. This year I have started to set boundaries and make rules for myself. At work it is easy for adults to push me around because of my age, gender and of my level entry job. I can remain assertive until I get my way. “No, there is nothing I can do about the leaves outside of your house right now ” for example is a common response I can now say…. To remain healthy and stable I need to put my own needs above everyone else’s. I deserve to take care of myself and if I want to stay home and wash my hair that night- I should be able to.

  • Being the director of my own life

One of the hardest parts of my PGL is that I had no one to tell me what to do. In college we had an advisor and major to tell us what classes to take, our views on issues, and they had control over our lives with the amount of classwork they gave us. A lot of my college life was based on doing things I had to do because someone told me to. Right now my life is only controlled Monday through Friday 8:30 -4:30 and the rest of it is up to me. I have to learn for the first time what I actually want to do. I love to go to the gym but now I need to force myself to go because no one else is going to make sure I went. For the first time there is a big lack of structure in our lives but  now it is time to live our dream. I can now make the choices I want to make but that doesn’t mean I do not ask my parents if I can first just because it is always nicer for someone else to tell you what to do with your life.

  • NO

Use it. Accept it. Say it. I cannot stress enough how important this word is. Say it confidently and often as you want. There are things you know will be wrong for you. Jobs, friends, and relationships. It is your right to say no and it is a something that should be said easily.

Ask for what you want

For the first time recently I asked a day off of work and I felt so uncomfortable doing it. But why? Everyone else had already taken week long vacations… I vowed to be or at least act confident when asking for things I wanted. No one is going to read your mind and guess at what you want. Now in the PGL you have to ask for what you want and sometimes fight for it. This is the real world people and we do not get handed things. Except we get handed our paycheck but only after working hard for it. The sooner you get comfortable asking for things the better life becomes. Confidence is a great asset and can often be faked…

My body is a temple

Okay I have been eating a lot of Chick Fil A and quick easy dinners at night but I try to make smart healthy decisions as much as possible. I have changed my alcohol intake and rarely drink now. If I do not eat breakfast I become a groggy mess by 10am and dinner with vegetables is a must. I have changed everything in my fridge to be healthy options instead of living on processed college food choices. I schedule days to work out even if I am beyond exhausted I make myself go. If I do not take care of myself, who else will? I know that I am young and can go for a few more years eating badly, lack of sleep and drinking until 2am but I want to keep getting older and not have to regret not taking better care of my body.

  • See you never

There are a lot of friends I have lost purposely and by accident. Life is crazy for everyone and a lot of us have different priorities. There are some friends I only see once a year and that is enough for me. I know the friendship is still there and I accept where our lives are right now. Then there are some friends I stopped making an effort to see. I wondered if I didn’t ask to make plans would they? Obviously they haven’t. So now I know I made the right choice. Then there are some friends that do not put you as a priority. It is hard to accept in the beginning but I know that no matter how many times I ask to hang out or grab a cup of coffee the answer will remain the same. I like to think I am a good friend… I will bend over backwards for someone and I give great gifts. But when I am going out of my way for someone and they are no longer making the effort I know it is time to move on. It is hard but it leaves more room for new people who want to be in my life.

  • Finally, I do not have it figured out

I don’t even know what I am going to wear today or tomorrow. How am I supposed to know what I will be doing with my life next week? Right now I am on the struggle bus with no way off and I have accepted that. I am someone who likes to have everything planned out and I am at peace that I do not have all of this figured out yet. But I do not want to either. I like not knowing how my life will turn out. If I did that would be so boring! Everything will fall into place, that I do know. Until then, I am along for the ride.

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