1. It is okay to say no
I don’t mean just to drugs. By all means, don’t let that D.A.R.E program education go to waste, my fellow 90’s kids. Say no to drugs, for real they’re expensive and jack up your teeth. Have you ever seen a picture of meth mouth? Not good. Not at all. Just stay away from them. I mean it’s okay to say no to committing to things. It’s okay to build up boundaries, and it’s okay to not want to spend every second with your roommates or friends or who ever else. It’s okay to decline an offer to hang out, and it’s okay to not have a specific reason other than you just don’t really feel like it. Sometimes, we need to recharge. That’s normal. Just know the difference between alone time and isolation, the difference between boundaries and walls. Alone time is okay – we all need it. Isolation is not. Don’t lock yourself in your room and curl into fetal position with the lights off and think about every bad choice you’ve ever made. It’s toxic to do that to yourself. Have boundaries. Know when you’re getting drained and when you need to go recharge. Do not build up walls. I’m not saying you need to tell everyone and their mother your deepest secrets, but don’t build your walls up so high that you don’t let people in your life enough to love you. People, even though a lot of the time they’re super stupid and more than kind of annoying, they’re good. They’re good to have. We need to help each other – to love each other. Don’t build a fortress around yourself to keep the world out.
2. It’s okay to not have it all figured out
This one is extra important for those of us who are counting down to graduation with a mixture of excitement and pure terror. College-aged friends, ’tis the season for engagements, the “I just accepted a position at blah blah blah”, and many other various posts about everyone else having their crap together via every social media site that you have. While I’m sitting here, in a term I coined from my sister called “groutfit” Which is grey and outfit put together. So a groutfit is when you’re wearing grey on grey. Have no shame, it’s an art form. So I’ll be sitting there in a groutfit, up to my elbows in chicken nuggets, scrolling through the 12th picture of “I said YES! I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with my best friend!” and wondering what choices I had made that led me to sitting there in all grey enviously glaring at yet another girl’s beautiful diamond ring while she rakes in 300 likes and 67 comments and the only person that texted me all day was the automatic alert system from campus issuing an emergency practice text because had there been an emergency, they needed to make sure that the system was working correctly. Then I realized, it is OKAY. It’s okay to not have it together. For my friends that do – I’m so happy for you. Really. Maybe a twinge of bitterness because the most committed relationship I have is with my twitter account, but overall I really truly am happy for you. One of my super good friends already has multiple job offers and she hasn’t even passed her boards yet. How great is that? But for those of us who don’t – it’s okay. There’s no rule that says not having a job by the time you graduate equates to an inevitable live of pain and despair, with a future no brighter than the light reflecting from the grease of the deep fryer at Taco Johns. So take a deep breath, brush your teeth, put on clothes with color (preferably two different colors but if you’re not feeling up to it, that’t okay. Baby steps), and go out there and do something. It’s okay to not have a definitive plan after graduation, but I honestly have absolutely zero, if not NEGATIVE sympathy for you if all you do is sit in your cave of a room 8 hours deep into a Netflix binge bitterly scrolling through Facebook and Twitter, pissed because other people have their poop in a group. Get up and get your life, girl. Get your life. Do your thing. It’s okay to not have it together if you’re trying to get it together, it’s not okay to not even be trying to get it together. Savvy?
3. Success is up to interpretation
Some people view success as a number in their bank account. Other people view success as the title on their office door. Then there’s people like me who view success as managing to make a bag of popcorn without smoking out the entire kitchen. Success is not a definitive thing. If you’ve reached a point in your life where you feel like you’re where you’re supposed to be, then you’re successful. It doesn’t matter if you don’t make 6 figures and drive a Corvette. If you’re living a life and leaving a legacy that you’re proud of, if you’re treating people right and leaving this world a better place than when you got here, you’re successful. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. I don’t think a teacher who makes several thousands of dollars less a year than a CEO of some corporation is less successful than the CEO. It’s up to your interpretation. If you’re finding happiness, purpose, and fulfillment in flipping burgers at McDonalds, then do your thing and turn down for no one because it is your life. Live it, and make a life that you see as worth living.
