So, I’m going to be turning 25 in June. It is a bit scary, to be honest, since 25 seems so incredibly old in a way. Like…a proper adult!
However, unlike the version of myself that I was when I turned 20 (who was similarly freaked out), I’m quite happy to be getting older. I have a memory of standing in the kitchen in Los Angeles with my roommate, as she explained to me that the time between 20 and 25 zooms by. That’s been true, but also not entirely true. Since, it feels like yesterday, but I’m in such a different place now!
Instead of being in Los Angeles trying to pursue a career in entertainment journalism, I’m in Australia getting my Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations and Japanese. I have lovely friends, I’m exercising, my mental health is the best it’s been in ages, and for the first time in a long time, my happiness isn’t reliant on page views, hardcore cardio, or the perception that I’m “cool and successful.”
Would you like a collection of free worksheets on topics such as self-care, and exercise for mental health? I’m making them weekly! Click here to join in and download! Print them out, put it on your fridge, or just use a journal, write it all up with a pen and just use it as a guide. I hope it helps you! 🙂
1. Personal Happiness/Self-Love Should Not Be Dependent On External Factors
Here’s a big one. External factors, like other people or situations, can always let you down! I’ve realized that for a long time, my happiness was dependent on things outside of my complete control, or things that were an eventuality. Like, “I need my website to be huge and popular,” “I need people to think I’m super awesome,” or “I need my body to look this way.” I’ve recently realized that sustainable happiness is what you cultivate internally, right where you’re at, regardless of where you want to end up. Then, you get to be happy now, and later. Otherwise, you’ll always just be feeling a bit “meh” now, and never actually getting to the eventual “happy” destination, which seems a bit silly, really. Now, for the first time, I feel happy without a website that is hugely successful, and without running five miles a day. It feels good!
2. Taking Care of Yourself Is An Extremely Worthwhile Priority
Bear with me. It’s pretty obvious that taking care of yourself is a worthwhile priority, but it’s something that I feel like a lot of people don’t realize. I used to prioritize doing well at my website, homework, and various other exploits in life before taking care of myself. Then, I suffered as a result. Making my sleep pattern, healthy diet, personal space (ie. introvert time), and exercise priorities in my life instead of relegated to the “maybe if I have a spare moment” category, has done wonders for me. Plus, I found that if you fall in love with taking care of yourself, and realize that you actually think you’re pretty great, you are a better friend to others as well. A well rested, healthy version of you, is way better company.
3. Structure May Seem Boring, But It’s Probably Necessary
When I was in high school, I absolutely hated getting up for school. I hated running for P.E., and I hated homework, and I even hated going to piano lessons afterwards (and ended up dropping out). I remember in my senior year, I thought that having a totally free slate to do things would be my ideal scenario. However, when I graduated and moved to Los Angeles at 18, that totally free slate that I craved ended up blowing up in my face. Without a job, or school, or anything “structured” governing my life I slipped into a blob-like existence that sucked all my joy away. In fact, I think the burnout from high school combined by the complete lack of structure after I moved out was a major reason why I first fell into a depression that was hard to get out of. Which brings me to number 4!
4. Treat Depression/Low-Moods Like A Symptom, Not A Disease
So, yes — in some cases depression may truly be caused by a chemical imbalance and isn’t a symptom at all. However, in my experience, I truly believe that it is more of a symptom of my situation than an actual disease on it’s own. Yes, I probably do have a tendency to ruminate, and a genetic predisposition to low-moods at times (depression runs in my family) but when I look back, the clues are all there! Every-time I’ve felt depressed, it makes sense in retrospect. When I first moved to LA? Total isolation with no friends, structure, school, or external work (just working online) and plenty of time to ruminate. A similar pattern appears when I look at all the other times the same thing happened, and yes — once I was deep in the depressive mindset, it wasn’t easy to get out of. However, being intentional about not letting myself get into situations that cause those symptoms have kept me depression free for over a year and a half now.
5. Being A Good Friend Can Be As Simple As Showing Up
I used to not be an “initiator,” so-to-speak. In fact, I was definitely more of a follower than a leader. I always used to be worried about stepping up and inviting people out to do things, or even planning things with my friends. My friend group in high school had a ‘mother-hen’ so to speak, my wonderful friend Lauren, who would often be the one to have ideas for things to do and I’d follow along with the pack. So, I was a bit passive. Recently, I’ve learned that as much as I appreciated being invited out for lunch when I was a more shy version of myself, other people do as well! My friendships have grown so much stronger and I’ve made so many more friends since I’ve lost the fear of being the one to reach out to people — it really can be as simple as a Facebook message, ”Hey, are you free Friday? Want to grab coffee?” I think as you enter into adulthood and everyone gets busier, and all your friends may not be in the same social circle, it becomes much more important to be intentional about prioritizing your friends.
I turn 25 on June 16th, so I still have a few more months to go! What are some life lessons you’ve learned? I’d love to hear from you in the comments! 🙂 Don’t forget to get access to the worksheet library below, and interact with our community at Jolvie: A Mental Health Community on Facebook! 🙂