At girls' night, conversation goes all over the place. We talk about everything and anything, from classes to future hopes and dream to relationships to love to each other; everything and anything. Girls' nights are incredibly therapeutic. It's when you're able to sit and just talk with your girls about the things on your mind, get validation for those thoughts because they too have had them, get encouragement and reassurance for dealing with problems.
But at our last girls' night, a theme kept coming up of, "But of course, I don't know what that really feels like so it's stupid to say..."
I don't know what that really feels like.
What is that even supposed to mean? Girls' night isn't the only place I've heard this either; older people have always told me, especially when I'm either complaining or basking, that, "You ain't seen nothing yet. You don't know what it's like." Their point is that I can't make any valid judgments about the things I'm experiencing because I haven't experienced anything yet in life.
Oh, so you mean to say that the past 18 years of my life didn't exist? I spent them in a black hole devoid of any purpose or meaning?
Okay, okay, I know that's not what they're saying. They're saying that with their experience in life, which is much longer than mine, they've seen what my problems are like relative to their own, relative to the world, relative to years beyond what I've experienced.
They're putting my experiences into perspective. Which is entirely valid. From their perspective, I haven't seen anything of the world yet, because they've been alive for so much longer and have seen so much more.
But for me, my 18 years is all I have for perspective. And that doesn't make my experiences invalid. It does not. Because life is relative, and everything I've felt or experienced up until this point is entirely real.
Let me put it in this context: at girls' night, conversation came around somehow to soul mates. A friend said, "Of course I'm not going to say that we're soul mates, because I'm just 18, but..." and I cut her off right there. Everything in life is relative. If at that moment what you feel for another person is the strongest thing you've felt in your 18 years, then that person is your soul mate.
Can someone better come along later in life? Of course! But for now, that's the "best" person you've met in your life, and relative to your own life, that's saying something. What if you died at age 20? That person who was the closest thing to a soul mate at age 18 then becomes your soulmate-level person, because you died at age 20 and everything you experienced up until then is all you have as a frame of reference for life.
If the vacation you just went on this past summer was the best vacation of your life, you're not going to say, "but there are so many other possible vacations out there, I can't say that this is the best vacation ever." You're going to say, "This is the best vacation I've been on so far." That could change in the next few years, but the fact that it could change doesn't invalidate the way you feel about it now. Because life is relative.
Every moment in life is always subject to change. Any opinion you develop can always be changed. That puts a temporary time stamp on almost everything in life, with an unidentified expiration date, but that's okay! You never know what the future is going to look like, you don't know what the next few moments of your life are even going to look like. That means it's okay to make judgments today based on what you're experiencing, as long as you recognize they can and should be able to change.
Your experiences are entirely valid. Entirely. At every stage in life. It doesn't give you a free pass to act melodramatic and compare your life to Shakespearean tragedies every two seconds, but it does give you the pass to accept that the extremes of your life are relative to the extremes of another's. Every feeling you have is valid. So let yourself feel it.