24 Things I Have Learned in 24 Years

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This is a fairly cliche post that a lot of vloggers and bloggers do around their birthdays, but I’ve honestly been in a bit of a rut and am hoping this will snap me out of it.

I turned 24 last week, and wanted to share some things I’ve learned over the past two and a half decades.

1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about things you don’t know. My normal reaction is to immediately act like I know what someone is talking about, even when I don’t, so I don’t look stupid. Worry less about that and just ask the question – then you actually WILL know what they are talking about.

2. Don’t waste time on people who don’t have you as their first choice. This goes for family, boyfriends/girlfriends, and platonic friendships. There have been relationships in my life that I have given so much to, only to be left with nothing. Focus on those who give back to you as well, you deserve it.

3. Your political and religious beliefs may not align with what your parents/family/friends believe. This has always been a hard one for me to swallow. I am someone who likes to make others happy, hates confrontation, and I don’t agree with my family on basically anything anymore. Learning to let them speak their peace and letting go of any resentment I had towards their opinions was hugely helpful.

4. You truly don’t owe anyone any explanations. I have always felt like I had to explain every choice, belief, and thought I had and made. You literally don’t owe anyone that information, unless it is truly something you want to share. Do what you want, and as long as you aren’t hurting anyone, don’t worry about the judgments of others.

5. Work harder than those around you, but don’t kill yourself for a job that you hate. I have had many jobs that I have hated. While I did of course do my best for those jobs, I also made sure to try and seek out something I would enjoy more. Quitting my last job and entering the freelance writing and social media world changed my life and I couldn’t be happier with the choice. No matter what job you have, make sure you are giving it all you can. It’s not always going to be enjoyable, or even seem worth it, even if you love your job. However, it will make a huge difference in how your boss, coworkers, loved ones, and even you look at yourself.

6. Make times for the tasks you love. I read and write a lot, both for work and for myself. Taking time each day/week/month to yourself for your hobbies is extremely important and will help you make sure they don’t get left behind for good. We have the internet now, there are hundreds of apps that can even help you schedule time for your passions.

7. Travel. Try new foods. Expand your comfort zone. Even if you don’t have a lot of extra money, do small day trips to nearby parks/museums/events/etc. Try a new type of food/drink/activity every once in a while. It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut, trying something new can get you out of old habits.

8. Focus less on how you look and more on how you feel. There is nothing wrong with caring how you look, but when it comes to nutrition and diets, you should eat what makes your body happy. Switching to a vegetarian diet with tons of fruits and veggies has made my body and skin feel so much better, and in the end it looks better as well.

9. Nothing will replace the written word. It is infinitely more exciting to receive a handwritten card or letter over an email or social media post. Get in the habit of writing cards/letters, your loved ones will thank you.

10. Learn from people. There is not a relationship or person on this earth you can’t learn something from. While the lesson may not always be pleasant, keep that in mind and try to exercise patience with other human beings.

11. Respect those working for you. I feel like this should be obvious, but from a previous life of working in customer service I know it’s not. Be kind and patient with service workers who are doing their best to help you with a problem. Customer service is the worst line of work I have ever been in, and a little kindness always goes a long way. These people are filling a need, and they should be treated with respect.

12. Don’t be afraid of your emotions. I’m an extremely sensitive, emotional person. Learning that it was OK to express emotions and tears/anger/joy was life-changing.

13. Know your personality. You know the Myers Briggs tests? They can give you such a wealth of knowledge about yourself and how you think and interact with the world. Take the test, it may make aspects of your life infinitely easier.

14. College isn’t the most important thing in the world. While getting a degree is a great thing to aspire to, it is not the end of the world if you don’t follow that path. College gets more expensive all the time, and it’s not a plausible option for everyone. Leaving school and entering the working world was the best option for me, and I don’t regret it for a single second.

15. Learn constantly. We have such an enormous wealth of information at our fingertips with the internet, books, classes, other people, etc. There is really no reason to not always be learning about something. Something as small as trying new recipes every week or reading about a period of history you love is a great way to keep your mind sharp and keep learning.

16. Don’t stick yourself into a tiny box. I always felt that I had to be one specific way when I was growing up. There is no reason you can’t like a multitude of different styles, types of music, hobbies, beliefs, etc. Sticking yourself in a label that doesn’t encompass all of your personality only hurts you.

