On October 3rd I became a year shy of a quarter of a century. I’m 24 years old and embracing this age with open arms! I hope this year is the best year yet- I’m really feeling like a full-fledged adult and like I’m heading towards the prime of my life. In honor of this milestone, I decided to reflect on some life lessons I’ve gained in my 24 trips around the sun.
1. Enjoy and be present in every moment. Life goes fast.
“Stop waiting for Friday, for summer, for someone to fall in love with you, for life. Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it and make the most of the moment you are in right now.” -Unknown
I have spent so many days waiting on better ones ahead. This is definitely the wrong way to approach life. Time goes by so quickly. Sometimes I feel like I’m still a teenager and not a 24-year old adult! Life is short, and there’s something good to enjoy and be thankful for every day.
2. Everyone’s going through something.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” -Socrates
Be kind. And give people the benefit of the doubt if they aren’t the most delightful that day because people are fighting battles we often do not know about. I’ve learned you shouldn’t take someone’s rudeness personally, because, most likely, it has nothing to do with you.
3. Life’s what you make it
“So let’s make it rock!” (Cue Hannah Montana) But really, so much of your life and how you experience it is all about your mindset! If you believe life is good, and act happy, eventually, you will feel just that. Try smiling for 60 seconds next time you are in a bad mood. Chances are, you won’t be as upset at the end of that minute. Once again, life’s too short.
4. You Can’t Please Everyone
So Live the Life you want, not the one ANYONE expects you to live. At times I feel selfish choosing my desires over making someone else happy, but I realized this is my life. I’m the one that has to live it day in and day out. If I’m not going to be happy living the way someone thinks I “should” live- I have no one to blame but myself for not choosing what I want.
5. You create your happiness
As much as I love my family, friends, and especially my husband- I can’t rely on them for my happiness. This is easier said than done, but it’s a burden to make someone your source of joy. We must create our joy, and others can merely enhance it. It’s something I’m still working on, but I’m heading in the right direction!
6. Having dreams is great if you put your heart and soul into those dreams to make them a reality.
Nobody cares about your dreams like you do. The harsh reality is, not even those closest to you. I’ve realized that if I have a goal, nobody is going to 110% invest in helping me achieve it. Growing up, I had my parents who would continuously hound me about whether I was getting my homework done, getting good grades, etc., but now that I’m an adult, I have to be more self-motivated. I have to put in my time, effort, and dedication to make that dream a reality.
7. When Buying Clothes, Focus on Quality over Quantity
With clothes, look for deals, of course, but splurging on some staple pieces of good quality clothing instead of forever 21 or target is well worth it. I’ve been investing in quality clothing from Madewell and Lulu lemon because the clothes last so much longer the price difference evens out!
8. Quality over Quantity Applies To Relationships Too
As the saying goes, “I’d rather have 4 quarters than 100 pennies”.
9. Relationships are the Most Important Part of Life
Relationships require work to make them strong, but the work is well worth it. Studies prove that relationships are what makes one feel fulfilled in life. This study is one of my all-time favorites! I can definitely testify to the importance of relationships. I had a hard time where my family was very emotionally and physically distant from me, and I think that was the hardest time of my life yet.
10. Your Health is Your Wealth, so Take Care of Yourself
Exercising, Eating well, and sleeping enough have a huge impact on your mental and physical health. Exercise is not just for the aesthetic appeal, although that is great motivation to be active! Those endorphins are real! I truly feel so much better when I work out consistently. It’s also been proven that exercise is the leading prevention for dementia and Alzheimers, so that’s more of a reason to get out there and sweat. (can you tell I like scientific studies?)
As far as eating, I love dessert, but if I eat sweets all the time, I feel like crap and am very lethargic so I don’t get as much done! And sleep. Sleep is my best friend and if I don’t have it- wow, I’m an emotional roller coaster. Eating well and sleeping enough both make me more productive and even put me in a better mood.
Basically, take care of yourself. You’re worth it. Your health is your wealth, and your overall quality of life drastically improves when you do.
11. Spend money on experiences over things
“Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.”
I have learned throughout my life to LOVE experiences. Experiences enrich your life, and while they don’t have to cost money if I have to choose between spending money on one of the two- I choose experiences almost every time. Things are nice, but things break, are stolen, and lose value. I’ve found many great experiences I’ve had increase in value over time. In the end, what’s going to matter are the experiences I had, and the people I made those memories with.
13. If it’s not going to matter a year from now, let it go.
This is another one easier said than done, but so true. Don’t sweat the small stuff. And honestly, don’t sweat anything out of your control. Just do your best, and it’ll all work out.
14. You’ve gotta hustle to achieve what you want in life.
There’s a lot of smart people out there that have similar goals to you- Nobody is going to give you any handouts. This world is competitive. And the competitiveness just keeps increasing. There are so many people that want to become every profession in the book. While it’s totally doable to achieve these goals, you’ve got to fully commit 110% and go above and beyond to get there.
15. You are so blessed.
Throughout my life, I’ve realized how blessed I am. To live in a first world country, to have money for everything I need to survive, to know where my next meal is coming from, to be born into a family who loves me, to all the experiences I’ve had, to the friends and family I have. I’ve had some hard times, we all do, but overall, I’ve been blessed with SO much. It’s kinda unfair actually. I’m TOO lucky. And that’s reason enough to be grateful every day (and a reason to give back to others!).
16. Comparison is the thief of joy.
Almost all of us have fallen for the comparison trap at one point or another, especially with social media. I love the quote I heard recently from The Bucket List Family (one of my favorite families online ever!), “My grass is always greener”. If you believe this quote, then you’ll spend time investing in your own grass, instead of looking at someone else’s. Comparison doesn’t result in anything positive. Everyone is unique in their own ways and while you might suck at singing, you may have the best skin ever and so many people may wish they had your skin. Realize your worth. Notice how green your grass is, and go and water it to make it even greener. Only compare yourself to your past self. Life isn’t a competition.
17. It’s normal to not have your life all figured out at 24.
Or 30. Or 75. I used to think that by the time I was an adult, I’d have everything figured out. Now I realize not only how unrealistic that is, but how BORING. Life is fun and exciting (and sometimes scary) because of the unknown, so I’m learning and trying to embrace it.
18. Life isn’t perfect but it is so good.
There’s something good each day, and there’s always something to be thankful for. I know I have A LOT more to learn, and I’m excited for my future. For all the twists and turns and new life lessons. While life can be hard, and sometimes feels like a giant mountain to climb, life is beautiful. & I’m excited to spend my 24th year around the sun figuring this life thing out a little more.