“WHAT AM I DOING?” AND OTHER QUESTIONS I’VE ASKED MYSELF IN MY EARLY 20’S

I’m turning 26 next month. Here are a few things I pondered over while trying to survive college, start my career and dodge dudes that didn’t like me.

This doesn’t require much of a preamble other than saying I’m turning 26 next month and saying goodbye to the first half of my twenties so I obviously have every right to write this.

I’M MATURE NOW MOTHERTRUCKERS. BEEP BEEP.

Here’s some of the questions I’ve pondered over, and what I’ve managed to sort out in terms of answering them.

“What am I doing with my life?”

There’s no wrong answer because it’s whatever is happening in the present. It’s an… ongoing answer? Kinda underwhelming, I know, but it’s a half-decent reason to rely on your intuition because you won’t know what you were doing in the grand scheme of things until the end. Not trying to be morbid!!!!! IT’S INSPIRING OK? Go see what you can get away with.

“What do I value?”

I feel like this is hard to know the answer unless you’ve actually thought about it. Once I made a point of answering this question with a pen and paper, I found it a lot easier to actually live out my values. I highly suggest it. Also can be interesting to look back on later because your values can change over time based on life experiences.

I know now that the number one thing I value is integrity.

“How will I know if I had an orgasm?”

I legit Googled this once. I’ll put it this way – you’ll know if you DIDN’T have one. How’s that for an answer?

“Are they into me?”

If you are truly unsure, I’m gonna go with no. See advice below. 

“How does XYZ person afford [insert whatever thing here]????!!?”

Ok, so to be clear, this is a rhetorical question because it’s nobodies’ business how you afford shit. Next, there are a few realistic answers:

  1. Debt. Maybe credit card debt.
  2. Support of some kind that relieves financial burdens and frees up income (perhaps from a sugar daddy who propositioned them in their Instagram DMs?).
  3. Responsible saving. Nobody wants to post about buying two-ply toilet paper on Instagram back to back with their photos from Fiji, but that’s the reality in some cases.

“What happened last night?”

I blacked out from drinking more than I have fingers and toes and teeth in my early 20s so I asked this a lot. Typically, I did something slutty. Or I came home at 3am and destroyed the kitchen making something to eat. Or both!

“Should I say something?”

Usually, yes. This applies to a whole bunch of situations. Have the damn conversation.

As a people pleaser and someone who has always struggled with this, I can safely say it hurts everybody involved more in the big picture when you withhold what you really want to say. Sometimes it’s not as bad as you think it’s going to be, and sometimes it’s exactly as bad as you think it’s going to be. You can’t protect people from their own emotions, and you can’t control how people choose to react. All you can do is speak your truth when the time isn’t right (but don’t wait too long) and tell them whatever it is you need to say.

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I have chosen to have more hard and painful conversations in the last 18 months than I did in the previous 30 years, total. And I think it’s not a coincidence that the more I do it, the more comfortable I feel in myself— as myself. Conflict avoidance is a coping strategy, and a lot of us develop it as a completely understandable response to early life. 🙋‍♀️ But as adults, when we chronically choose the temporary relief of avoiding the hard thing over standing up for our own needs and owning our desires, we eventually pay for that chronic self-betrayal. For me, the price was an un-nameable and pervasive sadness, physical pain, heaviness and exhaustion. Every time I speak my truth, knowing it may not be what the other person wants to hear, I’m still a little surprised to look down afterwards and realize WOW I AM STILL ALIVE. Vulnerability will not kill you. The uncomfortable and temporary side effects of choosing yourself are badges of honor. They’re evidence that you are growing; breaking free of old conditioning and patterns that don’t serve you. Breathe and do the thing and remember who you are. That’s my self-imposed job description these days. #emilyonlife

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“Should I be saving for retirement?”

Yes, if it’s financially feasible, but also…no?

Anytime a question has a ‘should’ at the beginning I ask myself if I actually care about the answer, or if I feel like I’m *supposed* to care about the answer.

Doing certain things doesn’t make you more or less of an adult, and having an RRSP doesn’t automatically mean you have your life together.

“What should I do with my hair?”

I recently did something out of character and asked my new stylist this and he talked me out of doing something really dumb and expensive during our consultation.

Much like when a therapist tells you something is a bad idea, you LISTEN THE FRIG UP.

Sometimes in the heat of the moment we forget that bangs take approximately 9 months to grow out. Whatever you want is the answer, but it never hurts to consult an expert.

“Where do I go from here?”

This is basically another variation of “what comes next?” which is what this entire blog navigates through…arguably. In order to actually answer this question, I had to stop running away from it out of fear and accept that it was up to me to decide.

Sounds easy, but when you don’t trust yourself it kinda feels like hurling yourself off a cliff with a running start. How else are you gonna build self-trust though?????

Anyway, the answer is that I’m going to Australia. G’day mate.

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This is a photo of me standing in my first apartment after I signed the lease in 2016. Just like then, there’s a lot of change and hope in the air right now. Two weeks from now I’m moving out of my beloved bachelorette pad and back in with my parents for a few months before an even bigger change. The day after I turn 26 I’ll be getting on a plane and going to Melbourne with a working holiday visa (no return ticket booked) 😅 This has been the year of big leaps, extreme discomfort and questioning EVERYTHING but I can feel it in my bones that in order to keep growing I’ve gotta go for a lil bit. I also want to be in a different setting to work on my book baby. But between now and November my focus is to be as present as possible and to remind myself to *let go* every time I feel myself trying to resist change. ⚡️🌊 #australia

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