TWENTY BY TWENTY | 1. stop apologizing

As I have mentioned previously, I really have no clue how to run a blog. I will never have the word 'blogger' in my Instagram bio and I will never not get flustered when people ask me about my blog in person ("oh, uh, yeah, that's just like. something I do. like, for fun. I don't know"). But I've decided to try something new--it's what the cool bloggers on the block call a series. 

I turned twenty a couple weeks ago, which is quite honestly still hard for me to grasp. I look like a thirteen year old, have the decision-making abilities of a 6 month old, and I burp like a forty year old man. If anyone wonders why or how I am constantly suffering an identity crisis, this is it. Nonetheless, I am twenty. Naturally my first thought as a now non-teenager was to share my bountiful wisdom with the online community. You know, because I'm so smart and worldly. 

Thus, please give a warm welcome to our brand spankin new series: twenty things I learned by the time I was twenty. Before we begin, I'd like to very forcefully and aggressively remind you all that I am no expert on life. I've taken a sociology class, but that's about the extent of my professional knowledge. All I know is what I have lived, which frankly, is not all that much. I mean, I can't even rent a car so how much can I really know. Let's begin. 

The first big thing that came to mind when I thoughtfully reflected on my last twenty years on this earth is how much I apologize. I'm one of those people that gets yelled at for apologizing too much and then meekly responds with, "sorry." I have the worst guilty conscience, which is also why (FUN FACT) I'm a terrible liar. So when I make a mistake or cause anyone else some kind of distress or any negative feeling at all then my instinct is to apologize profusely and do everything in my power to reverse or fix it. This is all fine and good. Not wanting to be a nuisance to other people is a chill trait to have, but there is a line. 

Over the years, I've had to learn to carefully evaluate these situations. Am I apologizing because it's warranted and I truly should or am I apologizing because the other person or entity involved is making me feel like a personal opinion or action is wrong and I am being coerced into doing so?

If you hurt someone's feelings, you should apologize. If you don't follow through on something you previously committed to and it causes problems for someone who trusted you with that task, you should apologize. If you complicate a situation because you are ill-prepared and didn't spend enough time making sure you could execute things properly when you know you should have/could have, you should apologize.

If you say 'no' to someone because you are uncomfortable or unwilling to do something, you do not need to apologize. If you don't want to go to an event or outing because your anxiety is particularly bad that day, you do not need to apologize. If you don't want to do something because it compromises your beliefs or moral standards, you do not need to apologize

The difference is this: you should apologize if you're hurting someone else, but you should not apologize if the alternative is something that would hurt you.

The most important person to take care of in this life is you. It's totally cool to apologize to people if you feel like you did something wrong. However, never let someone make you think that it's wrong to stand up for yourself, your well-being, or what you believe in. If you don't want to do something because it makes you uncomfortable and someone makes you feel bad for it, that's their problem. They need to learn how to respect another person's decisions. If you have anxiety or depression or another mental health issue and going out with friends or attending a party would make it worse, it's better to take a step back and put your health first instead of risking it just to make your friends happy. Because at the end of all this, it's not going to matter how many parties you went to or how many crazy experiences you had. What will matter is how happy you are about the decisions you made in life, whether that includes parties and crazy experiences or not. 

It took me nearly twenty years to learn this. Don't let it take that long for you. 

That concludes the first installation of Twenty by Twenty, and just to be clear this will not be what I post for the next nineteen weeks. Me preaching to you about how to live life for five consecutive months even though I'm barely making it myself would suck. So I'm not sure when the next one of these will be. I'm not put-together enough to have that all planned out. 




with the people I love (& also cake) celebrating my 20th