Sorry, not sorry

As my 33rd birthday fast approaches, I have been thinking a lot about the status of my life, especially over the past year.

I can honestly say that I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I’m in love with a truly wonderful man, I have a solid job that I enjoy, I have amazing friends and family, and most importantly, I’ve learned a lot about what’s really important and quite a bit more about how, when and where I should really be investing my time and energy.

Of course, things are never perfect, and I still struggle with my eating and drinking habits, weight, blurting, overreacting, etc. I mean, I’m still me! And that’s OK. I’m not sorry that I’m an imperfect person. I’m not sorry that there are people out there who genuinely dislike me. I’m not sorry that I screw up, because that’s the best way to learn. (OK, I am sorry when I screw up if it offends someone, but in the long run, it makes me better.)

With this in mind, this week I came across two things that really resonated with me that I’d like to share with you. The first you may have seen. Lena Dunham wrote this piece on over apologizing, calling it “a modern plague and I’d be willing to bet (though I have zero scientific research to back this up) that many women utter ‘I’m sorry’ more on a given day than ‘Thank You’ and ‘You’re Welcome’ combined.”

I concur. And it IS more women than men who seem to have this problem, although men do it, too. It has become such an ingrained part of our vocabulary that we don’t even realize we’re saying it and what it means in each context (many times — nothing!).

I remember the end of my freshman year of college when my dad was moving me out of my dorm. It was a hot day, and I lived on the fourth floor, sans elevator. Parents, students and siblings were scrambling to pack cars, crowding the stairwells and hallways. This girl who lived across the hall from me, a very pretty redhead that I didn’t know closely but always seemed nice enough, kept encountering my dad in the stairwell, carrying various things, and each time she’d smile and say, “Sorry!” as she squeezed past. It drove my dad nuts. He finally said, “You don’t need to apologize!” We were ALL doing the same thing. She was just being polite, right? But when did being polite translate into apologizing ALL THE TIME? There’s a difference between being polite, and saying you’re “sorry” when you have nothing to apologize for!

My second gem of the week was an article sent to me last night by my friend Carly.

“Admittedly I didn’t read the article, but the headline caught my eye!” she said.

At first glance, “Everyone’s Obsessed With ‘Adulting’ And I’m Tired Of Pretending I Give A Fuck,” written by Heidi Priebe (who I’m now following on Twitter), looked like another version of this blog post I ranted about a few months ago, but upon reading through it, it wasn’t like that at all. Instead, it expressed rather beautifully all of these thoughts that have been rolling around in my head the past few weeks. I’m not sure I’m quite to the point Ms. Priebe is in her journey, but I think I’m certainly on the right track!

If you don’t want to read the whole article, I will share with you my favorite part:

Being an adult means knowing yourself. It means listening to your own needs. It means understanding which kind of lifestyle you want to be living and then pursuing it unapologetically.

Sometimes being an adult means getting married and having a kid, but other times it means the total opposite. Sometimes it means traveling long-term. Sometimes it means frequent career shifts. Sometimes, being an adult just means having the bravery to say, ‘I choose the life that I want over the life that I’m expected to have and I’m happy with that. I’m living with my own definition of integrity.’

Because at the end of the day, the most mature thing any of us can ever do is to know ourselves. To trust ourselves. To understand that even when our wants and needs differ from the desires of the people around us, they’re still valid. They’re still meaningful. They’re still there.

And to allow ourselves the honesty to grow into the exact kind of adult that we want to become.

This is the mindset I strive to have as I celebrate my 33rd birthday — divorced, childless, curvy and LOUD, and surrounded by the best friends and family a girl could ever ask for.

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