Today, Wednesday, January 20, is my 24th birthday. I have changed and grown quite a bit during the last 23 years of my life. I have learned many a life lesson during my lifetime. I hope to continue to change and grow during my lifetime. Here are 23 life lessons I learned in 23 years.
#1: Never be afraid to stand up for yourself. This is important in so many situations. If you are unsure on the status of a pair of boots you ordered online, it’s a good idea to reach out to the customer service and triple check. If you notice someone being disrespectful to a family member, friend, or co-worker, it’s a good idea to let them know that you disapprove of the way they are treating the other person or people. If you are feeling nervous about how long it’s taking to finish your car’s repair, it’s a good idea to call the mechanic/repair shop and triple check on everything.
#2: You will always be a learner. I remember writing a blog post about how learning continues long after graduation. That is extremely true. Even though I have a bachelor’s degree, I have continued to learn. I have gotten marketing and sales certifications. I’ve taken dance courses. I plan on obtaining a master’s degree (I will discuss the ones I’m interested in in another blog post). In addition, I’m planning on attending spin classes and Orangetheory Fitness classes. I want to keep on learning.
#3: Do things for the right reasons. I changed my major from technical writing to sociology for the right reason: I was more passionate about sociology. I accepted a job as a residence hall receptionist for the right reason: I wanted to get job experience and help people. I volunteered for Project Homeless Connect in mid-April 2019 for the right reason: I wanted to make a difference for people in my community.
#4: Always choose kindness and positivity. Share love in this crazy world. You never know how much holding the door open for someone will make their day. You never know how much a generous tip will mean to delivery drivers or restaurant workers. You never know how much buying from someone’s lemonade or bracelet stand will mean to the person.
#5: Go your own way. I can’t be the only one who sings the Fleetwood Mac song in my head every time I hear or see that sentence. Either way, you don’t have to force yourself to go the same route that many of your peers are going. If your peers like sports but you prefer music, feel free to pursue the music path. If your peers want to study business administration but you would prefer to study to become a dietician, feel free to study to become a dietician. If your peers want to attend a prestigious university but you would rather study at a more local university, feel free to study at the more local university.
#6: Practice gratitude frequently. There are many little things in life to be thankful for. I’m grateful for parking spaces in the back of the parking lot because it means I get to get a nice walk in. I’m grateful for earlier morning dentist appointments because they mean I get to start my day with cleaner, healthier teeth and gums. I’m grateful for rainy days because it means my mother gets some help with the plants in her garden.
#7: Perseverance is critical. There are days you just feel super frustrated, and I can speak to that from experience. However, if you persevere, there is so much you can do. Maybe there’s a video game level that you are having a horrible time trying to beat. Maybe there’s a project at work that is really driving you up the wall and halfway across the ceiling. Maybe there’s a puzzle that you are really struggling with completing. But take a deep breath and keep going. You’ll get to where you want to be if you just persevere.
#8: It’s okay to not be okay. Raise your hand if you’ve ever said “I’m good” or “I’m doing well” when that couldn’t be further from the truth in reality. I’ve been in that boat. There were times where I was on the brink of a panic attack or just wanted to go to a private place and just burst out crying. You don’t have to be okay all the time. There are times where you are in a rough patch, and there’s no problem with that. Take care of yourself.
#9: Quality before quantity. This is something teachers in school have taught me and something I carry with me to this day. I’d rather spend time baking the best batch of Ghirardelli brownies I can than baking as many batches as I can. I’d rather spend time writing a well-written novel chapter than writing four chapters in one sitting. I’d rather spend time drawing the best pictures I can than drawing a dozen in a day.
#10: Make time for fun stuff. Work, school, and chores take up a big part of the day, no doubt. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun at all. Take time to enjoy yourself. Go on a shopping excursion. Watch a few episodes of your favorite show on Hulu or Netflix. Treat yourself to a bubble bath. Life doesn’t have to be all work and no play.
#11: Give second chances. Don’t be excessively hard on your family, your friends, or yourself. Maybe your family member took and wore your favorite pair of basketball sneakers without your permission. Maybe your friend didn’t show up to the university library for an introductory physics study session that they repeatedly promised they would show up to. Maybe you didn’t do as well on your precalculus exam as you thought you would have done. Don’t be too quick to turn on yourself or others. Be kind, live and learn, and allow another opportunity.
#12: Challenge yourself to try new things. There are new things I want to do: a spin class, Orangetheory, learning to make homemade muffins. There are benefits of trying new things. Some new things I’m proud of myself for doing include making chocolate pancakes from scratch, joining a business administration-themed club in high school, and starting the blog. So push yourself to do something new, you might find a new hobby, recipe, or interest that you really enjoy!
#13: Go with your instinct. Listen to your gut. If you think “I have a bad feeling about this” towards anyone or anything, it is for a good reason. Don’t doubt that funny feeling because you feel like the thing you’re uneasy about is the right thing to do. If you have a bad feeling about driving to a restaurant 40 miles from your home to meet a former friend from second grade, refrain from doing so. If you have a bad feeling about joining a certain company, refrain from doing so. If you have a bad feeling about purchasing from a certain car dealership, refrain from doing so.
