This article was written by Poornima Baskar and first published here.
You’ve spent so many years looking forward to this phase of your life. And it always looked so cool. So glamorous. So filled with love and laughter.
Yet, here you are. With knowledge that it’s anything but that.
It’s messy buns and messier lives. It’s baggy shirts and overflowing laundry bags. It’s a lot of work and never enough money. It’s freedom with responsibilities. And life is no longer what it seemed like.
Different people are doing different things.
Your best friend’s getting married. Your old classmate is killing it with success. Your ex is happy in love. Your old mate is drowning in drugs. Different people are doing different things. But not you. You’re just existing. You’re getting through everyday a little better than the last. But then you have days where you can’t get up at all.
You spend your Friday evenings holed up in a corner because you’re too responsible to drink your night away. Too control freakish to lose yourself to someone else’s tunes. But somehow, this isn’t enough. This life you’re living doesn’t feel complete. Loneliness wraps around you like a blanket you love and you wonder where you went wrong. Why you became different to everyone else.
“Did I do too much too soon? Did I not do enough? Was there a reason why it was never me? Is this going to be the rest of my life? Alone? Unsuccessful? Filled with dreams that never come true?”
And your hands reach out to your phone. One text. One call. To that someone who might make you feel pretty. Who might make you feel important. And your need takes over.
The need to feel accepted. To feel appreciated. To feel adored. To feel loved.
And it is so strong, you forget your sanity for a few minutes of flattery. You lessen your worth for dishonest words. The hurt in your heart, camouflaged. If only for a few seconds.
But it’s never enough. And when you wake up, it’s worse. The hammering of your heart so loud in your ears. A memory of last night frustratingly haunting. Yet another mistake. Yet again.
You scream hateful words to yourself. When will I ever learn? You go over those messages. Those conversations. How you fell right back into a ditch when you knew better. Just for a moment, you wish you weren’t yourself.
And in that moment, read these words:
Breathe. It’s not so bad. You think I don’t understand. But I do. Because I’m there, too. I’ve made that call. I’ve texted that wrong person. I’ve woken up with regrets. I still do. I’ve felt the need to be held. I’ve felt that silent green monster towards a friend in love.
Yes, we all make those mistakes. And we all think nobody else does. But they do.
So please, don’t hate yourself. And don’t stop. Don’t stop loving with all you have. Don’t stop wishing on every shooting star. Don’t stop dreaming of fairytales and being as amazing as Malala Yousafzai. You might not always get there, but don’t stop.
You have so much left to do. You have a world filled with life waiting to happen. You have books to be read. Steps to be taken. Places to see. People to meet. You haven’t lived half your life yet. There’s so much ahead. And in ten years, when you look back, you’ll wish you were here again.
So don’t waste it wallowing in your own sadness. Don’t lose yourself to your self-pity and non-existent boundaries. Use everyday. And I don’t mean spend thousands of dollars and visit the North Pole. I know how you’re struggling to make ends meet.
Do the simple things. Stop procrastinating. Take a walk with nature. Go to the gym. Read your favorite book for the millionth time. Watch a movie. Write your novel. Sketch until you’re better than the best. Eat like you’re dying tomorrow. And most importantly, make mistakes. Your heart will heal. But today will never be back again. Don’t live with “Could-have-been’s.” Take chances.
And ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS remember – It’s okay to be alone.
There is time to let your life revolve around someone else. But today, let it revolve around you.
Not because you can’t find someone. Not because you can’t be loved.
But because you deserve to wake up with a smile. You deserve to live life. To make memories so wild, you’ll be the coolest grandparent they’ve ever known.
Breathe. It’s only your mid-20s.
You’re going to be alright.