10 Things I’ve Learned, And Am Still Learning In My Mid-Twenties

Flickr/kate hiscock
Flickr/kate hiscock

1. You are where you are for a reason, learn to appreciate it now.

With all this social media craze it is so incredibly easy to get lost for hours on Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram just admiring and being jealous of others’ lives and all that they have. What we often forget, however, is that these people are showing their highlight reel- and we are comparing our behind the scenes. Stop it. We don’t know how this person got to where they are. The struggles, fights, low points are something not being shared.

Instead of being envious or dreaming and thinking you’ll never have this- instead turn that motivation around and try to create small goals to accomplish. If it is fitness you’re into seeing (or nice bodies) start a plan and get your own success going! Home decor? No problem. Not everyone can splurge at  Michael’s, try the Dollar Tree. The point is, understand where you are and appreciate it now. Five years from now you don’t know where you’ll be and you may find yourself looking back at “simpler times.”

2. It is okay to let go of friends.

Sometimes, we have relationships with people simply because it’s been ___ years. If you find yourself growing apart though, that is perfectly natural and normal. You don’t owe anyone an explanation nor are you obligated to keeping anyone in your life that you do not want. The truth is as we all grow we have different interests and goals. If someone is dragging you behind or you feel you no longer benefit in a positive way with this relationship, cut it down and move on. You are responsible for your own happiness. It doesn’t mean you are malicious; but you are putting yourself first and you should always put yourself first.

3. Internal growth is often over looked.

During this age, 25-27 years old, a common conversation I find myself having with others is the nagging feeling of not being where they “are supposed to be.” This is the worst way to think. Yes, we see people from our class moving on, getting married, having kids on purpose, getting big jobs, and what ever it may be. But guess what?

Just because you are not mirroring exactly what you think you should be, doesn’t mean you aren’t accomplishing things. Did you move away and learn more about yourself? Have you grown internally and actually know who you are, better than most can say? Have you had different relationships that allowed you to better understand what you want/need in a partner?

I really sadly believe that too many times others who do not know us ask the wrong questions. “What school did you go to, what degree do you have/are you working on, what is your plan?” Like, have we completely forgotten to ask what matters? “What have you learned in life, what makes you happy?” I value people the most when they know who they are, are grounded, and are authentic to their being. That’s what I find matters. Not affiliations with jobs or churches or schools. Not all progress can be shown by what you own or have; some things require others to dig deeper.

4. Dedicating time to a hobby is the best medication.

 

Lately, after putting so much time in blogging and photography I feel like a happier, better balanced person. Sure, chores matter and need to get done, but putting my interests as a priority has helped me in ways that I didn’t realize it would. If you have an interest in something, go after it. Time flies when you’re having fun and that is how your time should be spent. Doing what you love.

5. You won’t always get along with everyone, and no, it may not be you that is the issue.

The toughest thing to be around is someone you dislike or do not get along with and you have no choice but to be around them. They may be a pain in your ass, but we have to remember- the problem is not us. They are fighting their own battle and maybe they’re losing. Just because you wouldn’t treat someone like crap because you are suffering doesn’t mean everyone you come across is the same way.

This is something hard for me to swallow because often I expect to be treated the way that I treat someone. This won’t be the case, just remember that and keep it cordial. Chances are you won’t be around these people too often. Mostly it is coworkers, a friend of a friend’s, distant family, etc. People you won’t encounter for all day every day.

6. Get out of your comfort.

The more I do not know something, the likely I am to stay away. This is so horrible! Always go out and explore. During 2014 I put myself in more uncomfortable situations (for me, not actually uncomfortable things) and pushed myself to try new things- the end result? I was having a blast! I went to One Spark in Downtown Jacksonville for the first time, Art Walk (which is every first Wednesday of the month in Downtown Jacksonville), volunteered at a non-profit Downtown, and a few more that I cannot remember.

At first, yes, I was anxious and scared because I prefer to be around what I know- as most of us do. But it’s so exciting meeting new people and putting myself out there. I plan to do it more in 2015 and I encourage all of you to do it, too. It could be as small as a new coffee shop to try or restaurant. Just go out and make yourself familiar to the things you are not used to.

7. Say yes now- figure it out later.

No one will ever feel “ready” if given the option. It’s so common to hear “I’ll do that when I’m ready” well guess what? There is no time frame for reaching “ready” so, say yes now, and figure it out later. Jump into projects and hobbies and as you get into it you’ll surprise yourself with how well you do. I got a Nikon D3100 for Christmas of 2013. I didn’t use it at all until around October of 2014. Why?

Because I had this whole plan of learning and researching before I dare explore my camera and try to take photos. Well guess what? I picked it up one day in October and began shooting. I haven’t stopped since. And all that learning I was planning on doing- is happening now. While I explore the camera. I’ve had free sessions with friends allowing me to gain experience. From this small portfolio being built I have gotten real customers who are paying me to take family photos. It’s amazing what happens when you try and let go of fear. Everyone’s gotta start somewhere.

8. Giving back to others will give something to you.

When you’re working for a paycheck, it is so easy to be distracted with time and tasks to get done because you’re mainly concerned about bills and what you’ll be making with this check. Some of us even spend the check before getting it. I noticed when I was volunteering, time is spent different. I am only there to serve the people or organization that I have chosen to give back to. My head is clear and focused. I’m not getting money from this, but I am gaining something different. Fulfillment.

9. J Cole is better than I thought.

 

After a friend going on and on about J Cole’s latest album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, I decided to purchase it on iTunes and oh my God…! It’s amazing. His style and lyrics remind me of Lupe Fiasco. The lyrics are meaningful and have a purpose.

A small example from one of my favorite tracks (Love Yourz):

“….Always gon’ be a whip that’s better than the one you got,
Always gon’ be some clothes fresher than the ones you rock
but you ain’t never gon’ be hapy till you love yours
No such thing as a life that’s better than yours…”

10. If you don’t stand up for yourself, don’t expect anyone else too, either.

I know it sounds easier than done “Stand up for yourself!” but it’s actually kind of scary and hard to do at times. When managers don’t treat you right and you don’t want to contact HR to be “that person” or an in-law walking all over you treating you badly and you don’t want to make the issue any larger you just ignore it and brush it off, or when a sibling is mistreating you and you try to keep the peace—You should stand up for yourself.

Contact HR, have a huge talk with your spouse/sibling (depending on which in-law), and who cares if you disrupt the peace in the family if you’re already the only one suffering. You must take charge and take care of yourself because if you don’t then any other person witnessing this will behave as if this is perfectly fine to do towards you, after all, you aren’t saying anything so it’s easily assumed you aren’t bothered by the wrong behavior. TC mark

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