In a few short days, I enter my 30s. It seems insane to me that I’m about to embark on my fourth decade, and I’m not sure whether I still feel like a spring chicken or I’ve matured into a summer chicken. Either way, I’m getting older and as of Tuesday this cat is 30. WHOA.
In lieu of my birthday, I’ve decided to share some lessons I learned in my 20’s. I am in the midst of an existential crisis, and like everyone else in this digital age, I’m feeling the pressures of not having completed milestones my much younger self set out. I keep having moments of panic thinking I’ve accomplished NOTHING in my time on Earth, wishing away my life to a point where I’m happy and healthy and confident and stable and and and… Reality is, we are very rarely where we expect to be by certain points in our life. This is because we are constantly growing and changing and evolving. So obviously things that held such importance in my teens don’t count for dick these days. Even some of the goals I dreamt up in my early 20s have faded away because I’ve changed. I don’t have the same priorities anymore, and when I turn 40 I can guarantee that some of the things I’d like to see happen in my 30’s as of this moment, won’t. And that will be okay. Because other things will come up, events will change my course (numerous times I’m positive) and I will have evolved into yet another facet of myself.
What I want to do with today’s post is start out with the “Rules To Live By Before You Hit 30” circa my birthday card from my mama last year. And then I’m going to delve into some of the many memorable things that happened in my 20s (I really did do much more than my grumpy guppy self likes to admit). Last, I’ll leave my major rules and life lessons up to this point.
Mama’s Cardinal Rules
- Moisturizer, use eye cream and WEAR SUNSCREEN everyday.
- Eat some veggies once in a while
- Get some exercise
- Don’t call yourself fat/stumpy/ugly – when you get to be my age, you’ll look back & realize you were gorgeous
- Don’t put up with shit from assholes
- Forgive yourself
My Mama is one hell of a woman. She is the smartest person I’ve ever met (legit genius IQ) and I am constantly learning new things from her. She is funny as hell, courageous, empathetic, insanely talented artistically, phenomenal with words, strong, spunky, vivacious and inspirational. She is tough and resilient, good at anything she tries, and has the biggest heart. I loved this card so effing much when I opened it last year. It remains out on display. As per Ma’s rules:
- She instilled the love of moisturizer into me at a tender, young age. So I luckily have her nice and dewy skin despite being a full-time smoker.
- I have started flossing more this past year, after my dental hygienist informed me of the link between gum health and heart health. Refer to previous comment about being a serious smoker, I do take my health seriously apart from that little minor glitch in my habits lol.
- I love veggies, so it wasn’t hard to say that rule is cherished and lived by happily.
- I have SLACKED on the exercise front since my move across country, but overall I can say that I appreciate how important it is and as a general rule, I follow this.
- I am guilty of the self deprecation, and being nasty about my appearance sometimes. And Mama is dead right; at the end of our roads we will look back and wonder why we ever thought we were anything less than gorgeous as we are.
- I have always been pretty good at not putting up with shit from assholes. But the past couple years I’ve found myself dimming, and sadly I can admit that I’ve put up with more than I should have in a few situations. So I have had to revisit this rule, and began not taking shit from dinks again. Thanks for the reminder Mama 😘
- The last one, and maybe the most important as far as I’m concerned, is forgiveness. Forgiving yourself. Holy shit balls is this ever hard to do. Still working on it, but I have made an effort since the gentle nudge. And some of my life lessons I’m about to impart on you lovelies will show how you can work on it.
My 20’s started off with me entering, and graduating from, the Diesel Repair – Industrial & Marine program at NSCC in Bridgewater. I spent several years after high school trying to decide what I wanted to be when I grow up. When I was in boarding school, I wanted to be a psychologist. When I got my first car, I realized how much I loved working on it and figuring out why things break. How things break. How to fix them. So I tried to decide between Automotive Repair, Diesel Engine Repair, and Aircraft Maintenance Engineering. I ruled out Automotive because it’s not like “The Fast & The Furious” so it would be a lot of work that didn’t make my heart skip a beat, for not nearly enough money. Just so you know, as a general rule your local mechanics do not make enough money in my opinion. Yes, some garages and shops gouge their customers and charge out a lot, but the mechanics who work hard under your hoods don’t have great compensation for the work they perform. I am a princess, and have always had expensive taste. I need a well paying job lol. So it came down to Diesel and Airplanes. The engineering course was 2 years, and $40 000 vs the 1 year program and $3500 tuition for diesel. As a young, starving princess, that choice was made completely based on how much it would cost. And I LOVED my course. My instructor is to this day, one of my favourite human beings on the face of this earth. I love engines, I am proud to understand how those marvellous creations work, the history of their evolution, the smells. Everything. I just love everything about engines.
