23 Things I Learned By Age 23

For the month of January, I told myself I would try to post once a week on the blog. Since I recently celebrated my 23rd birthday, I thought it would be fun to share the 23 most important things I’ve learned throughout my life with you guys! Now let’s get into it!

  1. You will not be fulfilled by anything in your life the way that you will be fulfilled by your relationship with Jesus Christ. You guys had to have known this was going to be the first thing on my list; your girl loves the homie upstairs. In all seriousness, though, the greatest lesson I have learned in my life is that nothing good comes from straying from your faith. Every single bad thing, wrong move, poor decision – you name it – has come from not walking with the Lord. When I ignore His Word is when I end up unhappy and unfulfilled. Following the gospel has never and will never steer me wrong, and virtually every single time I have entrusted God with a problem, he has pulled through for me in a way even greater than I could have imagined. You can read more of my posts about faith here and here.
  2. You are entirely up to you. While you should respect the advice and criticism that your loved ones provide to you, at the end of the day, no one else lives with your decisions like you do. You are allowed to be whoever you want to be, and no one can tell you differently.
  3. If you don’t get enough sleep, you will get sick. This is one of those things your mom always tells you and you want to ignore her and move on with your life but you can’t because you know she’s right. Literally every single time I don’t sleep enough, I get a cold. I genuinely feel like 90% of the times I’ve been sick in my life have resulted from lack of sleep.
  4. You aren’t going to find love if you’re looking for it. There are a few people reading this that just rolled their eyes, 1) because they’ve heard me scold them about this a million times, and 2) because they know I’m right. I constantly remind them that if you’re looking for it, you’re not going to find it. If you are someone who is looking for love, that likely means you aren’t happy with who you are on your own, which unfortunately means you don’t love yourself as much as you should. This is why you aren’t going to find love if you’re looking – you can’t love anyone else until you are in love with yourself. Of course I have a post about this one, too.
  5. Get a diary. I coined this catchphrase a few years ago, in a moment where I was particularly annoyed (read the story here) and it has stuck ever since. If you’re feeling mad, or sad, or upset, and you don’t know what to do, write it down. You are guaranteed to feel better by the time you’re done writing. Every time I do this, I either realize how stupid it is that I’m upset, or forget why I was even mad in the first place.
  6. You get to choose your own mood. Apparently I’ve already spoiled the majority of the lessons I’ve learned by age 23, because there’s a story about this one too. Click here to read it.
  7. You won’t always have the same friends. And that’s totally fine. I remember being a senior in high school and hearing all of my elders tell me that within a year, I would have a completely different friend group, and that I would lose a lot of the friends I had grown up with. At the time, I couldn’t even fathom the thought. Now, I can’t imagine living without the friends I’ve made since then.
  8. You don’t have to apologize as often as society wants you to. Saying “sorry” when you don’t mean it not only makes you look weak, but it takes the value away from a true apology.
  9. Everything will be fine. There have been so many times throughout my life where I was going through something completely horrible, and thought I would never be okay again. And, of course, every single time, I eventually was. Everything. WILL. Be. Fine.
  10. That boy is probably not your husband. *continues to plan wedding every time a boy breathes within 10 feet of me* Lol. I’m kidding. In all seriousness, I learned that I, alone, am complete on my own. I am enough on my own. (If you have not yet come to this realization about yourself, go follow @BrightonKeller on Instagram and click on her highlighted stories about ‘singleness’ and you will feel so much better. I saw this the other day and thought wow, now I know a few people in my life who need to hear this.)
  11. To add to the previous lesson and preface the upcoming one, the way boys/girls feel about you does not define you. Working predominantly in a middle school, I often see girls try to do things to impress boys, or vice versa, and I can literally see their little hearts break when they don’t receive the reaction they were going for. I wish I could shake them and say “be who you want to be! this doesn’t matter right now! you are fine!” and make them understand that how their temporary crush feels should have no weight on how they feel about themselves. (I seriously wish I could insert a picture of what my crush looked like in sixth grade right now, for emphasis. Unfortunately, I’m not that much of a savage).
  12. What strangers think of you is none of your business. I recently had a friend say this to me in casual conversation, and realized that it encompasses everything I stand for. If someone else doesn’t like you, that is their poison. You don’t have to change anything about yourself to make other people happy. If you like you, and your friends and family like you, that’s all that matters.
  13. “Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.” Honestly, this is a lesson I’m still trying to force myself to learn. I’m including it anyway, though, because I think it is extremely important.
