This last year has been quite an adventure. When you’re 23 you learn a lot, deal with a lot, and continue growing into a full-fledged adult (yikes!). Reality gives you some harsh kicks in the ass, you’ll fall on your face a couple of times, make leaps and bounds in certain areas of life and take a couple steps back in others.
After going through the somewhat difficult transition from college life to the real world I learned a thing or two. I am also fully aware that there is still much more in store for me to learn. I’ve always been an early bloomer so I’d like to think that my having a “quarter life crisis” at the age of 23 was just average for me. I’m on the fast track to adulthood, you might say.
As I take the day to reflect on this past year I am amazed what amazing blessings and realizations have come my way through pain and struggle. I have also realized how blessed each and every one of us are to go through painful times. I say this because through storms we find ourselves. We grow, become stronger, and we can look forward to the light on the other side when we make it through. Sometimes a storm is a blessing, and that’s kind of how this year has been. A blessed storm.
With that said, cheers to being 24! I’m excited for the new year ahead and all of the wonderful lessons and opportunities it may bring!
Here’s a couple things I learned this year that I thought you might need to hear:
1. You are not your body
Looking slim and trim is awesome, having abs is awesome-er, but loving yourself regardless of your love handles is what it’s really all about. When you look good you feel good- that’s a given.
However, we forget how amazing we are even if we don’t have super fit bodies. Remember, you’re a radiant person, regardless of your dress size. So, whether you’re having a bad hair day, or you gained a couple pounds on vacation, don’t sweat it. Because you are so much more than what you look like.
2. Success is nothing without someone to share it with
The road to success can be lonely if you let it. So, don’t let it. Surround yourself with people who lift you up, push you to keep going, and who can teach you how to relax. These people will make success that much sweeter.
3. Family is Fundamental
Your family has seen you at your highest pinnacles of achievement and also at your lowest of lows. They love you anyway. They’re in it for the long haul, so give them the upmost respect, the most time of your time, and always remind them how much you love them.
4. Find what makes you happy, then do more of that.
Seriously. It doesn’t matter if it’s as simple as your morning cup of coffee or as intense as a cardio kick boxing class. Find what makes you smile, brings joy to your soul and makes you the best, happiest you. Then, just do it as much as you please.
5. We are all growing into the people we are going to be.
Never forget everyone is in the process of self-discovery and learning about their own unique journey. No one is perfect. We’re all just trying to get through this little thing called life as best we can, so let’s help each other do that.
6. Smile more.
It’s your best accessory.
7. Never let anyone tell you you can’t do something, yourself included.
What is up with us and our own self-sabotage? We often get the notion that because something hasn’t been done we shouldn’t try. Or if it has been done, that’s another reason not to pursue it. Don’t let yourself, your own doubts and fears hold you back from chasing that big dream in your heart. Never let anyone tell you your dreams or aspirations are dumb.
Maybe they just don’t understand what your journey is all about and that’s okay. Maybe they weren’t meant to. And I’ll let you in on a little secret, it isn’t up to you to explain or prove anything to anyone. Do you, boo.
8. Just because you have a bad day, bad week or bad month does not mean you have a bad life.
Who has ever gotten stuck in the Negative Nancy trap? *looks around and slowly raises hand* We tend to become grumpy, negative, and just plain unpleasant to be around when (shockingly) life isn’t going the way we had planned or imagined it should. Look on the bright side pumpkin, there’s always a silver lining. Always.
9. Health above all else.
Diets, magic pills, quick fixes and any other “solutions” are crap. Get off the yo-yo dieting train and start eating healthy, nutritious foods paired with some good ol’ fashion exercise and sweat. Fuel your mind, body and soul with things that are healthy. Instead of focusing on what to do to make you appear a certain way on the outside, change your habits and your lifestyle to make you an overall healthier and happier individual. Your body will thank you. When you love your body, it loves you back.
10. Control what you can control and let the rest go.
When the time is right, things will happen. Do not try to force situations, people or deadlines when the time is not right. Listen to your gut instincts. Take your time if you need to and learn the difficult art of how to simply “be” in the present moment. You know the saying, stop and smell the roses? Well, you should try it. They smell lovely.
