Twenty-three blessed years ago, I entered this world a screaming monster. No joke. My own mother didn’t even like me because of my excessive neediness and crying. Unfortunately, not much has changed.
As I enter real adulthood, not that post college haze of learning to live and struggle on my own, I think of the 22 lessons I’ve learned that brought me to where I am.
22. Netflix is a gift from God
It’s a bold statement, but excessive Netflixing occasionally saves me from making bad choices, helps me feel less sad and allows me to watch episodes of One Tree Hill over and over again. It’s like my own personal Guardian Angel that I get for less than $8 a month.
21. It’s okay to be a loner sometimes
For some reason, people are obsessed with constantly hanging out with people. While I enjoy the company of others, sometimes it’s really nice to be by myself. Not even just at home. I love seeing movies by myself and taking time to learn that I don’t need anyone else to be happy. My personality’s excessive enough.
20. Being a brat is unattractive 100 percent of time
I’m both the baby of the family and a middle child (my family is dysfunctional), which means I was literally born to be a nuisance. I used to lie, pout and throw tantrums when I didn’t get my way. A lot of the time I wouldn’t help anyone out because I was a giant baby. I still can be this way, but I’m learning it’s not cute.
19. Eating too much fast food is kind of bad for you
This probably seems obvious, but it was a big surprise to my weight and bank account.
18. Sometimes the people you love hurt you.
We all learn this lesson in time, and it’s never easy. When the person forgets they’re supposed to love you unconditionally and instead publicly shames you, it’s hard to get over. The lesson is to forgive them even when they don’t deserve it and focus on the people who are still there. I’m not saying I’m so good at the forgiving part, but I’m trying.
17. Hiding your feelings only makes it worse
So this is a giant piggyback on number 18, but you can’t gain anything by stifling what you’re going through in an attempt to be strong for yourself and others. There’s no shame in talking about it.
16. Drinking water is super important
I have this weird issue where I forget to drink water. And then I get really sick. Here’s hoping that 23 will be a dehydrating free year.
15. Spending a lot of money on gas to go home isn’t a waste
Ever. As a recent graduate working in retail, I’m certainly not rolling in the dough. That being said, I’ve never regretted the money spent to see my family. When life gets tough, sometimes watching Chopped with my family and holding my niece while she sleeps is enough to let me know that I’m going to be okay.
14. Shutting down emotionally is dumb
Sometimes I turn into an emo teenage girl and refuse to talk to anyone. My best friend even calls me out on it when she knows I’m upset and I don’t open my text messages from her. I’m not sure why I go through the “no one understands me” days, but they’re really stupid. I’m only making it worse for me.
13. Saving a friendship is way better than fighting
I like to win. Arguing with me can be annoying and exhausting because even when I know I’m wrong, I don’t give up. It’s amazing that I recognized this and continued to behave so poorly. When I get into these situations now, I try to take a step back and think even if I have a point to argue, is it worth it? No. I don’t want to hurt any of my relationships and my points tend to be petty and selfish.
12. Being dishonest about what you want only hurts you more
I tend to try to be all things to all people to please them. And sometimes that segues into relationships when I sacrifice what I’m looking for and keep to the other person’s terms. No bueno. Which leads to 13.
11. Don’t give up what you want most for what you want now
Pretty much every aspect in every area of my life taught me this. I’m a child, and I want things now, even if it hurts when I really want. You can’t grow if you keep making excuses.
10. Dyeing your hair red is NEVER a good idea
Especially two weeks before your sister’s wedding. Your hair (and mother and sister) will hate you for a long time.
9. Growing up doesn’t mean changing who you are
I went through this obnoxious phase where I thought becoming an adult meant becoming a different person. Not the case. If you haven’t noticed, I tend to make some ill advised choices.
