I started to write a journal entry this morning and decided instead to turn it into a blog entry for my future self to look back at. Today is my last official day in my twenties. Usually about four months before my birthday I begin to answer the “How old are you?” question with “I’ll be ___ soon.” to prepare myself for the new number. This year I found it extremely important to execute that exercise as not only was I leaving a year behind, but a decade.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid to turn the big 3-0, but it does bring out the reflecting and goal setting parts of myself more than usual. Am I proud of the way I lived the last decade? Did I “accomplish” what I wanted to? Do I have any unfinished business I’d rather let go of before I enter this next decade of my life? How does my relationship with my Self stand today? How can I bring this new Self forward in a way that will lead to the most authentic decade of my life thus far.
I was a very insecure, lonely kid. I harboured a lot of difficult feelings about my self, took everything very personally and through my pain made some fairly self-abandoning decisions. I didn’t realize that I was responsible for caring for my self, and that self-esteem was to be built and not always given. My parents loved me very much, but through there own struggles and the difficulties they shared in bringing up my younger brother I was very much left to my own devices. I didn’t cause trouble, and learned early how to feel useful by lending an ear to friends and family in need. I didn’t, however, learn anything about being a good friend to myself.
By the time I reached my twenties I was one lost individual, deeply afraid of life and what it would mean to actually live. For many of the years I lived in an episode of major depression, unable to get out of bed or do the simplest of self-care tasks like brushing my teeth. I’d try, but always end up crawling back into bed or finding temporary relief in a food binge. I sought out relationships with men I thought I had advice or support to offer, thinking I could “fix them”. None of them asked me to, or had even desired that, but I needed the distraction to avoid looking at my Self in the mirror, and to combat the extreme loneliness I felt on a regular basis. I hurt a lot of people that way, jumping in like a super hero, burning out and then running away. Deep down always knowing the person I needed to build a relationship with was myself, but not having the (as I choose my wording carefully) compassion to fully commit.
How does one fully commit to a relationship with another person, if they haven’t yet committed to a loving relationship with themselves? This question plagues and boggles my mind as I see all around me people in relationships that appear to bring them joy when they don’t seem to value themselves at the standards I have set for myself. It hasn’t been a possibility for me, or at least the opportunity to try hasn’t presented itself in a healthy way.
I’m entering my 4th decade, and I’m very much alone. I have few friendships-but those that I do have are close and committed. I have moments where I still get scared about being “lonely” forever. The difference, I notice, between now and last decade is the way I feel about me when I have these feelings. The messages I once sent myself no longer plague my mind. Instead, I’m left with more of a curiosity. If I still feel “unworthy” of a loving relationship, what improvements still need to be made to my relationship with my Self? Are we having enough fun? Do we treat our body well? Do we challenge our Self in ways that make us feel proud? Do we send loving words and thoughts our way when we make a mistake or do something that doesn’t come from our highest self? How do we honour our self?
This next decade I want to be the best friend I can be to me. Good days and bad, I want to be able to truly feel loved and accepted by me. The last decade, I realize, was about learning tolerance for my self (and others). I do not want to build a life around tolerant relationships when there are so many ways to feel pure joy!
I will spend my 30’s finding more and more of what those ways looks like for me.
Happy Birthday, Charlotte.
P.S 2020 is a new decade for ALL. How do you plan to honour your Self more?