My 23rd birthday was this past weekend, so I thought I’d compile and share 23 of the most important lessons I’ve learned throughout the years. 22 was a limbo year for me – figuring things out and putting all the little pieces together to get me to the next chapter of my life. 23 is about to be the complete opposite; this is going to be a whirlwind year for me where I will constantly be challenged and forced to keep moving, growing, and learning. I hope these tidbits of wisdom I’ve gathered will help me ride the waves more smoothly.
1. As important as it is to be kind and take care of others, it’s just as important to do the same for yourself. Give yourself what you need and don’t be afraid to put yourself first every once in a while. You’re all you actually have at the end of the day and you are worthy of being taken care of too.
2. Take walks by yourself. Eat meals by yourself. Travel by yourself. I promise, it doesn’t make you a loser. Learn the value of your own company and enjoy it! It’s okay to be alone.
3. You know a lot more than you think you do. And if you don’t, you’ll learn.
4. Not all people will be “your people,” and that’s okay! So don’t feel like you have to force it. It doesn’t mean you’re incapable of making friends. It’s okay to be a little choosy about who you surround yourself with – nothing compares to really good company. Quality over quantity.
5. Letting your life be led by fear is a true waste of time.
6. Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. The amount of awkward moments you’ll encounter throughout your life is astounding, and eventually you learn that those embarrassing run-ins mean nothing. Being human is just awkward sometimes, you’ve just gotta get used to it.
7. Stop feeling like you always have to explain yourself and apologize to others. You don’t.
8. No matter how much you want something or work to make it happen, certain things are just not meant to be. The sooner you come to terms with that, the more peace you will find.
9. Be patient with yourself. Be patient with others. Be patient with the universe. Things take time, and everything and everyone are constantly works in progress.
10. If you’re nervous, or hesitant, or worried about what others will think about you doing something, sincerely ask yourself “Why not?” If the answer’s stupid, just do it, and stop getting in your own way.
11. Put more of your energy and heart into the people that care about you, and don’t be afraid to let go of those who don’t.
12. It may take you a long, long time to feel like you’re doing what you’re really supposed to be doing. And that’s okay! Keep reevaluating what’s important to you, stay curious, be patient, and be proactive.
13. Missing something doesn’t mean you’re not enjoying or appreciating what you currently have.
14. Stop focusing on what you think you’re “supposed” to do, and simply lean into the things that make you happy. These are the things that will guide you to where you want and need to be.
15. No one is judging you as hard as you’re judging yourself. Odds are, they’re just worrying about the same things as you.
16. There is real, real suffering in this world. Be grateful in the moments where life is treating you well.
17. Your gut is right 99% of the time. When you just can’t make a decision, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and listen to the first thing your gut says.
18. It is okay to ask for help. It is okay to admit that your plate is fuller than you can manage. This does not make you weak.
19. Be open to ways of life that are different from yours. You are one teeny, tiny speck in a huge world. Remember that when you need perspective, and try not to get too lost in your own chaos.
20. Your family (given or chosen) is the most important thing in this life. They are the ones that will carry you in the toughest times, and celebrate your best times. Cherish them.
21. See as much of this world as you possibly can. It’ll change your life.
22. Seize and maximize what’s in your control, and let what’s out of your control simply fall away. You can only do what is within your reach.
23. Don’t put off the things that matter to you. It’s cliché when they say you could die tomorrow, but it’s just the plain truth. The present is a gift, so take advantage.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?