My birthday was a few days ago and I think that it’s important to take a moment to reflect what I’ve learned in the past 22 years. EW, I can’t believe that I’m 22… In a blink of an eye, I’ll be turning 40!!
1. High school is pointless. I can’t tell you how many times throughout high school I stayed up crying at night or was involved in stupid drama because of shitty people. Fitting in is overrated. I wish I learned to just keep to myself and pick my friends wisely and not worry so much about what others think about me.
2. The statement that you can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family is absolute bullshit. Sure I am related to these people but I don’t consider them all to be family. I picked John to adopt me at 21, he’s my family. My best friends I consider to be my family. Just because you share the same DNA with someone does not automatically mean you’re family. It took a really long time for me to accept this.
3. It is important to recognize that life and time are limited and we must constantly tell the ones that we care about that we love them.
4. Never apologize if you are not truly sorry. There are things that I have said in life that aren’t kind but that doesn’t mean I have to be sorry.
5. Always try to travel and explore new places. I love traveling, it makes my heart so incredibly happy. Because life is so short I think it’s important to do new things and meet new people.
6. Pain and sadness are temporary and not the end of the world.
7. Open your eyes to the world. I think that it is super important that we as a society do not become jaded and blind to what is going on around the world.
8. It is important and OK to ask for help. According to my biological family, it is an unspoken rule to not speak up when something is wrong. Don’t air dirty laundry. Most importantly, keep your problems to yourself. Unfortunately, my biological family is not supportive. Those who I consider to be my authentic family are so incredibly supportive and I am so lucky to have them.
9. I have learned to appreciate the little things in life and to appreciate those moments when you’re with the ones that you love.
10. Random acts of kindness are important and can change someone’s day. I don’t believe that a person has to buy something to make someone else happy. Holding the door, checking in on someone, calling someone to talk, showing interest, even something as simple as smiling at someone as they walk past can positively impact someone’s day.
11. Letting go of toxic people in your life is ok and one should not feel sorry for that. People come and go throughout life and that is perfectly OK.
12. Being comfortable in your own skin can go a long way. Throughout my life, I was never the skinny friend or the pretty friend… it drove me crazy and I felt that I didn’t belong because I wasn’t a size 6. Not until I was around 19 or 20 did I realize that beauty isn’t defined by a number or defined by appearance.
13. I have learned to accept things that I cannot change. There have been times where I have made myself sick because I would be stressed about something that I can’t change. I found that it’s important to accept that not everything or everyone can change. I can’t change the past and that is OK.
14. I have learned to admit when I’m wrong. This has taken a lot of time and trial and error. It can be incredibly difficult to recognize that sometimes we are wrong but we’re human and are entitled to be wrong and make mistakes. Admitting when I am wrong has allowed me to think before I speak and to think about what I am saying and how it impacts others because news flash, you and I are not the only ones that matter in life – shocking, I know!
15. The world owes me nothing. Wow did this take long to sink in… I don’t know why but for a majority of my life I walked around believing that everyone and everything owed me respect. This is a terrible way to go about life because no one owes you shit, you need to earn respect and earn trust. I used to think that because I grew up in a terrible situation that I deserved the best, that I deserved to speak my mind, that I deserved the benefit of the doubt… NOPE. I need to earn respect, earn trust, earn love, earn everything in between.
16. There are people in the world who have it so much worse than you and that cannot be forgotten no matter how shitty life can get. Recognizing that life could be worse really got me through dark times and put life into perspective.
17. It is OK to have shitty days or be in a shitty mood. Don’t suppress your emotions, I find it incredibly important, to be honest with yourself and others.
18. It is so incredibly important to live in the present. I used to live my life trying to rush everything, trying to get to the next chapter in my life, trying to predict what the future will hold. That gets to be exhausting and can leave you disappointed.
19. Sleep is important!!!
20. I will never be done learning. I love to learn new things, not necessarily education wise but just life wise. I have always had to bust my ass in school but there is so much more to life than grades and exams. I think it’s important to be familiar with the world and learn new things that interest you.
21. Everything is temporary. High school feels like it lasted a day, college feels like it lasted 3 days, some friends only last for a week… I have found it useful to remind myself that most things are extremely temporary in life.
22. Stop talking and just listen. Everyone talks so damn much but doesn’t listen to what people are saying. The world is so loud but no one is listening. We can’t learn things if we don’t stop talking for a moment and listen. We can’t learn and change if we continue talking. You don’t learn anything by talking, you learn by listening.
I have definitely learned more than 22 things throughout the last 22 years of my life but I find these to be the most important to me. Wow… I still can’t believe that I am 22, there is still so much to learn and appreciate, I am so excited. Thank you for taking this journey with me!
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow” – Helen Keller