Self-ImprovementLife Lessons

23 Things I Learned Before Turning 23

1. Time is the father of truth.

This has been the most life-enhancing and eye-opening lesson that I’ve learned in the past twenty-three years of my life. Time has an incredible way of unveiling the truth in any situation. Time reveals intentions. It distinguishes what is good from what is bad. It exposes what is genuine and what is fake. It extracts hidden virtues like strength, patience, passion, and persistence.Wondering if a relationship is solid or not? Give it time. Curious about a person’s true motives? Give it time. Want to figure out the quality of an item (or person)? Give it time. When you embrace time, you will unlock answers to many questions and satisfy a lot of your curiosities. When in doubt, wait it out!

2. Sexiness is a state of mind.

Sexiness is an attitude, not a shape or a dress size or a bra size. Someone who is truly sexy oozes sheer confidence and self-love. To be sexy is to believe that you—your intellect, your physical features, your values, your quirks, etc.—are more than enough.

3. Confidence is quiet. Insecurity is loud.

I learned this one from one of my favorite YouTubers, Shallon Lester. The most confident people in a room are often the quietest, and the most insecure ones are often the loudest. Insecurity is manic, irrational, and desperate for validation. Confidence is calm, collected, and needs not boast.

4. Love and friendship can be found in unexpected places with unlikely people.

I believe that the heart is what truly connects individuals and sparks chemistry, not social standing, race, religion, etc. It’s advised to connect yourself with positive, like-minded influences; however, don’t feel pressured to limit your social circle to people who look like you, think exactly like you, or recreate like you. Expand your social horizon with people who can complement your personality and lifestyle with their unique flair. If you’re an extrovert, befriend some introverts. If you’re a jock, connect with some artsy people. You can remain rooted in who you are while allowing your social circle to be a melting pot of good vibes and fresh perspectives.

5. Kindness is an underrated superpower.

Be Kind. Encourage. Inspire. Uplift. Love. An act of kindness is healing elixir. It is beneficial to both the giver and the receiver. We should feel a moral obligation to use our words and actions to make this society a more positive and kinder space for others to exist in. You would want others to do the same for you, wouldn’t you?

6. Memes are chicken noodle soup for the young adult soul.

That’s it. That’s the lesson.

7. Nonverbal communication is key.

93% of communication is nonverbal. Place greater emphasis on nonverbal communication than verbal communication. A person can be very loud with their actions. In the same vein, show love to friends and family through acts of service and kind gestures to reinforce your words of affirmation.

8. We’re all villains in at least one person’s story.

We’re not always right. We are all capable of wrongdoing. It’s life.

9. Writing things down is a smart practice.

From a young age, my parents encouraged me to keep a journal. I make it a practice to write down my thoughts, feelings, goals, desires, and strategies, either on paper or electronically. Writing something down is a form of manifestation.

10. You’re allowed to be complex.

You’re allowed to be as multidimensional as possible, provided that you don’t compromise your personal moral code. You can be the good girl who makes dirty jokes or the tough guy who likes scented candles. Individuals who explore the different shades of their personality are interesting and unpredictable.

11. Smelling great amps up your level of attractiveness.

I’m a huge fan of things that smell great: dish soap, fabric softener, scented candles, and essential oils, to name a few. I think a person is at least five times more attractive when they smell good. Good smells just make me happy!

12. Rest fuels creativity.

Our society is obsessed with putting on a facade of busyness. Some of us fail to realize that being busy does not always equate to being productive. Take some time during the week to rest and enjoy what’s around you. Make a cup of tea. Go for a walk at golden hour. Learn a new skill just for the fun of it. Hang out with an old friend. Rest and down time is what fuels creativity and efficiency in the long run. So, chill out.

13.  Intrapersonal awareness is key

Be introspective. Get to know yourself on a deeper level. Ask yourself questions that range from the basic (e.g. What’s my favorite color?) to the complex (e.g. What’s my stance on this controversial issue?).

14. You should say less and do more.

Move quietly. Not secretively, but quietly. Bask in privacy and keep your most precious thoughts to either just yourself or trusted friends and family members. Stop broadcasting your goals, strategies, and plans before they come to fruition.

15. Choose friends who make you feel safe.

Your circle of friends should feel like extended family. They should make you feel at home.

16. The underdog is a powerful person.

History tells us over and over again that the underdog is the real winner. Being underestimated or in a position of having not much else to lose allows us to take more risks and dare to do bolder things. Some of the most spectacular ideas, inventions, and achievements have come from unlikely individuals. From personal experience, I’ve achieved most of my greatest accomplishments during my bleakest moments.   

17. We’re all a little insatiable.

Human beings are insatiable creatures. We have the ability to feel gratitude; however, our contentment is usually short-lived. I’ve noticed that whenever I achieve a goal or experience something amazing, the wow factor wears off fairly quickly, and then I want to achieve something else. I’m in the process of training myself to fully appreciate my previous and present successes before I seek out new goals.

18. What people say about you in private is none of your business.

Guess what? People have the right to gossip about you and say negative things about you in their own private space if they choose to. If so, it’s none of your business. You may not be able to stop people from speaking ill about you, but you can choose to live a life that you’re proud of by doing esteemed things. That’s within your control.

19. Life doesn’t always seem fair.

Life really doesn’t always seem fair. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all felt this at one point or another. We see kind people suffer and bad people prosper all the time. We see young, brilliant minds die tragically and evil, wicked people live a long life. It’s weird. I cope with this universal conundrum by believing that somehow, in the grand scheme of things, it all happens for a reason.

20. Alcohol-free toner is amazing for your skin.

Applying facial toner should be a vital step in every skincare regimen. Toner soothes and refreshes the skin, restores the skin’s pH balance, and closes your pores. My favorite facial toners are Simple Soothing Facial Toner and Dickinson’s Witch Hazel.

21. Peace of mind is the root of happiness.

I’m at my happiest when I have peace of mind. As a woman of faith, this is one of my most popular requests when I pray. Peace of mind relaxes me and allows me to feel my most authentic self. I truly do believe that being at peace with yourself and having mental clarity will lead to success in every other category in your life.

22. Go the extra mile.

Go beyond what’s required of you. If you’re in high school or college, participate in extracurricular activities to build your resume. Even if you’re working a full-time job, still look for additional professional and creative opportunities.

23. Apparently, I’m the only one on this planet who prefers the yellow starburst.

I’ve had many starbursts in my 23 years of life and I just love the lemon-flavored one the best. My least favorite starburst flavor? The over-hyped pink starburst.

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About the author
Gabby Sterling is a Bahamian-born publicist, writer and avid dreamer. Follow Gabby on Instagram or read more articles from Gabby on Thought Catalog.

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