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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.

Recently, I’ve  come to terms with the idea that I’m becoming an adult with many adult responsibilities. Overwhelming at times, these responsibilities include so many small things that make me feel alright, or that at least reassure me that I’m on the right track. I recently read a quote from Charles Baudelaire, a well-known French modernist poet, that reads: “a multitude of small delights constitute happiness.” This quote justifies, not only my recent obsessions such as binging cooking shows, indulging in sweets, and buying colored eyeliners to make my eyes pop, but also where I feel I’m at in this specific point of my life. The roaring 20s are a bit chaoticーwell, actually, they’re incredibly confusing and overwhelming. So many deadlines, responsibilities, heartbreaks, and constant shifts in rhythm. And despite planning ahead and/or giving a schedule a try, I fear that it’ll restructure itself every 4-5 business days. However, there is no other growth and learning process I would rather go through because it is my own tumultuous mess. So, here are some things that have helped me understand that feeling overwhelmed with aging is not always so bad. All existential crises aside, there are silver linings.  

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1. Say Yes to Self-care

When my life is  dramatically ‘in shambles’, keeping  self-care activities in my schedule is a must. Besides therapy, exercise, or just plain physical movement of any kind, is a great tool to have in store. I know that suggesting self-care  won’t necessarily be enough to make someone commit to it, but it took a while for me to really question why I kept ignoring a piece of advice that is so often talked about.Moreover, ‘girl math’ has helped me not feel ashamed of my chai latte runs. Savoring this go-to beverage just makes me feel at peace, and oddly independent. After all, it is my choice to have small treats that make my day. I sometimes ask myself if they’re worth it, and most of the time I realize that I don’t need to feel guilty post-purchase. 

2. Embracing and Letting Go of All types of Relationships 

My other form of therapy is going to get lunch with my friends. A weekly, biweekly, or even monthly catch-up is so satisfying. Plus, having friends and embracing these relationships to their fullest potential is an essential growth experience. Life is rough, especially for college students trying to grasp all the worries and struggles they face, so having someone that’s there for you is insanely important. And post-pandemic, my friends have been my support system through the whole classes, relationships, and situationship messes.

On another personal note, one of the toughest issues I’ve dealt with, and now embrace, are the pitfalls and learning curves brought by relationships (both platonic and romantic). I’ve lost friends, and had  terrible heartbreaks. Losing people is painful and confusing because it induces a sense of failure. That “failure” is a perception, and only a simple narrow-minded one . The positive side is that these experiences are an essential part of growing up, and they help define how I want my future interpersonal relationships to look like. 

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3. Allowing Myself to Feel Nostalgia and New Feelings

Living for more than a decade (*breathes deeply) offers me the ability to feel nostalgia for everything. Nostalgia for past relationships, friendships, and even songs. I listen to songs from the 2010s and feel like they were released yesterday. Usually, they bring about an overwhelming feeling of joy, sadness, and satisfaction. Most times, when I feel these heavy emotions, an immense hug might be the perfect gift. Being hugged is also something I value much more than people would think. It has been a long road, personally, to accept and embrace my vulnerability. Crying is not only rooted in sadness; happiness, frustration, and anger are emotions that must be equally prioritized in these developing years of the great 20s. 

4. The Freedom of Driving and Having Karaoke Sessions 

One more day-to-day aspect I appreciate is the  ability to drive practically anywhere. Although it’s a simple everyday thing, I have to take an hour-long drive almost everyday and it could be perceived as an ordeal (which it is; but my playlists help keep me sane), but it also comes with a sense of freedom. If the day was an absolute disaster, my Spotify playlist is waiting for me to scream out each song, karaoke style, as loud as my throat can bear. Besides, every so often, errands are not so bad. Sometimes, they may even be entertaining. 

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5. Dressing Up

Lastly, I never really cared about my appearance on the daily. I wrongly thought that if caring for my looks everyday was on my priority list, I’d lose time on what’s actually important: school, grades, being on time, and being overall responsible. Not that those aspects are not important, but they’re not the only ones. I can spend time brushing my hair, or browsing Pinterest for new makeup ideas, or make time to do my nails with different eclectic designs, and coordinate my outfits the night before… It is all allowed if it makes you feel content. While feeling satisfied, I must add that having curly hair while growing up Latino is very disconcerting. There’s an undertone of judgment toward girls with curly hair in their adolescent years.  A misconception that it does not look good if you brush it too much! I always wanted to straighten my hair because it helped me feel less insecure. Now, though, I love my natural hair, even when it is not cooperating and doesn’t have the perfect goldilocks curls. 

My list of small things that help me appreciate my 20s is actually much longer, but the brainstorming process is still adding new items. I’ll be the first to admit that I have no idea what life has in store for me. I’m a complicated recently-turned adult, but I do manage my old obstacles while finding new ones. I know now I can say no if something isn’t really what I want or envisioned. I can now say no to anything that makes me feel unsure. Writing these thoughts down really helps center my ideas toward those things I desire to keep growing from in my life, and the others that just don’t take up any space anymore. I’m grateful for that, and also for having the opportunity to place these thoughts in a public setting. These are my multitude of small delights, and who knows, maybe I can give the gift of feeling ease to someone else that’s reading this right now.

María Isabel is an undergraduate student at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus and a contributor to the Her Campus UPR chapter magazine. Her topics of interest range from entertainment to midnight thoughts that keep you up at night. She is majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities faculty with a specific interest in Theater and Language. She is academically eager to keep taking French classes, and learn more on the relationship between theater, movement, and performing arts. Another discipline they would major in, if they could, is in Art History and Literature. Most of their work experience is related to theater as a member of the cast and production team in the Theatre committee at her university. Maria is constantly looking for new opportunities to participate in theater productions and art related projects. In her free time she relaxes by reading, watching Netflix and Disney Plus movies and series, and looking for new experiences to share with her friends. When she’s not listening to podcasts on her drive to the university, she is binge watching her favorite sitcom,New Girl, and she feels that most times she is a mix of Jess and Winston, and when stressed a raging Schmidt.