This post encouraged by the hashtag: #ifiwere22
Oh man, 22. TWENTY TWO. Seems like a lifetime from my current age. I lived my life and took it by the balls when I was 22, and almost poetically, lived a life consumed by balls. I basically had zero focus, motivation, or seriousness — unless you count All The Fun and All The Mens at my disposal as a task of 20-something goals. And dispose I did. Life was a party, and I was the life of every one. Sure, I enjoyed that lifestyle at the time because I lived by my own rules, but there were detriments to being the non-stop cruise director of Fun: excessive partying, drinking, smoking… tanning. Carrying more about dating and being pretty than finishing my degree. (Ugh.)
I was far from ready to be an adult.
To be blunt: my 37-year-old self wants to go back and kick my 22-year-old self’s ass.
There are times that I reflect on how different my life could have gone — I could have gone done some darker, scarier roads. Somehow I cleaned myself up after falling in the ditch… over and over and over again. But I’m here. Living it up at 37. Completely different than who I was when I was living 22. The Party Girl.
The responsibilities shift. The priorities realign. And you find a better self. (And hope that others see it too.) I surely still have work to do, despite my “apologizing” for a life time of mistakes in my 20s.
Regrets? Yep. I have a LOT of regrets. And mistakes. And fuck-ups (pardon). I’m not denying that there is an obvious connection of who I was to who I am. The important takeaway here is that people can change — for the worse or for the better — and only if they want to. And I’m ever grateful for those along the way who helped me towards the latter. The perceptions of YOU in your 20s might very well remain in your 30s. Know that reputations are hard to shrug. That process will take time, but change for YOURSELF (and get rid of the toxic people who don’t appreciate your new life).
I’m living 30-something proof that sometimes maturity and accountability comes a little late. And that’s OK. It’s also OK if you don’t want those things, FWIW.
If I were 22? No thanks. Wouldn’t go back there for a second.