Warning – this blog post lacks background research and is a purely subjective account from one individual. Tips and recommendations should be approached with this in mind.
I grew up shy, lonesome, and mostly ignorant in the ways of the world. My family maintains a certain level of Victorian sensibility; the feminine values of “piety, modesty, and obedience” are prized and upheld (Romantic Politics). As a young girl, I was told that “children should be seen and not heard” – an old saying dating back to an Augustinian clergyman from the 15th century (The Phrase Finder, 2014). I can thus confidently say that I was raised to be a ‘young lady’ in the truest sense of the word. I can further go on to say that I have come nowhere near this ideal.
By my approximation, my current status as a young lady is as an ‘unconventional’ one. I offer here tips for other kindred souls who find their pathway to idyllic perfection marred by certain personal proclivities or a wayward spirit. Being only 24 years of age, I cannot provide any time-tested wisdom; instead, I outline some reflections that have offered me the greatest joy and value thus far in my life.
1. Build up your physical strength. Physical appearance is fleeting, health is subjective, but strength is something that only you can own. You can derive an immense amount of satisfaction, esteem, and mental health benefits by being able to lift a 50, 100, or even a 150 lb. weight.
2. Sit and stare at the sky (alone). Do not be afraid to have time in which you are perfectly alone and perfectly idle. Doing yoga or actively meditating does not count, as it focuses your energies and is often in a group context. Sitting alone in public places can be helpful as a way to define your independence.
3. Settle on something. Contrary to popular opinion and modern-day lifestyles, ‘settling’ is a useful function. Settling here means that you are not always looking for the next-best thing; the next love affair, the next pair of shoes, the next trip. Be content in your own space and your own skin.
4. Foster a rich intellectual life. Nothing is more distracting, fulfilling, and joyful than thinking all the time. Think and wonder about everything, openly and without reserve or judgement. Ask questions without seeking answers.
I do not suggest that any of the above points will lead you to a state of beauty, wealth, or popularity. I imagine, in fact, that these tips will not lead you anywhere at all. But I hope that they will give you something to think about.