There are more than 7 billion people in the world today, so I doubt I’ve ever had an original thought in my life. No matter how much we’re taught to stand out of the pack, it’s comforting to know that you’re not alone. I, like many other twenty-somethings, are adjusting to trials and tribulations of adulthood in the 21st century. The world is a lot different than when your parents were younger, and I’m sure much more change is yet to come.
The media is constantly bombarding you with content telling you how to look, act, and feel. The internet is ruining our perception of reality. On one hand we’re told we need to spend hundreds of dollars on things to live a picture perfect life. But then you have your great aunt asking you every holiday dinner why you aren’t married yet. Because you’re too busy filling in your eyebrows for Instagram, you don’t have time to date. Or money. Your monthly Sephora purchases rival a car payment.
I’m not telling you how to live, or how to feel. You don’t need my permission to do anything. You don’t need anyone’s permission because you’re a grown woman and can do what you want. So don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about…
1. Spending money on things you want.
You want extra guac on your burrito bowl? Pay off your student loans ASAP? Live in a luxury apartment complex because you can? Live your life and do your thing. As long as what you’re spending money on isn’t destructive to your health or anyone else’s. Just be responsible. You work to live, not live to work. So don’t forget to enjoy yourself once and a while.
2. Leaving work on time.
Being the first one in the office and the last one to leave isn’t something to be proud of. Sure, you’ll have days where you need to pull long hours to meet deadlines, but not all the time. Some employees wear their work ethic like a badge of honor. Which is great, until you realize that they’re working overtime because they’re not using their time wisely. Companies already know that employees are only productive for a fraction of the work day. You’re only getting paid to be there X hours, don’t let them take advantage of what you think makes you look like a good employee. It doesn’t matter how long your butt is in a chair, it’s the quality and quantity of the work you get done. As I mentioned before, you work to live, not live to work. Leave and live your life. Go meet up friends in a Tabata class or spend some quality time with your cat.
3. Taking a lunch break.
Piggybacking off of my previous point, don’t feel bad about taking breaks at work. For most jobs, you’re legally allowed a lunch break. For example, I’m allotted an hour. Keep in mind that the time will be deducted from your paycheck whether you’re eating lunch at your desk or power walking around the parking lot. You might as well take it if you can. Get some steps in, call your mom, or run a quick errand. Breaking up your day with some “me time” will hopefully refresh your brain and allow the rest of the afternoon to fly by.
4. Eating what and when you want.
It breaks my heart that so many people have an unhealthy relationship with food. I’m the first to admit that food and I are not best friends. Eating in front of other people makes me nervous, even close friends. What if I eat too much? Nothing is as disheartening as someone saying, “Wow, I can’t believe you ate all that.” Or what if you’re starving and no one else is interested in eating? You should never, ever feel guilty about eating. Whether it’s indulging in a special treat or a weird-but-good food combo, don’t feel bad about fueling your body. If you find yourself splurging hard, flush your system with water and make sure your next meal is something healthy to nourish your body.
5. Not liking something trendy.
I adore trends, not because they’re popular, but because they allow me to try something new and unexpected. Fitness, fashion, food…you name it, I’m on board. But that doesn’t mean that I have to stay on the bandwagon. The important thing is that you open yourself up to new experiences. And while my taste buds revolted after taking a sip of a pumpkin spice latte, you might have discovered your holy grail Starbucks order. Stay true to yourself and don’t feel guilty or obligated to do something just because everyone else is.
6. Cancelling plans because you need a break.
You’re an adult,so you can define “break” as whatever you want. Perhaps you’ve had too much face-time with your S/O or your debit card is straight up dizzy from overuse. Or maybe you can’t put on a smiling face for a few hours because you need a mental health day. While I’m always down for a creative excuse, just be honest. Don’t cancel last minute and don’t make promises you can’t keep (e.g. rescheduling for next week.)
While there’s no secret to not feeling bad about feeling bad, don’t let your guilt consume you. Take a step back and analyze the situation. Ask yourself if this is a big deal in the long run? Then take a few moments to center yourself. Calling my mom or watching cute animal videos helps me regain my focus.
1. What’s the latest trend that became a staple in your life?
2. How do you spend your lunch break?
3. What’s your favorite thing to do to unwind after a stressful day?