The other day I was talking to a couple of friends about a certain circumstance in my life. As I talked, I realized these horribly bitter, acidic words were coming out of my mouth. I’ve made a real effort to be positive in the past several months. I’m around too many negative people to not make an effort to be positive – if I don’t, I end up drowning in a soured puddle of complaints and woe-is-me-mush. I’m way too easily affected by other people’s attitudes. So to hear these words coming out of my own mouth…I stopped partway into a sentence and said, “Er…wow. Just a little bitter, there.” And here I thought I was over it. I don’t let the what-ifs of the past consume me every day. I try to live mostly by the motto “I am who I am today in spite of my past, not because of it.” I say that because there are quite a few things I would never want changed, and so you take the good with the bad. But isn’t that how it is for everyone?
We all have to realize at some point, that we would have done some things differently. Usually we come to realize first, that we would have had our parents do some things differently. For me though, I would give a lot – I’m not exactly sure what, since I don’t think I have anything of high enough value – to go back and let my 20-something self give my 17 year old self some advice.
- First of all, Maria was right. Where a door closes, somewhere a window opens. Whether god does it or the window just opens out of sheer annoyance with your personality is up for debate.
- Your gut instinct is usually also right. Follow your heart. Because when you do, you have enough sheer will to force the window open.
- Put your foot down. Say no. You feel better afterwards. A simple “no” can put iron in your blood…there’s something very empowering about it.
- Accept your past, but don’t dwell on it. You’ll just be bogged down, your energy sapped from all the things you really want to do. No one wants to wallow in the bad parts of their past all the time. Don’t forget, but put it in a dark closet and just pull it out once a year to look at it, cry over it, and put it back.
- Don’t let them tell you what you can’t do, Baby. The only thing that’s stopping you now…is you.
And now the 20-something me needs to accept the choices the 17 year old made, and not let them hold her back. The bitterness and anger needs to go back in the closet for today.