Thursday, May 17, 2012

What My Twenties *Are* Teaching Me


As inspired by Sarah's post (and series), let me preface this by saying that, I'm freshly turned 24. Yes, 24. But just looking back on since I turned 20, a ton has changed. This is probably the most raw and unfiltered post I've shared on my blog.  Maybe one day, I'll share more details of these events, maybe I won't.  But some life events forced me to decide between letting the experience defeat me or strengthen me.
I choose strength, always.

When I turned 20, I thought I had the best birthday of my life. I was wrong. Each new birthday gets better and better.  It's okay to be wrong.

When I was 20, I went to my first funeral for my great Aunt and sat in the front as the immediate family. Little did I know that this funeral was preparing me for the next two years of my life. I learned that sometimes seeing the pain of loss in the one's you love can be unbearable.
It's okay to cry.

When I was 20 and a half, my boyfriend, at the time, died of SADS.  I broke and lost myself to depression.  I thought he was my great love. I was wrong about this one too.  Your loved ones, both family and friends, are in your life for the little and big stuff, so let them help.  It's okay to ask for help and let the people who love you take care of you. It doesn't make you any less of a person. And life is short, so live in the moment and try new things.


When I was nearly 21, I totaled my 10-year-old Volvo wagon. Sometimes the universe will send us wake up calls or signs. This was mine, and I'm so grateful I woke up.

When I turned 21, I had another fantastic birthday celebration. And I finally started to feel like me again. I even wore a crown. It's okay to wear a crown no matter how old you're turning. 


When I was 21, I went back to an old flame. It's okay to go backwards to move forwards. And it's okay if you realize that you need to let them go.

When I was 21 and about to start my senior year of college, death visited unexpectedly again. A best girl friend who taught me how to put on makeup, flirt with boys, and really live life, was taken from this world in a car accident. Don't hold back, live life. But more importantly, always wear your seat belt. 


When I was 21, I severely dislocated my kneecap. I couldn't bend my knee for 3 weeks and spent months re-learning how to walk motivated by knowing that I would one day run again. For the workout fiends like me, it's okay to not be able to exercise. And make sure to thank your physical therapist.

When I was 22, I no longer needed to see my therapist anymore. After four intense years of therapy, my therapist was now a friend who helped me change for the better. It's okay to work with a therapist. Therapy works wonders, if you're willing to work on yourself. 


When I was 22 and a few weeks before graduation, death greeted me again. An adviser, who worked with me through my honors thesis, never got to see my completed magazine. Appreciate your teachers, they'll help you in more than just school work.

When I was 22, I moved back home and started a new job that was exactly what I needed after graduation.   Entering the real world is a big change.Do what's right for you, even if that means moving in with your parents. 


When I was 22, I met the love of my life, but it wasn't quite a fairy tale. Sometimes you have to let go of your first love, let go of any guilt, and let yourself fall. Even if it means doing long distance, open your heart because when you find the one, don't let him go.


When I turned 23, I finally accepted that it's okay to not have lots of friends. The ones who are really your friends will be there no matter what, and these friends include your parents.

When I was 23, I started this little blog of mine. What started as an outlet for my writing, turned into something so much greater: a family of blog friends. It doesn't matter where your friends are in the world, or if you haven't met in real life, a friend is a friend is a friend. 

When I was 23, I changed jobs even though my first job had people that became a second family. It's okay to cry about leaving a job and starting a new one.


When I was 23, the long distance ended, and M and I moved in together. It's okay to cry tears of joy. 


When I was 23, I began to really focus on my life goals, most especially my writing. Sometimes we just need a little encouragement and to believe in ourselves. It's okay if you don't focus on your passion as much as you should, just so long as you start at some point and don't lose sight of your dreams.

When I was 24......to be continued.
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31 comments:

Hilliary@Brunch and Cupcakes said...

This is such a great post! It makes me want to go back and see what my 20's have taught me! I hope your having a wonderful week!

Whitney @ Everything Happens For a Reason said...

Wow girl... you have been through so much! I had no idea.

Michelle P said...

wow so much! My 20s have taught me a lot as well.

Adam said...

Wow Amanda you've been through a lot. I'm sorry to hear about your boyfriend that died from SADS

Jessica @ Lovely Little Things said...

Amanda you are one STRONG woman!
I never knew you went through so much...and you're barely 24!

With you attitude, I would never be able to tell.
You're amazing, girl...truly an inspiration!

xo

Natalie said...

You are amazing and stronger b/c of all the things you have been through. Thanks for showing us a little of your soul...it's not easy to be that honest!

Beth Dunn said...

What a lovely post. I'm sorry to hear about your losses but love how you have learned and grown
xoxo
SC

Olga said...

I love this post!! It's amazing to look back and see how much has changed. I'm turning 20 this summer so this is very relevant to me!

poptartyogini said...

