There is a night and day difference between me in my early 20’s and me in my late 20’s. It honestly feels like it happened over night. In my early 20’s I was out and about all the time. I was taking class after class, working jobs I hated, shifts I hated, meeting many new people, performed all the time, explored a new city, stayed out till 3 and ate/drank whatever I wanted.

Now in my late 20’s, I want to be home….pretty much all the time. I watch several movies a week, perform less, write more, mainly stick with my core group of friends, working a job I’m okay with, a shift I love, live in a routine, work out more, meet less people and go to bed at 9pm…sometimes even on weekends.

This has been a huge growing pain for me. Even though with the exception of a handful of wonderful memories, lessons learned and friends made…I was still pretty miserable in my early 20’s. I was so burnt out, I needed new words for “burnt out.” Yet, it makes me feel kind of sad that I don’t live my life this way any more. It make me wonder: Am I depressed? Have I given up in some way? Am I boring? I think these feelings are normal and must come with the territory of a quarter life crisis. However, It doesn’t make it any less difficult to work through. I heard on a podcast the other day that we often grieve the “death” of our early 20’s and we need to do that in order to find some kind of closure.

Approaching 30 doesn’t scare me. If anything, I’m very excited. However, I am finding the build up to be rather rough. I have an income, a great partner, a roof over my head, two loving pets, many friends and yet, I don’t feel as if I’m living up to my full potential. I guess we’re all always trying to be better, live better and feel better, but I don’t know where to start. Or I should say – I don’t know what’s missing. As a kid and up until about now, I’ve always known what I wanted. I wanted to perform. I have. I still do, but it’s not enough for me. I didn’t see that coming. Also when people who have known you your whole life only know you in that light, it feels even more strange to say “just kidding, i need more.”

I’ve changed. In the blink of an eye, my priorities, desires and values are completely different. I do feel that even though it feels a little unnatural right now – that I am a better person than I was 6 years ago. I think I value myself a whole lot more. I’m living for myself and not for what other people expect of me – which can be very difficult because, I really hate letting people down. Even strangers!

In a nutshell:

  • I’m happy to have less on my plate and I can add more along the way as long as I don’t feel burnt out.
  • I miss performing, but I’m much more picky about what kind of performing and I think that’s smart.
  • I love going to bed early and that doesn’t make me boring.
  • Staying up till 3 was fun, but I already have what most people who stay up that late are looking for.
  • I still want to be successful, but what that looks like has changed and I can’t see it right now, but I will.
  • It’s okay to be depressed. We’re all depressed in our own way. Acknowledging and reaching out will always help.
  • It’s hard to do things different from the way people expect you to but also, any one who doesn’t just want you to be happy, sucks.

This post was a bit of a ramble, but I think people can relate. I hope in this New Year, whether you’ve made changes or stayed the same, you’ll find that whatever brings you joy is always the way. As the spice girls once said….

“Slam it to the left
If you’re havin’ a good time
Shake it to the right
If ya know that you feel fine
Chicas to the front
Ha ha (uh uh)
Go round”

If that’s not joy, I don’t know what is.

You’re welcome.

Self Care, Self Flare



Published by Kelly Tietjen

Chicago gal offering my own take on self development, creativity, mental health and more.

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