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.