3. I GOT TO PUT MYSELF FIRST.
Not gonna lie, I cherished my responsibility-free 20s. Except for one serious relationship, I owed no man anything. It was great to make my choices in line with whatever I needed most at the time, whether pursuing a career change or enjoying a drunken night of writing experimental fiction. Some women have to wait years to find that kind of freedom, if they ever find it at all. I discovered mine right at the start.
4. I WANTED TO ENJOY BEING YOUNG WHILE I WAS YOUNG.
Society is–unfairly–way more forgiving of crazy behavior in young people than in folks who’ve reached middle age. Although such judgment is stupid (no one every really outgrows self-discovery), I’m glad I didn’t have to explain myself to anyone. Nobody accused me of selfishness or immaturity. I was only doing the thing 20-somethings are expected to do. “Enjoy yourself while you’re young!” older friends and family members told me. So with their blessing, I went for it, full speed ahead. And I’ve never regretted my use of those years.
5. I LEARNED HOW TO COPE WHEN THINGS DON’T WORK OUT.
Since I’ve not settled yet, it should be obvious that lots of things didn’t work out, at least not how I might have hoped at the time. And it sure has sucked on occasion. Like when I was so tired of pretending to be all “everything happens for a reason” that I angrily put a hole in my bathroom drywall. Or when I wearied so much of my own voice that I yelled till my throat went raw for a week. It’s not like I’ve escaped those awkward responses to thwarted romance. I just know what pattern to expect and know how to wait out the cataclysm. Better to take my knocks early than to face an unexpected divorce at age 50 and realize I have no clue how to get my feet under me.