After graduating college (with honours, thank you very much 💅🏼🤓) I struggled to find work in my trade. I ended up being hired on as the first female Engine Fitter ever at the Halifax Shipyards. So that was another dope thing I’ve accomplished. I found work as a construction millwright in Alberta on the largest SAGD site in North America. Also super dope (and I was the only female millwright). I got my hours signed off for my apprenticeship and obtained my red seal for my trade. It took two tries, that test is ma fuckin HARD dawgs, but I refused to let 3 wrong answers stop me from what I’d spent years working towards. I have gained loads of experience at a bunch of sites across Alberta and BC, doing maintenance and commissioning. I’ve learned tons about the pipe fitting trade, and gotten to do a lot of pipe fitting work. So all in all, my 9 years since college have awarded me tons of experience. Some was pure shit, but I took away more knowledge about my trade at each spot. Every experience shapes you whether you realize it or not.
I’ve had my heart broken more than I care to admit in my 20’s. Some of it was self-inflicted, some of it was avoidable, and some of it was because sometimes boys just SUCK. I have managed to survive each time, and that’s an accomplishment. I continue to believe in love, and to try and love as best I can regardless of what has happened, and that is a win.
I moved across the country by myself in my mid/late twenties. That was a huge deal, and I feel like it was hella brave. I have always embraced change and challenges, and I used to believe that the worst that can come out of trying something is you don’t like it, and revert back to the original. It was a really tough move, I have been through some shit since then, and I’ve had a very few little moments where I had a pang of regret over doing it. But overall, I learned so much about myself from that move, and I’m grateful for the opportunities that have made me grow. Grateful now anyway lol, obviously in the moments there was a lot of profane, resentful, hurt gabbling.
I dreamt up and started a business in my 20’s. It hasn’t gotten off the ground, but all the leg work is finished and I know that when I’m able to kick it off, there will be no stopping me and my shit will succeed. I took free business seminars and learned SO SO much about starting and running a small business, I learned about branding and marketing and strategy and corporations and taxes. I added more value to my noggin with more information. Knowledge is wealth, don’t ever let anyone make you doubt that. I learned that I had started the creation of my brain child for maybe the wrong reasons, but I also learned that I am so fucking in love with what I’m going to create and the services and products I’m going to provide so regardless of what encouraged my decision, it’s the right one for me ultimately.
I got my bike license in my twenties. Best thing I ever did for myself. I love being on two wheels more than I’m going to describe in this post. But it was scary and exciting and liberating, and I am so proud that I did it. It’s a definite little piece of who I am now.
I competed in a fitness show in my mid twenties. I learned so much about my body, my mind, health and wellness (the good stuffs as well as the stupid information that goes as gospel these days). I made some incredible friends from the process. I made some incredible changes to my body. I set a goal and made it work for me, fit into my life, and just fucking did it. It was fun. I don’t think I’d do it again, but I also have so much respect for the commitment it takes those athletes who are serious about it.
I got first hand experience with prejudice for my gender and the roles I chose to follow. Not just from men in the work place, but men in my life. Men who know me and men who don’t. I have learned how much work there still is to do for equality. I have learned that sometimes people just won’t like you or accept you because of a preconceived notion or bias and there isn’t a god damned thing you can do. So just keep working, focus on your why’s, and pray that the work you do lays down a better foundation for the next generation of women in trades who follows in our little steel-toed footsteps.
I started a new online course this past month to help me switch gears in my career until my business is up and going. In January I got hired on to a new start up company in Nova Scotia as their Mechanical Lead. It sounded like a super dope job, I was excited about the opportunity to learn how to run and manage a maintenance department in a production facility. The job didn’t pan out (I’ll do a blog on it eventually, it was fucking ridiculous) but it showed me that I have what it takes to be a planner and scheduler, and now I’m in the process of completing my certification for MPS. I’m hoping that will help me land a gig away doing planning/scheduling cause I NEED A FUCKING JOB JEEBUS H CHRIST. So I’m continuing my education on my own, and taking charge of what I want to achieve next. It’s an incredibly difficult course for me, but I’m learning so much and I am SO excited to implement my learnings in my next job. So thank you to the job that didn’t work out, now I’ll be qualified for the next company who actually wants to give me a shot. Another win from a loss.
