I recently celebrated my 21st birthday, and so I decided to update the blog with a rather personal breakdown of recent lessons learnt that I know will aid me in the coming year. I think 2020 is all about personal growth. This year, I’ve taken a lot of time to reflect upon the choices I make in my life; my priorities, my goals, my relationships. Most of those lockdown-induced nights spent sipping a glass of wine from my cosy little balcony led me to reevaluate my decisions over the past year too. The greatest realisation of all? That life is too short, and none of it is to be taken for granted. But that therefore, there is also no use in wasting time on anything that is not meaningful; that does not shake you to the core and have you either thanking or questioning this whirlwind of a life we’ve been gifted. If it does not evoke passion, why bother?
Since I create, it is easy for me to tell whether an encounter in my life or career venture is meaningful. I’ll know, because when it is? I won’t put my pen or pencil down. Art will flow in the most effortless manner. Only great emotions can cause me to create – to have your best work be so heavily driven by your emotional state, well, that is both a blessing and a curse. I’ve seen the end of a relationship free me from a creative rut in which I had felt so unsupported, to finally retreat back to my true self and create again. And then I pondered upon a potent question – if my creativity, my greatest companion, is so influenced by the relationships in my life – then mustn’t I choose those wisely? Don’t I owe it to myself and to the creative urges that have always been by my side, even when all else had faltered?
I’ve learnt to be wiser, and perhaps pickier, in my choices. My father – a man who rarely compliments – recently complimented my principles, adding that not many people in this world could truly say they have great principles. So he added, “perhaps it is time you realise you must up your standards and surround yourself with people who share your principles. Your options and companions will lessen. There is no way around it.” These were simple yet eloquent words that drove me to respect myself far more.
I’ve learnt to express my vulnerabilities. Now, this one little lesson hit the hardest and I am sure it will be a process – but it was only recently that a friend questioned why I always suppressed my emotions. And it is true; I’ve always disliked being sensitive, and expressing emotions publicly? Well, it’s terrifying. I have long struggled with being rather closed off, unable to vocalise my feelings clearly – but I came to realise there is so much maturity in learning to communicate efficiently and understanding your feelings are valid. It’s alright to show you’re more than a carefully constructed robot. There’s some beauty in setting that part of yourself free. Life is too short to beat around the bush, to not express your emotions and refrain from sharing your vulnerabilities – even when it might seem far too daunting.
I’ve learnt to be proud of the things I want. I realised, some time ago, that I am not quite the typical twenty-one year old or the teenager I once was. I’m fortunate enough to know what I want to pursue pretty well for someone my age. I know I don’t care for late nights and parties, meaningless encounters and forced social gatherings. I know I only value stable relationships and compelling conversation. I know I am no longer opposed to a life that is not wild or crazy in some way; even if I still hope to live in as many bustling cities as I possibly could, and pursue all the exciting things I am passionate about. There’s nothing shameful about choosing stability, especially if all else is a form of escapism.
I’ve learnt that being organised is a virtue. Self-employment requires a certain level of discipline that cannot be swept aside by an overly demanding social life and plans that fluctuate by the hour. It forms part of the criteria when choosing the people I surround myself with – friends who’ll stick to their commitments and know it isn’t always possible to make time for frequent social events and late nights, but when we do? Even if weeks or months apart, they’ll still be the most memorable. I’ve reached a point in my life when I’ve no time for indecisiveness or unreliability, or people with a complete lack of respect for another’s time; my livelihood as a working woman depends on it.