It’s kind of cliche, the 24 things I’ve learned in 24 years. It’s a staple for birthday’s, but I’ve never actually written one myself. I’ve experienced so much, and yet I have a lifetime ahead to look forward to. I just wanted to take the time to acknowledge and share a few of the things I’ve learned so far…
This is a concept I’m still trying to master. Love others but don’t expect the same kind of love in return. Do unto others as you would want done unto you. It doesn’t mean you share your heart because you want it given back. Don’t think of it as giving yourself away but rather sharing what you have with those who need it, even if they don’t know how to return the favor. Love isn’t conditional. There is no roadmap or manual on how to navigate it, it just is. So, love on people as much as you can, without limitations.
2. Give people the benefit of the doubt
No one is perfect. We are all just trying to get through every curve as smoothly as possible. Your friend didn’t intentionally forget your birthday. That woman didn’t go out of her way to push into you while waiting in line. We are all human. We say stupid things that get us into trouble, we’re forgetful, we’re selfish, and we hurt the people close to us. So I think if we could give each other the gift of empathy there would be a lot less time focused on hurt feelings and more time to appreciate one another. Humans are completely self-involved!! Even the kindest, most caring, most giving person you know is intrinsically self-absorbed. I think it’s the one flaw that every human possesses.
3. Don’t make yourself out to be the victim
Along with giving people the benefit of the doubt, you need to consciously stop making yourself the victim. If you haven’t heard from a friend in a while, make the call! Set up a lunch date or a skype call. Do what you can to keep that relationship alive. If the other person doesn’t reciprocate the effort then move on. As much as it probably stings to lose a friend, if you made the effort that’s what matters. You can’t force a relationship on the other person, but you can’t solely blame them if you didn’t try to repair the damage either. Communication is so important and as uncomfortable as vulnerability is, it’s necessary. If the other person doesn’t know how you’re feeling how can you hope to cross the bridge towards a stronger bond?
4. Sometimes all you need is a good cry.
Whether you’re sad, angry, lonely, stressed...crying can help. If only for a moment, get it out of your system. You’ll feel as if a weight has been lifted and whatever is causing you pain is a littler easier to carry with you.
5. Learn the art of discipline
If you have a craft you must teach yourself the value of discipline. Take time each day to focus on that part of you and eliminate all distractions. The more you work on it the better at it you will become.
6. Say yes.
Just do it. There is nothing wrong with playing hooky every once in awhile. You deserve it.
7. It’s okay to say no.
If you want to. Don’t let anyone pressure you to think anything different, including yourself.
8. You need a healthy balance of work and play.
Even in you’re dissatisfied with your performance at work, or you don’t feel at your best, don’t punish yourself with no time for you! We all need a vacation or mini-getaway sometimes. It’s good for the soul.
9. Spend more time in the fictional world.
Read like you did when you were a kid and books were your world. Reality is harsh and an escape from it all is emotionally necessary.
10. Work out
Go to that pilates class. Even if you feel lazy, go anyway. You always feel better afterward. Don’t deprive yourself of that.
11.There will always be some level of fear: Do the thing anyway
Push yourself: to be braver, to be kinder, to go further than you ever set out to, despite the fear, despite the doubt, despite the urge to run far away from anything that can potentially break you. Go for it anyway. The only way you’ll know how it turns out is if you take the plunge.
12. Block out the things that make you doubt your ability
If it’s hindering you take a step back from it until you are in a better headspace. Your art, passions and dreams deserve better.
13. People will always have an opinion
The only one that matters is yours. Follow your heart. “If you’re not in the arena with me, I don’t want your input.” -Brene Brown
14. Just because you didn’t document it, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
I’m the last person to criticize the millennial need to validate oneself through selfies and social media. HOWEVER, I have had countless outings and hangouts with friends where minimal to no pictures were taken. Yet I still look on those memories fondly. The world doesn’t need to know whether or not you have plans. They’re too busy worrying about themselves to notice anyway.
15. You can make a difference
I think it’s a universal feeling to think that what we say or do doesn’t matter because it’s probably been said or done once before. But we forget that it hasn’t been said or done by us yet. We have to get the notion of an “original” idea out of our systems. No matter what, an idea has probably be thought of before, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. It hasn’t been addressed by you yet. Stop giving yourself reasons not to go after what you want and just do it.
