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.

Rewarding Yourself

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This week isn’t really going to be a lengthy post, I just wanted to give you guys a brief life update and some thoughts on being nice to yourself.

Over the past week I got a full time writing job.

In case you don’t know me personally, this is pretty much all I want out of life. I love to write, and getting paid for it is the dream.

Something I struggle with and strive to be better at is patting myself on the back when something good happens. It’s SO easy to punish myself when I mess up, or something goes wrong in my life, but not when I succeed.

Why is that so hard?

Part of me feels that I just don’t deserve it. Another part of me thinks that if something decent happens, it has to be dumb luck. While I know in my part that neither of those things are true, it’s a hard mental block to pass over. This year is about love, acceptance, and forgiveness of myself, so it’s something I am determined to overcome.

Any advice that any of you have is welcome for this.

I worked hard, I went through a lot to get this job, and I got it. Yay! As part of my resolution to love myself better this year, I am finding a way  to celebrate.

Not quite sure how yet, but positive recognition is important and it’s something I will be giving myself.

How do you reward yourself when something good happens? Is it difficult for you as well? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

A Bucket List

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When I was younger I used to put together bucket lists all the time. It always seems like such an easy task, until I sat down and tried to think of the ideas ‘most worthy’ of being on my list. I wanted to try my hand at a new one today where I was less strict and just included anything that I am passionate about doing.

-Write a book and get it published.

-Walk on the Great Wall of China.

-Complete the Appalachian trail.

-Go rock climbing.

-Build my own home.

-Perform on stage, whether it’s singing, playing an instrument, talking, etc.

-Rescue as many animals as possible.

-Visit every national park in the United States + Canada.

-Live on a farm and grow my own food.

-Learn to make my own clothing.

– Meet Amanda Palmer in real life.

-Be a part of a protest I feel strongly about.

-Volunteer for a fantastic cause.

-Go to a ceremony for every religion.

This is it for me for now. I’m sure there will be other things to add to the list as I go through life.

What’s on your bucket list? Feel free to share them with me!

Spring Cleaning

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As the weather in Virginia gets more and more spring-like, I’m getting ready to overhaul my life physically, spiritually and emotionally. I don’t know a lot of people who actually participate in ‘Spring cleaning,’ but it’s one of my favorite parts of the year. Similar to New Year’s, it gives me a reason and motivation to completely start over.

During late February/early March, I like to clean my house. And I mean clean my house. Washing everything, bleaching everything, airing out the back rooms, washing dog beds, etc. I go through my computer/phone/tablet and clean out old files and pictures, clean out my fridge, and re-pot most of my indoor plants.

On top of physically cleaning everything, I like to make sure I myself am ‘clean.’ I schedule a doctor’s appointment to make sure everything is in check, including my mental health. I go through my skin care routine and make sure that I’m doing everything as efficiently as possible. My exercise schedule gets set up (I am guilty of abandoning the best intentions in this field.)

As for spiritually, I haven’t done much in that field in a few years. I don’t know that I want to. I enjoy going to religious ceremonies of all different kinds, but I’m not stuck to any particular one. I do enjoy meditating, and I will probably plan to do more of that this year.

What do you do to ‘spring clean?’ 

Staying Inspired.

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Ruts are normal. Whether it’s simply falling off of the wagon for your diet or good habits, or completely hit pause on your life- it happens.

I’ve been finding myself in a complete creative rut for the past couple years. I used to write poetry and short stories, paint, and play guitar consistently.

About two and a half years ago, I started working in an office that took up all of my emotional energy. The job was repetitive, boring but stressful, and left me with no motivation for anything else after I got off. Most of the people I know have or are experiencing this.

If you’re not doing something you love or at least respect, it can take away all desire and motivation for anything else. 

So, since we can’t all just up and leave everything that drags us down, what do you do? Any progress, no matter how small, is progress. You can’t just quit your job, but if it makes you that miserable, you can start taking steps to find something better. If I can do it anyone can. Hate where you live/who you live with/how you spend your time? Take steps, no matter how small, to change those things.

What inspires you? Do more of that. Nothing gives me more motivation to write and leave my comfort zone than reading does, so I read as much as my schedule allows me to. Take as much time as you can to do those things that make life worth living.

Take care of yourself, and you will blossom.

What inspires you? What do you do to rekindle inspiration? 

Start Again

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2018 is upon us. The past year has been particularly challenging- mental health stress, financial stress, career changes, etc. However, we’ve been able to come out of it smiling and very much looking forward to the year ahead. I do have some plans and dreams for this year, and thought I’d share them with everyone.

  • This year I’d like to find myself spiritually. I’d like to research and find out what I believe and what I want to do with that information.
  • I want to read 100 books this year.
  • I’d like to pay off all of my debt.
  • I will strive to become kinder to everyone, not just those closest to me.
  • I will write more. Both for myself and for my blog. I’m also going to start a book during my travels.
  • I will treat my body like the beautiful, strong thing that it is-by eating well, hiking, and working on my mental health.
  • I will spend more time outside my comfort zone in any way possible.

New Year’s resolutions are normally forgotten pretty early in the year, so I try to make them as reasonable as possible and achievable as possible.

What are your goals for the upcoming year?