Some years ago I had a conversation with my then boyfriend, Marc, which left me thinking some things. This is an edited version written some years later and life is quite different now.
We were talking about what we've done in life, over the years something that bothers me because sometimes it seems I live in reverse, going through very intense experiences in my youngest years, and slowing down as I become an adult.
Isn't that what growing up is about? Yes and no. Circumstances are changing and with more flexible social rules, what is expected of people in their 20s differs now from how older generations experienced those rules.
I lived my 20s like I had heard one is supposed to; they were filled with erratic behaviour, I was sort of driven but overall a bit lost in terms of long-term goals and lasting objectives, life objectives that is.
I turn 36 in 4 days now which is suddenly making me go through some facts and put them in perspective. Marc named a few impressive things he's done with his time these years, which left me thinking to be honest. So here goes what I value from my own experience:
Don't marry too young. Marriage does not guarantee security, happiness or mid-long- term lasting goals. And definitely don't marry for the wrong reasons. People can only save themselves. But be super honest to yourself and to your partner if you do want to get married to them as they may marry someone else (true story).
Sexuality is fluid.
DMT enhances higher states of consciousness, and it has the ability to open the mind to things that are hidden to ourselves. The most important experiences that I have had in my life have come from intense self-realisation. These states can be reached in various ways, ayahuasca and san pedro are a gateway to things we buried and in seeing them as they are help humans reach self-awareness. But I acknowledge this path is not for everyone, so the point I want to make is that whatever way you choose, searching for answers within yourself is painful but liberating and the only road I know towards growth.
Challenging yourself to learn something new helps your brain not become stagnant and it keeps you young. It also gives confidence to know that no matter your life stage you still can put yourself in new situations, and engage with different people, places, knowledge, and culture.
Remember those Instagram posts that encourage people to travel a chunk of time in the year? I think there is truth in them. I have been lucky enough to do Anthropological work in fucked up places that I wouldn't have gone to otherwise, and I am forever grateful. The reality I have seen some times have been painful to watch, but because of that I have become a more humble human being.
On losing it all and starting all over again. Your life may seem safe to you because you have a 9-5 job and a home to go back to. I say the reality is there is no safety. Not when you are employed nor when you are not. Safety is an illusion you create to feel less anxious about the fact that life is always in flux. Things can change anytime, and if you are not mentally prepared to deal with loss, uncertainty, lack of money in the bank, or all of the above at the same time, your world can collapse.
I expand on this because of my own experience and that of people around me. I don't believe anyone is ever prepared for loss. I think it's traumatic and it can affect one physically and even change neurological paths in one's brain. Having said that, if you resist the motion, and get stuck on the fact that your life is ok because it's the same as it was 10 years ago, I have the feeling it will cause you suffering and pain in the long run. My take on it it's to be aware that such is the case and nature of life itself and try manage the levels of uncertainty if you can. So don't quit the job, break up and move countries all at once.
In line with the above, always have money in the bank. Rule.
Have friends all over. When I don't want to be sad I think about all the people I love who live spread out all over the planet. It makes me feel warm inside. Especially when two people I love hook up and become friends or lovers if they live in the same city.
Forgive yourself, because we all fuck up... badly. One can ask for forgiveness, some may say it's ok, but if you're not ok with it, it means nothing.
Other people in our lives also fuck up and it hurts badly. You hurt because their actions touch your wounds, and it's up to your mind to allow this to break you or not. From experience, pain hurts more when is pushed away, so don't push it, go through it. You'll see it makes the journey a bit more bearable and at the end it also makes you who you are. I don't believe the wound ever really goes away, you carry it with you, you become because of it, and you also transform your relationship with it. It's a gift in a way if you like.
For me, family comes first... Always! They are all one has, no matter what. I only see my parents once a year, sometimes less, and every time I say goodbye I feel that everything I am doing far away, I do because I learned from them, because they taught me how. And I get goosebumps when I talk about it, so I will stop now.
Read a lot of books. About everything but specially classics. You'll understand that this anxiety, loneliness, loss, pain, emptiness, existentialism and else are not unique to this generation, century or kind of human. Those feelings have been experienced by thousands ever since culture evolved. It is good to know you're not alone, you never are. There's always someone else feeling the same way as you. Always.
And, finally, when you think you will never get over the last person who broke your heart, and you are convinced that there's only that one being able to complete you but they don't want to be with you, know that you do fall in love again, and it will be a different intensity and a different pace, and maybe you will have issues but that's your journey and your job to work on it.