21 Life Lessons in 21 Years
Yes, you can interpret my capitalization as me SHOUTING because IT'S MY 21ST BIRTHDAY TODAY!
Half of me wants to party, and half of me wants to throw up because ew I'm almost 1/4 of a century old and I still feel like I am fourteen.
I mean, I came outta the womb 21 years ago today. It's been 21 years since my mom had to push my giant head outta her lady factory. Wait a second, I actually think I was a C-section. Tomayto, tomahto.
Speaking of the actual day that I was born, have I ever mentioned that I was kind of a miracle? I was born with brain cysts, a heart murmur, and the cord wrapped around ma' little neck. In the words of Destiny's child: I'M A SURVIVOR.
Even though I still get carded for buying Sharpies, get handed the kids menu at Red Robin, and when I tell people I'm a senior they assume I mean high school and even then they're surprised that I'm "that old"...I'm finally 21 and I'm pretty cool with that.
I may look 13, but I've lived 21 years and in that time I have learned a lot. I mean, I learn a lot every day. Every minute. It's crazy how brains work, dude. Dang it, now I'm having a deep thought session in my office and wondering how life is possible. How is my brain telling my fingers to type these letters so fast?! WHY IS GRASS GREEN.
In honor of Septemer 24, 2015--the day I'm finally 21--I figured I would share 21 things I have learned in my 21 years of bein' on this planet.
21 Life Lessons in 21 Years
- Money is better spent on experiences rather than things. Every time I've saved up my money to buy something and then I finally buy it--sure, it feels good for about five seconds but by the next week you're wishing you hadn't bought those shoes and you had the money to go out and do things. Every time my parents bought me something growing up, sure it was cool, but they bought me a ridiculous amount of things so it wasn't necessarily a special moment. (Not saying I don't appreciate all those things.) However, every time we took fun family trips or went ziplining in Cancun or went out and had a mother daughter day...those times were the ones that I remember and look back on today. Not the times that my mom bought me designer jeans. (But I mean thanks for that mom because I was stylin' and stuff.)
- Nothing...and I mean nothing...is ever as big of a deal as it seems. If I had a grain of rice for every time I overreacted and made myself sick with stress over things that don't matter anymore I could feed all of Texas for a week. It took a couple of decades to learn, but now I can ask myself if the issue will matter in a matter of a day, month or year...usually the answer is no. If the answer is yes, I work on fixing the issue rather than worrying. I still haven't mastered this concept, but at least I understand the principle.
- You write the story of your life. There are many things about myself that I used to think were set in stone. I thought that I had these characteristics, good or bad, and that I would just have them forever. Little did I know until recently--these things are very much malleable. I thought I couldn't have a job that required me to get up early because I was a night owl. Well, I changed my thought pattern and made it happen. I now wake up at 5 and get in bed much earlier than I used to. I used to think I was just a stubborn person, and while that's true I make a conscious effort to not be so stubborn every single day. I thought I would have an eating disorder forever. You can see where this is going. The point is that once I realized I was self-defining things in my life I was able to re-write those parts of my story. Some things you can't change--your height (well actually I'm sure there's a surgery for that...), your race, etc...but once you stop enforcing boundaries on your story you are able to grow more than you ever could otherwise.
- You DEFINITELY become who you are around. When I think about how I've changed personally over the years I can absolutely link those changes back to who I was associating with at the time. I have realized now that life is way too short to spend all your time with people that you don’t want to be like.
- Life is short. Is there something you want to do but are putting it off? Do it.
- People are really only concerned with themselves. I'm not saying that to hate on society, because I'm including myself in this. What I mean is we often are so caught up in what other people think about us, but in reality everyone is too concerned with themselves and what others think of them...an endless loop. Who cares if someone doesn't like you? Do you like you? Work on liking yourself and nothing else will matter.
- Be overly grateful. Be SUPER appreciative of every nice deed, big or small, that is done to you. You don't know what someone had to go through to get you that Starbucks--maybe they waited in line for 30 minutes or spent the last of their cash just so they could do something nice for you. Maybe your mom had to save up her money for three months to buy you that thing you wanted so bad. Maybe someone had an awful day and they just want to go home and eat ice cream, yet they're still there listening to you talk about your awful day and being supportive. Seemingly small actions can be larger than they appear. Just be grateful for everything and TELL people how grateful you are for them in your life.
- Hard work pays off. This may seem obvious, but it's so ridiculously true. Every time I halfheartedly do something I absolutely do not get the results that I desire. Then I beat myself up for that. If you want something you literally have to give it your all. Recovery, a good job, graduating college...I have had to give these three things my all and more. So far, I have the good job and I'm working hard every day. I graduate college in 2 months. I have made immense progress in my recovery. Hard work is the only kind of work that's going to cut it.
