Growing up, I thought my whole life would be together by the time I was 25. A nice house, a partner that I was head-over-heels for and happily married to, possibly even a kid or two. I’d have a nice SUV or something, so I could be a soccer mom and a PTA mom – the kind you see in all the movies.
Adulthood seemed so great and simple. I couldn’t wait for that freedom. I watched my parents, my friends’ parents, and other adults that made everything seem so easy. Happy relationships, jobs they enjoyed, and a family they loved. I couldn’t wait to be out on my own. To have that life that I wanted so badly.Talk about looking at the world through rose-colored glasses.
I wanted my happily ever after.
By the time I was 25, however, I had none of those things. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I felt like I had dug a hole for myself and I couldn’t climb out of it. I didn’t have a stable bank account (I spent more time in the negatives than not), and I had a hard time finding a job that felt like it was meant for me. My car barely worked, a toxic relationship I felt absolutely trapped in, and chronic illnesses that prevented me from having a family like I always wanted.
I felt ashamed that my life was nothing like all those rom-coms and coming-of-age movies I loved so much. I was supposed to have my life together, but instead I was falling apart, like a ball of yarn that just continued to unravel. And no matter how much time I spent pulling the thread, I could never get ahead of it.
I really wanted to give up. To accept that I wasn’t going to have that picturesque movie life. But I’m so glad that I didn’t.
As I continued to dig my way out of the ground, I realized that practically no one has their lives together in their 20s.
It wasn’t just me, like I had spent years telling myself. Everyone else is stumbling around in life, too, trying to figure things out. What we displayed publicly was an illusion, something to make everyone believe our lives were perfect.
We’re all struggling through life, we’re all making mistakes. But we’re also learning from them. Those toxic exes that made us miserable? They taught us how to spot those red flags and avoid them, as well as teaching us what we do and don’t want in a relationship. That coworker/friend/sibling that walked all over you? They taught you how to stand your ground and know your worth. Those money mistakes you made taught you how to take better control of your finances.
The only way to learn and grow is to make bad decisions.
Human beings are flawed. We’re not meant to be perfect, and that’s the most beautiful part of us. All the crappy things that happened to me when I was younger have made me stronger, wiser, and ready to take on anything. Even now that I am 30, I know I’ll make more mistakes, but I’m excited to learn from them and keep building this wonderful, crazy, roller coaster ride that I call life. At 30, I’m finally ready to truly live.