Two years ago, I wrote up a post on my (now relatively dead) Tumblr recounting 10 things I had learn in the last three months. And as I was thinking about what I wanted to tell you, reader, as I embark on another journey of “blogging attempts,” I realized I wanted to revisit those 10 things and also add a few more.
I’ve been putting off this blog for a few reasons, but one of the biggest is I’m still trying to figure out life and my place in the world and all these other existential things that, maybe, I don’t really need answers to right now. And that brings me to my first point:
“Nobody likes you when you’re 23”
Or 12, or 16, or 18, or 25. You get the point. Teens, relax. You don’t need to have your life figured out before you’re 18 (despite what parents, high school advisers and looming college applications might tell you). College students and recent grads, also relax. Finding a job or internship right of college has been difficult for some of us. Some fields are more lucrative than others. It’s okay to change your major; it’s okay to change your mind. It’s okay to work in a field that isn’t what you studied in college. Maybe you don’t it love anymore or maybe it isn’t what you had hoped it would be.
In “Everybody’s Free (to wear sunscreen),” Baz Luhrmann says:
“Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.”
There’s always time to figure it out. You can always discover and pursue new passions.
I’ll say it again: Budget! Write it out, make a spreadsheet or get a handy budget planner. Make a list of all of your monthly bills (when they’re due and how much you’re spending). Make a list of your income. Are you getting paid every two weeks? Will you have enough money to cover all your bills despite your pay periods? Can you buy food this week? How much are you saving? (Please tell me you’re saving money—or at least have a piggy bank.)
Here are a few options for budget planners (click images for more details):
People are people
I feel like this is one of those things that is self-explanatory, and yet, it’s still something we need to talk about.
Children are people — their thoughts, ideas and feelings are valid. Parents are people; they are not invincible and they are equally as prone to making poor choices as anyone else. Fat people are people — they are not walking diseases or poster children for McDonald’s. (Just stop that already.) Black people are people. Latino and hispanic people are people. LGBTQ+ people are people. Religious people are people. Democrats and Republicans are people. And yes, even Trump is a person. Just because someone looks different than you, has different ideologies or political preferences — what have you — does not give you, reader, or anyone else permission to be hateful, aggressive or malicious to others. It doesn’t mean you have to accept any form of hate either.
I’m not saying you have to agree with or understand every person you meet. But we are all human. We have all made some great and some questionable choices, and we all have preferences and opinions that make us individuals. And those are great things — respect that. Respect other people.
For example, let’s say you agree with Trump in that the disaster in Puerto Rico was not as catastrophic as Hurricane Katrina, and thus shouldn’t receive as much help or funding because “we need to keep our focus on our country.”
I ask you to remember that Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, and as such, is America’s responsibility. Just like Ohio, New York, Texas and the rest of the 50 states. Puerto Rican people are without water and without electricity — the whole country has been affected by the storm.
Why does it have to come down to numbers and comparisons? Why can’t we, as people, say “I wouldn’t want to be in that situation,” and push our figureheads to help these people who could have been you? This storm was not Puerto Rico’s fault, and the citizens shouldn’t be treated like they’re at fault for something they could not control.
Just because something isn’t happening to you doesn’t mean you’re immune to it or that you can ignore it (ie: Puerto Rico, Black Lives Matters, women’s healthcare, LGBTQ+ basic civil rights, etc.). Be humble, show respect, and empathize.
Everything you have can be taken away in an instant. Please don’t forget that.
Let go of feelings that don’t belong to you
A few weeks ago, my boyfriend had his first tarot reading at Empire in Kent, Ohio. And while these readings might leave you feeling skeptical, Samantha, the woman leading the reading, said something so important and relevant: Let go of feelings that don’t belong to you.
Let’s say you and a friend are going out for coffee and catching up on life. Your friend is having a hard time at work and is currently looking for a new job. As they continue to talk about their stresses and frustration, do you find yourself also feeling frustrated?
Empathy is a powerful ability that allows us to connect with the people around us. But when someone else’s emotions begin to overpower and alter the way we feel for extended periods of time, we start opening ourselves to stress and anxiety. When you’re feeling those strong emotions, take a step back and analyze. Are these feelings mine?
I read a quote once — I think it was about depression, but it can be applied here — that said “Invite it in, allow yourself to feel it, but don’t allow it to overstay.”
Yes, empathize. But don’t hold on to those feelings for longer than necessary.
With World Mental Health Day last week and #MeToo this week, please remember that you are strong and you are valid. Your mental health is valid. Take care of yourselves and of each other. You are not alone.