However, I don’t think this is a bad thing. I’m an INFJ, an introverted intuit, and I live in my head. I’m 2 months away from turning 30 and lately I have been looking inward, and listening to my inner GPS or inner voice to guide me. I know I’ve been soul searchy lately, but I’m finding my joy as I look at lessons I’ve learned throughout my 20s.
I know I made a blog post a month or two ago about how I was dreading turning 30 because I feel like I’ve failed my 20s. I haven’t moved out yet, I’m not in a long-term relationship that is leading to marriage, I’m not married, and I am not planning on children (nowadays, I don’t think children is a marker of successful 20s, they come later for most people).
Where is this internal critic coming from? As I looked back on when I was turning 20 on 4 July 2009, I don’t remember a dread of leaving my teenage years behind and entering young adulthood. HOWEVER, another dread struck me at 20. I was dating a guy at the time and I was very unhappy. I was unhappy with him because of the way he talked down to me, made fun of me, his overall treatment of me, and we didn’t have much in common. It was about a month into the relationship that something didn’t sit right with me, but I didn’t want to break it off. I was moody and miserable and he could see it, but I didn’t break it off because I was terrified of what people would think of me if my Facebook relationship changed. I was terrified that people would think of me as a loser because boyfriend #2 didn’t last long like boyfriend #1. This was my 2nd boyfriend, I didn’t date as a teenager, and while it didn’t bother me as a teen, I felt that by the time college rolled around, I should have someone.
He broke up with me two months later; like boyfriend #1, he only lasted four months. Facebook didn’t judge and in fact, after that fiasco I realized that I didn’t really want to date people. I wanted to focus on me and now I’m seeing that I truly only want friends. I’ve always admired Mother Theresa and while I’m no longer Catholic, how she touched and shaped the world goes beyond religion. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be like her and I wanted to help the world anyway I could. In the past few months, as I’ve listened to my inner voice, I still want to. I’m still figuring out ways that I can impact the world with my gifts, and right now I really need just my friends and family.
I no longer utilize Facebook and Twitter, but I think that inner critic from other voices still boom in my head. I didn’t get Canada two years ago and that is still my hope, that is where I want to live and that is where I want my first apartment or house to be. Although there can be fights at times, there is nothing wrong with me still living at home. Where I live shouldn’t be of importance to anyone other than myself (and the people I am living with). It’s frankly no one’s business, just like my relationship status or sexual preference or even my religion.
Nan used to tell me, “Jess, if critics aren’t paying your way in life, you shouldn’t listen to them. Even if they were, it is your life and you alone can only decide what is best for your life. Only you can decide what makes you happy and what makes your heart sing. Your vision is totally different from everyone else’s. Live your life to the fullest.” I’ve heard that from my mom and dad as well: “it is your life and you have to live the life you best see fit.” It’s that inner GPS concept that guides – my heart knows where it wants to go and knows it will take time. I need to be patient.
I’m no longer dreading 30. I’ve accomplished a lot in my 20s, some monumental things. I survived a trauma, I am living and breathing despite that trauma, and I continue to thrive and grow. While it took me five years to get past the anger and I’m still working on it, I am not bitter and I treat people with kindness. I said to myself one day, “I want to treat people kindly. Despite how some treated me, I do not want to follow in their footsteps.” It was after watching some TV shows that showed how dangerous bitterness can be that I decided to work on letting it go. I’ve also managed to work hard and save for goals, especially travel. I’ve paid for my adventures in my 20s and with the help of loved ones, I learned how to put aside money after bills to make these trips happen. I will employ the same techniques for Canada.
I’m sure there is more that I’ve managed to accomplish, and according to co-workers at both jobs, I’ve had more experiences than they have ever dreamed about. They are amazed with my knowledge about so many different things. However, I know what I learned in my 20s, what I’ve accomplished and even failed to do, I will build upon in my 30s. I am still young and there is still time to accomplish my goals. In fact, I decided to take a mock Canadian immigration test and at 31, I would have more points than I did at 27. While Canada wants young people, age isn’t the most important factor like I thought and internet posters made it out to be; no, your length in a full-time job or career is the major deciding factor. At 31, I will be in my 5th year of working full-time and that will give me 50 more points and a sure fire way to immigrate. My points at 27 were on the lower side and it was a miracle my 438 was picked (if I wait to 31, I would be ranked at 488). Maybe “failing” at 28 was what I needed and when I try again, I know what I need to do the second time around. I know I need to pay off debt and I need to have $10,000 in the bank when I’m picked instead of rushing to get the money after I’m invited like the first time. I will be ready in my 30s, compared to my 20s.
Anyway, I know I’m not alone in these feelings. I know these feelings plague most of my generation and I think if we all slowed down, listen to our inner voice, our inner GPS, we would find the answers we are looking for. Life is too short to feel constantly judged; be you and live life to the fullest.
I was looking through my Photobucket account and here are some photos from my 20th birthday party on 20 June 2009.
The one wearing the white shirt was my boyfriend at the time. My friends decided to cake me after they sang happy birthday to me, and it’s funny because I burst out laughing when I saw these photos. I remember this vividly.
Except for my ex, I am still friends with Tiarra, Liz, James, and Joyce. I wasn’t planning on having a 30th birthday party, but maybe I will reconsider. Liz lives in Alaska now and I know she couldn’t attend, but I can invite Tiarra, Joyce, and James. I can also invite the friends I made throughout college and work, that I didn’t know when I turned 20. I grew my tribe in my 20s and I maintained my teenage tribe too.