20 Things I Learned in My 20s- Part Two

Here’s the second installment in my musings as I grow ever closer to 30! Let me know your thoughts if you found something you’ve related to, or something that you have learned in your 20s.

The times when you step outside your comfort zone may be some of the best times you’ll ever have.

This may be one of the biggest lesson I learned, and it’s one that has been relatively recently. While I’ve been a geek for all of my life, only within the last five years or so have I really embraced and developed this part of my personality. Instead of just observing, I began interacting. I had become so set in my online habits that once I stepped outside those boundaries, I was almost mad at myself for seeing what I had missing out on for so long. I was thrilled to explore these new parts of geekdom and fandom that had now opened up to me. And it was because of this that I was more fully introduced to the world of conventions. Three years ago I made (a probably well thought out yet still slightly hasty decision) to attend my first convention, Wizard World Chicago. Did I mention that I was attending by myself? I was so nervous, not to be in Chicago alone (after all, Chicago is my favorite city outside of my hometown), but because I had no idea what to expect, and that is a huge anxiety trigger for me. I also had some apprehension on the loneliness aspect, which really only came into play when waiting between panels and between walking the convention floor. Despite all of the internal worry (because you know I playing it cool on the outside), I had the time of my life. Three days surrounded by like-minded people, listening to amazing panels, and shopping all the vendors; for a small-town girl from the middle of Indiana, it was indescribable. I had a VIP ticket for Nathan Fillion, and I will say is that my photo-op with him left my smiling like an idiot. To this day my best friend says she’s never seen me smile that big before, and I’m a smiley person! I’ve attended two Supernatural conventions and a few other smaller cons since then, I have a few more scheduled for this year, and I’ve loved every single moment of them. I could go on and on about cons….well…on and on more, that is, but I’ll spare you. A lot of things depend on timing (literal time, money, location) but if there is something out there that you’ve been wanting to do but your doubts are holding you back, take that leap of faith. The memories you make from it will far outweigh, and outlast, the anxiety you have from stepping outside your comfort zone.

There is no perfect template on how life is supposed to go.

I’m sure that when you were 18, you had some type of timeline on how your life was going to…graduate college at 22, good job by 23, married by 26…so on and so forth. Let me ask you, how’s that going for you? If you’re 10-year plan is going strong, then I’m happy for you, I truly am. I wouldn’t wish a hard road on anyone. If it’s not, did it go belly-up at some point? Or is it right now? If it did (or is), I’m here to tell you that it will be okay. Mine sure as hell did. And I’m so thankful for it. It’s not been an easier road because of that, but I would not be where I am or who I am had things not fallen apart. Because I am also a firm believer that heartache and conflict and tribulation make us all the stronger for it, even though we may have then been at our weakest. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and when you emerge you will be amazed at how vibrant the world seems, how proud you’ll be for overcoming that obstacle, how revived you are at getting a second chance. Life isn’t perfect and it doesn’t always make sense, but that is what makes it so beautiful. So if you’ve had a bad day, month, or year, or decade, do your best to use that as motivation to make the day, month, year, or decade the best one yet.

 

Sing like no one is listening, dance like no one is watching.

For so much of my life I’ve been concerned with what other people think of me: I wanted my fellow students to think I was smart, I wanted the concert orchestra members to think I was the best cellist, I wanted the preppy kids to think I was cool enough to talk to, I wanted boys to think I was cute. So lost and misguided was I that I ended up not really fitting in anywhere, nor did I really know who I was. I consider myself extremely lucky to have not gotten stuck in the perpetuity of trying to appease other people. Because all too often to we encounter those who are living their lives trying to fit into the mold established by societal standards and fads. I’m not saying that I buck tradition completely, nor am I saying that I fall in line with every seasonal fad. But what I am saying is that I know what works for me, and that I’m going to live my life for me. There is so much in this world to see and experience, there are too many emotions to feel, there is too much life to live to care what people think about how you style your hair or what clothes you wear, or to be concerned with the person in the next car over at the stoplight seeing you dance like a fool to your favorite song, or be bothered with whether or not your neighbor can hear you singing as you clean. You do you, boo, You. Do. You.

Try to fix it by yourself first. You’ll be amazed at what you can do.

Owning a home has been an eye-opening experience. For a wonderful as it is, it can also be a pain in the ass. Owning an older home, well, somedays that can be on a whole different level. The slightest mishaps will cause me great irritation, but with a little ingenuity or a trip to the hardware store, and some help from Google, for most of them, I’ve been able to fix the problem. And that is an amazing feeling. Solving a problem that is outside your scope of knowledge is a bit like a power trip (for instance, after fixing my backed up kitchen sink, I believe that I told my mother that she could call me for all her plumbing needs). But nowadays it seems like we are becoming too dependent on calling mom or dad or service providers to do stuff for us that, within reason, we can probably accomplish ourselves. We’re becoming lazy. But the ability to think fast, engineer a feasible solution, then solve the problem is something that you will use time and time again in every facet of your life. It’s a teaching experience for when things go wrong, but it’s a confidence booster when things go right. And it is these bits and pieces of learned knowledge that get us through life’s broken faucets and wonky water heaters. As William Edward Hickson said, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” And as my boss told me one, “If it’s already broke, I’m going to try to fix it first. The only thing that will happen is it gets more broke.”

Be sure to check back tomorrow for some more insights! And don’t forget to leave a comment below!

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