No one said it would be easy to grow up. We’ve all made mistakes, ones that haunt us on the brink of sleep. Sometimes they slap us into the past when we’re at our lowest, or they just simply snap back into focus when your mind drifts.
For many, I think a lot of people are mad at themselves this year.
There was a widespread pressure, maybe even an expectancy, to do more. I’m not sure what “more” means for everyone, but I know I felt like I was slacking. Maybe because almost every day was spent wearing something with an elasticated waist, or because I dropped my precarious skin routine for a hot minute.
Had me looking like I was thirteen and thirsting over Troy Bolton again for a moment there.
I wish I had someone sit me and down and tell ask me what was making me anxious. Actually, I wish the version of me before lockdown could speak to me. That girl who grew into her confidence a little more and had a vague idea of what the hell she was doing.
We all wanted to go back to what we knew: what we were comfortable with. Only recently it dawned on me: I’m still one hundred percent that woman.
Actually, I’m the new and improved version because lockdown taught me so much. Or maybe it was the desperation to escape boredom that taught me something. Anyway, after I was over enjoying lazy days, I started actually doing stuff to fill the time.
I learned how to cook from TikTok, which stunned my mum. Not only because that’s what TikTok was but because I don’t think she knew I knew how to fry something at the prime age of twenty-two.
I’m still waiting to master Bailey Sarian’s eyeshadow technique, but the crime stories are still good.
Truth is, I’ve been reflecting with a different perspective. Seeing all the mistakes I made but all I can see is me wasting time. Then I ask myself: how am I wasting time in a pandemic? One that has locked me in my room like a privileged Harry Potter.
And I’ve realised I need to forgive myself and so do you.
So, you did a little less year than you usually would, or you planned to. You didn’t climb mountains, pass your classes with flying colours or be the social butterfly you promised yourself you would be. So, naturally, you feel guilty for not being on the same surface level as your peers.
Don’t: that is not hot girl sh*t and Megan Thee Stallion would not be impressed.
You need to be proud that you just managed to make it through the year. You need to thank your mind for keeping you going. You need to realise that your life will move at different paces that even you want.
Right now, I want to be the next Jane Sloan from ‘The Bold Type’ and writing for a magazine. Ambitious, and not something that will just magically happen.
We have to hustle, that takes time and grave mistakes to learn from. There are no promises that next year will be better than 2020, but we can hope. It’s crazy because I really thought I kicked the cat in 2019, but then I shook hands with 2020.
Ironically, in my celebratory New Year Insta post, I captioned it, “Thank you, Next.” Which upon reflection was rather bold of me.
Okay, so not everything will ever be perfect. That’s not cool,but it is realistic and that’s all we get. Besides, let’s not write off 2020 entirely. We made massive moves in society towards a better world, we fought against injustices and supported our countries most underappreciated heroes.
These are not little things to have achieved.
You survived a pandemic that could have ruined you, but you didn’t let it. If you have pets, I bet they were happy to have you home. I know my dog was a mixture of delighted and furious to welcome me home: delighted to have my company but furious because she doesn’t like sharing her space.
Listen you got all the way to here, to now: are you really going to give in? One day you’ll be screeching drunkenly at a gig. Singing karaoke in your local pub, dreading your next essay in person at a lecture and laughing in an obnoxiously busy Starbucks again.
You’ll have fun again. You’ll be a student again. You’ll be the improved version of yourself.
All you need is to remember that “now” never lasts forever in the good and the bad. Let me be that person who sits you down and reminds you of all this. As someone going through a similar fear and anger, take my word for it.
Forgive yourself for all your suggested sins. Watch Netflix shamelessly, eat all the discounted Christmas chocolates and just remind yourself that we all have to move on with a better perspective.
Welcome 2021 without high expectations but with the knowledge that you survived your worst days.
Featured image credit: Pinterest