As Taylor Swift would say, “I’m feeling 22.”
My birthday just passed, so in honor of 22 years on this crazy earth, I figured I’d write about 22 things I’ve learned in my 22 years.
1. You’re going to lose friends. It happens. The friends from high school that you made a pact with to be “BFF’s” won’t always last. You’re going to go to different colleges, move away, and lose touch. Of course there are always going to be those few friends you hold on to, but there will be plenty that you will probably never talk to again. It’s sad, but that’s life. You will make new friends in college, and then more new friends in your workplace. And you’ll learn that sometimes it’s better to have a small group of great friends than a big group of good ones.
2. If you have the chance to go to bed early, do it. You’ll thank me. When you’re younger, you think it’s “cool” to stay up all hours of the night, but when you get older you realize the more sleep you can get, the better. And when you’re waking up every morning at 6am for school or work, you’re going to feel a lot better if you go to bed early the night before.
3. Stop looking back and replaying your regrets and mistakes. You can’t change the past no matter how bad you wish you could. So take those things and learn from them. Stop looking at where you’ve been, and focus on where you’ll go. Every single thing that has happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.
4. Don’t ever settle. Whether it is in a relationship, a career, or anything else, you deserve the best.
5. Do what you love and love what you do. The saying, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life,” is true. Figure out what inspires you and what your dreams are, and set yourself to accomplish them.
6. Not everyone is going to like you. No matter how hard you try to get people to like you, sometimes it just won’t happen. But who cares? Stop thinking so much about what others think and just focus on you. Most of the time, other people’s opinions don’t matter.
7. It’s okay to cry. Some people think crying is a sign of weakness, but I disagree. Sometimes we just need to let it all out. It’s okay to fall apart for a little while. Don’t bottle up your feelings. It will only make you feel worse. Embrace your emotions and process your feelings. The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again.
8. Exercise. When you’re young, your metabolism works quickly, but it won’t always be that way. Don’t wait until it slows down to start getting into shape, start exercising while you’re still young. Your body will thank you later.
9. Smile more. It’s the best curve of your body. Sometimes your joy comes from your smile.
10. Put your phone down, and live a little. Today, people are constantly buried in their phones. Instead of talking to someone behind a screen, you should call them up and plan a get-together. It’s so much better talking to someone face to face. And while you’re spending so much time on your phone, you’re missing out on the world around. Open your eyes and look around!
11. Take pictures. Lots of them. If there’s one thing I regret, it’s not taking enough pictures. Pictures are captured memories that you’ll never forget and will always be able to look at and reminisce.
12. “Time flies” isn’t just a cute saying. It’s true. When I was in middle school, I felt like I had just graduated elementary school. When I was in high school, I felt like I had just graduated middle school. Now that I’m graduating college, I feel like I just graduated high school. And before I know it, I will be married with kids, feeling as if I just graduated college. It’s scary. So stop wishing for “Friday to come” every week. Slow down for a second, take a deep breath, and enjoy every single moment that passes by, because one day you’re going to wish that you had them all back.
13. Learn how to cook. You don’t have to be a gourmet chef, but being able to not burn down your house every time you enter the kitchen is a necessary life skill. Also, when you live on your own and don’t have mom’s wonderful cooking anymore, knowing how to cook will be a lot better than eating mac & cheese and hot pockets for dinner every night.
14. Save your money. As tempting as that cute Louis Vuitton bag looks, or those awesome new Lebron sneakers are, you may want to think twice about buying them. It’s okay to buy nice things once in a while, but if you save your money now, you’ll be happy that you did. Whether it be paying off your school loans, your car, or moving out on your own, life gets expensive and you’re going to need all the money you can get.
15. Mom is always right. No matter how much you hate to admit it, it’s true.
16. Never go to bed mad. You won’t wake up feeling any better. If you’re in an argument, try to solve it before you go to sleep.
17. Be grateful for what you have. I’m going to go ahead and use one of the most cliché sayings out there: “You don’t know what you have ‘til it’s gone.” Appreciate every single thing you have while you still have it. And as bad as you think your life is, someone out there always has it a lot worse than you do.
18. Your heart is your best compass. Listen to it. Follow it. Do what it wants and what it says. Your mind will try to intervene every now and then, and sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference, but your heart will never let you down.
19. Tell the people you love that you love them. You can never say it enough. Remind them often. One day they may not be there anymore and it’s better to let them know rather than regret not saying it enough later on.
20. Never, never give up. Life isn’t easy and it isn’t supposed to be. If you don’t succeed, keep trying. You are capable to accomplish anything you set your mind to. If you make a mistake, it’s okay; you’re only human. Take those mistakes and learn from them, but don’t ever let them discourage you.
21. Nobody has it all figured out. Life can be crazy sometimes, and there are many questions we all have that sometimes don’t have answers. No matter how much someone acts like they know it all, they don’t. So don’t let anyone fool you.
22. And last but certainly not least, stop worrying so much. I save this for last because it’s something I struggle with daily. Worrying is my middle name. It’s a negative aspect of my personality and it’s something that I’ve tried so hard to control. “Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy.” Think about the issue and ask yourself if it’ll matter in a week, a month, or a year from now. Chances are, it probably won’t, so stop worrying and start living!