Thank you for sharing so much about yourself and I'm so sorry for all the loss in your life. Your twenties are a time for learning and you're so smart to be paying attention. As someone who also saw a physical and regular therapist in her twenties, your so right that it is a good idea to listen to them. They help you live your life to the fullest.

Molly Jac said...

I flipping adore you. This post is amazing and so amazingly written. Crazy how much we can learn in only a few short years huh? I'm so glad you are where you are at now and with the love of your life, you deserve it. Ahhh...your posts just make me smile :) And I'm so sorry to hear about your loses. I know they aren't recent, but I also know how it really never goes away.

Krista said...

I love this post. I love when you share those vulnerabilities and experiences with us. It's really cool to learn a little about where you came from before I "met" you. How you became the awesomely positive and motivated girl that I know now makes more sense. You've had your share of heartache for sure. And it HAS made you stronger and in that you will help others to get stronger. Keep on blogging girl, and writing too! You are blessing to people you've never even met!

Ruthie Hart said...

I love that you can look back on the pain you've suffered in your 20s and know you've grown from it, that is the beauty of life! Ups and downs, but we always make it through. And I have come to terms with the fact that it's okay I dont have a million friends. Yes I have a million acquaintances but not many people I would call on the weekends. Better to have just a handful of TRUE friends!

Tara said...

Amanda, it sounds like the twenties have been full of life lessons for you both good & bad. I'm sure that you've experienced things that half of twenty somethings couldn't ever imagine. It sounds like you are better because of them even if at the moment they were unthinkable. Your continued positive outlook on life is admirable. :)

Neon Blonde Runner said...

Amanda, this post is incredible. Thank you so much for opening up, it's very difficult for me to do that with the blog world as well-- but this was done in such an elegant, beautiful manner and you show so clearly how you have grown from each of your experiences! The rough spots in our life are what make us stronger and better able to cope with life in the future.

I've been through some tough times myself and know what it's like to have some major downs at times. But that's what makes us human!

Caitlin C. said...

I love love this post!! So inspiring. I'm only 21, but I feel as though I'm different than who I was at 20. How can we grow so much in just a year?

TV's Take said...

Amanda what a great insightful post. I learned a lot by 24 but then the 24-30 came in and WOW. I think that's why most women feel so comfortable in their 30's...because they've seen the 20's and are happy to look back.
So sorry to hear of all your loss.

Meghan @ Shine On said...

Love this post, lady!! It made me reflect on the past five years of my 20s...I can't believe how much I've experienced, gained, lost, etc.

xox!

Emmy said...

Oh loving this! And wow yes a ton happened in those 4 years. Family and friends and those that are there for us really is what does matter the most

iris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
iris said...

I just read a life-list of lessons from a 30 year old, and it was quite intriguing...and a little argumentative, lol. It's interesting to see the commonalities across people's life lessons. Here: http://the30x30.com/

Rach @ This Italian Family said...

Thanks for sharing this. There is a lot of pain you have experienced in your early 20s. I'm sorry for that. But I am glad that you are in a good place now. :)

Blond Duck said...

Popped in to say hi! I'm turning 28 in a few months and I must tell you, this is magical.

Kristin said...

Lovely post, Amanda. Maybe someday I'll do a post like this. It's amazing how we never know what others have been through. :) You're so much stronger because of it all.

Jax said...

Ok, I really love this post!! You really did go through a lot. I'm 23 reaching 24 very soon and can relate to many of these things! So glad that you chose the stronger roads. I have to say that I completely agree about the blogging world. It's been life changing for me! I also have to say that I love the part about losing friends. The close ones are the ones that matter. That's been so hard for me to realize! I was always used to having so many friends!

HiLLjO said...

I loved this post. I'm a fresh-24, too and it's amazing how much happens this early in life. It's only going to keep on; the lessons you have shared that you have learned are really great. Have a great weekend and always love yourself.

Mademoiselle Michael said...

I'm so proud of you. Reading this has encouraged me today...we don't always know what life will bring us (ahem..this week) but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. It's there...we just have to look for it.

Honestly, what a brave post. Can't imagine what it took to write it, let alone live it.

<3

Megan said...

I love that you were so open and honest with this post. You are amazing, Amanda!!

Sundresses and Smiles said...

Great post!! I agree wholeheartedly about therapy--it can really change your life and your outlook on things!

Janna Bogert said...

You have been through so much! No wonder you are so strong. "True beauty comes from the heart of someone who has cried many tears" I am really quite proud to call you a blog friend, and I hope you know that I will always be there for you! xoxox

sherri lynn said...

Amanda this post is amazing! I so appreciate your openness - your perspective on things that have happened in your life is such an example to others! I need to spend more time thinking about lessons I can learn from different situations in my life, I feel like I just take too much time trying to process the moment instead of thinking about the takeaway - you know what I mean?

SF-1 said...

Hats off to you for sharing such intimate details about your lyf with everyone... I wish I was brave enuff to write all about my 20s.