11. Your 20’s are for grinding.
As much as we’d like to think we’re meant to rage every night of the week and be “ballers” at the ripe old age of 22, let’s not forget we must pay our dues. When you’re young, resilient and tenacious, it’s not time to party your life away. It’s time to do the dirty work. It’s time to grind. Work your ass off so you can live the good life when you can, I don’t know, actually afford to do so, and not live in your parents basement.
12. Food is meant to be enjoyed
Desserts exist for a reason. ‘Nuff said.
13. Change is the only constant.
In order to truly grow and become who we are meant to be we must accept change. Change is scary for many people. It represents the unknown, which can be very unsettling. Learn to love change, and accept that, although changes can be difficult and stir up many different sorts of emotions, they mold us into stronger people in the end.
14. True friends stick with you through the shit.
Now, this is not to say you get to treat your friends like shit. But a true friend, someone who you should keep in your closest circle, is a person who looks past your flaws and mistakes, sets aside a silly spat, and accepts you when you are at your lowest points. A true friend will lend a listening ear, lift you up and simply just be there for you. They are with you through the thick and the thin. They won’t bail on you when you’re hurting the most, they stick with you through it. They’re there through the shit.
15. Show the love, be the light.
It is all of our responsibilities to show more love and be a light when times are dark for someone. If someone treats you poorly, try not to react with negativity or anger. It’s difficult, but in order to make the world a better place, choose to be the light for someone.
16. You’ll get there, maybe not tomorrow, but you will.
When you have big goals for yourself and your life, it’s hard to not get anxious about accomplishing those things. Keep the faith that with hard work, continuous effort, trial and errors, you will get to where you’re supposed to be. The line to success is never straight. In fact, it looks more like a scribble. Get ready for your life’s journey to look like a four year old’s arts and crafts project.
17. Your path is your path.
No one person’s life or experiences are the same. Pretty, sweet if you ask me. Own and embrace who you are, what makes you unique and what you have to offer to this world. We all have our own journey to pursue, let’s kick ass at our own instead of wishing we had someone else’s.
18. Be open to new people, experiences, jobs and places.
I don’t believe this is just for when you’re young. Remember #13? No matter what age or stage in life we’re in we should always be open to new things that come our way. You don’t need to say, “yes” to everything, but you don’t need to automatically let fear, worry or doubt trigger a “no” response either.
19. The people, things and space you surround yourself with can affect how you feel.
Surround yourself with positive people, beautiful things and create a home that you love. When you’re in an environment that evokes feelings of peace and joy you set yourself up for a better mindset and happier outlook on life. (*Hint- create this in your mind as well with daily affirmations, devotionals or prayer)
20. You never know what someone is going through, be kind.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, is fighting their own battle. Be there for someone if you sense they’re going through a difficult time. If someone inspires you, motivates you, or lifts you up, you should try letting them know. They may need you to remind them of their value because you just never know what’s going on behind the scenes. I love birthdays. I love birthdays because they are days to remind people just how special they are to you. You should treat everyone like it’s their birthday everyday.
21. Don’t compare your behind the scenes with everyone’s highlight reel.
Not everyone’s life is all they make it out to be on social media. We’ll just leave it at that.
22. Say, “I love you, I’m sorry, I’m proud of you” as much as possible.
In life we need to focus on ourselves less, and lifting others up more. Express your emotions to those who matter most to you, and do it often. People are not mind readers. It’s up to you to let them know how much you care and how much they mean to you. Learn how to communicate your feelings with those who love and support you the most and watch your relationships flourish.
23. Learn to not give a shit.
Stop devoting so much energy and time consuming your mind with thoughts of what others may or may not think about you. Don’t worry about what everyone else is thinking. Keep moving forward because before long the same people who asked, “why are you doing it” will be asking you, “how did you do it?”
24. Life is a journey, buckle up and enjoy the ride.
You’re not always going to understand why certain things happen or what’s coming next. It could be a huge blessing, or a giant storm (which could ultimately be a blessing in disguise). Life has highs and lows, good and bad seasons, times of hurt and times of joy. Embrace the journey you’re on and you’ll never be disappointed with how your life turned out.