25 Lessons In 25 Years
Well, we are coming up on my quarter life cri–I mean, birthday. That’s right, my 25th birthday. In my time on social media, I’ve read post after post about “*blank* Lessons in *blank* Years” and honestly, I thought they were pretty dumb and overrated. However, in recent years, I’ve come to find that these have been the best years, full of harsh and wonderful lessons that have molded me into who I am today. I’ve decided to share those lessons with you because everyone should learn something new every day, no?
- Drink your coffee however the hell you want to. And don’t let anyone bring you down about it. Black as your soul, loaded with cream and sugar, it doesn’t matter. If what’s in that cup makes you happy and not murder 6 people, go for it.
- Don’t think too much. Honestly, for most of life’s big decisions, just listen to your gut. It may not FEEL right, but it will lead you right.
- Use the “ten things, ten minutes” rule. My late grandfather had a philosophy that you can keep your house and room clean if you maintain the rule of taking ten minutes every day to pick up and put away ten things. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to stay tidy. Now if only I could actually use this on a daily basis…
- Learn how to do the “handyman” stuff in your car. YouTube is a goldmine of videos to teach you how to change a tire, oil, spark plugs, windshield wipers, etc. While AAA is a worthy investment for when you have a serious emergency broken down on the side of the road in the rain for the second time in a week (true story thanks to my Ford Focus), knowing how to take care of that easy stuff will save you money and time by not taking it to the shop and paying ridiculous labor fees. Trust me, I dated a so-called “mechanic” briefly last year, so I know first hand just how crazy those fees are.
- Call your family/spend time with them. You’re not the only one getting older every day.
- Chop your hair off. Just once. I got a bob cut when I was 19. I loved it for all of two weeks and then I wore a hat until it grew out. Everyone needs to take a hair risk at least once in their life. Cut it. Color it. Do something.
- Live for the moments that make you forget you have your phone. Most of the time, I’m having too much fun in the moment to remember to take my phone out and take a selfie or get a video or something. Do I wish I had more stuff? Sure. But, I have those memories and that’s all I can ask for.
- There is a BIG difference between “it’s okay” and “I accept your apology.” I dated a guy who would repeatedly hurt me, offer a half-assed apology, I’d say “it’s okay,” and a day or two later the cycle would repeat. “It’s okay” is an enabling phrase. “I accept your apology” makes it known that what they did is not okay and that you acknowledge the apology, but you don’t forgive them until the action changes. If it doesn’t change, cut ‘em off.
- Laugh at yourself. Trust me, life will be much easier to navigate if you can find a way to laugh. If you surround yourself with people who always make you laugh, you will have a grand old time in life.
- Make friends with your hairstylist. When you find that hairstylist who probably cares more about your hair than you do and you trust more than anyone, you know you are spending your money well. Find that one who will lovingly rescue you from a botched hair dye job (see below).
- Mental health is just as important as physical health, if not more. Just like you take rest days from the gym, take mental rest days when you know you need one.
- Bad days do not equal a bad life. Bad days sucks. Whether you spilled your coffee or you got a flat tire on the way to work or whatever happened, acknowledge that it’s JUST A BAD DAY and that it will get better. The sooner you force yourself to differentiate the two, the better off you’ll be. On the opposite notes, cherish all of the good days because they won’t last forever either.
- Do not compare your life/journey to others. It’s very easy, especially on Instagram, to fall into the trap of constantly comparing where you are to where your friends or total strangers are. Maybe they’re making good money at a full-time job straight out of college while you’re still struggling at a barely part time job and you graduated before them. Maybe they’re happily married while you’re still getting over a rough break-up thinking you’ll never find love. Maybe they lost more weight this week than you. Social media is only the highlight reel of people’s lives. Be comfortable in your journey. Everything is happening for a reason.
- You find success in failure. In my near 25 years of life, I’ve found that failure is not a dead-end; it’s simply a detour. My job in Michigan not working out actually could be considered one of the best things to happen to me because if I hadn’t have had to come home, I wouldn’t have met Travis. Sure, the two are not related, per se, but I still look at it like that.
- You are not the same person you were five years ago. You grow every day as you continue to explore.
- Do what you love, love what you do. Find what drives you, and then find a way to make money doing it. If you can’t, make that your go-to hobby outside of work.
- Don’t buy Charlotte Russe platform pumps and wear them to a dance party the same night. I think this one speaks for itself.
- There’s a time and place to get wasted. And it’s not by yourself in your room, nor when you’re out by yourself. And it’s certainly not every night. Take stock of the lessons learned from those nights where you woke up the next morning feeling hella nauseous AND embarrassed. By all means, enjoy yourself when you’re out with friends and have a SAFE WAY TO GET HOME.
- Some people are just going to not like you, and there’s nothing you can do about it. So don’t even bother wasting your time trying or changing yourself. Be hella YOU.
- It’s okay to not believe in soul mates. I personally find it hard to believe that there is just one perfect person out there for you and once you meet them, that’s it. I believe that people are meant to choose who they fall in love with. There may be people who are more suited for each other, but it’s the work that comes into the relationship that defines it.
- Karma is real, but it’s not always your job to make sure that it gets served. I learned this one the hard way this past summer. Trust me, those who screwed you over will get theirs. It may not be today, it may not be tomorrow, you may not even see it with your own eyes. Sometimes it’s just easier to let it go and let nature take its course.
- If you do blonde balayage in your hair for almost a year, don’t try to dye it yourself with a box. You will end up with a splotchy, streak-y mess that makes you cry yourself to sleep and wish you could wear hats to work.
- The brutally honest friends are the ones you need the most. If you’ve got that friend who calls you on your crap and tells you that you need to get it together, do whatever you can to hold on to that friend. If you live your life with friends who always tell you what you WANT to hear as opposed to what you NEED to hear, you’re both deluding AND diluting yourself (see what I did there?)
- Understand your money. Know what to set aside for bills, what to spend on some treats, and what to put away for down the line.
- It’s okay if you change direction or lose sight. We are all human, and life does not go according to your time table or plans. You will make mistakes. You will grow. You will fall down. It’s all just a part of the beautiful journey, so hold tight.
This isn’t all I’ve learned, but these are the biggest lessons that have carried me to be the beautiful mess that I am today. I have a lifetime’s worth of lessons to learn from here, and I’m pretty excited about it. I really am excited about my 25th birthday. I’ve had my share of “meh” birthdays, I’ve had bad birthdays, and I’ve had great birthdays. I expect this to be my best because I have so many people I love in my circle and I’m in a much better place than last year. I’ll make sure to do a recap post because I’ve got big plans!
What are some lessons you’ve learned, whether it was the easy way or the hard way? Let me know!