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.

An American Marriage / Book Review

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“But home isn’t where you land; home is where you launch. You can’t pick your home any more than you can choose your family. In poker, you get five cards. Three of them you can swap out, but two are yours to keep: family and native land.” 

I finally got around to finishing this book last week, and wanted to talk to you all about it. To be honest, I liked this infinitely more than I thought I would, and I have been feeling that way about a lot of books that have come out in 2018.

The story follows a young married couple, Roy and Celestial. They are young and happily married for about a year and a half before their world is completely turned around. Roy is arrested for a crime he did not commit, and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Over time, things change, and people move on. The rest of the novel tells the story of two people who are lost and how they deal with how their lives are going.

The book is told in three different perspectives- Roy, Celestial, and a close friend-Andre. This was my favorite part of the book. You get to see every point made from every possible perspective. It made the story much more detailed and rich, and allowed you to go into every situation with more perspective. There are points in the story where it is easy to ‘choose sides,’ and the different viewpoints made it easier to realize how important each one was.

This book was well-written, heartbreaking, and incredibly thought-provoking. It gave incredible insights to the intricacies of being married, racial profiling and being a person of color in America, the legal system, and the lengths you will go for someone you love.

There wasn’t one single aspect in this book that left me unsatisfied. I was very nervous towards the end of the story because I wasn’t quite sure what the final pages would hold, but it turned out in such a perfect and somewhat unexpected way.

Does it turn out in the perfect, ‘traditional’ way? No, it doesn’t. But for me it felt like the only way for the story to end.

This was a book that will have me contemplating it for the considerable future. I would highly recommend it for any fiction fans.

 If you have read the book, I would love to hear your thoughts on it!

Weekly Favorites 5!

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This week has been full of ups and downs reading-wise. For example I finally read Gone Girl for the first time this week (and was very excited for ti) and loathed it, so that was fun.

I have two books that I will list here that I really enjoyed-

The first one is Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.

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“People really are like house with vast rooms and tiny windows. And maybe it’s a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.” 

Most of you have probably heard of this book, the movie for it came out last week- Love, Simon. 

This story follows Simon, who is in high school and is secretly gay. He accidentally leaves up his email on one of the school computers and ends up getting blackmailed by another student who saw his secret love interest he was writing to. Throughout the story he deals with coming out, explaining who he is to everyone in his life, his first love, bullying, and the regular struggles of high school.

With hilarious characters and dialogue, as well as a fantastic message for younger audiences- this was a good, fun read. I listened to the audio book for this one, and Michael Crouch did not disappoint as a narrator. He was able to perfectly voice the confused, funny character of Simon.

Here’s my Goodreads review!

 

 

The second book I read this week that I really enjoyed was Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley. Warning- this one is a tearjerker.

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“It’s natural, as our loved ones age, to start grieving their loss even before we lose them.”

This book follows a man named Ted whose best friend is his dachshund Lily. Lily is getting older and has had several health issues, and one day he comes home to find an octopus on her head. I feel that if I say much more about this one I will be spoiling the story for those who want to read it.

I will say that this story is about the special bond that we have with our pets, and how we would do absolutely anything to keep them out of harms way.

Lily and the Octopus was a lovely story. The relationship between Ted and Lily is so adorable- the author includes what Lily is saying back to Ted when he talks to her. I always imagined that it would be difficult to portray a conversation with your pet, but Rowley does an excellent job of it. The story does become very sad, but it is also a rewarding tale as well.

There were some interesting imaginative aspects from Ted’s point of view that I thought could have been left out (you’ll know them when you see them), but overall I just fell in love with the whole book.

Here’s my Goodreads review!

 

 

Thank you for taking the time to visit and read! What books/material did you enjoy reading this week?

Weekly Favorites #4!

Weekly favorites!

It’s been a great reading week for me- I have a lot of favorites to share! I’ll be sharing three different books I enjoyed today.

The first book I wanted to talk about was Growing a Farmer: How I Learned to Live off the Land by Kurt Timmermeister.

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This non-fiction book is part memoir/part how-to by the author on giving up living in the city and owning a restaurant to starting his own dairy farm when he was in his mid-twenties. He shares his changing relationship with food from owning a restaurant and getting food products in mass quantities, to caring for and creating the best food possible with his own two hands. He also does include a lot of tips and ideas for anyone who wants to make their own food and start a farm like he did.

