Welcome to Word Vomit Wednesday! A series of blog posts about a specific topic from current events that I, and sometimes the rest of the Internet, ruminate obsessively about. All thoughts/opinions/experiences are my own; I don’t claim anything that I write to represent anyone other than myself.
Hello lovely people! Today’s WVW will be a departure from the usual content because 1) it’s suuuuuper late (I meant to post last week and not this week) and 2) I turned 30 last week (hence why I did not post)! To commemorate this new decade and because we live in the Buzzfeed era, I’ve decided to do some personal reflection and make a list of 30 of some of the more important things I have learned up to this point. Some lessons took a very long time to sink in, some I had to learn quickly and unexpectedly, and some I’ve always had with me. In no particular order, here they are:
1. If you say you’re going to do something, do the best you can. You’re allowed to take your time. You’re allowed to change your mind. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad or flaky person if you’re not always able to follow through.
2. Manage your damage. You deserve healing and people in your life who recognize you as human instead of punish you for it. It is the hardest, least selfish, and most rewarding work you will ever do. Give yourself that gift.
3. You have a lot to offer. Don’t feel pressured to only give what people may want of you, but figure out how and what you want to contribute on terms that make sense for you.
4. The most important relationship you have is with yourself. As cliched and overly-simplistic as this statement is, it’s also true. No one is going to be with you as much or as long as you will be with yourself. Figuring out how to be the best you for you makes things feel a lot easier and can even help make approaching your other relationships more manageable.
5. It’s ok to be vulnerable and it’s imperative to be selective about who to be vulnerable to. Feeling vulnerable is all about feeling safe and can also very much be about context. Not everyone can or should be entrusted with your heart and your experiences, so paying close attention to picking up on who is safe and who isn’t is an important skill to develop. Which brings us to...
6. Listen to your body. For pain, red flags, pleasure. You may not understand exactly what your body is telling you in the moment, but it’s important. We get so many messages about how we should be and what we could be doing. While a lot of this messaging is meant to help us to be our “best selves” all it really ends up doing is making us distrustful of our own experiences, instincts, and intuition regarding what is actually best for us.
7. Trust yourself.
8. People will treat you like shit. Sometimes it’s systemic based on who you are and other times hurt people hurt people. Either way, dump those people and situations. They will only hold you back.
9. It’s ok to be angry and to show it. In some circumstances it’s absolutely necessary. Anger and rage are basic human emotions and are not indications of the kind of person one is, but who would know that based on how our relationship to anger is so fucked up in our society. Women aren’t allowed to express it and men are expected to express it frequently and violently neither of which are healthy for individuals or the community at large. Healthy relationships to our anger (and other emotions) can let us know when a boundary is crossed and can give us the energy necessary to assert ourselves.
10. Be curious. Ask anything and everything. The less mysterious the world is, the less fear is controlling the steering wheel in our lives.
11. If you can, travel as much as possible. You’ll learn things about the world and about yourself by getting out of your comfort zone. Sometimes, just going out in your own backyard can be enough of an inspiration or adventure.
12. Stop feeling bad for wanting and needing things. Toughing shit out just because that’s what we’re told to do is terrible advice. All you’re doing is suppressing important information about yourself.
13. Friends will come and go, and with them many gifts and insights into different moments from your life.
14. There is nothing wrong with you. Even if you’re suffering, it may not have anything to do with who you are or anything you have done.
15. There might be something wrong with you. Sometimes if you’re suffering there might be an underlying condition that warrants investigation.
16. Take your medical health into your own hands. Don’t settle for medical professionals who don’t actually help you find the answers and treatment you need and also make you feel like shit about it. Your health is more important than their God-complex.
17. Things that once held the most importance to you may change due to unexpected circumstances. Embrace the change and reevaluate your priorities by putting yourself first.
18. Mourn the person and dreams you thought you would be and have accomplished by this point. Just because things didn’t come to fruition the way you once imagined they would, doesn’t mean those dreams were stupid or a failure. Those parts of you and the space they occupied deserve to be honored.
19. Throw societal expectations out the window and learn about who you are instead. The world, and you, will benefit more from showing up as your authentic self than what you think the world wants you to be.
20. It’s none of your business what other people think of you.
21. Use your privilege to make space for other marginalized voices and allow others to make space for you to use yours. But, and depending on what space is being occupied, don’t wait to be invited to use your voice.
22. You will face very difficult and sometimes traumatic situations in your life. You may struggle with decisions in the moment or for years afterward, but there is no right solution. There is only what will be the healthiest for you, sometimes on a moment to moment basis.
23. Ask for help. As a being that is human, you have limits. It’s ok to know what those are and ask for assistance. No one expects you to be able to do everything yourself and if you find yourself surrounded by people who do, you may not be surrounded by the healthiest people and/or you’ve somehow infiltrated a robot army. So, back away s l o w l y.
24. Spend time with the people who are most important to you. This seems like a no-brainer but can often feel like a huge challenge. We come up with all kinds of excuses not to be together: too much work, not enough money, who will watch my cat, etc. Sometimes we really can’t get away, but a lot of times we just need to get off the grind.
25. VOTE AND CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES
26. You may have people you admire and works of art that you love for all kinds of reasons. Creativity can unite us, help us empathize with one another, and speak truth to power. Once a person wakes up to the power structures that affect and oppress us in daily life, they will also realize that no matter how much joy someone, a song, or a film can bring, it does not mean that it may not be problematic AF too.
27. Allow life to happen, but not too much. Be more proactive in your own life lest you get too swept away in other people’s decisions.
28. Figure out your boundaries and set them. If others don’t respect them, that’s a reflection of them not you. And take that as a cue to dump those people as fast as possible. You can’t change anyone so don’t continue to kowtow to people who think your feelings/needs are not as valid as theirs.
29. People will surprise you. Just as you are changing, so is everyone around you. Sometimes these surprises will hurt and other times they will move you to the happiest tears.
30. Allow yourself to acknowledge all the good things in your life, everything you’ve accomplished, and the love you get from others. It’s ok to accept and be recognized for your awesomeness without deflecting or self-deprecating. Because you’re great, no excuses needed!
Katie Louchheim could not be offered enough money to EVER want to relive her 20s. She has a feeling the best is yet to come.