It’s funny how as I get older, my perspective continues to change. I used to worry so much about so many stupid things, but now I know that life is too short for all that crap. Instead of feeling paranoid, anxious, or downright crazy over things that won’t matter next year or even next week, I’m letting my stress about these things go:
The way I present myself.
I was cripplingly self-conscious as a teenager and young adult. I always worried about how I came across to other people. Obviously I don’t want to come across like a douche bag, but I know I’m a good person who tries to treat people with kindness and respect and that’s enough. I’m done second-guessing my every move because of how someone could perceive me.
What people think of me.
I also used to worry a lot about how those close to me feel about me — did they love me because they thought I was smart, funny and caring or did they merely tolerate me because we’d been in each other’s lives for so long? I even worried about what acquaintances thought! Thankfully, now I know better. I like who I am as a person and I won’t let the opinions of others dictate who I am. My time and energy are too precious to censor my personality.
Ha! This is one that’s completely fallen by the wayside lately. I’m too busy and focused on building the life I want to care much what anyone thinks of my appearance. It’s such a messed up societal standard that women are supposed to paint our faces to look presentable and acceptable. I’ll buy into that when men are required to wear makeup as well. I like my face the way it is, thanks. Going makeup-free also keeps my skin nice and clear!
Okay, so I’m very active and I care greatly about my fitness. That being said, that’s just who I am as a person. It’s about being strong and capable, not worrying about how skinny I look. I used to freak out and count every calorie, hating myself if I gained a pound. Now I don’t care that I’m a little curvier and sturdier than some girls. I can do awesome stuff with my body and that’s what matters.
What guys think of me.
Part of my worry over my weight was that guys wouldn’t like me if I didn’t fit a certain ideal mold. Now I’m confident and secure enough to say, “Screw that!” If a guy thinks I’m awesome in every other way but isn’t into my body type, he’s a freaking idiot. I don’t want that dude anyway. I don’t want any guy who thinks I’m anything less than amazing.
Obviously I’m not in school anymore, so social situations are different. Still, I’m so glad that I don’t worry anymore about whether the “right” people like me. I care about finding others who share my interests and values. I know now that I can get along with just about anybody and I don’t need to feel insecure about who I am.
The way others judge my success.
Ugh. As I recently realized, I’m definitely a member of the working poor. I didn’t choose a traditional career path. As a creative, I was sensitive for many years to what others thought of my lack of conventional success. Now I know that as long as I am happy and fulfilled, I am successful. I no longer care about how others see it. It doesn’t matter.
This is a tough one, but I’ve come to terms with it. It’s going to happen whether I like it or not. I take care of myself as well as possible and hope that my youthful soul shines through. As far as wrinkles and bags are concerned, I’m going to take them in stride as they come. Time spent worrying about aging is just time wasted as I get older by the minute!
Achieving certain goals by a certain time.
I’ve learned that life rarely works out as I plan it. It takes age and experience to accept it, and I have. I’m patient with myself now, knowing that anxiety and stress over what I can’t control is useless. I’ll be flexible and stay focused and I won’t let obstacles and delays deter me.
Finding a partner.
I’m lucky — I don’t want children, so I don’t feel the pressure that many other women do. I don’t have to worry about my fertility decreasing or never finding the guy who will be a great father to my kids. While my lack of desire for a family does make finding the right partner much more difficult, I’m not freaking out over it. I have all the time in the world.
Having lots of material things.
It took an epiphany about what really matters in life to realize that I don’t give a damn about money and things. I don’t care about accumulating a bunch of crap. It doesn’t mean anything in the end. I want to live a good life and have amazing experiences. That’s worth so much more than having a nice house, an expensive car and designer clothes. None of that crap goes with me when I die.
This goes hand-in-hand with not caring about material possessions. I don’t need to show off to other people. I don’t need to boast about how smart I am, how many competitions I’ve won, or what I bought this week. It doesn’t matter one iota. I was taught as a child that I needed to impress people and it took me a long time to grow out of that compulsion, but I’m so glad I did.
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