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Mr Unprepared and I are embarking on a decluttering frenzy around our house. OK, so it isn’t exactly a frenzy, but we are enthusiastic and wanting to utilise our storage spaces better. Which is totally something that old, married with kids, home owning people tend to be really interested in. At least this old couple, anyhow. Which brings me to the point of this blog post. I’m old this year. In a couple of months I turn the big 3-0. I’m actually pretty cool with that. I used to think that getting older was tragic and scary (there’s an embarrassing story about how I cried on the eve of my 20th because I wouldn’t be a teenager anymore), but now I feel good. I’ll be able to blame all of the ‘old person’ stuff I do on being 30. When you’re still in your 20s you really have no excuse, so I look forward to just being legitimately ‘old’. Yeah, I know 30 isn’t old these days, but 30 is really really old to the kid me 😉
Anyhow, while we were busy decluttering our bookshelves in the home office, we came across some old notebook journals I’d kept at least a decade (and more) ago. You know, when we all used pens and paper much more. When I had the time to lie in bed each night and write about every part of my life. The journals started the year after I left school and continued throughout the first few years of my relationship with Mr Unprepared. I think I stopped using paper when we moved into our current house and I probably decided to go digital or that I didn’t want incriminating on-paper evidence of my deepest thoughts cluttering up the new place anymore. Who knows.
Of course I couldn’t resist sitting down later that night and having a read. You know that quote from the movie Bridesmaids?
Well, that’s kind of how I felt when I read it. I cringed my way through the sad, handwritten book of a girl who had no idea of her own worth, on a misguided search for validation and self esteem. There were cringe-worthy hook ups with the odd boy here and there. And when I say odd, I mean some of the boys were a bit odd. Sad monologues about how I wasn’t worthy of being in relationships like all of my friends who had boyfriends. Insecurities oozing out everywhere all over the pages. I saw immature friendship fall outs (the types where no-one was really right and no-one was really wrong – we were all just hopped up on hormones and teen drama). I felt sad that I couldn’t see the real problems in my life for the fake ones (which felt so real at the time). I justified and defended those who treated me badly and I focused my attention in all the wrong places. I let people hurt my feelings who had no right to have any impact on my life. I was so…lost. I lived my life scared. It didn’t take much for someone to squash me – it was easier that way. No risks, no getting hurt. Or so I thought. I was so wrong, but I don’t blame the younger me. I had much to learn in the coming years.
Of course, I don’t regret anything I did or didn’t do. Ultimately, I do not have a time machine. I had to learn things and grow older and wiser. I am who I am today because of everything I’ve been through. The good and the bad. And in 10 years I am sure I’ll look back on the almost 30 year old me and think the same.
Today, as the almost 30 year old me, I feel OK. There are some things I’m working through (when in life aren’t we working through something?) and I have so many things I want to improve (when in life should we ever stop trying to better ourselves?), but I am a bit more OK with who I am. I am a mother, responsible for a very special little person and I have to make decisions that affect more people than just myself each day. I have to be strong and I now know my power and influence – that what I say and do is important to a handful of very good people. I now know that my sense of self worth can only come from me believing in myself, not just from other people who shouldn’t have a say in the matter.
I look in the mirror and at photographs, and sure I see someone who could stand to lose a handful of kilos, but I see so much more. I know that while ‘pretty’ and ‘sexy’ can be nice, they are not all that make a person attractive or worthy of love. I am strong, smart, funny (in a goofy kind of way) and I have a lot to offer. I have confidence that I didn’t have before (although I am still working on it) and to me, confidence is all the old me really would have needed. I wish I could tell the teenaged me that, but it’s OK because she eventually figures that out 😉
I still get anxious over silly things. I still get hurt feelings. I still fear rejection or abandonment. I just see it for what it is now and it’s not always about me. It can be about the other person too.
I’ve learnt that some relationships are toxic and some people don’t deserve to take up my time. I’ve also learnt that there are some very good people in my life that I may have taken for granted in the past and I want to learn from my mistakes. I’ve also learnt to say no to FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). To feel confident in the quality of the relationships I have enough to look after myself too.
I am so glad I’ve grown and I can’t wait to see what my perspective on life is in another decade. I know I have a lot more important stuff to learn, that’s for sure. Who knows, maybe I should get out my pen and my notebook again and get cracking.
So tell me, what have you learnt about yourself in the past 10 years (or 5 if you’re a spring chicken)? What would you tell the younger you? x