24 Things I've Learned in 24 Years

It's no secret that birthdays get different as you get older. 
Not worse, just different. Rather than feeling the same excitement and joy I felt when I was younger, this birthday brought a sense of immense gratitude. I was reminded of how blessed I am and was able to reflect on a lot of the lessons I've learned throughout my brief 24 years. Each day is an opportunity to learn something new about yourself and the world around you. Just want to share a little bit of my journey with you guys.

1. Real, true, good friends are more valuable than any currency this world has to offer. 
Friends who will go out of their way to help you out and stay in touch with you. Friends who will celebrate you victories and mourn your failures. Friends who would wake up at 2 AM to answer your call. If you've got them, hold on to them so tight. Bonus: Knowing your sisters are this type of friend is the best feeling in the world.

2. Pump a full tank of gas. Every. Time. 
Otherwise, you'll wake up on a Tuesday and realize your gas light has been on for two days, and you'll be late for work because you had to stop for gas. Don't put in $10 at a time. Just fill it up. Future you will be grateful!

3. We tend to judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions. 
Don't fall into this trap of a double standard. Give grace because you have been shown grace.

4. My parents are pretty cool.
The older I get, the more true this becomes. I think it's because I've been able to relate to them more as I get older. I understand them, and I know where they've been. Some of my favorite weekends now are when I get to go home and visit my parents.

5. Marry someone who makes you feel safe. 
Life is chaotic and messy and unpredictable. You need a life partner who you know will be capable of weathering any storm that comes your way. I love knowing that no matter what happens, our relationship is constant and unwavering.

6. Be the person who solves a problem rather than the person who complains about it. 
This is something that will get you noticed in a positive way at work, school, or simply among friends and family. It's also just a great mindset to live in. Always look for the solution!

7. Read. A lot. 
It really does make you smarter!

8. Every failure is a lesson to be learned, even if it doesn't feel that way at the time. 
For every promotion I didn't get, goal I didn't reach, or plan that did not go exactly as I envisioned - God was always trying to teach me something. Sometimes it takes a while to realize what that lesson is, but give it time. One day you'll probably understand.

9. "People will forget what you said; people will forget what you did; but people will always remember how you made them feel." Maya Angelou. 
Treat people well. That's all I have to say about that.

10. Speak up for yourself. 
If you don't, probably no one will. Be confident in who you are, and be assertive when it is necessary.

11. The success of others does not diminish your own. 
Work hard; stay humble, and don't play the comparison game. There is enough success to go around.

12. Bloom where you are planted. 
If you find yourself in a place or circumstance that you never planned for, trust that God has brought you to this place for a reason. Be willing to let Him use you exactly where you are. "And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14

13. Buy the shoes. 
Need I say more?

14. The most important gift you can give someone is your attention. 
Be present with those around you. Your significant other, your friends, your kids - they need to know that they matter.

15. Friendships change, and that's okay. 
People grow; circumstances change; geography gets in the way. Life comes in seasons, and often times life makes it impossible for some friends to make it to the next season with you. That's how life works, and it's okay. The best friends are the ones who will pick up right where you left off when you meet again.

16. Take pictures. Take lots of pictures. 
Because one night you'll be scrolling through old Facebook pictures, and you'll find photos from a surprise birthday party your friends threw for you sophomore year of college. And you’ll cry a little bit at the sweetness of the memory. 

17. In general, there are three sides to every story. 
The side of the respective parties involved, and the truth. There may be no malice involved, but keep in mind, every story is told from one person's perspective.

18. For goodness sake, put on some sunscreen. Take it from someone with fair skin who tried desperately for many years to get a tan during the summer. Just embrace your lighter skin tone without causing freckling and premature aging. Or just find a great self-tanner. Trust me on this.

19. The grass is greener where you water it. 
The parts of your life that hold most of your time, effort, and attention are the parts of your life that will  flourish. Consider this when it comes to your relationships with others and your own personal goals.

20. Get your nails done, and be on time. 
For an interview, meeting, date, etc. I think it's always good taste to "put your best foot forward." Little things make all the difference, especially when it comes to first impressions!

21. "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Eleanor Roosevelt. 
Know your worth. Know who you are and Who you belong to.

22. It's not about you. 
I could write a whole blog post about this, but this is a truth in so many aspects.The gist is this: don't be so self-centered.

23. Sometimes we make plans, and then God completely wrecks those plans. And you know what? That's a good thing. 
At some point I had to accept that God's plan for my life is infinitely better than the plans I make for myself. "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you, not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11.

24. Marry your best friend. 
The person who you can have deep, vulnerable conversations with. But also the person who can make you laugh harder than anyone else. The person you want to go on a six hour road trip with. The person who is your biggest cheerleader in whatever you do. The person who understands you better than anyone else. I'm no expert on this, but I'd say having your husband double as your best friend is the way to go.

Bonus:
25. I still have so much to learn.
Don't we all?

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