  14. You are ALLOWED TO CHANGE. This one is similar to #2, but I need to say more. This is what I live by. You can do W H A T E V E R you want to do with your life. It doesn’t matter if you said you were planning on doing something else. I’ll say it louder for the ones in the back – You are allowed to change your mind!!! I used to be obsessed with going to law school. Then I was obsessed with becoming a lobbyist. Now I’m obsessed with becoming a teacher. Maybe next week I’ll be obsessed with becoming a mailman. Who freaking cares? Here comes my favorite quote (loyal readers you guys already know what I’m about to say): who you are is not up to them.
  15. The world doesn’t owe you anything. Your mistakes are on you. That’s it. Take responsibility for your actions, learn from them, and do better next time.
  16. God’s plan is always right. I’m sure you guys have heard the saying “you make plans and God laughs.” Well, the Lord can thank me for a lot of freaking laughter throughout the past twenty-three years. I have made a lot of decisions throughout my life where I thought I knew best, and that I had it alllll figured out. I was so wrong it wasn’t even funny. This past month, I literally felt myself making poor decisions and doing things I shouldn’t be doing (things that I knew weren’t in God’s plan for me) and just thought *la dee da it’s fine I’m just gonna continue on my own path, you understand, right, God?* Spoiler alert: nope. He didn’t understand. He ripped the carpet right out from under me and changed my plans to His plans real quick. Next time you’re foolproof plan doesn’t work out, simply remind yourself that choosing your plan over His plan is never going to end well.
  17. You can’t avoid growing up. When I was younger, I couldn’t fathom being fifteen years old. I can vividly remember thinking to myself at age thirteen ‘I’ll probably feel like a teenager when I’m fifteen.’ And then fifteen came, and I thought the same thing about seventeen, and the cycle continued. I remember thinking the days of having sleepovers with my friends would never end, and growing old felt so scary. I was never the type of kid who wanted to grow old when I was in my teens. And now my best friends are engaged and have a baby. Life is weird and I’m old and growing up as bad as we thought it would be.
  18. Early is on time and on time is late. Speaks for itself! Punctuality is important, friends!
  19. If they wanted to, they would have. This one is such a big one for me. I constantly have to remind myself of this. All too often, I make excuses for people (both in my own head and to others) that absolutely do not deserve them. If someone wanted to do something (such as spend time with you, call you, take you somewhere, etc), they would one hundred percent make the effort to do it.
  20. You can’t control other people’s actions. You can only control your own actions. Don’t stress yourself out about other peoples’ lives.
  21. Don’t let anyone else keep you from being creative. There are so many things I’ve either not done or put off doing because I was nervous about what my peers would say about me. Sometimes, even though I’ve gotten pretty good at the ‘I do what I want and don’t care what people think’ mentality, I still worry about certain content that I post/things that I do.
  22. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no. This saying doesn’t necessarily only pertain to asking questions. For example, when I was a sophomore in college, I knew that I wanted to find a part-time job as a legal secretary during the school year. I searched and searched, but found no such jobs posted. Instead of giving up, I Googled ‘law firms in Hartford’ and sent my resume and a cover letter to every single one with the subject title “Possible Open Position.” Within a week, I had an interview, and was hired on the spot. Moral of the story: keep trying, keep inquiring – there’s usually an answer.
  23. Finally, the last thing I’m sharing with you guys: Grease Lightning, cardio, and perfume on the back of your neck. Don’t worry, I’m going to explain. Most of the lessons I shared with you have something to do with faith or advice, but of course, I’ve learned many more tricks than just those. These three things are what I feel have improved my appearance since the God-awful days where I was a size 14 with zits. So, without further ado, here we go:
    • Grease lightning. This is a magical product from Lush that will literally delete the zit right off your face. You guys can all go ahead and thank me for this one right now, because the second you put this on a blemish it basically disappears.
    • Cardio. For those of you that don’t know me in real life/didn’t know me in high school, let’s just say I used to be a little large. Okay, that might be an understatement. Thankfully, I am now significantly less large. And for that, I owe it all to cardio. Now, clearly, I am no health guru over here. I’m simply sharing what worked for me. I still highly recommend doing all of the other wicked fun parts of working out, but you just can’t skip cardio if you’re trying to lose a substantial amount of weight! (And after doing all that cardio, food that’s bad for you will start to gross you out – not even in an “oh I shouldn’t eat that” type of way, but your body will literally reject it, and you won’t even crave it anymore).
    • Perfume on the back of your neck. This is a tip that I didn’t learn until a year or two ago, after asking one of my sorority sisters to borrow her perfume when I saw her using it. While I waited for her to be done, I watched her spray the back of her neck. I thought to myself, what the hell is this chick doing? When she saw the look on my face, she explained that she sprayed it there so when she flipped her hair, the motion would result in a whiff of her perfume. Genius. Trust me, it works.