My interest in agriculture and sustainable farming/living has been growing over the past few years. This book was a great, very practical look on how difficult something like this is. However it is also very motivating and really helpful on even small steps you can take in your everyday life.

His writing was clear, entertaining, and made me excited to keep reading. The chapters were evenly mixed of stories of his life and advice for those reading it. I would recommend it for anyone interested in small farms or sustainable living in general.

Here’s my review of the book on Goodreads:

Review: Growing a Farmer

Here’s a link to buy the book on Amazon (affiliate link):

” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Growing a Farmer on Amazon

The second book I loved this week was Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

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I was a little late to the game on reading this, but I am so glad I finally did! This middle grade book is about a little boy named August, who was born with a facial difference that keeps him at home for most of his childhood years. He finally starts going to a school in fifth grade, and has to deal with what his peers think about anyone different from them. He deals with people treating him differently than everyone else, bullying, and other hardships as a unique kid entering school for the first time.

This book was perfect for kids who struggle with looking different or who treat others who look different badly. I really appreciate children’s stories that tackle issues like this. I would recommend this to anyone who wants a heartwarming story or loves middle grade books.

Here’s my Goodreads review:

Review: Wonder

Link to buy the book on Amazon (affiliate link):

” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Wonder on Amazon

The last book I am going to talk about is I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Women’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer. Now, I am only giving a brief synopsis on this book since I’m doing a book review video for it tomorrow.

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This story is a true crime nonfiction book written by Patton Oswalt’s late wife. She had been extremely passionate about finding the Golden State Killer for years, and even started the well-known website True Crime Diary to connect with other people with the same interests. The book is a mixture of snippets from McNamara’s own life, her growing obsession with finding this killer, and the history of the Golden State Killer as well.

I absolutely loved this book, and I’ll be posting a video review of it tomorrow!

Thank you so much for reading!

What were your favorite reads this week?

Weekly Favorites!

Weekly Favorites. (1)

This was a pretty mediocre reading week. Most of what I got through was either just plain bad or just OK. However there was one book I really did enjoy.

Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller

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“One of the more popular theories behind the triggers for hoarding indicates that people who were neglected emotionally as children learn to form attachments to objects instead of people. When they do connect with others, they then keep any object that reminds them of that person as a way of holding on to those attachments.”
If you follow me on Goodreads or ever talk to me about books, you probably know that I love memoirs. The darker the childhood or story, the better. I had heard good things about this particular book and I was not disappointed.
The author talks about her life growing up in New York with her parents. As a young child, she worships her father and doesn’t realize how strange his habits of keeping every piece of paper/trash he comes across in the house.

His habits get worse and worse. and we find out that he is a recovered alcoholic who had horribly abusive parents. He doesn’t even remember most of his childhood, and won’t talk about it.

As Kimberly gets older, the house they live in literally begins to crumble as it’s taken over by garbage. Her parents fight about the mess, Social Services makes regular visits because of the state of their home, and she becomes angrier and angrier at her life.

Her mom becomes horribly depressed after a botched surgery for her Scoliosis, and begins to add to the trash herself by excessive online shopping. It gets bad enough that a homeless person is able to live in their attic without them knowing.

Once Kimberly grows up, she becomes the complete opposite of her parents. She cleans excessively, won’t stand for any clutter or mess, and has nightmares about her childhood. The book ends with her coming to terms with what she grew up with and attempting to help her parents repair their destructive habits.

This book was super interesting to me. I didn’t know anything about hoarders, and was interested in all the information she provided about the psychology behind the habits. Her writing is clear, concise, and shows a lot of mixed emotion towards her parents. I appreciated her frankness and the amount of details she shared about her childhood and recovery.

Unlike a lot of the memoirs I read and talk about, this one does not have excessive abuse in it. There are a few very small instances where it is mentioned, but it’s not a huge part of the book.

Here is my Goodreads review of the book, I gave it 4/5 stars:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2303250026

Want to buy this book? Here it is on Amazon!

//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=surrealinthes-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=0544320816&asins=0544320816&linkId=7736bb3ecfdb444723ca7ae732a4dce6&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Coming Clean on Amazon!

*This is an Amazon Affiliate link. If you purchase the book using this link I may receive a small portion of the funds.

Have you read this book? Are you interested in it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!