How Do You Stay Sane Once You Enter Your 20s?
When Sorry Is 'Still' Your Safe Word
Your 20s – A time in which you are meant to relish in the richness of life whilst experiencing a generous amount of struggle but in a "cool, calm and collected way." A time that sees you make the biggest decisions of your life: Degrees, Career, Relationships. All of which you are reminded of (it seems) once you have your 20th birthday (and each day or week if you're lucky from thereafter). Each decision you make could be the one that carries you through your life. You likely move out. Make new, more true and profound friendships. You have to size up the world now that you are no longer deemed a teenager. You are stronger, you are in your prime, it's time to live free!
So what do you do if you still feel 17 and have a hardcore habit of ending each sentence with an apology? Not forgetting the occasional inanimate object that receives a sincere plea for forgiveness from time to time.
Here is a list of 10 things I have needlessly apologised for.
- "Sorry, could you just possibly pass me my phone? Sorry."
- "I really could kill a coffee, sorry."
- "Would you mind holding the door for me, only because my hands are full? Sorry."
- Crying: "Oh god I'm sorry for crying."
- Falls over: "Oh no, god, I'm so sorry. God. Sorry." This one happens whether I'm alone or not.
- Other person: "Ah, I've got plans." Me: "Oh! Sorry I didn't mean...ah sorry."
- "I just feel really bad." Other person: "Why?" Me: "I honestly don't know. I'm sorry."
- Has been talking a while: "I'm so sorry."
- "I love you, sorry."
- "I just miss you, I'm sorry."
Admittedly, when you suffer from a mental illness, as I do, you are more likely to apologise unnecessarily. Perhaps we feel we are far too accountable for our own thoughts and that's another responsibility we would rather put aside, swiftly and with a splash of denial. Alternatively, it is because we have little confidence in our own voice from time to time (or all the time). Or is it that we feel bad, for no reason, about what we have to say? I would side with all of the above, but mostly the latter.
It feels like a weakness, and every time I think that I have conquered the goblin of sorry, my mental health acts up and the cycle continues. The endless apologising can wear some people down, which starts a whole new episode of apologies from the perpetrator. It also wears us down. We don't always know why we say it. I'm 20 years old, and I suffer from anxiety and depression and a little dollop of OCD too. I feel that even though I am still but a tiny woman in the grand scheme of my life, I should have shed my baggage at number 19's flat and grown a new skin by the time I reached number 20's welcome mat.
I believe, for me, the first step to staying sane is to combat the apology demon; once I start to have confidence in the things I say, in any situation, I believe I will get that little bit closer to the social concept that is "Sanity." It differs for each person, so instead of labeling it "My Sanity" I shall exchange it for "My Personal Goal." It seems healthier to view it as an achievement, rather than an unreachable concept.