Nobody Likes You When You’re 23

It’s true, isn’t it? I get it. 23 has been the year for me with the most hardships, coming at all angles, in every aspect of my life. New struggles, as well as old ones.

It’s like when you’re 18, you’re jogging on a treadmill. Your face is bright, your eyebrow is cocked on one side. You are owning this shit. You think you’re rocking this adult thing, albeit you have few debts, a few simple bills (or lack thereof), and you haven’t experienced enough of the evils of the world yet.

Now you’re 20. Add in a bad knee, some lego pieces to the treadmill, and maybe a paper airplane or two flying past your head. Alright, this is trickier. But manageable.

Skip ahead three more years. 23. It’s full blown chaos. You still haven’t learned how to deal with life, cause where is that class and can I sign up? You’re still young enough to be dumb, but old enough you shouldn’t be anymore.

The treadmill is lava, and everything is smashing you directly in the face. Bills months past due, student loans from certificates that got you nowhere, more than just a cute mini-muffin top around your waist, counting pennies just to keep your utilities from shutting off, no time, no energy, and no motivation to keep trying after all this has piled up.

Circuit overload. So you retreat. Cancel plans. Start acting more cynical and selfish than you normally would. You feel like you just need more time. More time to deal, more time for no-one-understands-me kind of sulking, and the usual moans and groans of life. Voila! No one wants to play with the pity-party-23 year old.

This is the first time you’re dealing with it, this is the first time you’ve ever been 23! Let’s not repeat this age again, so wipe away the tears, dust yourself off and start picking away. Start figuring it out now, so you aren’t learning 23 year old stuff when you’re 26. We all do it, put it off, procrastinate, drink, party, what-have-you.

But it’s all manageable, one piece at a time. I’m 9 months into my 23rd year and I spent every minute of it giving up. 9 months to the day, actually. I still woke up feeling like crap today, but I decided pushing through was more important than staying stuck. I felt like crap ANYWAY, so what was I worried a 30-minute workout was going to do? Feel like crap? Oh, no! So I did it. That’s my baby step of the day.

The way I see it, you can do things in the moment that feel good, such as eating unhealthy, binging alcohol and Netflix, ignoring financials, BUT – the bad feelings always come after. Do the unappealing things like eating vegetables and reading, and you will reap the benefits afterwards. Every single thing has a pro and con, whether you get the con first or after.

ADULTHOOD. You can avoid it, but it will pile up until you’re picturing yourself on a lava-filled treadmill being chased by a group of angry trolls. Make time for the boring stuff. You’ll thank yourself later.

So here I am, pictured above, with my post-baby pouch. Can I still call it post-baby if he is 3.5 years old? I’m actually asking. But anyway, this is day one. The rules are simple, yet we complicate it. Eat more veggies, less fried foods. Less alcohol, more tea. Read more. Take more walks in the sunshine. Simple rules.

I’m simplifying my life. Cutting the drama. Making time for the real and important stuff. Getting back to my nature-loving, wild roots. The girl with tangles in her hair and sunshine in her eyes. This is day one of my journey back to basics. To feel real again, cut away the materialistic and superficial crap I’ve swallowed over the years.

There’s no magic pill, no 10 step plan, no cookie cutters. Hard work, perseverance, patience, sunshine.

Here we go, 23, let’s make up for the last 9 months while there’s still time.

 

P e a c e,

Ciara Leah

 

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Mic Check

“Wolves are very diverse animals, which is why they have a habitat that is very spread out around the world. It isn’t true that they only live in very thick forests and come out at night. Wolves have been identified in many areas that you may not ever imagine them being able to survive. Their versatility is amazing and it has helped them to survive in spite of their status as an endangered animal.” – Wolf Habitat, http://www.wolfworlds.com

Becoming a wolf… let’s keep this short and sweet for introductions sake. I’m a woman, that’s safe to say: 23, mama, yadda yadda. Insert here: lyrics to Independent Women by Destiny’s Child. Throw your hands up at me!

I’ve had to make some adjustments over time to keep from losing my head. I’m real stubborn and don’t like to look or feel weak. But I didn’t realize the amount of strength gained in acknowledging and accepting my weaknesses… no one can hold them against you when you own them, no shame.

So much of my journey has been about taking control of my life rather than just letting it happen to me, but it’s a serious balancing act. To be in control of your life you must also completely let go. Sounds counterproductive, right? When we think control we think of action, being proactive and maybe even a little aggressive… but you own your life when you let go of any and all attachments, expectations and what you think is supposed to happen.

By being unbothered by what might happen you are in control – nothing can throw you off. I know I’m in for trouble when I find myself making plans. My love life situation has never been an easy one… after what has felt like a parade of heartbreak for the last decade I finally quit. I let go of the expectation… you know that image most of us probably have? A husband/wife, kids, nice house and nice wheels… well I’ve left that image in my rearview. I let go of everything, laid with myself for a while, as long as I needed. I didn’t leave my house for days… honest. Tossed out everything cluttering me – physically and mentally. I stripped myself of everything ‘til it was just me and that’s when I started to build from the very bottom. This is my journey to becoming more wolf than woman…

Ciara Leah