Today is my 25th birthday. 25 sounds way older than 24 for some reason. I still have a lot to learn, I’ve learned quite a few life lessons in my quarter-century on this planet. I thought I’d take the time to reflect on the top 25 and share them here.
Some are funny, some are serious, and some are cliche, but they are all true for me.
1) If you want to accomplish something difficult, don’t talk about it too much, just do it. Don’t seek validation from others once you’ve made up your mind. Go forth and conquer!
2) Take a lot of pleasure in the little things. Hitting all the green lights on your commute home. Sitting down to a fancy meal you’ve prepared yourself. Getting lost in a great book. Whatever it is.
3) Double check the dates before you hit “book it” on hotels, flights, other travel commitments. Save yourself a lot of time, headache, and Skype calling credit sorting it out over 100 different customer service lines.
4) Keep your professional life documents updated, (resume, CV, letters of recommendation) and always be searching for new opportunities. Having all this stuff ready to go makes life 100 times easier when you need to find a new job.
5) Having the lowest possible expectations without becoming pessimistic is a great way to guarantee that you’ll always be happy.
6) Drink lots of water. If you think you have some sort of ailment, you’re getting fat, or you’re tired all the time, it’s probably because you’re dehydrated. Throw a lemon wedge in there too for good measure.
7) All the workouts in the world won’t make a difference if you don’t change what you eat. Eat lots of vegetables, and you’ll see your body change.
8) If someone is rushing you to make a big financial decision, you’ll probably end up regretting it later. Take your time and think it through. It’s your money after all.
9) You are not unique. Our experiences, our pain, our hopes, dreams, failures, and successes are similar if not the same to many others. That’s what being a human is. Stop obsessing over how to be different.
10) Don’t hastily cut into a juicy lucy. The hot cheese will squirt on you and it will be awkward for everyone involved.
11) If you’re not good at DIY projects, don’t try to DIY a product that you really want in order to save money. You’ll end up spending almost the same and making a crappy version of whatever it is, and then feel stuck with it since you invested so much time and energy into it. (Cough, travel pinboard map, cough)
12) One of the worst things you can waste your time on is comparing yourself to other people. It’s bad for your mental health, motivation and is unproductive. Compare yourself to you, and you only. Own your brand.
13) Don’t put anyone on a pedestal. I think this is a lesson we’ve all especially learned in 2017 with the rise of sexual harassment scandals and the #MeToo campaign. People can disappoint you, and even the most famous and powerful people, are just people.
14) When your body is telling you to rest, REST. When I was training for my marathon, I pushed myself too hard and it resulted in me getting sick and being unable to do anything, let alone train. If you don’t take the time to rest and recover, you’ll end up setting yourself way back.
15) Sometimes it’s worth it to bite your tongue. While it’s important to share opinions and I’m all for banter and debate, there are some situations when the argument isn’t worth it. Walking away doesn’t mean you’ve conceded or that the other person “won,” either.
16) Good health is the greatest gift. This past Christmas I was bed-ridden all day with the stomach flu. I remember thinking to myself I would trade all my Christmas presents just to feel better, even though I knew it would pass within a day or so. I can’t imagine having a chronic illness and I feel so lucky for the good health and immune system that I normally have.
17) Don’t be afraid to make the first move. This not only applies to dating but also to initiating conversation or being the first to help someone else out. It can be easy to get trapped in that awkward moment of “uhh do I do something? Will someone else do something?” bystander effect that happens, so just make the first move instead. Reach out your hand for a shake at the company party, make eye contact and say hello or nod to that classmate you haven’t seen in 7 years who you run into at the bar in your hometown. Ask that boy on a date. Make the first move. Be bold AF.
18) Heed caution when doing any sort of at-home beauty treatment, and be prepared for the absolute worst case scenario. I’m looking at you, San Tropez foaming self-tanner.
19) Everyone will always have an opinion on what you’re doing, but that doesn’t mean you need to take it into consideration.
20) Learn how to eat slowly. It’s better for your digestion, you’ll swallow less air (fewer farts or burps later) and it’s a good way to connect with your meal, savor each bite, and also realize when you’re full.
21) Say yes to opportunities that come your way. Even if you’re tired or busy, saying yes can open countless doors that will pave the way for your future.
22) Your vibe attracts your tribe. The energy you put out into the universe will attract a certain type of people back to you. If you want positive, forward-thinking and moving people in your life, you have to be a positive, forward-thinking person yourself.
23) Always have tissues in your purse or pockets. ALWAYS.
24) It sometimes takes a tragedy to make you realize (or remember) how true cliches are.
25) Just eat the damn cake. Or donut. Or whatever.
To my friends and family, thank you for an incredible 25 years. It wouldn’t be what it is without the memories you’ve helped me make.
What are the top life lessons you’ve learned? I’d love to read them in your comments 🙂 Cheers to 25 more years of adventures, laughter, and new experiences.