17. Don’t force yourself into things you don’t want to do. Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try to expand your comfort zone and try new things, but if you know you don’t like something and you’re being pressured into it – don’t feel inclined to do it out of guilt or embarrassment.

18. Spend time with family. This of course does not apply to abusive or estranged family that you can’t/don’t want to be around. However, if you have healthy family that wants to spend time with you, don’t turn down every invitation. They’re getting older just like you are, and someday you may regret not saying yes to their requests.

19. Take the best care of yourself that you can. Over the past year or so, I have finally realized that no one is going to take care of myself the way that I can. Eat good foods, wear clothes that you love and are comfortable, battle unkind thoughts that pop into your mind, spend time with those that make you feel good and loved, and feed your brain and keep it active.

20. Don’t be afraid to take yourself on dates. This kind of goes hand in hand with number 19, take yourself out and enjoy your own company. I’m happily married, but still take time to take myself out shopping or on other outings, I buy myself flowers, and I find it really enjoyable.

21. Be generous. You don’t have to give away all your money or belongings, but be as generous as your mental and physical health allows with your time, your love, and with any extra things you have in your life that you don’t need. If you can, donate old books, clothes, food, or anything else that just sits around your house without use.

22. Exercise. It’s important that your body gets physical activity, but make sure it’s something you like to do anyway, otherwise you will never do it. If you like walking dogs, do that. If you prefer yoga, do that. No matter what your preference, if you choose an exercise that you enjoy anyway, it won’t seem like a chore.

23. Save money as you can. Rather than spending every cent you have, if you have the extra money, save some of it in a separate savings account. You never know what the future holds.

24. Lead by example. The world could always use the talents you have to offer, as well as more kindness and empathy. Be the person you would want as your best friend or mentor, and that will rub off on others.

These are absolutely not lessons I have perfected by any means, but they are ones that I have learned over the past twenty four years. I’d love to hear your thoughts, as well as the life lessons you have learned over the span of your life.

Thanks for reading, more content is coming soon, I promise.

Making Friends After 20

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I have a question for those of you reading this today, especially if you’re over the age of twenty – how do you make new friends?

Do you find it as difficult as I do? If you aren’t in college or a workplace that allows you to cultivate new friendships, how do you seek them out? Do you even attempt to?

After moving five hours away from the vast majority of the people I have known for two decades, I found myself in an interesting dilemma – besides my immediate family, I know no one here. I have no friends besides my spouse, and at almost 24, I haven’t a clue how to make them.

I also realize that because I work about 45-50 hours a week, entirely from home, my chances are even slimmer than someone who works in an office or outside of their own house.

Another uncomfortable truth I realized was that I haven’t made a new friend since I was in high school. Not that this is terribly important, but making a connection with someone new and having it last has not happened for me in 6-8 years. Talk about being rusty.

Through this blog and my YouTube channel, I have found some incredibly people online to interact with. People that have similar views and like to read as much as I do, and sometimes I doubted whether these people existed outside of a few family members. However, these are not people that live near me, that I can invite over or go out and have coffee with.

It’s not that I need dozens of friends. In fact, I’d love to just find one or two people nearby that I can meet up with and talk to once a week or so. I have never been someone to have a multitude of friends in my life, and that is honestly perfect for me. Being extremely introverted makes parties and large gatherings uncomfortable for me, and being an INFP makes me want to have more intimate, smaller interactions with humans.

There are apps now that allow to find groups and meetups around you to meet people that like the same things as you. I think I am going to try that out and see what I think. However, I still wanted to ask those of you with similar experiences, what do you do when seeking out new companionship? Any and all advice is welcome.

Thank you so much for reading, it means the world to me.

 

I’m Back

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Hello friends!

I am so excited to say that I am back and am going to be posting regularly again.

As far as a posting schedule, I haven’t really decided what I am going to commit to at this time. Right now I am going to get back to my regular YouTube videos on Tuesday and Thursday, and then a blog post on Sundays. Then I’ll build from there!

Just a little bit of a life update in case you don’t know my personally – I moved to a different state over the the last few weeks. My spouse, dogs, and I are now in a much better living situation in Ohio.

I also went vegetarian about a week ago. A couple years ago I was vegan, and ever since starting to eat meat afterwards I have wanted to officially give it up again.