- Healthy is not skinny, ripped, or anything of the like. Healthy is eating vegetables AND ice cream. Getting enough sleep but still occasionally sacrificing sleep. Going to the gym but also taking months off because you don't feel like it. Getting outside and seeing nature. Eating what you want. Prioritizing mental health. Health is so much broader than a physical appearance. Society will tell you that abs are the picture of health. Fun fact: when I had an 8 pack, I was actually dying.
- You are what you do, not what you say you'll do. In other words, people see what you actually do--they don't see your intentions. We're judged for what we do. Sometimes I get caught up in my good intentions but I don't follow through. Good intentions aren't the same as good actions. You gotta make things happen.
- The path less chosen is less chosen for a reason. It's harder to do what no one else is. It's scarier. It's weird. It's different. If it was easy everyone else would be doing it. Also, the reward at the end of the path is much, much greater.
- Asking for help is 900% okay. I've always been so independent and stubborn, and both of those things caused me to rarely ask for help. Ever. I felt like that made me weak. Now that I have experience in the work force I realize that asking for help is absolutely okay--even essential.
- Your siblings + parents are your forever best friends. Of course my sisters and I fight, and my parents and I had issues while I was a horrible teenager. But those 7 people are also the 7 that I have for all of our existence to be my supporters, best friends, and favorite people.
- Your body is just a vehicle for your soul. For real, though. Of course I never asked for an eating disorder or willingly developed one, but I did choose to recover. Just because I know this one to be true doesn't mean I don't still struggle--but at least I know it is true. Personality and character over any physical appearance POINT BLANK, PERIOD.
- Days are long but years are short. In my life, at least, it sometimes seems like the days are so busy and long. I wake up around 5 and don't hit the hay until usually midnight. I stay very busy throughout the day. However, when I look back I realize that the years have gone by far too fast. I spend a lot of time daydreaming and planning the future, and I really have been trying to live in the present and not let the moments go by too fast. It's good to know what you want for your future and work toward goals, but it's not so good to live IN the future.
- Life is so much more fun when you do not care what others think. I actually just said these words to Jarrett while we were in Costco and I was body rolling down the aisle backwards. I was like, "Man, it's so much more fun when you don't care what people think." People always stare at me when I do weird things in public, and it makes me feel bad for THEM because I'm having more fun than them and they're so rigid by society's "norms" that they think it is wrong for me to act the way that I do. Be weird. Don't be embarrassed to do things. Be yourself and don't care about the rest.
- Pray ALL THE TIME. There is never a wrong time to pray. From driving in a scary storm to waiting for a professor to hand out a test or standing in the shower...there's never a time He won't listen. Lonely? Pray. Scared? Pray. Grateful? Pray. I could go on for days.
- Stay away from caffeine and reach for water instead. I'm working on this one. The past month I've cut out coffee, energy drinks, and anything other than water, herbal tea, or milk. I usually will add some kind of flavoring (yum chemicals) to my water, but hey-- it's a lot better than some other options. I have been drinking a gallon a day since I started at my new job because I get so thirsty just sitting and eating all day, and it's made a HUGE difference in my energy, skin, hair, etc. Water is like magic.
- Saving money is hard, but you should probably absolutely 742% do it. She said ironically. I've been saving my money for months and now I'm about to "blow" it all, but it's something I've been wanting to do for a long time and it's so worth it to me. I wouldn't be able to do it had I not saved for so long.
- You can't search for the person you're supposed to be with. I suppose you could, but it surely would be a lot of work and probably not pan out. I met Jarrett unexpectedly when I was in no way looking for a relationship. Things happened, and now I'm madly in love with the guy. I could have never sought him out because I had no idea that I needed someone with all of the qualities he possesses. I couldn't have dreamt of ever meeting someone like him, and that's why this one had to be on my list.
- Life really does begin outside of your comfort zone. Absolutely, 100%, no question. Everything in my life that I have achieved, the things I am most proud of, the most progress I've made, the most fun I've had...these things all started as very uncertain, awkward situations. I have had to push myself through many uncomfortable situations in order to get to the pot of gold on the other side. Life requires that you do things you may not want to do or that you feel uncomfortable or unprepared for in order to reap massive benefits. Don't let a comfort zone hold you back from greatness. My eating disorder was my comfort zone. It took so much from my to push past it. Life now? It's a whole lot better than it ever was when my days were ruled by a tiny evil voice in my brain.
I took work off today and Friday, but I'm going to be doing school stuff today and then tonight I'm going out with friends! Tomorrow my mom is coming to visit and take me birthday shopping! I have some fun things planned for this first weekend of being 21 and then it's back to the ol' grind next week. Have a lovely day everyone!