Happy birthday to me! I’m 21 today – this has probably been the most anxiously-awaited birthday I’ve had in a while. I’m not usually a huge “birthday” person (I don’t think I’ve had a birthday party since freshman year of high school!), but this year I’m making it a big deal. My parents are taking me out to dinner in Atlanta tonight, and I’m having a huge party with all of my friends on Friday.
With that being said, I thought today’s post would be a fun opportunity to share some of the 21 biggest lessons I’ve learned in my 21 years of life. So without further ado, here we go!
1. Money is better spent on experiences than things.
Ever since studying abroad, I’ve started spending money on trips and excursions far more often than on clothes or other material things. While I’m definitely still an avid shopper, it’s way more rewarding to use that $20 on a trip around the London Eye than on a top.
2. Some people won’t like you whatever you do. That’s okay.
3. You can do anything, not everything.
I have this hanging up above my desk, because I need this reminder a lot. It’s totally possible to do whatever you set your mind to, but spreading yourself too thin is a sure-fire recipe to crash and burn.
4. Learn to laugh at yourself (it’s harder than you’d think).
Taking yourself seriously all the time is boring. But laughing at yourself isn’t exactly easy – it requires you to be comfortable with your flaws and mistakes. Building that level of self-confidence requires a lot of effort.
5. Surround yourself with people who support you and your ambitions.
6. Never doubt the calming effect of a long drive late at night.
10/10 the best way to clear your mind.
7. Catching yourself thinking like an adult is weird.
Being the person who tells you not to get fast food for dinner because you have food at home instead of having your parents tell you that is a weird adjustment.
8. Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.
I’m not great at being super serious throughout an entire post. If you didn’t have this exact sentence drilled into your mind at least 1,000 times throughout elementary/middle/high school, you and I led very different lives.
9. FOMO is almost always only temporary.
There are times you’ll be sitting at home studying while all your friends are out having fun, but nine times out of ten you won’t regret the decision to stay in after the fact.
10. At the same time, saying “yes” when you want to say “no” can have some really fun consequences.
11. Saving money is one of the most important habits you can build.
When you’re not earning a ton of money, the idea of setting money aside can seem ridiculous. But as I’ve learned, when it rains, it pours. I had to buy a new laptop and pay a huge urgent care co-pay all in the same day, and I would’ve been in a real rough place if I didn’t have money set aside for that.
12. Find a passion project.
This is that one thing that makes you really happy and you’re excited to work on every day. For me, it’s this blog.
13. Learn to walk away.
There comes a point where certain things just aren’t worth putting up a fight for. Staying in a situation that’s going nowhere and is causing you nothing but pain is a waste of your time.
14. It’s okay to not be okay.
Life isn’t always bright and sunny. There are seasons of your life where you’ll be sad, you’ll feel lost, or you’ll just not like where you are. It happens to everyone, and if you’re in that season, just know it doesn’t last forever.
15. Let yourself indulge in frivolous things every once in a while.
My overall career path is something in global human rights. Does a fashion/lifestyle blog fit into that path? Not really. But it’s something I love to do, so I make time for it.
16. Find your stress reliever.
Whether that be going for a run, watching Netflix, doing yoga, or taking a bubble bath – find that thing that brings you back to center.
17. There are weeks where your apartment is a mess, your to-do list is a mess, and your whole life is a mess. Don’t expect to have it all together 100% of the time.
18. Social media is NOT real life. Don’t compare someone’s social media life to your real one.
19. Living a perfectly balanced life is a myth.
You’ll always feel like there’s one area of your life that you’re not paying enough attention to. Perfect balance doesn’t exist; you just have to find the closest possible thing.
20. Your parents are right about a lot of things.
I don’t want to talk about the sheer number of things that I argued with my parents about and subsequently discovered that I was wrong about. It’s a lot.
21. Life’s too short to not do the things that make you happy.