16. There is no time limit on when your life can begin
Whether you’ve never been in a relationship, or you’re still working a part-time job, or you’ve never tried sushi there isn’t a limit on how long you have before you can no longer have these experiences. Just because you’ve never been in love doesn’t mean you never will find love. Just because you feel stuck in the worst job you’ve ever had doesn’t mean you’ll never find one that gives you purpose. Screw society’s standards! If you want to go back to school..go back to school! If you want to put yourself out there try online dating! There’s no rule that says everything has to be accomplished before the age of 30. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself to figure it all out all at once. It doesn’t work that way, even if it seems like it falls into everyone else’s lap but yours. You’ve got time.
17. Buy yourself those damn flowers
You don’t need a man to buy flowers to make you feel better!!!! Treat yo SELF.
18. Do more things alone
I think my least favorite thing is when I hear someone didn’t go to a concert, or a movie because they didn’t want to be alone. Don’t miss out on experiences because you’re embarrassed by the thought of being by yourself. You’re stuck with you for the rest of your life, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy things on your own without the comfort of another human being sitting or standing beside you. It’s not as lonely as you think it is and you’ll be happier knowing it’s not impossible to have a good time on your own.
19. It’s about getting through things not out of them
We all go through rough seasons, and sometimes it feels like they last longer than anticipated. It’s easy to fall victim to the idea that once you’re out of where you are things will be better, you’ll be happy and life will be easier. But, that’s not really how life works. Yes, you’re struggling right now, and it’s frustrating and stressful however, the thought of leaving it all behind and starting anew is romanticized in your mind. It’s not about getting out, it’s about getting through it. You are where you’re meant to be in this moment. As cliche as that may seem, it holds immense truth. This particular time in your life is going to be of use to you in the future, whether or not you see it that way. It won’t last forever, just keep going. There is NOTHING wrong with where you are right now. It’s all a part of the journey.
20. No one has ANY idea what they’re doing. No one.
This is my least favorite piece of advice but it’s something I’m continually reminded of everyday. Even the smartest person in the room doesn’t know everything and that in itself is comforting! We’re all just here figuring things out as we go! If someone looks sure of themselves it’s only because they’ve mastered the art of FAKING it. Trust me when I say everyone is running around only ACTING like they have it altogether. No one actually does.
21. Self-love is a lifelong commitment
I think one of the hardest concepts to grasp in today’s society is self-love. We spend more time complimenting other people than we do ourselves. No one sees themselves the way you see them and vice versa. I noticed myself criticizing pictures of my body just the other day: Why am I so awkward? Do I even know what good posture is? What am I even doing with that pose?? I’ve always struggled with confidence and self-image, and I think it’s something I’m always going to battle. The important thing is to notice when you’re being overly critical and give yourself a break. Remind yourself that no one is perfect: pictures are retouched, smiles aren’t always genuine and the likes on your instagram mean absolutely nothing. Your mind, your heart and your character are far more valuable.
22. It’s okay to have days where you do absolutely nothing
Do not, I repeat do NOT feel guilty for taking a mental health day. If you are feeling anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, etc it is OKAY to be as unproductive as you want for a day or two. It is okay to spend the day reading, watching tv or taking a nap. You are entitled to time off from the everyday to be alone with yourself and practice self-care. You will thank yourself later.
23. Your feelings are valid, let no one tell you otherwise
We are humans, we have feelings and what affects those feelings and or causes those feelings is unique to every individual. They are real because we feel them and we are affected by them. Period. Do not minimize how you feel because you think you’re being overdramatic. Don’t compare where you are with where someone else is and say “they have it worse.” Maybe they do, but that doesn’t eliminate the fact that are also dealing with things. Even if you are being overdramatic, which you’re not, your feelings exist. Acknowledge that and don’t let anyone take it away from you.
24. In the end, everything will be okay
“If it’s not okay, its not the end.” Despite my unshakable ability to stress about even the tiniest of details, I try to remember if I got through it before I can do it again. I always tend to find something to worry over and even if it doesn’t end how I expect, somehow it works out. I find my way and obstacles of destruction I imagined happening along the way are either nonexistent or dodged with grace. Things often work out for the better and although this fact doesn’t keep my anxious habits at bay it’s a thought I always keep with me.
Never forget the essence of your spark!