#14: Always go for what you’ve been itching to do. I’ve been itching to get a master’s degree in public relations, and it’s one of the degree plans I plan on pursuing. I’d been itching to attend a Green Day concert, and depending on the state of public health in the state where I live, I might get the opportunity to do so this summer. I’d been itching to attend a Colorado Rockies-Pittsburgh Pirates game, and on the Sunday before Labor Day in 2019, I finally got the chance to do so. If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, it never hurts to go for it as soon as you can.
#15: Never be nervous about being different. I grew up in a bilingual household, and I really cannot stand admitting it, but I was temporarily insecure about it. However, I learned to embrace it, because being bilingual is what helped me thrive in French classes in middle and high school. Whether you’re different from others in the way you dress, the hobbies you pursue, the languages you speak, the music you prefer to listen to, or the kinds of food you like to eat, embrace your differences. The world would be boring if everyone were exactly the same.
#16: Accept and love yourself for who you are. Embrace who you are, inside and out. Love yourself for your freckled face and wavy hair. Love yourself for the way you sing and paint. Love yourself for the way you give back to your neighbors and the way you help your classmates study for Algebra 2. Loving yourself is a great way to make you feel happy and confident, day in and day out.
#17: Fight the urge to impulse buy. Easier said than done. But it’s a habit I’ve developed. If you’re online shopping, write down something you’d like to purchase, and wait six to eleven days. If, after that time period, you still would like to purchase the item(s), you can go ahead and make the purchase. If it’s in a physical store, make note of what you want to buy and wait four to seven store visits to see if you want to purchase. I noticed that setting a wait period before I make a purchase has been beneficial to manage my shopping habits.
#18: Believe in yourself and your talents. This goes with what I mentioned for Life Lesson 16. In my opinion, loving yourself should include believing in yourself. I believed in my blogging and writing skills. As a result, I have a hobby I love, and the Colorado Rockies social media head honcho, Julian Valentin, let me know that he enjoyed reading my Stay-At-Home Opener review. I believed in my art skills. As a result, I have drawn pictures that my family loves, made homemade magnets for my grandmother that she enjoys, and plan to start an Etsy shop. I believed in my culinary skills. As a result, I have made a homemade apple pie that my family enjoyed, and have quickly learned how to make delicious homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. When you believe in yourself and your talents, many things can happen.
#19: Hard work always pays off. I have noticed this in my family. My mother worked hard to get a job in the legal field. My father worked hard to get a job at the company he’s been interested in working at since he was a little boy. I worked very hard to get my Bachelor of Arts degree. I’ve invested quite a bit of time into writing reports, completing reading assignments, and studying for exams to get the degree. I know for a fact that when I work hard to study for a master’s degree, build my sales skills, and expand my marketing education, it will pay off.
#20: Life’s what you make it. I dare you to read the sentence and not sing the song by Hannah Montana in your head, it’s barbarically difficult (if not scientifically impossible). It’s a true sentence, though. It’s your decision on whether life is wonderful, woeful, or somewhere in between. In high school, one of my teachers had a sign that said, “Are you HAVING a bad day? Or are you MAKING it a bad day?” On the back of the sign, or below the sign, it said, “The neat thing is that you’re always in charge of your mood, so pick a good one.” I challenge you to have the best day you can on a daily basis.
#21: Make time to take care of yourself. This fits very will with Life Lesson #10. In this busy and crazy world, it’s critical to set aside self-care time. Self-care can mean a variety of things. It might mean sitting in your recliner and reading your favorite book. It might mean taking a 45-minute nap with your beloved stuffed lion. It might mean taking a bubble bath whilst listening to classical music on Spotify. No matter how you define self-care, it’s very important. I feel like that the time I take to pamper myself really helps me with my mental health.
#22: Patience is key. I am working hard on being a more patient human, and it’s easier said than done. It’s a life lesson that I know is crucial, though. It took me more than four yeas to feel safe driving alone again after getting into a not-very-fun crash. It was really long and somewhat tricky, however, I am grateful for the years it took, because all those years of practice and relearning how to drive have made me a much better driver. I know that I will need to be as patient as I can to save up for a new-to-me vehicle, a one-bedroom apartment of my own, and graduate school. I look forward to the challenge, though.
#23: You’re in charge of who you want to become. This is very similar to Life Lesson #20. However, it’s a very important life lesson. You have the power to create your future. If I want to create a future in sales, I know I will have to expand upon my education and get some extra experience, whether it be working an entry level sales associate position or selling things on Etsy. If I want to create a future for myself in Public Relations, I know I will have to research the field, obtain a master’s degree, and get an internship. If I want to create a future for myself in marketing, I know I will have to expand my education and experience. I challenge you to find what you want to do in the world, and work hard to get there.
What are some of your goals for the year? What are some of your bucket list items? Let me know in the comments below.