Parts of my late teens and twenties feel like a different lifetime, so I can't say it went by quickly. It didn't. It didn't drag, but it went by in an adequate amount of time. And when I think about it, a lot of things happened during this time in my life:
- I fulfilled my first huge personal goal of going to college, supporting myself, and securing financial independence.
- I met a ton of friends whom I still love and keep in contact with, as well as kept in touch with my closest friends from high school.
- I secured not only a steady, full-time, practical career - I began building a long-term one in something I truly love to do and feel like I could be fulfilled doing forever. A book I edited ended up on the New York Times Best Sellers list. I still can't wrap my head around that, but I can say I'm confident it means I've found my calling.
- I traveled to multiple places, with the most notable probably being New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, the Caribbean, and two continents that aren't North America - one of which was my dream-of-a-lifetime trip to Australia. That trip was something I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to go through with. And I did it at 26.
- I proved to myself I can live a healthy lifestyle and maybe even identify as an athlete.
- I completed a marathon. Me, the girl who was always walking the mile run in middle school while silently praying for it to be over. I am in the tiny percentage of people who have completed an actual marathon, and it is a surreal feeling.
- I lived with roommates, alone, and with significant others. I really got every type of living experience.
- I battled anxiety and depression, and learned to overcome and live with them.
- I figured out what is really important to me in life, and am almost to the point where I know exactly what I want out of it - mostly because I have learned to see the grays.
- I almost married the wrong person. But somehow, I found the strength to let him go and marry the right person who is amazing not only because he is him, but because he makes me a more well-rounded person and doesn't shy away from the challenges he has to endure to make me see beyond my comfort zone. He is the reason I've grown, and he is the reason I will continue to grow.
Lately, I've been feeling very, very down on myself. I say "lately," but this has been ongoing for I'd say the better part of the last two years - probably beginning from about six months before I was let go from my job at PowerDMS in April 2013. But somehow, writing down these things I accomplished and learned and experienced in my twenties makes everything seem so much better than I've thought it was for a long time. Looking at this list makes me think of how 17-year-old me would feel reading it, and I'm actually getting teary eyed knowing I made that girl proud. I really, really did. Because even as an almost-30-year-old, I can truly say that if I looked at that list without knowing who wrote it, I'd be like, "Wow. I hope I can accomplish even half those things."
And that 17-year-old girl didn't really think about the fun parts too much because she felt like she didn't have the extra time or energy to even consider them. She was too busy wanting to get out and do her own thing and put her stake in a piece of the world. And I did that, but I did it while somehow also managing to explore sides of myself I didn't even know I had let alone could actually locate and cultivate. I'm grateful I found that balance between responsible Jen and adventurous Jen, because both sides make up the person I am. The person that I am is extremely goal oriented and finds fulfillment in life from reaching those goals. And I love that person. That person managed to check off so many things she wanted to do in her life AND had a good time doing it. She faced struggles and challenges, but she came through them a better person than she was before they happened.
I'm excited for my 30s. Now that I know myself and am happy with the person I have become (I'm still working on it, but generally), I know I can accomplish even more - and maybe even do more of giving that confidence to others. Giving is going to be my personal theme for my 30s. And 2015 is going about building myself up to the person who can do that healthily.
This entry was going to be a "2015 is my year to lose the weight!" entry, but as I started writing, I obviously figured out there's so much more behind the reasons I've gained weight. And I need to work on telling myself it's OK and really meaning it. I deserve better than what I've been doing to my body. And it's time to start putting that into practice.
I'm going back to Weight Watchers meetings tomorrow. And I will be at my goal weight by summer - because I deserve it.