There are defining moments in life that shape the person we become. From the people you meet, places you go, events you experience, to the love you acquire and the loss that consumes you. It’s all part of the incessant learning experience we call living. There are several blogs going around with lists these days. Maybe it’s a trend, or maybe we are all feeling a need to reorganize our lives and have simple revelations… ones that don’t necessarily change everything, but give us something to think about.
After a year in the real-world, I’ve learned several important life lessons… like apartments aren’t always what they seem (some are cockroach infested), roommates are hardly ever ideal and a lot of people never, ever mature. I was always taught growing up to respect my elders. That people with more years under their belt are always wiser than I am.
Surprisingly, I found out that’s NOT the case. Although, I can hardly stand to be around most people my own age and as far as dating goes? I’ve decided that guys less than 10 years my senior are basically out of the question… especially since I’m looking for someone who has a little maturity and can have a meaningful conversation that lasts more than five minutes. This starts off my list.
10) Older Means Wiser
Or Age is Just a Number? That one is a partial truth. Age defines some people perfectly, but most people have a little more depth. It’s all about life experience, maturity and personality. I know plenty of people who function well in the real world with great careers and beautiful families, but can they hold a proper conversation? Can they separate their emotions and think rationally? Can they think less about themselves and more about others? Not quite. I know everyone has flaws, but c’mon. By age 30, I hope I’m not stirring up drama just to get attention.
9) Beauty is Exterior
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. This saying puts beauty in society’s eyes. Depending on a person’s view of you, you could be beautiful or ugly. It essentially means, someone will find you beautiful, while others will not. While this may be valid, it also insinuates that beauty cannot be found within ourselves, we have to seek it from other people. I’ve spent my whole life trying to understand what beauty is and how to become it. Did it mean I had to have a skinny waist, long flowing hair and toned muscles? Did it mean I had to be passionate about something everyone thought was cool… art, music, sports? Beauty lies within us, the beholder lives inside the mirror.
8) You Will Never Be Good Enough
I’ve never had one passion. One thing I’m really good at, that I stick to, work on and sweat over. The truth is I haven’t found my true passion yet. I’d lean toward writing because I spend most of my free time typing up my thoughts. But since I never had that one thing growing up, I always felt inferior. My friends all had great talents: from singing to academia, I was surrounded by prodigies. I was “normal” and I hated it. I never thought I’d be good enough for anything, or anyone. The truth? Being good at a bunch of things is sometimes better than being great at just one.
7) I Am Damaged Goods and No Man Will Ever Love Me
I’ve been through hell back when it comes to relationships. I have more baggage than JFK and LAX combined. I don’t talk about it, except when I’m a special kind of drunk or when I’m with my most trusted friends. But I somehow came to believe that since my baggage was so heavy, that no one would ever want to help me unpack. This may be the biggest lie I have ever accepted. Truth is, I know it’s bullshit, and yet I still wrestle with it every day. God has blessed me with wonderful men in my life in the past two years who have shown me that passion and love were meant to co-exist and baggage is just part of the deal. I may not have a solid relationship track record, but I’m definitely getting closer.
6) It Is Unacceptable and Irresponsible to Chase Your Dreams
I really wish I would have refuted this lie. I could be in Nashville working in music business and singing at open mic nights with all the other dream chasers. Or, I could be traveling the world with a backpack full of my belongings teaching children in underdeveloped countries. I was the responsible one, who chose a career that would make ends meet and keep me out of debt. I landed a respectable job, but am I happy? I sit at a computer for 8 hours a day. I don’t really help anyone. I don’t give back to a broken world. I’m not living my passion. So what the hell am I doing with my life? It is completely acceptable to chase your dreams. It’s even admired and respected by most, especially those who never had the courage to do it themselves.
5) Religion Must Define You
I’m still figuring out what I believe and how to live it out. All I know for certain is my “religion,” if you can even call it that, is love. Growing up in rural America, living where you had the option of being the town saint or the town alcoholic, I believed I had a choice between subscribing to a belief system and following blindly what the preacher said, or I could be accepted by the outcasts who chose to take out their sorrows on a needle or a pint. It was a fairly simple choice, but after leaving and having my once stitched up eyes opened for the first time, I realized it’s perfectly normal to question your belief system and explore others. It’s not about finding what fits your personality, it’s about digging for answers and searching for truth.
4) You Have to Be Perfect
I’m a die-hard perfectionist at heart. If I don’t do something flawlessly, I beat myself up about it. I get anxious and worry. I constantly think there’s something I could’ve done differently. It has been engraved into my default setting. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I cried when I got my first B in school. I thought it meant that I failed my teacher, myself and my parents. I thought it put me at a sub-par level and I would never be good enough (back to the other lie again). I’ve learned perfection is SEVERELY overrated. Everyone has flaws and damn if some of them aren’t what makes us beautiful. It’s individuality. We’re all imperfect creatures. Might as well embrace it!
3) Sex and Love Go Hand in Hand
Fuck no. (No pun intended). Sex is sex. I think it’s important to have boundaries. I think it’s important to have decent relationships with each partner, as in you have a clear picture of what they want and what you want and those pictures are headed in the same direction. However, sex isn’t love and love does not require sex. Let’s be honest. Sex complicates everything. Even the not having it complicates things sometimes. At our core, we have sexual desires.
Once ignited, your body CRAVES it. It’s natural. ** before the bible thumpers chime in “that’s why you should wait!” just remember in biblical times, people got married in their preteens and had babies when their menstruation cycles first began… making abstinence a fairly reasonable request. But, let’s not start a theological debate here. Love does not require sex. I love each and every one of my friends… doesn’t mean I want to hop in bed with them. Sex and love… not always correlated.
2) You Can’t Ever Allow Someone to See You Weak
If there is anything I’ve learned at all, it’s that beauty is most prevalent in chaos, brokenness and weakness. There is nothing more real than a person hanging on by the last thread. Tears signify emotion and emotion signifies depth. Weakness is part of being human. There are things we try to hide from our peers to feel better about our predicaments, happier about our lives and even proud of our accomplishments. But if people knew your deepest, darkest secret… would they still love you? The truth is, the people that truly love you will see more beauty in your brokenness than they do in your triumphs. Your hardships are what make you real, not your proudest moments.
1) Blood Is Thicker Than Water
This is a saying that runs deep. Your family is the only life line you have in this world. I find that to be completely and utterly false. While your friends and lovers may fail you, so will your family. People aren’t perfect, so what makes us think families are? I’d give anything for my family, I don’t deny that. But I’d also give anything for my closest friends. Some of the best parts of being an only child are choosing your brothers and sisters. I have amazing people in my life. Ones that build me up and ones that take on the world with me. I chose siblings like Megan, J.B., Ashton and Katelyn… because I know that no matter our flaws, we’ll always love each other. No matter how long it’s been since we’ve last spoken, we’ll always make time for each other. I chose them and they chose me. We’re family now… but we’ll never be blood. But that is perfectly alright, because the whole blood is thicker than water bit? It couldn’t be more irrelevant.