The greatest lesson I have learned in my 30 Years of life is: stop playing the victim card.
Oh lawdy, if I could rewind my life to my early twenties I would have saved so much time, money & energy that I wasted on blaming other people for my own shortcomings. I imagine some of you may read this and have never struggled with this, while others may read this without ever leaving the blame game as you continue to find excuses for your lack of success. What I hope is that I resonate with anyone that was like me, and without going all Tony Robbins on you, is tell you that YOU are in charge of every aspect of your life, & if it’s bad, it’s probably because you let it get bad.
“That was way harsh, Ty”
I don’t mean to be frank, but darlin’, you have the potential to be the best.
As I reflected this past year, for what seemed like the first time ever, I was actually sad to see it go. I kept seeing these posts on Instagram or Facebook that more of less said “Sayonara 2014! Good Riddance, Bring it on 2015!” Although I did graduate college and have a baby (two major life milestones) in 2014, I can promise you that I had just as much of the sweet as the sour in those 365 days. I had moments where my entire world changed in the blink of an eye, I had heartbreak (oh man, did I have heartbreak) but I also experienced so much love, love greater than I could ever imagine receiving. As this year came to a close, I just felt content. However, it wasn’t always like that. I was usually front row aboard the “new year, new me,” bandwagon.
So I’m about to get real, real with you. I’m going to tell you things I never wanted the world-wide web to know about, but that lonely place at the bottom? I’ve been there, and I got myself out once I decided to take responsibility for my failures. I got this painful lesson a couple of years ago when I was living in Los Angeles. I was hardly making enough money to cover my bills, struggling like so many people in LA do, and within one month’s span I managed to get a DUI, lost my job, found out that I owed the State of Nevada a thousand dollars for a fix-it ticket and managed to get in TWO car accidents. The crazy thing, I remember blaming that entire string of events on other people, and chopped it up to simply having bad luck.
All of those events, newsflash, were sort of my fault.
“The DUI wasn’t my fault..”
I legitimately said those words because this was my logic: I had gotten pulled over for making an “aggressive left hand turn” when there were no other cars on the road. I had stopped drinking hours before I got behind the wheel. I only had a couple of glasses of wine. I blew a .08. The cops were out to get me.
What I was forgetting: I drank and got behind the wheel, end of story.
Although I have never been a drunk driver (usually it was me wrestling the keys out of my intoxicated friend’s hands), I did think it was 100% okay to have a glass of wine or two and drive home. What I didn’t realize was that was a pretty nasty habit that deserved to change.
There was an elephant in the room that I was IGNORING: I had money problems & People DIDn’t owe ME anything.
After my DUI (& the 5k it cost me), I went to my parents for money. I was pissed when they said no.
I remember complaining to my friend about how they should help me out during this rough time. After all, they had the money and I felt they owed that to me. My friend sort of got quiet then said, “You’re 26, you’re an adult, and you’re too old to have to depend on your parents.” Just like that, I realized she was totally right.
To be honest, 95% of that bad luck had to do with my finances. I wasn’t planning ahead for hard times & I was living outside my means. Boy, that lesson was hard to digest.
As for the other 5%? No one owed me anything. My parents didn’t need to bail me out. My friends and family didn’t owe me a single thing. If I wanted to change my luck, I had to do something about it.
After playing the victim to my problems, my finances got so out of control that I had to sell my car. I literally rode my bike & took the bus everywhere. This kind of became my rock bottom (or perhaps it was that creepy homeless man who harassed me at a Hollywood bus stop) that finally encouraged me to take a good, hard look at how blaming everyone else for my problems was only holding me back.
So this is what I did:
I made a vision board in my head. No really. I took what I was insecure about and figured out how I could change it. It was that year that I went back to school and started to save money that actually helped pay for me to finish my undergrad at ASU. I stopped my compulsive shopping habit (swapping designer labels for Old Navy), and I went out and got sh*t done. I spent the next three years fixing my problems and even though I’m still not where I want to be, at least I’ve worked my ass off trying to get there.
And the best part?
That low point five years ago was the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
So, next time you are in this constant stage of trying to catch a break, stop for a second & take a look at your life. Why aren’t you where you want to be? Who are you blaming for your problems? If you have an excuse or you throw shade at another person, you’re only holding yourself back from maximum potential.
My sophomore English teacher once relayed some Star Wars ideology on me, he told me “do or do not, there is no try,” so Yoda & Mr. Clymo–thank you, I just wished I would have listened to you both a whole lot sooner.