I got engaged last year. It was actually a huge surprise, he custom designed the most BEAUTIFUL and perfect ring for me, it was the perfect proposal to me and I’m happy to say that my fiancé and I are making shit work. We have learned to push each other’s boundaries, make each other cry, make each other inexplicably happy, and most importantly learned what we both need from each other and ourselves to grow from a relationship to a partnership. There have been some broken dishes, words we can’t take back, heartbreaks and decisions that altered the course of our lives, but at the end of the day we both put in effort where it’s most needed. It takes a lot of work, patience, compromise and failures to maintain a relationship (partnership), and I’ve had his back when he needed it most. Now he has my back when I need it most and things are evolving. I proudly wear his ring because it’s a shiny little reminder of perseverance and unconditional love, and the future we’re building together.
I have been very stable financially in my twenties, and then I have been on the opposite end of the spectrum and legit struggling to avoid bankruptcy. I learned how important it is to plan your finances, monitor your finances and live within your means. I did that by completely fucking up my finances and making some really poor decisions. I’m trying now to dig my way out of the worst position I’ve ever been in, and I will NOT repeat my mistakes. I will not make decisions for my money based on my perceptions of my relationship ever again. That doesn’t mean I won’t be willing to compromise, or have a grownup joint account or whatever. It means that I will not leave jobs based on my perception of what’s best for my significant other. I will not make a poor decision to take a lower paying position because it feels like the best way to make my s/o happy/comfortable or whatevs. I will do what’s best for me to survive and be stable before I do what’s best for my emotional and irrational need-to-please-and-prove-my-worth-through-STUPID-sacrifices self. If I’m not good, we’re not good. Period. And vice versa. If one person is struggling, the other doesn’t benefit. It’s as simple as that. Adulting is hard lol. Basically, my relationship will be a partnership, and in a partnership you make decisions based on facts and realities, working together for the best possible outcome of BOTH parties. If you’ve ever lost yourself financially or mentally or emotionally for another person, PUT YO HANDS UP. And then clap with me as we build ourselves back up and make shit work.
Now I’m a sum up the basics I’ve taken away about life during my existential crisis, and the trials and tribulations of my 3rd decade. Hopefully there’s something for everyone here, and if it’s shit you already do or lessons you’ve already realized, then yay for us reaching the same conclusions! Human nature is to be accepted and to be part of the community. It’s in our biological make up; you live longer and better with the pack. So I’m your pack here and we will live longer and better using our communal rules and justifying our actions and experiences that have led us to this level of self-awareness. Plus, sometimes it’s just comforting to know that someone else out there feels the same way as you. Loneliness is a bitch. Actually, let’s kick it off with that one.
-LONELINESS IS A BITCH-
Everyone needs to be able to spend time alone with themselves to truly know who they are. That being said, don’t mistaken being alone for loneliness. Being alone is a state of solitude, with no interaction. Loneliness is feeling isolated and inconsolable regardless of who’s around or where you are. Loneliness is being by yourself and at a loss of what to do and where to go because you just can’t seem to find a happy place mentally. If you’re lonely, you need to step back and work out how to get good being alone. The two are not mutually exclusive, and loneliness can eat your soul if you let it.
-LEARN TO EMBRACE YOUR INTUITION-
Your body reacts to situations of its own accord sometimes, and can invoke a “fight or flight” response. If something doesn’t feel good, don’t do it. Don’t confuse your intuition with your fears though. A lot of people will choose not to do things because on a molecular level, their system knows it’s bad news bears. It’s how humans have survived this long and remain at the top of the food chain. But a lot of people will choose not to do things out of fear. They are very different responses and you should take the time to learn the difference between your gut feeling and your developed fears making you feel like you need to poo. It’s important.
-INVEST IN A GOOD HOUSECOAT-
This may sound silly as hell, but that simple little piece of clothing is worth every penny. I wear mine over my jammies to drink my coffee when I wake up. I wear it over my sweats and tees around the house when I’m showered and just hanging out. I wear it when it’s cold, I wear it when company is coming by and I don’t feel like putting on a bra. It gets more wear than any other apparel I have ever bought. It has pockets. It has a hood. It is warm and colourful and comfy and threadbare. I will cry when time comes to throw it out and replace it. IT IS THE SHIT. It’s the Franks Red Hot Sauce, I put that shit on everything and if you don’t, you should try it out. Might be your new fav (and longest lasting) clothing. Just sayin’.
-YOU’RE NOT ENTITLED TO SHIT-
Wherever life lands you, you will have to start at the bottom of the totem pole unless you’re well connected and rich af. Just because you busted your ass in school and were top of your class, doesn’t mean you’re entitled to level up as soon as you feast your eyes on your dream job. What I mean by that is, you have to eat shit before you can deal shit. You aren’t entitled to something just because you believe you’ve earned it. You have to show up and prove your worth, no matter where you are. Leave the ego behind, set your goals, and do whatever it takes to make them reality. That may mean you scrub some toilets, deal with petty fuckers and have to suck it up. If it’s worth your end goal, you’ll take it in stride and get where you want to be. If it’s not worth it, cut your losses and move on somewhere else where it is worth it. Cause you aren’t entitled to a damned thing in this world. Work.
