Nobody Likes You When You're 23

WARNING: emotional, self absorbed and reflective post ahead.

Here we go again. It’s the end of April and time to flip the switch on another year of my life. This time last year I was finishing off final projects, studying for my last undergraduate exams, searching for my first adult job, preparing for my trip to Greece and choosing what to wear under my graduation gown.

It honestly doesn’t seem like an entire year has past since those events occurred, but I’m sitting here a year later with a college degree, full-time job and some personal accomplishments under my belt.

Most of my life I’ve focused on my professional accomplishments. I’ve been the most proud of jobs, positions, projects, degrees,  published pieces, etc. Those have been my bragging rights. However, I’ve focused very little on my personal accomplishments. Perhaps that’s normal for someone in her early 20s, but regardless the past two years have changed that for me. And even the past year solidified the importance of taking care of oneself and taking pride in personal accomplishments.

When a person goes through a challenging or difficult time, their true character is revealed. How you handle tragedies often speaks more to your character than can handling success. So when my life began to flip upside down and certain elements of my personal life were tossed into chaos, I realized I didn’t love the person I was when tragedy struck. I fell into deep depressions, let emotions rage, lost sight of who I was and forgot my focus.

The past couple years were some of the hardest in my life for various reasons. They were challenging. But one positive thing that came out of lots of tears and anger, was that I could discover who I really was and work toward becoming who I wanted to be. And really, I’ve done just that.

While I will never be perfect, I have to say I am actually proud of the young woman I’ve become and the woman I am becoming. It’s taken dedication, humility, faith and lots of loving friends and family. But I’m getting there. I’ve at least figured out a process of how to fight for myself and how to constantly become a better person.

It’s interesting because not too long ago I didn’t exactly value these things. I put all my energy toward my career and my future goals. I don’t think that’s a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve become to discover life is about more than just getting a promotion or a raise.

Life is about more than a big shot professional career. It’s about bringing something good into the world. As cheesy as that sounds, I believe it to be true. I gain momentary bliss from achieving professional accomplishment, but nothing compares to the lasting joy I feel in myself as I become a better daughter, friend, sister, etc. It’s a more sustainable type of happiness.
I’ve spent the past year working on building those elements of life outside of my professional career, namely my relationships with people. I’ve regularly put my relationships with friends and family to the side while I focused on something “bigger” only to realize now, those relationships are the something “bigger.” They are of the utmost importance. I could run Google, but what would that mean if I lived my life alone.

I sitting here, 6 minutes until my first birthday as a proper “adult”, and I am mighty fine with the way life is looking right now. It’s not perfect, it never will be, but I’m happy. I’m happy and ready for 23!!!

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