The 5 Important Life Lessons I Learned at Age 26
I love this stretch of the end of the year! First, there’s Daylight Saving’s time (yes, getting an extra hour of sleep is considered a holiday in my book), then Gman’s birthday, my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s! So many holidays, so many chances to celebrate, so many moments for reflection on the last few months, and so many moments to think about the year ahead.
I like to start off this part of the year reflecting back on the year I’ve had and the lessons I learned that led up to me writing this post today. You may remember I did a post last year when I turned 26. It was about the top 5 life lessons I learned at age 25. I had so much fun writing the post because I was able to express a great recap of my year. So again, I am here, writing this post on a Sunday afternoon, the day before my birthday.
Here are the 5 important life lessons I’ve learned at age 26:
1. It’s okay to set boundaries for myself.
Back in 2014, I learned I was co-dependent. Being co-dependent can mean a myriad of things, but for me, it means that I am willing to put other people’s needs in front of my own at the expense of my well-being. Growing up, I always thought doing this was the right thing to do, but it was because the other people around me were also co-dependent. It wasn’t until this year that I decided to take a step back and focus a bit more on taking care of myself and not trying to please other people in an unhealthy way.
Late this year, I joined a support group called Celebrate Recovery and have learned more and more about the steps I need to take to recover from past hurts and habits due to co-dependency. I’ve let go of a few friendships and cut ties with people because I found that the relationships I was having with them was mainly about me pleasing them and making them happy. When I expected the same in return, I was left disappointed. Instead of putting myself through insanity, I made some tough decisions and did what I thought was best for me. Uprooting these bonds was painful and difficult; because I’m co-dependent, I was worried about the other person’s well-being versus my own. In the end, I felt free and refreshed. I learned that the people I hang out with are going to influence me, but a lot more than I realized. I have learned that surrounding myself with like-minded people is an important part of my recovery from co-dependency.
2. I am not perfect; therefore, I cannot please everyone.
This has been such a consistent lesson in my life this year as it also ties in with my co-dependency. I want so badly to please everyone around me that if I don’t do something perfectly or am not playing the perfect role as a friend, fiancé, employee, daughter, or sister, I am very hard on myself. I am my own worst critic and I have a lot of self-hate that I need to work on. I have to realize that I am not a perfect person; I’m not always going to please everyone. In fact, my goal in life should not be to please everyone, but to be the best version of myself. That entails making a few mistakes here and there, but that’s okay. I have learned that the high standard I’ve set for myself needs to come down from its prideful seat that I’ve created in my mind. I need to be more gentle with myself and put more effort in focusing on accepting and loving me.
3. Never say never.
As some of you may know, Gman and I got engaged this year. It’s such a blissful and exciting time for us, but if I can honest with you guys, I never thought I would be getting married. Caught up in my past hurts from prior relationships, I couldn’t see a future of me finding “the one”. I also grew up in a house hold where although my parents loved each other, they fought a lot to the point where I thought, “If this is what married life is like, I never want to get married.” Now, I can say with a clear mind and heart that I was immature to realize that not all marriages are the same, that there can be a marriage for me that’s different from the bad ones I’ve seen. Gman and I have the opportunity to create a new marriage that we want, not a marriage our parents had. We have the chance to create an image of a healthy marriage for our kids, grandkids, great grandkids and so on. It’s still shocking that marriage will be a part of my life soon. I have learned that you can’t base your future on what’s happened in your past.
4. Work hard and never let go of your dreams.
I’ve been blogging for 4 years. Anyone who doesn’t do blogging or vlogging may not understand the work it takes to build credibility and a following. It takes time and a lot of work to organically get a pay-off. I also received feedback from close friends and family that it may be a waste of time to work hard on something I’m not achieving quick pay-off from. It’s hard when some of the people closest to you don’t support your dreams. So at the beginning of this year, I made a deal with myself: If I didn’t see a good return of investment on my blogging by September of this year, I was going to shut down DizzySpangle forever and focus on doing other things to further my career. So for the last 11 months, I gave myself a fair shot. I worked with brands, I plugged myself in with an influencer group (shout-out to the Vegas Lifestyle Influencer babes <3) and worked late nights after my fulltime gig to make it happen. September rolled around and I suddenly remembered the deal I made with myself. I habitually checked my email and there was a note from a company called Culture Trip saying that they picked me as one of their “Las Vegas Fashion Bloggers You Need to Follow”. I was blown away as this was a great sign to me that I shouldn’t quit on my dreams. I learned that no matter what anyone says, no matter how long it takes, keep chasing after your dreams and never let anyone or anything make you feel like you can’t achieve them.
5. There is nothing wrong with doing the right thing.
I worked at a job where I got in trouble for helping an office mate for filing. I was told that because she was in a position lower than me, it would look bad to other people that I helped someone at that level. I couldn’t believe it. I tried to understand, but my mind couldn’t wrap around the concept. I took it as a sign that something was not right about where I was at. Eventually, another situation occurred where that same office mate was bullied. Surprisingly, I got push back when I stood up for her. Things escalated to the point where one person in the office felt compelled to pull other people into her office and tell them not to talk to me as my behavior was being monitored. I was deemed to be an over emotional person that chose people over business. This left me feeling like an outcast with a majority of the office. I decided to focus on my work and the small group of friends I did have at the office instead. Eventually, I made a move to leave the company. Before I left, I asked for a performance review and was given low marks because of my over emotional investment in the bullying situations. I was told that my attitude afterwards was inappropriate because I supposedly isolated myself, when in reality, I was being isolated. All I was doing was trying to do the right thing.
Although the situation was painful, it taught me a lot about what type of work environment I wanted to be in and about myself. I have learned that although doing the right thing isn’t always the most popular idea, you should walk with courage and faith and do it anyways no matter the outcome. I usually try to avoid conflict at all costs because it’s very uncomfortable for me, but there was something in me that sparked a fire. I can only learn from the situation and carry my lessons with me as I move on to further my career.
Love you guys !