 

That is all for the twenty-three lessons I have learned by age twenty-three! Thank you so much for reading, stay tuned for next week’s post! XO

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This Year, I’m Going To… (2018)

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Okay guys, it’s that time of year again: birthday resolutions. If you read 2017’s post, you’ll know that I choose to call them that instead of “New Years’ Resolutions” in an effort to make my inevitably horrible birthday more relevant. I realize that I am slightly dramatic about being a New Years’ Eve baby, but you try staying positive on a day where everyone has other plans and the whole world waits until midnight to celebrate your birthday being over. Alright, enough of the drama, let’s get into what I am resolving to do this year. Continue reading “This Year, I’m Going To… (2018)”

What 2017 Taught Me

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I can’t believe 2017 is already coming to an end. So many monumental things have happened in the last twelve months, I’m still getting used to all of them. Last year, I wrote that “so many things happened to me that I never thought would (or could),” and while I’m sitting here thinking about all of the events of 2017, I’ve come to the conclusion that that’s how every year of your life goes.

With every year that passes, you evolve as a person. Your views change. Your interests broaden. You lose friends. Your goals shift.  Continue reading “What 2017 Taught Me”

Thrifting: A Guide

 

As most of you may know, your girl is currently not working (if this statement confuses you, click here or here). This leaves me with a whole lot of free time. And not a whole lot of money. It’s a sad story, really. Anyways, during this time, I’ve gotten really into what the kids refer to as “ballin on a budget.” Yeah, I hate myself for saying that, too. Moving on. Whenever I find some cool stuff thrifting, I’ll usually post an Instagram story of what I bought (you can follow me here). In response to this, I always get direct messages asking me a number of questions, the most frequent of which being where did you get that? where do you shop? how can I find cool stuff like this? Well, keep reading and your questions will be answered! Continue reading “Thrifting: A Guide”

They Will Judge You

Not all of you are going to like this one. I’m gonna guess that most of you won’t. And honestly, that’s my point. A lot of people will read this and immediately dismiss it. They’ll define me as ‘one of those.’ Great, please do! I am ‘one of those’, and I have absolutely no problem with it. Have I piqued your curiosity yet?  Continue reading “They Will Judge You”

To The Girl Going Through The Breakup

You feel like you’re dying. You feel like you will never be okay again. Your heart was just ripped out of your chest; you can literally feel the hole where it used to be. You think that your only happiness has just been stolen from you, and that you’ll never get it back. You feel like you never mattered. You feel empty, you feel sad, you feel perpetually alone.

And then one day you don’t anymore. And it’s that simple. Continue reading “To The Girl Going Through The Breakup”

The “One Size Fits All” Advice

“What do you write about?” “How often do you write?” “Why do you write?”

