25 Little But Life-Changing Things I’ve Learned In 25 Years

1. Always stay hydrated. I still have to get reminders from my friends and family. Trust me, your body will thank you.

2. Your comfort zone will kill you. Change is uncomfortable. Growth is uncomfortable. But nothing is more uncomfortable than feeling stuck in your current situation and wondering about the what-ifs. They say life begins at the end of your comfort zone and as I get older I’m starting to see how true that really is. So do things that scare you because I promise you won’t regret it.

3. Always say hi to people because you never know if that person will change your life. I learned this through networking one year and it stuck with me ever since. Networking is so important and you never know what opportunities could come out of it.

4. Trust your intuition. Easy, right? Well not for everyone. I am arguably the most indecisive person on the planet and never really knew what it meant to have a gut feeling about something. But on the rare occasion that I did, it turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made. Your intuition is something that will get stronger over time, but know that it will never wrong you.

5. Take pictures of everything but don’t forget to live in the moment. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m the queen of pictures and never not down for a photoshoot. However, we live in a time where it feels like you can’t do anything anymore without documenting the moment. So when you’re taking pictures always remember to enjoy the present and not just do it for the gram.

6. Doing things you’re good at but you hate isn’t a strength, it’s a weakness. Realizing this can lead to a lot of self-reflection about your passions, fears, and how you want to live your life. We often think that we should do the things that we’re good at, but if we don’t enjoy it then what’s the point? Life is way too short to be doing anything that doesn’t bring you happiness.

7. Never compare yourself to others. I know it’s easier said than done not to compare yourself to others, especially when everyone showcases their life on social media. But remember that social media is nothing but a highlight reel of people’s lives that they choose to show and that no one’s life is picture perfect. So don’t do it. Ever.

8. If you use heat products on your hair, you WILL damage it over time. Unfortunately you can’t go back and give your teenage self this piece of advice, but the good news is that it’s never too late to start taking better care of your hair from now on.

9. You will get blisters on your feet the next morning if you wear heels on a night out. Do it anyways.

10. Don’t adapt to the energy in the room, influence it. You ever walk into a room and sense the negative energy so much that it puts you into a bad mood? Yeah. Unfortunately energy is contagious and a negative mindset can be pretty toxic in any work environment. You can’t control other people, but you can control your energy and choose to stay positive in any given situation. Your positive energy will spread to others and your influence will make a difference.

11. Laughter is truly the best medicine. Cheesy I know, but this is one of the smallest joys in life that can instantly change your mood no matter the circumstances.

12. Whatever 95% of people are doing, do the opposite of that. If you want to stand out, don’t be afraid to be different and share your opinion about things that might not be traditional or the norm. Innovators are always thinking outside of the box and believing in yourself and your vision will help you be successful.

13. It’s okay to live a life others don’t understand. Remember that people will judge you no matter what so you might as well do what you want.

14. Do things well but make it fun. As children, we’re often taught that being an adult has to be serious and often associate work with being hard or boring. The truth is that you can make any kind of work fun and meaningful by simply changing your perspective.

15. Adulthood can be lonely but you’re never truly alone. As you get older, your friend group might get smaller, your life might get busier, your interests might change, or you might be single while everyone else is getting married and having babies. Your time is so valuable and it can seem like everyone is busy with their own lives while you’re still waiting for the next big social gathering. Let’s face it, meeting new people in your twenties and beyond is not easy because you’re not automatically put in social situations anymore. So you kinda have to make those opportunities for yourself. Attend networking events, get involved with your community, and spend time doing things you enjoy. You will find your tribe and people who are on the same wavelength as you.

16. Caffeine and anxiety don’t mix. Although caffeine can help you stay awake, especially if you’re a student studying for exams, it can be a big enemy with your body. Add anxiety to the mix and it’s a recipe for disaster.

17. Bring passion into everything you do and remember your why. I personally find it so hard to do anything in life if I’m not passionate about it. Burnout in any profession is real and something I personally experienced. Whenever you feel frustrated or unmotivated, try to remind yourself of your why and remember what you’re working towards.

18. Social media is nothing but a highlight reel. I literally cannot stress this enough.

19. Self-love is a process. Spend time by yourself and make time for self-care. Take yourself on dates, journal, meditate, do whatever you need to do to feel inner peace and happiness. You owe yourself at least one hour of self-care a day. A lot of people are afraid of being alone, but learning to embrace it will help you learn so much about yourself as well as benefit your relationships with others. And always remember you are a whole person on your own, not a half.

20. Travel as often as you can. Travelling when you’re young is often a big passion and aspiration for many people. However, this can be extremely difficult or sometimes not possible in your early twenties, especially if you’re still in school and/or not making money. The good news is that you’re never too old to travel the world and can make it work if you want to do it badly enough (and it can be relatively inexpensive if you do your homework).

21. There is a stigma when it comes to age but don’t let that stop you from living your life. People always say things like “cherish your youth because it’s all downhill from here”. For the longest time I never understood what they meant until now. Age used to mean everything to me, but as I get older I’m realizing it truly is just a number. You can stay in at 20, go out at 30, wear a mini skirt at 40, or go back to school at 50. You should be able to do whatever you want with your life and remember to ignore the societal pressures to do things by a certain age or behave a certain way.

22. Self-awareness is one of the most valuable qualities a person can have. When you know who are, you will be able to know your strengths and weaknesses and be able to own up to it. This is such an important quality that will be beneficial not only in the work environment but with our relationships with others.

23. If you have no expectations, you will never be disappointed. Now, read that again. This is a life lesson I still have not mastered. If you’re a notorious planner like me, you probably spend the majority of your life planning things, often leading to having high expectations in life, which only leads you to feeling inevitably disappointed. The problem is that it’s not easy to not have expectations or just “go with the flow”. But the hard truth is that you can plan your life out till the cows come home but the universe is still going to do whatever it wants. That’s not an easy pill to swallow, but something we can continue to learn and grow from as time goes on.

24. Be patient. With life, with traffic, with people, with your goals. Being patient is definitely not everyone’s strong suit but learn to trust the process and know that everything will work out one way or the other.

25. Don’t get so caught up making a living that you forget to make a life. Remember to do more things that make you feel alive, not just what pays the bills. Yes, money is important, but it’s not everything and you should always make time for things you enjoy other than work. Even the people who love their job should take time for themselves or spend time with their friends and family. At the end of the day, it’s the moments we spend with the people we love that make life worth living.

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Daydreamer and night-thinker Follow Stephanie on Instagram or read more articles from Stephanie on Thought Catalog.

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