You know, I’ve learned a lot in my last 21 years of life. Thinking back on what I’ve learned, I have come to the realization that it’s actually extremely hard to put only 21 life lessons into this post. But now that I'm officially a legal woman (to drink all the wine in the world that is), I've had some time—and I mean a lot of time—to reflect on what I've learned over the years.
It’s uncanny really, how much I’ve experienced life in my short time. I’ve traveled more than I could’ve ever imagined, built friendships that will last a lifetime, loved and lost, enjoyed endless time with family that I'll be able continue to enjoy, met people who have quite literally have changed my perspective on things and timing, been to countless numbers of concerts that were each a trip on their own, and so so SO much more.
As humans, we get to choose how our life plays out: what goes on in it, what path we follow, and what story we are creating. And to me, that’s one of the most beautiful things this life has given us. But with that comes a lot of other things we learn along the way that teach and show us just exactly how we want our life to play out. And to each his own, but here are 21 things I learned by turning 21.
1. Be more honest with people. Even if it’s hard or scary, speak up. If it's how you feel, if it’s something really difficult to talk about, d i s c u s s it. The feeling of relief you get when you finally stop sugar coating things is so worth it. Appreciate the opportunities you have to be vocal about your feelings, whether it's good or bad. Honesty gets you way further in life than little white lies.
2. Travel! It's so good for the mind and soul. And I'm not just saying this because I'm a travel guru, but maybe I have learned this because I am a travel guru. There's so much more to life outside of where you're from. And if you have the stamina and will, travel far and travel wide. I road-tripped to California with three friends last year and I can tell you with a full heart it's one experience I'll never ever take for granted and will cherish forever. Traveling is such an important part of life to me and if you just open your eyes, it can be to you too.
3. Move on from things. A hard one to swallow, I know. But it's so important to move on from things in the past that you just simply cannot waste a breath or thought over.
4. Not everyone is going to like you and that is 100% a-okay. This is something every person battles in their own way. With blogging and using social media on the daily (for me at least), it's extremely hard to push away the negativity people may send my way. But I've learned if you just stop and appreciate the people that do like you and quit worrying about those that don't, you'll feel much better and will learn to care less.
5. YOU are your own person, and do not let anyone take that away from you. We fall so deep into thinking that other people can decide what's best for us, and for years we cater to that because well...we're not technically adults until we're 18. It's important to understand that as a person, we know what is best for ourselves and we are capable of making decisions for ourselves. I'm continuing to work on this as I grow and I know it's what makes me unique.
6. Absolutely everything happens for a reason. No questions asked.
7. Sometimes you just need to throw on some Taylor Swift and call it a day. Pre-order Lover here.
8. Someone else's opinion of you does not define you. This plays a little into the "not everyone is going to like you," but stressing over what people think of you or what they have to say about you kills the eagerness and willpower within your heart and soul. I've come to learn that what people think of me is just that: what they think of me. If they care to express it or not, that's fine; but I know who I am and I know what defines me, and it most definitely is not other peoples thoughts.
9. Go! To! Concerts! I cannot stress this enough. Some of my best moments and memories have been at concerts. I could live at a concert if that was a thing. They're quite literally magical and music is so much better live compared to the CD version.
10. You can never have too many clothes. (Though my mom and sister and friends would probably agree otherwise).
11. It's okay to say no. I continue to still remind myself this daily and am undeniably working at accepting this every single day. It took me such a long time to realize that it's okay to say no and that no means no. And this goes for anything and everything. If someone doesn't accept your no or understand why you're saying no, you don't need to surround yourself with them.
12. Cooking is so much fun. It really is worth the meal prep and clean up.
13. If you want something, go for it. There is absolutely nothing in this world stopping you and I promise you that. It's really hard at first to grasp onto this, but once you realize that you really can just go for it, happiness and success follow.
14. Take so many pictures. I'm so glad that I always have photos to look back on because I take the time to stop and take a photo during a specific moment. Looking back on memories is so nostalgic but so effortlessly beautiful.
15. Do things on time. I’m still working on this as I grow, but it’s far better to do things on time/ahead of time than to wait till the last minute to complete it. (And please note, I am still VERY MUCH SO working on this as I went and renewed my license only yesterday after I hunted down a DMV open on Saturday's. aka a day before my birthday)
16. If something doesn’t feel right, it almost always isn’t right. Trust your gut instinct. There's so many times I've been with my best friend and we think "this isn't right" or "something weird is going to happen" and then it does. Go with your gut. She knows the word.
17. Take care of yourself. Do face masks, use moisturizer. Deep condition your hair. Treat yourself every once in a while. Self-love is so important if you want to live a 100% healthy 'you' life.
18. On the above note, learn to do things by yourself. Like going to lunch, going to the movies, going on walks. Being an independent person is something I really pride in and it's honestly sometimes therapeutic being able to do things alone at your own speed and with the hands of another being. Don't get me wrong, I love to do lunch, movies, shopping, walks, etc. with people...but it's also nice to know that if I'm not having a "people" day, I'm proud enough to do those things alone.
19. It’s okay to fail, just look at it as a trial run. We all fail at some point in our life. Failing is something that can be improved. And know that failing doesn’t mean you’re not worthy, strong, hard-working enough. Know that failing means you’re worthy, strong, hard-working, resilient, keen, knowledge, fast, so much more. It just means it wasn’t your time yet to succeed, and it will come. It always does
20. Make the most out of everything. Learn to make boring/bland situations f u n! It’s always up to you to make something fun and you’ll have such better moments and memories if you try your best to make it so.
21. You cannot change the outcome of something just because it didn’t go the way you wanted it to. I left this one for last because I think this is the biggest life lesson I still continue to struggle with but work on. I haven't fully conquered this one like I have the others. It's the biggest pill to swallow, but when I remember that everything happens for a reason, I try and think this: if the outcome of this certain situation didn't go as I'd hoped or wanted, it's because something bigger and better is coming. It happened for a reason and so now it's time to wait it out and enjoy life as I do so.
I could share so much more than just these 21 things. But in retrospect, these are the most important to me in this moment in time. My hope is that you are able to take away something from what I have to share, because God only knows how much others have moved me and I hope this moves you in some way too.
Have a glass of rosé or a mojito for me today!