These are the most common questions I am asked whenever someone notices that I have my own website (followed by “can you write about me?” or, if we’re talking about f*ckboys “oh shit…did you write about me?”). I usually struggle with answering these, because I don’t have a specific topic that I center my posts around, and I don’t put myself on a regular posting schedule. Most bloggers are extremely serious about their calendar and genre, considering their income depends on it. Since my website was created as solely a creative outlet for me, I typically answer these inquiries with a shrug. Well, today, I’m answering them: I write when I’m inspired. Most of the time, this inspiration reaches me in one of two ways: I’ll read something that immediately sparks an idea in my head, or someone will say “hey, you should write about that” after I’ve told them a story or shared with them a belief of mine. Continue reading “The “One Size Fits All” Advice”

Nashville: A Guide

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I have a feeling that some of you may be wondering what’s up with me lately (especially if you follow me on social media). Does this girl live on Cape Cod? Wait, now she’s in California? Hold on, I’m confused, Nashville?! Yeah, I guess I’ll explain now. As I’ve likely said on various social media platforms, I work as a sessional lobbyist in Connecticut. Their legislative session only occurs a few months out of the year; January – June in odd years and February – May in off years. That being said, I finished my time in Connecticut on June 30th, and will begin working there again at the start of the next legislative session. During my time off, I have decided to travel as much as possible. A few years ago, while in Greece for a few weeks, I vowed to myself that I would see more of the United States before I traveled anywhere else abroad. I have made it my goal to see all fifty states, and what better way to do that than with a road trip?! Continue reading “Nashville: A Guide”

A (Really Long) Letter To His New Girlfriend 

This is never something I thought I would write. Three years ago, when I was fully encompassed by what I would later recall to be the worst relationship dynamic in the world, I couldn’t fathom the thought of my then-boyfriend someday treating another girl better than he had been treating me. If you are a loyal reader of mine, or someone with access to my personal life, you may know that I spent much of my past relationship waiting for my ex to change. Waiting for my ex to stop cheating on me. Waiting for my ex to stop lying to his family about me. Waiting until the day I would no longer have to make excuses for him. Waiting for him to show me off to his friends. Waiting for him to wake up one morning and finally see me; finally have that epiphany that oh, wait, he did in fact have the perfect person right there at his fingertips, patiently waiting for – no, actively hoping for – him to accept the love she was willing to give. 

At first, I thought I was willing to wait forever. I thought that I loved him, that I was meant to be the one to fix him, and that I would be able to reap the benefits of this (extremely difficult) project. However, three years of my life had passed, and I realized that they had been spent unhappy, degraded, and ashamed. He wasn’t adding a single positive thing to my life. I finally came to terms with what I had secretly known for two and a half years after our relationship began – it was time for me to end things with him. 

The reason I hadn’t been strong enough to end this relationship once I felt it going downhill is something that I chalk up to pure hopefulness. I had so much hope he was going to change, and I was so nervous that once he did, he was going to find someone else to treat the way that should be treated. I can even recall telling him during one of our many fights that I didn’t want to be his practice run, and that it would hurt me so badly if he were to move on and treat another girl significantly better than he treated me. I viewed myself as an abandoned puppy dog, sitting cold in the corner of an alley way, waiting for my owner to take me home. 

It isn’t easy to admit that I was making a conscious choice to be in a relationship with someone who I knew didn’t deserve me. In fact, it makes me feel stupid every single time I think about it. I still shudder when I think about the lies – the compulsive, frequent lies – he told me. I wince thinking about my best friend screaming at me, asking me why the hell I was with someone like that. I practically get nauseous when I remember the time I was in the hospital and my mom asked me why he wasn’t there, and I didn’t know the answer. I get embarrassed when people bring him up, because they used to believe the elaborate excuses I would make up for him. They thought he was great, and I couldn’t disappoint them. 

I was in love with the idea of love. I thought that if I wished and hoped and prayed for him to change, that it would work. I would suddenly be happy with him, and my first boyfriend would be my forever boyfriend. This is another thought that is vomit-inducing to me now. Why in the world did I think that I should throw everything I have into such a toxic situation? Why was I so obsessed with someone who didn’t even understand who I was as a person? Why did I put so much effort into trying to love someone who couldn’t even admit to his friends that we had gotten back together?

Even though thoughts like those are cringe worthy, I am mature enough to realize that my relationship was something I was meant to go through. I do not forgive his actions, but in some sort of twisted way, I am thankful for them. They made me realize the kind of love I deserve, and I will never accept anything less than that ever again. Upon ending that relationship one year ago, I was the happiest I have ever been in my life. My smile was more genuine. I became significantly more adventurous. I didn’t worry whether or not someone else will be okay with my choices. I had no desire to apologize for who I am as a person. I felt a physical weight lifted off my shoulders on the night that I ended that chapter of my life, and I watched my anxiety set with the sun. Getting back together with him was never a possibility, or even a fleeting thought. 