-IF YOU DON’T LIKE SOMETHING, CHANGE IT. IF YOU CAN’T CHANGE IT, DROP IT-
Don’t complain about something you’re not willing to change, and if you TRY and can’t change it then don’t waste anymore energy on it. Drop it and move on. Chances are you’ll forget about it eventually, and as long as you’ve tried you have closure. But shut uppppp if you don’t at least make an effort to change whatever it is you don’t like. You aren’t entitled to shit as aforementioned, and that includes complaining about things you aren’t willing to work on. *this doesn’t apply to minor day to day botherances, this is for when you’re in situations you don’t like, before someone gets offended by my statement lol*
-EVERYTHING PASSES, GOOD AND BAD-
Some days are gonna fucking suck, and some days are going to make history for you with their gloriousness. But keep in mind that when things are bad, it will be fleeting and good things are bound to come up. Likewise, when you’re on top of the world, sometimes shit is gonna happen and make you stumble for a sec. Life is a huge balancing act, and each circumstance has its lessons and purposes. You need the bad to appreciate the good, and you benchmark things by having deviances to replicate or aspire to. Make sense?
-DON’T FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT-
That saying has always driven me a bit batty. Yes, if you pretend you’re confident then eventually you’ll believe your own hype and your ability to project a sense of that will come more naturally. But that doesn’t always mean that you will actually end up more confident. For this one, I’m pretty much going to advise that you keep trying til you make it. But don’t fake it cause you may never actually learn if you’re good enough to eventually fool yourself. All you can do is your best in any situation, and confidence comes from repetition so rehearse until you’ve nailed it. Speaking of which…
-CONFIDENCE COMES FROM REPETITION-
This is for anything. The more you do something, the better you will get and the easier it will come. Confidence isn’t a natural characteristic, it’s learned and honed. Kids who are confident have parents cheering them on and making them feel capable of whatever it is they’re doing. Some people will be more inclined to try things outside of their comfort zone and have higher risk tolerances, but as a general rule, confidence is taught and learned. So it only makes sense that it comes from repetition. Validate your efforts, internally or externally. Rinse and repeat.
-SAVE MONEY FOR A RAINY DAY-
I always thought that was more metaphorical, but it turns out that when unexpected things come up in life that require more financial resources than you have, it evolves into a storm pretty quickly. It takes a long time to build up good credit and security, and it really doesn’t take much to undo it all. If you’re young, SAVE SOME MONEY. If you’re old, SAVE SOME MONEY. It helps your credit, helps your bank account, and helps your sanity. No, we can’t take it with us when we go, but it feels pretty darned good when you have a buffer or you can handle a shitty and expensive situation that arises. Save money aside from individual goals you set like vacations or house down-payments or a new purse/car/bike/bowling ball. Save some emergency money cause I can tell you as a failing adult, shit will inevitably come up and it’ll be nice to be prepared. It’s good to have an umbrella on a rainy day.
-LIVE LIKE DAPHNE; UNAPOLOGETICALLY AND UNABASHEDLY YOU-
My granny used to show up off the plane to visit us in teal and fuschia flowered outfits. She only wore lipstick, never mascara or anything else. She swore like a sailor, drank like a Newfie, smoked like a chimney and didn’t give two flying fucks about what anyone around her thought. Granny was fiercely loyal, took no shit from anyone, and defended her loved ones like no one else. She lived her entire life completely unabashedly Daphne. I think if more people embraced their eccentricities and spent less time wishing they had other people’s traits, they’d be much happier as a whole. So what if you’re a little weird? Dorky? Meathead-ish? Loud? Messy? Whatever you can come up with, it’s part of what makes you YOU, and the joyous part of humanity is the diversity. Life truly would be boring without any options, and the thing that makes it viable to have options is how different people are. Rock your unique qualities, fuck what anyone thinks about them, and sleep easier knowing you don’t have to hide yourself or maintain a facade for the sake of other people. Life is too short, les fuck it.
Last, and not least;
-TAKE A CHANCE ON LIFE-
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. The worst that happens when you try something new is you don’t like it, or it doesn’t work. Innovation comes from attempts at challenging current situations/products/services/technologies etc and trying to improve those processes. And there are ALWAYS failures before successes. You don’t have to change the world or save a species, but if there’s something you want to try, take a chance. You get a short amount of time to enjoy whatever your reason for existence is, so find your whys or why nots and take a chance on life. You can always revert back to wherever you started if you don’t like the outcome 😊