A couple months ago I said goodbye to twenty-nine and entered a whole new decade of life! I am so grateful and excited to enter this new decade of life both healthily and happily. The twenties were such a transformative time for me mentally, and I can’t help but tear up a little (maybe a lot) when I think back to the girl I started out my 20s as. I am so proud of the woman I have become (and am becoming).
The next three blog posts will be about the lessons my 20s taught me.
My last year in my 20s will live in my memory as the year I started truly listening to myself which ultimately led me to start living life from a place of authenticity. Halfway through my 29th year I had an epiphany of sorts as I reflected on past years of my life and noted the huge ways in which I have been pushed to change. The start of my twenties were tumultuous years. My mother, younger sister and I had just found our footing in Florida, the state we moved to after my older sister died unexpectedly. I didn’t think I’d ever recover from all that happened. From the foreclosure on the home I grew up in, to being homeless and living out of motels, to losing my father to alcoholism…I spent most of my 20th year in a sadness I had never encountered before. I felt broken in ways that made me think life wasn’t worth living and became grudgeful of the future. I didn’t understand why life had brought my family and I so many problems all at once. Everything felt difficult, so I stopped doing everything. It wasn’t until two years later when I finally sought help after taking my first courses in psychology that I realized I had been battling depression all along, that that empty feeling was a symptom of a depression that had begun in my late teens.
When I think back to my former self, the girl whose heart was broken, who felt so lost and who only thought bad things could and would happen to her, I cry. I cry tears of pride because of what still lived inside of me even then: hope. I knew even then, despite the trials that had been thrown at me, that there would be more to my life. Through the awful thoughts I contemplated, through those moments of sadness, I still knew somewhere deep down that there were happier days ahead, days I daydreamed about, days I prayed for after getting help and reviving my faith. And I was right.
Since those days of despair, there have been days of happiness, many days of happiness, the big kind of happiness stemming from life’s big moments, and the little kind of happiness that I’m not sure I’d appreciate as much had I not experienced turmoil in my earlier years. What I realize now that I didn’t know in my earlier twenties as I battled depression was how those moments, those moments I hated, those moments of sadness and despair, molded me into someone who is both strong and soft and full of gratitude. I can open myself more easily than before and listen to the problems of others without feeling uncomfortable, for I’ve felt sadness too. I don’t have a strong attachment to the things I can own or buy, for I’ve lost it all before. I can let go of the things that bother me more easily and even when I’m straying from this, I can more easily come back to peace.