2010s aka My Thirties

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So, there’s this weird thing because I was born at the tail end of the tail end of a decade, every decade we celebrate in time basically marks another decade of my life. So, I wanted to write a post up about the last decade of my life.
I’ve decided to combine it with a video of a song. So this will be a long post with a song, just to make it super easy for most people to scroll over to get to the next meme. I don’t blame you. This is not what Facebook is for. But sometimes I feel like I should share a little bit of myself. If you skip over it, it’s fine and I don’t begrudge you. If you stay for the ride, thank you and welcome. 🙂

 

I was born to laugh / I learned to laugh through my tears / I was born to love / I’m gonna learn to love without fear

I think of my twenties as my “wilderness years,” marked by a major depression that took the front half of my 20s to get over. But it’s a lie that I really “got over it.” I was very dumb and got no professional help. I did not realize I was even depressed before other people laid it out for me. I had to retreat in just about every possible way you can. But I got OUT of it. Slowly. Very slowly. I managed it. I figured out a way around it. And it’s left scars (mostly a drastic weight gain I’m still lugging around) that are still there.

But, my thirties. My thirties (aka the 2010s) were… well, mixed. I think I found out more about myself during this decade than any other combined. I finally got to a comfortable place in my relationship. I managed to quiet my internal restlessness, to a point. There’s always a part of myself that’s going to expect more of myself. But I’ve learned to enjoy where I am more. I try to appreciate where I am, and not just see it as a blur on the way to where I want to go. We bought a house. That’s, honestly, not something I thought I’d ever do. I think it’s hard to explain to some people, but if you grow up going from apartment to apartment… always below the poverty line… it just didn’t seem like something that was ever meant for me. To have this permanent place… it was a different feeling. Scary and amazing and wonderful and overwhelming all in equal measure.

It makes it harder to run away. Or want to run away. I’m a person who’s thrived on change. I’m used to chucking it all and starting over. The thing about that is, you never leave yourself behind. That took a really long time, and some very patient love, to understand.

Pour me a glass of wine / Talk deep into the night / Who knows what we’ll find

You know what I love? I love friends you can chat into the wee hours of the morning with. I love friends who challenge me, but don’t want to hurt me. They aren’t interested in playing games or oneupmanship. I want that relaxed ease. Otherwise, I don’t get the point. I’ve never been one for a huge group of friends. I’d rather have a handful of really close friends. I’m very bad at maintaining relationships with a lot of people. Even people I really, really like. But in my thirties, I think I managed to balance this out more. Sometimes I wish I had more time to spend with everyone. But I need/value my alone time, so I kind of need friends who know I might peace out for a while. 

 

Put your elbows on the table / I’ll listen long as I am able / There’s nowhere I’d rather be

One thing I’ve managed to do this past decade is get back to myself a little bit. To find a balance between my desire to be there for others and my ability to set boundaries. I find it too easy to sacrifice myself for others. It’s a hard lesson to realize some people just aren’t worth your time. They might be worth your caring. They might be worth your understanding. They might even be worth your pity or patience. But your time? The reality is, we cannot actually “reclaim our time” (in the universal sense.) And none of us are guaranteed anything future-wise. 

We’ve seen the landfill rainbow / We’ve seen the junkyard of love / Baby it’s no place for you and me

I’ve recognized some very dark spaces within me. I am trying to come to terms with this. These things are not who I want to be. But, I’ve realized I’ve had my mind filled with so much poison about this—thanks organized religion—that I need to let go. We all have those dark spaces. Sometimes I’ve felt like giving into them and just reveling in them. There are wells of cruelty within me. There are wells of hatred and…. just a lot of unpleasant stuff.

You know what I’ve learned? The worst thing you can do is try to shut out those dark places. You lock the door, put wallpaper over them, and they just seethe there. I don’t know, maybe this works for some people, but I suspect it doesn’t for most. Using these dark places as a means to self-flagellate yourself or wear them like weights you’re carrying around to punish yourself… that doesn’t work either. I spent so much of my life trying to be perfect. The son who didn’t do anything wrong. The boyfriend who never told a lie. The friend who was always there no matter what. If you’ve ever been disappointed by me, please no that it probably doesn’t match the disappointment I’ve had in myself. This is no way to live. I’m working on this all the time. But I’m very much trying to just be the best person I can be any given day, and when I mess up, I’m trying to honestly learn from those mistakes and make changes. The thing about covering up or hiding your dark places? When you screw up, it’s easy to just throw those screw ups in with the dark places too. So you never learn from them. You never grow.

Secret fears, the supernatural / Thank God for this new laughter/ Thank God the joke’s on me

I lost my faith in my 20s. I spent a lot of time mad at religion. I spent time being mad at God for not existing and being mad at myself for believing in him. I spent time nursing a broken heart from people espousing these ideals that directly hurt me. I spent a lot of time being angry at the corruption, and the hypocriticalness of it all. I’m not angry so much any more. At least, when I have anger about these things, I try to channel it.

I have no interest in God as a traditional concept. What good there is in the Bible and organized religion is not outweighed by the atrocities, hypocracies, and compromises that are necessary to join up with that thinking. To me. But, I have become more understanding and less angry of the people on that path.
I try to approach this from a more humble place. I do believe there’s more to our universe than we know. I think there are wonders to behold. I have very little idea of what that entails, but I’m more open. I am interested in finding out more and learning and seeking on my own. From whatever source those ideals might be. This is actually more how I was raised anyway. I just needed to swing the other way dramatically to come back to some kind of center, I think.

I was born to laugh / I learned to laugh through my tears / I was born to love / I’m gonna learn to love without fear

Finally, this last decade helped me see a lot. I got depressed again. I chased the wrong things. Stayed at a horrible job  for far too long. I put my time and energy and caring into people who, ultimately, showed they were not worth my time. I became someone I didn’t much like. And then, I got rid of all of that. I truly enjoy my current job. I’m writing more than ever. And, perhaps best of all, I do not view the last decade of my life as being “lost.” I accomplished a lot, both professionally and personally. The last few years have been hard in other ways. I still struggle with how much to be connected to the wider world. How much anger and pain I can take in. How much I should filter out. What is the place between being willfully ignorant and going insane because you try to take in too much? How much should you forgive someone, and when should you hold them accountable for actions they’ve taken that hurt you?

The thing is, I think I’ve learned how to laugh, even when it hurts. That’s the time you need to laugh the most. And more, to accept that the tears will come. I’m less afraid of life. I’m less afraid to lose. I don’t want to, but I can at least see the path forward better. I’ve slowly come to accept that there’s no fixing everything. 

You’ll never please everyone. You’ll never be everything to everyone. Some people in your life will be main characters. Some will be side characters. Some will be cameos. 

But the biggest thing I’ve learned? To be more of myself. I try more and more every day to do that. All these things I tried to hide. All these things I tried to hold back to make others more comfortable. The truth is, most people want you to be so much lesser than you are. The problem is, when you limit yourself, you make yourself more palatable to the worst people. And you block yourself off from the best people. 

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