8. Alcohol is a little overrated
I’m not going to lie, sometimes a cold Bud Light sounds phenomenal. And sometimes I indulge. I don’t think there’s anything wrong in moderation; however, when everything you do involves drinking, that’s too much. For about a month my social life was going to the bar or drinking by the fire. It was exhausting.
7. I can’t be the person God intended me to be if I keep trying to be someone else
Referencing multiple points from above, I went through an identity crisis. I tried to define myself by the world’s standards and not mine or God’s. I became intoxicated by the fact that everyone liked this new, more fun version of Chelsea. The problem? I didn’t like her. I missed who I was, but I couldn’t give up the feeling of acceptance. That is until three of the people I hung out with were surprised I was a Christian. In one week I realized how foolish I had been and decided to make a change. So here I am, trying to be who God wants me to be and to no one’s surprise, I’m starting to like me again.
6. Imagination is key to everything
I received a lot of great gifts and traits from my mother, but my favorite may be my ability to imagine. I’m not necessarily talking about making up fake worlds, more being able to see a different life and strive for it. My mom read and grew her brain and dreams and instilled that notion in me and my sister. Because of that, I saw a life in Pittsburgh and a dream to try something new and here I am, on my way to something better.
5. It’s hard to understand unconditional love until you see your niece being born
My sister allowed me and my mother to be in the delivery room when my beloved Weezy entered the world. I assumed it would be gross, but I had to watch. The first time I saw my niece’s face, I cried. I was so filled with love it was overwhelming. And she’s not even my child. Even when she cries and pouts, I still love and cherish her and want to make her happy. I don’t think my human brain will ever comprehend the depth of God’s love, but knowing he loves me more than I love that little girl is ridiculous and unfathomable. When I lose myself and practically spit in the image of who He wants me to be, He still welcomes me back into His arms when I realize how wrong I am. And He never gives up on me. That’s insane.
4. Step family is a great gift (when you get the right ones)
And I did. My stepdad is so much more than the man my mother married. He’s been there for me most of my life, loving and helping me like I was actually his child. It’s hard to imagine but all he’s done for me is longer than this blog post. But I didn’t just get a great dad, God always gave me amazing step siblings, a stepsister-in-law and a whole brood of nieces plus a nephew.
3. Once you find your heterosexual life mate, nothing else matters
Sam Scribner is the light of my life. Sometimes I think about we’ve only been friends for three years and my mind is blown. She’s the person I can tell all my deep, dark thoughts and know she’ll still love me. I can tell her about how I ate an entire cake and she’ll be impressed and repulsed for my calorie count. Making other friends never seems that important because I have her, and not much else matters. I wouldn’t be where I am without her. She challenges me to better in every area of my life. Even when we fight, I realize after about two minutes that I miss her in my life. Lesbihonest, I know how this sounds, and it’s probably because it’s true, friend love. PS I noticed after the first readthrough I put the wrong last name but I’m not changing it.
I’m also blessed to have my sister and Tanner, too. You guys are special in a different kind of way and honestly if I wanted to write an honest post for all of you I’d break the Internet. You all complete me and without you guys I’d be a troll under a bridge.
2. My mother is always right
Julie Thompson is a saint. Often times in my youth I was upset with her rules and guidelines, but now I see they were all out of love. Every time she gives me advice and I don’t listen, things go bad. She’s literally been right about everything and I refuse to listen. My resolution for 23 is to stop being stubborn and listen.
1. My plan sucks.
I’m a control freak and a lot of time I’m like, don’t worry God, I got this. Ugh. Everything I think I can do alone is an epic fail. Truly, all I do is lose on my own. Because God is so good, every time I give something to Him it’s resolved and life is better again. So why can’t I learn? Because I’m a puny human. But I’m getting better.
So there it is. I bet if you actually read all of this you think wow, this girl is a childish brat. And that’s pretty true. Remember these are lessons I’ve learned/am learning. It’s not easy becoming an adult, but hopefully I’m doing my best.
Also one of my lessons probably should’ve been to edit things like this. Still learning that.