This is 32

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32: no makeup, just me

I turned 32 on Friday.

It’s cliche, but I don’t feel 32, at all. In my mind, I still feel like I’m in my early 20s, if not younger. I’ve grown and changed over the years, sure, but I still have a lot of the same doubts and worries I struggled with at 16.

I’m at the age where I need to start thinking about wrinkle prevention, but I’m still struggling with acne. I constantly buy new products to try but am stubborn about going to the dermatologist. I hate making any type of doctor’s appointment–or talking on the phone in general. Online scheduling only, please. Same goes for pizza delivery.

I try to eat well, but I overdo it sometimes. My eyes are bigger than my stomach. I haven’t figured out portion control. I don’t binge like I used to, but I still have times where I eat based on emotions rather than hunger. I can’t keep ice cream in the freezer. I also still have nights where I drink too much. I wake up swearing that I will never drink again, but inevitably, one beer will turn into three. (Granted, it doesn’t take much.)

I’m probably more comfortable with myself than I’ve ever been–it really is true that the older you get, the less you care what people think of you. That doesn’t mean I don’t care. I still get insecure–in my work, in my relationship, in my friendships. If I hear someone whispering, I always think they are talking about me. There are times when I feel confident and other times when I feel like everyone is judging me. If I’m out by myself, I’m always on high alert (SSDGM). That’s just being cautious, though.

I haven’t figured out my personal style. I guess that’s not true–I haven’t figured out a professional style. I rush out the door like a hot mess most mornings. My closet is an entire bedroom, but there are still days with nothing to wear. I’ll change shirts five times and pants another three, before settling on the same jeans and a t-shirt (my uniform of choice). I don’t know how to look “put together.” I’ll sometimes take fashion risks, but half the time I’ll talk myself out of it before I leave the house (see above).

I haven’t grown out of my teenage moodiness. I have a temper, and the most inane things will set me off. I take things personally, even when I know it’s not personal. I’m not great in emotional situations. I don’t visit my family enough. I have a lot of guilt, but I don’t take a lot of action.

To some, 32 is young, and to others, it’s old. My point is, I haven’t got it figured out. Most days I feel like I’m stumbling through adulthood, trying to figure out who let me live unsupervised. I don’t know what I’m doing. Neither does anyone. When we’re younger, we look at adulthood like some magical solution. One day, our problems will be solved. We’ll have all the answers. It’s just “adolescence.” Then you get older, and you’re still waiting for that day. The timeline shifts. Your problems evolve and change, but they’re still there.

We’re imperfect. It’s part of the beauty of it all. All I can do is try to be better each day. Recognize my faults but also my strengths. Be grateful for what I have and for each opportunity to try again. There’s bad days, sure–but there’s a lot of joy, too.

This is 32.

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My own worst enemy

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“Don’t Believe Everything You Think” print by Mel Cerri. Available on Society6.

Lit was right–I am my own worst enemy. (Quick vote: worst or best way to start a blog post?)

I’m noticing that the biggest challenge I face each day is myself. Take yesterday, for example: I received some GREAT news, had a lovely work lunch, and my husband and I were productive for once and ran some errands after work. It felt like everything was going our way.

I ended the night by overeating and feeling bad about myself. I’m not sure what happened. I had dinner and was really full but started to feel kind of down. I then proceeded to eat too much ice cream, even though I knew it would make me feel like garbage.

This is just a small example, but it’s one to which some of you can relate. I make goals, I make progress, and I self sabotage. Two steps forward, one step back. It’s like I can’t trust myself to improve, to be happy, to do the right thing.

It’s not ice cream that’s the problem (although weirdly enough, when I searched “sabotage” on a photo search site, a picture of ice cream popped up). It’s the fact that I do things on a regular basis that don’t benefit me. My rational brain warns me of the consequences, but I continue anyway.

Sometimes I eat too much ice cream, even though eating a lot of sugar makes me feel like crap (I love it so much though). I pick at my face, even though I know it will just make the situation worse. I yell at my husband, even though I hate making him feel bad. I drink too much in social situations because I don’t know what else to do. I buy things I don’t really need. I decline invites to events I really want to go to, because anxiety. I don’t speak up enough. I doubt myself.

Life is a constant battle against enemy number one: our inner critic. In the book You Are A Badass (highly recommend), Jen Sincero talks about how once you finally start to enact positive change in your life, it seems like everything else aligns against you. Things will go wrong. You have to trust and push through.

I complained to my husband, asking why I always do this. Is the five minutes of pleasure I get from the self sabotage worth the hours of guilt and grief? Honestly, sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn’t. He told me to look at each situation, think about how I’d feel after, and decide whether it would be worth it. The hard part is, it always seems worth it in the moment.

Still, I think it’s good advice. It at least forces me to face the issue and think about the consequences. If I deem it worth it, I should proceed, guilt free. If not, I’ll know I made the right decision.

Whichever choice we make, the most important thing–and the most difficult–is to accept it and move on. There are other days, other choices. We can acknowledge that maybe we made the wrong decision for us at that time, but there’s no reason or benefit to feeling guilty about it. Learn from the situation and consider it next time you are in the same position. If you make the same mistake again, so be it. Circumstances were different. Acknowledge, reflect, and move forward.

Each day is a new opportunity to try.

 

Tell me: Do you struggle with self sabotage? How do you keep yourself in check?