Every year I usually write this long list of things that I have either learned or learned to let go off on my birthday. This year, this year so much has happened that in January I lost sight of it. And, now, here we are almost at the end of October…
It’s better late than never… right? Or, at least that is what I tell myself.
2020 has been a chaotic rollercoaster of a mess. It has brought me so many tears that I thought I would have to build a damn bridge to find my way back to the shoreline. It brought me yelling matches, late night drives, new friendships, a broken relationship, losing my best friend, losing even more friends and a house. But it also brought me so much good, especially in these last few months despite the crashing and burning down of a life I thought was pretty decent. Because it brought me back some of the people in my family that I lost touch with, it brought me great insight, it allowed me time for introspection, and the ability to know what is and isn’t for me.
I look at myself in the mirror and don’t see the same person I seen on my birthday. I am more confident, self-assured, responsible, reliable, understanding. I have found my voice, my person, my heart, my soul. I have found out who I am. I know where I want to go, what’s important. And, realistically, that’s more than I could say I had done in the first 8 months of this year.
30: A year you are supposed to dread.
30: The year I found myself.
So, if you are waiting at the door to turn 30 or if you are a few years away, this is what I can tell you:
Don’t be afraid. It’s just another year older, another year wiser. If you are anything like me, you won’t feel any different physically. Sure, you will mature, you will find yourself in a new light. You will come to terms with growing up, with growing older. But, you are still you. You will continue to do all the you things that you have always done. You will develop like a polaroid photograph before your very own eyes. It’s a magical thing, don’t let fear of aging make you forget what it feels like to be alive.
That list that I was talking about. I’m going to tell you about it now because I think it’s time. Here are the 30 things that I learned to let go of. The 30 things that I hope you can let go of too because it will set you free, it will make you feel alive.
- Vulnerability is a beautiful thing, it does not make you weak.
Even if the world has taught you something different, I promise you that when you take that first step forward with vulnerability, you will see the entire world in a whole new light. Don’t be afraid to say the things that you have been holding back, you never know if that one person is feeling the exact same way – you never know if your words could heal someone’s broken thoughts. Let yourself be seen and heard because it is the bravest thing you will ever do.
- Let go of trying to control everything.
The only thing you can really have control over is yourself. Life is too unpredictable, too messy for you to try and make it bend to your will. Don’t try to change people just so that they can fit into whatever mold you think they should fit into. Appreciate life for what it is. Cherish people for who they are.
- There are toxic things in this world, know how to recognize it.
Reiteration is KEY here because there will be times that you are COMPLETELY blind to the toxic things in your life, especially if they are people. This includes all of the ones that ever put you in almost relationships. It includes that ex who keeps you wrapped around their finger because you don’t know how to be anything but theirs. It includes parts of your family who aren’t beneficial to your mental health no matter how much you love them. It includes the one-sided friendships, the friend who uses you constantly. It includes those who exhausts all your mental and emotional well-being, draining all of your positive energy. It’s okay to let go, you deserve so much better.
- Remember that person you can’t help but love regardless of how many times they have hurt you… yeah, let them go too.
I don’t think I need to elaborate here. Hurt is still hurt at the end of the day and as much as you want to preach forgiveness and have a kind heart, that hurt takes time to heal. Because if you continue to put yourself through all of this damage, you’ll miss out on the right one. Because you will then see what love actually looks and feels like, how nothing else can compare to it.
- Stop making excuses for other people.
Enough is enough. If the same mistakes are repeated (even with yourself) changes have to be made. They are, and you are, responsible for those mistakes because now they have turned into a behavioural problem, something that is so inherently ingrained in the mind that it will take awhile to change it.
- When you find that love of your life – remember, it doesn’t have to be a person.
Find your passion because that will be the key to unlocking the love of your lifetime. Whether it is a creative outlet like writing or drawing, something you do with your hands like fixing old broken parts or building houses, your career. Whatever it may be, find your passion. Aspire to be all that you can be, everything else will follow.
- Someone else doesn’t need to be the one to make you happy.
