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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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).
- 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.
- “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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 your foolproof plan doesn’t work out, simply remind yourself that choosing your plan over His plan is never going to end well.
- 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 is as bad as we thought it would be.
- Early is on time and on time is late. Speaks for itself! Punctuality is important, friends!
- 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.
- You can’t control other people’s actions. You can only control your own actions. Don’t stress yourself out about other peoples’ lives.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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