Tonight, in a moment of sheer boredom and reflection, I opened my old Yahoo account and perused some ancient IM conversations circa 2005. And as Alicia of Jaybird, so aptly tweeted, it was “fun, mortifying and nostalgic all mixed together!” I mean, talk about a time-warp! I sat here horrified and bemused by the text on the screen. Who was that girl?!
I often feel as if I’m only play acting at being an adult, so when I encountered the conversations of my 19-20 year old self, I was shocked. I hadn’t realized how much I had actually grown up since those years of Myspace and flirty IMs with soldier boys. I barely even recognize the girl I was then. While I’m sure I could still use some of that youthful optimism every now again, there are so many things I’m glad I did learn.
I HAVE LEARNED:
HOW TO COOK
In my early twenties, my cooking skills ranged from scrambled eggs to microwavable meals. I always dated people who could cook, so who needed to learn anyway? I call that being resourceful.
Now a days, I’m actually quite comfortable in the kitchen whipping up a variety of dishes from Mexican, Chinese, Italian, and more. For me, being independent equals being able to provide a decent meal for myself.
In the past, my self-esteem was tied into the opinions of others. I allowed them to dictate whether or not I was worthy. Was I pretty enough? Skinny enough? Smart enough? They would tell me.
Now, the only opinion that matters is my own. And I know that I. Am. Enough. I may still struggle with my own body image from time to time, but I have learned that my self-worth is not tied to a number on the scale or the warped concepts of beauty that others may possess.
HOW TO LAUGH AT MYSELF
I was such an insecure, shy and easily embarrassed young woman who could blush at the drop of a hat. I grew up being teased in my household and hated being laughed at by anyone. I would never have been caught making a joke at my own expense.
These days, I’m the first one to laugh when I trip over my words or my own feet, like that time in London. I’ve learned that life is way too short too worry about being embarrassed. Besides, those embarrassing moments always make the best stories.
What have you learned over the years? Would you recognize your 20 year old self?