If you don’t know how to be happy on your own, NO ONE else will be able to make you genuinely happy. Your happiness shouldn’t be dependent on someone else, EVER.
- There is no such thing has perfect.
The expectations that someone else holds for you, you don’t have to live up to any of them. This life is yours and yours alone. Live the life that you want to live and if they genuinely want you around, they will be okay with whatever path you are on.
- Parental ideologies.
You are now an adult, right? You’re 30 years old. Why are you still trying to meet your parents approval? They aren’t walking in your shoes, they don’t make your decisions. Hold your own beliefs, values, priorities, goals. You are allowed to change your entire life course. Growth is natural and it will come at any age. You are allowed to release yourself from any prior obligations that you had held, let go of your past, and honour whoever you are today.
- People pleasing tendencies.
Be fucking selfish. Live selfishly. Take care of you first, do what makes you happy. Life is too short to constantly feel like you are walking on eggshells. Stop bending over backwards for others. Don’t rob yourself of your time just to make someone else happy.
- There is no timeline for life.
I can’t STRESS this enough. Let go of that stupid idea that you are ‘not where you should be’ by now. Fucking stop, please. Stop comparing your life to those around you. There is no checklist. Let life take its natural course and you just might be surprised at where it will take you.
Stop focusing on all the ways in which you don’t feel good enough. At this point you are just feeding the false narrative by picking yourself apart. Be the best possible person that you are be, do what is right for you, and stay true to that.
- Let the comparisons fade away.
Focus only on living a genuinely happy life, one that you don’t have to fake or sugarcoat. Start appreciating the little things again, be grateful for what is around you. Because no one lives that perfect life regardless of how it seems.
- Your body, stop hating it.
Hey you, yes you, you’re beautiful. Hey you, yes you, you’re handsome. Fuck what everyone else says, especially those on some social media platform or within the pages of a magazine. Your body, your mind, your soul, your heart is the only one you have – take care of it all. Marvel in the beauty that is you.
- Let go of destructive behaviours.
- Irrational decision making.
Just slow down. Hold passion for the things that really matter to you. Love the things that are crucial to move you forward in life and not backwards.
- Your sense of entitlement.
- The “Perfect Moment.”
Jump into the unknown, even if you don’t feel ready – you never will. Sometimes you just have to hop onto the next star without waiting for them to align. Say yes, hop on that plane. Say yes, put yourself out there. Say yes, to what makes you happy.
- Let go of your fear of being happy.
Maybe you told yourself that it was to good to be true to feel this happy. Maybe you thought you never deserved it. Maybe you have been through so much heartache that you had trouble believing in happiness. Whatever it was, happiness is real, rejoice in it.
- Fear of love.
Take the risk, let yourself be vulnerable. Don’t let any past pain or trauma from former relationships dictate how you live your life now. Opening up to someone is so damn terrifying, and you will run the risk of being hurt… but, it’s worth it, it’s always worth it.
- Let go of your pride.
- Let go of the apologies you never received.
The energy you are giving to those people who hurt you in the past who stopped thinking about your feelings long ago… needs to stop, trust me. Life a life that isn’t weighed down by the tragedies of your past.
- There is nothing wrong with being alone.
I hope you can learn to be content with your own company. Value the time that you spend alone and are able to do some introspection. I hope that you can find fulfillment and comfort within yourself.
- The mind or the heart, pick one.
You don’t have to pick one over the other. Just remember to follow the one that speaks loudest.
- Possessiveness and jealousy.
People aren’t property. End of discussion.
- Your past struggles.
You’re a new person. You’ve changed, grown, and are stronger than ever.
- Leave the job if it isn’t conducive to you, your mental health or your physical self.
- Your comfort zone.
I hope you can truly move away from your comforts, regardless of what or who they are. I hope you can flourish. Your comfort zone doesn’t have to become somewhere you feel trapped, it can be a place you can still call home at the end of the day.
30 isn’t so bad. 30 brought me strength, happiness, and a freedom I never thought possible.
Embrace it for what it is, a number.