4. You are not your parents
Yikes. Where do I even start with this one? Okay. While many of us aspire to be like our parents, because maybe they were wonderful, loving, and just great people, you are not them. If your dad, and his dad, and his dad’s dad and so on and so forth all ran a store in your hometown population 500 since the Oregon Trail days, and he wants to hand the store off to you, you DO. NOT. HAVE. TO. TAKE. IT. If you want to take it, and keep the legacy going, then by all means, run that store and run it well. But if you want to get out of the house you’ve been in since the womb, and experience more of the world, then do it. It’s your life. Not your parent’s life. I’m not saying to just throw the heirlooms in the trash and tarnish the family portraits, because family is invaluable. Make sure your parents know you love them and value them, if you do. But if they are pushing you to do one thing with your life, and you feel called to do something different, then do your thing. Say “hey, mom and dad, while I fully appreciate everything you’ve done for me, I’m pulling a Kelly Clarkson, spreading my wings, and learning how to fly. I’ll do what it takes, ’til I touch the sky.” Live YOUR life. Also, if you grew up in a rough home and had a less than stellar childhood, first, I’m sorry for that. Know that you’re loved, and you are NOT your parents. If your mom was on drugs and your dad was MIA, you are not them. Choose your own path. Follow your own dreams. You are your own person, and your life, your legacy, is up for grabs for YOU to build. But only if you pick up the tools and start building. Sometimes it really sucks and you have to rip up a bunch of crappily built or falling apart pieces. But do it anyways. You can do it, you’ll get through.
5. Figure out what really matters
It seems kind of obvious, but it’s actually a lot harder than you think. But take a second, and figure out what truly matters in life. Is it the number of likes you get on your Instagram selfie? Or is it whether you get the newest iPhone the day it comes out? What really matters in life? To you? Hint: it’s not social media. It’s not the technology or clothes you do or don’t have. The things that really matter, a lot of them do not have a monetary value. They’re priceless. I mean not everything is, some things that truly matter like your Grandparents house that half your childhood memories are in…that matters. But what matters more are the people in it. The people who are in the memories, the people who helped you make those memories. With your iPhone – what really matters? The fact that you have 16 gigs and you’re ranked on Candy Crush? No. What matters are the people on the other end of those texts, the people on the other end of a late night phone call. That’s what matters. The people in your life. The memories you make. The legacy you leave. The person you are. That’s what matters.
6. It is okay to make mistakes
Hello, why do you think they invented white-out? No really, so many of my friends struggle so much with wanting everything to be absolutely perfect. Well, guys, while I fully admire your ambition, nothing will ever be fully perfect. Guess what though? That is perfectly okay. It’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay to mess up, it’s okay to fall down, it’s okay to go the wrong way and make a bad choice. We all do it. I could sit here until the second coming of Jesus making a list of every bad choice and every mistake I’ve made. You know what? Even though at the time I really wish I hadn’t told this kid in first grade it looked like his hands were coming out of his ass, I wouldn’t be the person I am today had I not gone through the terror of being sent to the counselor’s office during carpet time. We make mistakes. We are human. The most beautiful part of that is that we get to learn from them. They’re what shape us, what mold us. For example. from that whole incident in first grade you know what I learned? To whisper. To quietly tell the obnoxious kid in the Chicago Bulls jersey that it looked like his hands were coming out of his ass, instead of announcing it like a hippie with a megaphone at a green peace rally. Honestly guys, the only time a mistake is a waste of time or truly something to regret is if you do not learn from it. Embrace your mistakes. Cherish your imperfections. They’re one of the most beautiful parts of life.
7. You do not have to be liked by everybody
Seriously. It seems like such a weird concept, but I can promise you that there’s probably a few people who are reading this list, just pissed that they’ve spent so much time on this and thinking of a thousand ways they’d like to throat chop me into a bloody demise with a caved in trachea and jacked up epiglottis. I wish everyone liked me, that would be super freaking cool if they did, but they don’t and that is something that took me so long to be okay with. I’m not one of those girls that is like “oohhhh dis one iz 4 mah haterzz lol” but just so you know, people who may or may not hate me, your hatred and despising me over cyber space is actually affecting you more than it affects me. You’re literally letting that bitterness and toxicity poison you, and I’m just sitting here blogging about how much I wish you weren’t stewing over me existing. It’s okay to not be liked by everyone. It’s impossible to please every single person, and not only that, it’s not your job to do so. Live your life. Do the best you can, treat people well, and hold onto the people who do love you, because you’re not going to do so well without them. If someone doesn’t like you, then that’s okay because there is no way you’re going to sit there and pretend that you like every single person you’re Facebook friends with either, girl PUH-LEASE. You don’t have to like people, but you do have to treat them like they’re human. Even if some people act more troll like than human, still treat them well. It’ll make this world better, and you much happier. I promise.