My work has also been a little more hectic. I started a second job that is quite a bit of writing, and giving myself a break from creative projects has been a nice way to ease into a new life. However, I have really, really missed making videos and writing blog posts.

That brings me to my last point. Over the past few weeks I have noticed a lot more followers on both this blog and my YouTube channel, and it has been such a heartwarming mood boost for me. For everyone who is new to my content, I can’t thank you enough for connecting with me and enjoying what I spend a LOT of time making. Thank you.

-Kristen

An Enormous, Heartfelt Thank You

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Every day I get on here I am simply amazed at the outpouring of people who dedicate time to reading, commenting, liking, and conversing with me on this blog and my new YouTube channel as well.

I have had some personal stuff come up over the last few weeks, making it very hard to convince myself to write and film as much as I have in the past. Mental health is something I have had to work tirelessly towards and it’s harder at certain times than others.

So I just wanted to say, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. The fact that even one person gets on here and reads anything that I have to say has been incredible, let alone the many, many readers I talk to throughout the week.

I am doing my best to stay on top of everything and to keep writing as I take care of myself as well as moving my family a few states north over the next month. If a post or video falls through the cracks, as they have over the past week, I am sorry. Thank you again, for reading.

How to Read More as a Busy Adult

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I have seen a viral post going around the internet that basically states ‘I read so much as a child dozens and dozens of books, and now I am lucky if I finish one book a year.’ That isn’t the exact quote, but that is the thought behind it.

This is completely, 100% understandable. I can personally relate to this myself, and it took a while to get myself out of that rut as a ‘grown-up.’

Who has the time? Honestly-between working at least 40 hours a week, cooking, cleaning, taking care of pets, social lives, children, and keeping yourself sane, it really doesn’t seem like reading is or should be anywhere near the top of the list.

For me, it is an absolute necessity. I can’t live without it. Reading and literature are living, breathing life for me. So I make time, no matter what is going on. However, even if you are not quite as involved in it as myself, you may be interested in just keeping up on reading even just a few books a year to keep yourself sharp.

So whether you want to read as much as humanly possible and immerse yourself in literature and learning constantly, or you just want to sharpen up your reading skills slightly in order to read a little more than a book a year, I have some tips to share with you.

This is an important skill, and reading even a little bit is a fantastic way to keep your mind sharp.

 

The first tip I would give you is to always have something to read.

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This is the single best piece of advice my father has ever given to me- don’t ever go somewhere without two things to read. That way if you finish the first book/magazine/newspaper/etc, you will have something else.

Because of this, I get way more reading done, even on busy days. Rather than always pulling out my phone and watching garbage (which I have a tendency to get sucked into), I am able to engage myself in something better.

Now, even if you don’t want to lug around some huge book all day, bring an eReader, a magazine, whatever it is that you enjoy! That way you are never stuck without something to read.

The second piece of advice that I have for you is to keep track of what you read.

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Whether you use Goodreads or just make a list- it can be satisfying to keep track of what you read and see how you progress throughout the year.

If it is just to motivate yourself to read more or to see what sort of material comes up the most, keeping track of what you read can be a great way to inspire yourself to push harder.

My third and last tip would be to engage with other readers. 

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The hardest thing for me as a reader is having no one to talk to about it. If you have people with similar reading tastes, or even just likes reading in general, it’s easier to read regularly and then discuss it with someone.

If you don’t have a lot of people around you to discuss what you are reading with, do what I did! Start a blog to review books or even a YouTube channel to talk about reading and literature. Once I did that for myself, not only did it provide me with a fantastic outlet, but it motivated me to read more challenging works and more often.

Those are three of the best ways I have found to read more. You do of course have to want to read and engage with literature, but if you need a little help-these tips should do it.

What motivates you to read more? 

 

Exciting Life Update!

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If you have been reading my blog for a while, you may remember when my spouse and I decided to sell our school bus.

Since doing that, we have made plans to move up north to Ohio for a few years, and in the process begin building a tiny house as well.

Well, yesterday we signed a lease for an adorable little three bedroom house in Ohio. It has been a stressful, long process finding a place that would allow us to bring our big dogs in and has all the features we needed.

So May will be our last month in Virginia, and we could not be more excited.

I apologize for such a short blog post this Sunday, but due to all the travel, work, and family time, it has been a crazy week!

Once we are moved in and settled I will share some pictures of our new little home.

Thanks for reading!