I think the majority of people when they reach a certain age, look back on their lives and contemplate their mistakes, choices and possibly regrets and say, “If I only knew then what I know now.” If I put all 10 of my fingers and 10 of my toes together and add all 10 fingers and 10 toes of every person I know, I still don’t think the number would amount to how many times I have said this exact phrase to myself in the past few years. Reading the diary of my 6th grade self, I cannot help but to envy the life I once had. It was surely simpler times. There are days I would even trade my current self for my high school self and that’s saying a lot!
Yet, there is a big part of me that is just recently beginning to feel proud of the woman I am becoming. I have made my fair share of mistakes and have held on to quite a few regrets in my rather short lifetime, but I am slowly yet surely figuring out who I am and embracing the mishaps that have shaped me. It has also taken me quite some time to be able to say that last sentence. I used to say that I am accepting the mistakes I have made and learning to let them go. However, upon discovering myself, I have discovered that I love the woman I am and I would be nowhere near as strong, brave or independent as I am without my so called mistakes. I had to mentally inform myself that I am no longer going to call them mistakes or attempt to let go of my “regrets” but I am going to embrace the mishaps. This is a big step for any person let alone a young woman.
I am a 26 year old on the brink of being another year older. I have spent the last year of my life reflecting upon the past 25 years of it. In this time, I have not only begun to find myself but I have made some discoveries into my past. I did a lot of self-actualization over the past year. One day I sat down and wrote all of the things about myself that I know to be true whether they be facts or just words. From doing this, I made a major discovery about myself and let me just tell you, my mind has been both boggled and blown! I am messy, passionate, helpful, compassionate, independent, dependant, organized, unmotivated, full of dreams, empty, powerful, respectful, sailor-mouthed, calm, quiet, loud, loving, giving and needy. I realized that I am so many things. As humans, we have the capacity to be more than one thing at a time. We have the ability to be loving and hateful in the exact same moment. We can live an incredibly messy life and still color-coordinate our closets. We can be in love with another person and despise them just the same. We are complex, confusing and over-whelmingly frustrating beings.
This is such a simple thought and something that I am sure a lot of people are aware of. For me, it was a major breakthrough. Along with the realization that I am more than one thing, I realized that I can do more than one thing. Throughout my life I have struggled with many things but one thing in particular, “What in the hell am I going to do with my life?” I made a list for this question as well: makeup artist, psychologist, writer, chef, social worker, stay at home mom, cat lady, esthetician, live-in nanny, psychiatrist, professional student etc. The list went on believe me. So came the realization process. I can be and will be more than one thing. I do not need to decide on one thing to be for the rest of my life. I am good enough being what I am now and when I am ready, I will be more. It is little moments like this that I live for. Little moments when something so obvious and menial finally clicks in my brain and I feel as though the heavens have opened and the massive weight of the world has jumped off my shoulders and I finally have a little bit of piece and quite in my own mind.
Another thing that I realized from every single list that I have ever made about myself is the one that did all of the mind boggling and blowing. Nowhere in any of my lists did I ever say, “Talented”, “beautiful”, “amazing”, “sexy” or even “pretty”. Nor did I list “Americas Next Top Model” or “body building competitor” as a future career. This didn’t just say something to me, it freaking screamed something at me! My life can be as confused and messy as it wants. I may not know what I want to be until I am thirty. My laundry will stay in a pile for over a week and I will continue to despise my job. But nothing will ever change in my life until I learn to love myself, and when I say love myself, I mean I need to fall head over heels in love with the person I am because I am stuck with me forever. Talk about a serious commitment. I don’t even get a ring!