Until it was. A month or two after I broke up with him, he tried to enter my life again like it was normal. Like he always did after a break up. Not this time. Nope. I wasn’t having it. I was happy, and I wasn’t going back. Other boys were in my life now. I had written so many posts about how strong I was now, about emotionally abusive relationships, about my bad experience with him… no. Thinking about being with him again would be taking one step forward and sprinting six miles back. 

I denied his efforts at first, proudly. But slowly, I became weak again. He promised that he changed, he swore he finally had the epiphany I was desperate for. He was in love with me now, he finally realized. Everything I was waiting for came true. So I quietly gave it a chance. I reluctantly went to his house in December, after very much convincing on his part, and found that nothing was different at all. His father asked me if I had ever been to Long Island before, and I was immediately bombarded by flashbacks of all of the times he made me feel like he was embarrassed of me. The time I gave up my shift at work to drive five hours to his house, only for him to tell me he decided it was more important to see Derek Jeter’s last game with his friends (who, of course, didn’t know I was coming, and probably didn’t even know we were dating at all). It took everything I had not to inform his father that his son had been lying to him about me for three years. He had texted his friends and told them that he couldn’t go to the Knicks game because “I know it’s stupid but DG’s (the nickname they used to call me) on the island so I told her I’d hang with her” even though he begged me to come. He didn’t even have the decency to call me by my first name. I immediately regretted giving him another chance, and I went home feeling defeated and annoyed. Since when was I that kind of timid person who let an insecure, immature boy push me around? Since when did I let other people make me feel inadequate? 

He kept trying with me. He still is trying to this day. He has sent me cards, flowers, and presents. He has said he will move to Boston for me, said he will do anything for me. He has sent me emails, left me voicemails, and long, emotional texts. And in his defense, that’s what I had originally said I wanted from him. I thought maybe that if he tried hard enough, I could forget every lie, every other girl, every mean word, every cold shoulder, every awkward fight. But I can’t. As horrible as they were, they made me who I am today. I choose to believe that the negative experience I had was meant as a lesson for me to learn. 

I’m assuming that after reading this, if he reads this, he will stop trying. He will give up on me, and I will finally be okay with that. I have moved on, and despite every bad thing that came of my relationship with him, I hope he moves on, too. It is unfair for him to focus his efforts on me when I am not focused on him at all, and have no plans of looking back on that time in my life. 

If he tries to contact me again, I will confidently tell him that what I had said in that aforementioned fight was false. I do not want him to have an epiphany that I’m the one for him and reach out to me. I do not mind if he loves another girl like he should have loved me. I am fine with being his practice run, because he was my practice run, too. 

I do not believe that my ex has a new girlfriend. But if he did, the first thing I would say to her would be “you’re welcome.” The second thing I would say to her would be “I hope things are different for you,” and I would genuinely mean that. I do hope that whoever he is romantically involved with next has the opposite experience that I had with him, because it will prove that our messed up relationship was not a waste of time. I learned so much about myself in the past year, and I am so proud of everything I have accomplished. 

I am happy, truly happy; something I never felt when we were together. I still look back on those years and think about how differently I looked at life, how narrow my perspective of love was, and am mind blown. 

If you are currently in a situation that isn’t working for you, but you haven’t had the courage to get out of it, pull the trigger. Take the jump. It WILL be worth it, even though it hurts like hell right now. Maybe it’ll take you an entire year to completely and totally move on, like me. But I promise you, the way you will feel once you have become the person you want to be is worth the wait. 

“You’re Too Much”

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to talk. I can talk for hours about anything, to anyone. During recruitment, my sorority sisters would always volunteer me to do all the talking because “I could talk to a tree all day if I had to.” While browsing in the bookstore a few days ago, I ended up talking to a random police officer that I met for an hour and a half. This type of thing happens to me almost every time I go anywhere by myself. I simply have a lot to say. In fact, sometimes I have so much to say that my mouth can’t keep up with my brain and my words come out in a language that I’ve never heard before. Continue reading ““You’re Too Much””