Try Anyways.

“I hope you don’t mind the question, but how old are you?” asks my friend Rachel. We’re sitting in a quiet coffeeshop, her feet curled up on the chair. We’re sweaty, sipping iced coffees through a straw, wondering about it all. 

“Not at all. I’m twenty-seven. About to be twenty-eight in a few weeks. Why do you ask?”

“I guess… I don’t know. I just feel so…. twenty-five right now,” she says. “Does that make sense?”

Totally. It shouldn’t. But it makes perfect sense.

I start to mumble through my explanation of why I understand, and I try my best but it sort of comes out garbled and unclear. It’s not until after I get home that I start to mull over that conversation again and unpack it into what I actually think and believe. The things that I think I needed to hear at twenty-five I think I can articulate now, at the infinitely older and wiser (ha!) age of twenty-seven. In the few years since I felt so twenty-five, I …

I guess started to relax a little bit more. I guess I started to like myself a bit more.

I have to remind myself of this a lot, but it’s easier now. I’ve never thought to write it down, but putting it on paper suddenly makes a ton of sense to me.

 

THE RULES 

1. Not everyone is going to like you. That’s okay. Like yourself anyways.

2. Not everyone is going to like what you write. That’s okay. Write anyways.

3. You are never going to be able to keep everyone happy. There are too many projects, too few hours in the day, too many balls to keep juggling constantly, and too much pressure to get everything right. Do your best to meet expectations that are reasonable. And then figure out how to not sacrifice your life, your health, and your personal welfare for the sake of keeping everyone happy. Try your best. But: when there is so much pressure to please everyone, it seems impossible to forgive yourself for failing to meet up to unrealistic expectations. Forgive yourself anyways.

4. Not everyone is going to want to date you. Not everyone you date is going to want to keep dating you forever. That’s okay. Date people anyways.

5. Not everyone is going to believe in you. Why should they? It’s a huge world out there, full of the tiniest handful of success stories and immensely more stories about failure. This one is the hardest for me, but: Feel like a failure? That’s okay. Believe in yourself anyways.

 

I don’t have this down to a science. At all. I get discouraged and I beat myself up. I used to go home from parties and social functions and lie in bed, replaying the evening in an endless and terrible loop, continually certain I’d said or done the wrong thing, that I’d inadvertently offended the wrong person or I’d made a complete horse’s ass of myself without even realizing it. It took me awhile to figure out that my entire line of thinking was patently untrue and didn’t help anything in the long haul. You know what I’ve started to do, instead? I just go to social events and talk to people anyways. It turns out everyone else has probably felt that way at some point, too.

There are tons of things that I wish I were better at. I wish I was a better daughter, and called my parents more. I wish I was a better sibling, and called my brothers more. I wish I had more hours in the day to spend on working, on creating, on writing, on cleaning, on cooking, on exercising, on exploring the city in which I live, on connecting with old friends, on finding connections with new ones.

Instead of beating myself up about not doing all of those things, I’m just going to acknowledge they exist. I’m going to acknowledge there are a finite number of hours in the day, and that I have so many needs that need to come first. I need time for sleep, and for quiet, and to write, and for work. I need time set aside to pursue those goals, and I won’t magically have that time appear overnight. I’m going to take a deep breath, and just try to do as many as I can, with patience for myself, with acceptance of my shortcomings, with love for my successes.

Not everything is always going to work out in the way that I thought.

That’s okay.

I’m going to keep going, anyways.

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26 thoughts on “Try Anyways.

  1. As a middle-aged woman who follows your blog, I commend you for your insights. Some adults never figure that stuff out. And you have…before you turned 30.

  2. I’m just figuring this stuff out at 35. Kudos to you for knowing it already, and writing it so elegantly!

    I’d add one: “Not everyone in your life should be there. Forgive yourself for letting them get so close, cut them loose, and move one with gratitude.”

  3. Thank you for this. I’m turning 27 in a couple months and it’s so true that there’s a big difference in how I feel now than how I felt at 25. I’ve learned a lot about myself in the last 2 years. Thanks for putting it so eloquently.

  4. I applaud the sentiment, but am I the only one bothered by the fact that “anyways” — unless you’re going for an “aw, shucks” kind of voice — is not a real word? I probably am, so I’ll go away now.

    • According to Urban Dictionary, the top definition of “anyways” is “a term used by complete and utter cunts,” so I figure I’m right on track.

      (i’m sorry. i’m being such a dick. i am weirdly tolerant of people calling me fat and ugly in the comment section, but for some reason i felt the need to defend myself for my use of a word that technically does not exist, because i’m a complete and utter cunt. you are totally correct and i’ve had just enough boxed franzia tonight to look it up and begrudgingly agree with you).

  5. I didn’t get this until my 30s, but I am so much happier now. It was like my life could suddenly breathe. Also, I started going to bed by 10pm more often. I love it!

  6. I didn’t get this until I turned 30, but I am so much happier. Like my life could suddenly breathe. I am happier with me, happier to not impress people, and I go to bed by 9pm some nights! Love it!!

  7. Excellent set of ‘rules’…for 27 almost 28 you are on track to be successful with any challenge you take on…welcome to …’maturity’
    🙂

  8. I’m on the cusp of fifty…don’t forget to forgive yourself if you forget these rules…I find life has a way of making them hazy and out of focus sometimes…but they always come into focus again, thank goodness! Anyways, just want to say I love your blog 🙂

    Merriam Webster
    Definition of ANYWAYS

    1
    a archaic : anywise
    b dialect : to any degree at all
    2
    chiefly dialect : anyhow, anyway

  9. Pingback: Try Anyways | Allowing true love. Books and Subliminal Audios

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