Originally, I was going to put 24 things, but then you and I would be here all day, reading my rambles and personal findings or you getting bored halfway through and move onto something else. So, I summed it up and trimmed it down to 14–just trying to keep it peachy keen, here. I’m also working on that not being so wordy thing, but that’s quite the process for me. (Someday, someday!)
I recently had a birthday and turned a quarter of a century old. Oomph. Halfway to 30, but I can still call myself a 20-something, so that’s alright (I CAN BE TRENDY STILL! YAY!). I think that as we grow up, we learn lessons but often times we find ourselves in situations where we are revisiting the lesson. These are a majority of the lessons that I’ve actually learned–and relearned–but have FINALLY put into practice. Not getting my point? It’s okay, most don’t. When I say putting a lesson learned into practice (finally), it’s kind of like this: you know that if you eat that brownie and drink most of the wine, you’re going to feel shitty the next day. But you do it anyway because in that moment, you truly think you want to. Essentially, these are 14 lessons that I’ve already learned and was aware of but now am finally putting into practice because it’s good for me both long and short term, not necessarily because I want to. (As for the brownies, I just try to avoid those altogether, but some days, you just really want a damn brownie. And that’s okay. Just make sure it’s not everyday. And also make sure it’s a good brownie, because if you’re going to have one, might as well make it worth your while!)
- Accepting adulthood (i.e. finding your ideal career, finances, etc.) is hard. You have bills to pay. Your parents will not always be there to support you when times are rough. You have to plan ahead, whether you like it or not, so that you can get yourself to be where you want to be and not stay where you’re currently at if you’re unhappy.
- Stress does not aid you in finding or creating solutions when problems arise. If anything, it only makes matters worse. As Natalie Goldberg perfectly put it, “Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency.” Not every problem that arises is a life or death situation. You will deal and you will survive while continuing to kick ass like you always do.
- Your friends and family are important. They enrich your life with love and acceptance, feelings that don’t come by easily. You will always have errands to run, chores to do, litter boxes to clean (in my case at least), but when you’re old and grey (or in my case, when I go grey, I probably will just dye my hair some random color – like purple. Why not?), you’re not going to be bragging to your bingo night partners over tea and be all like, “oh god, I am so glad that my focus in life was solely on work and/or school. I certainly don’t mind that I missed out on spending time with my family and friends. Amusement parks, late night laughs, holidays, festivals, movie nights, impromptu accordion sessions? Who cares? Blah!” Thing is, if you continue to cancel plans or fail to put forth some effort into your relationships, you may not have any friends or family for very long. You can buy Netflix, but you can’t buy relationships that make your life worth living. Okay, a slightly dramatic comparison, but you catch my drift.
- You will remain where you are currently at if you continue to make the same decisions. This may sound obvious, but old habits, whether they’re related to health and wellness, work, or whatever, die hard. It took a lot of analyzing of myself to realize that I’d continue to be unhappy if I kept doing the same shit everyday. As Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity [is] doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Apparently working out 5-6 days a week but being a mild alcoholic in my late teens/early 20’s was not going to make me feel better mentally nor aid me in my physical health endeavours. Again, this seems obvious, but acknowledging your shortcomings is hard. Making change and sticking to the changes is even harder.
- Noting that… Every decision you make will pave the road to your future. EACH AND EVERY ONE. I.e., buying a bag of organic produce versus shit-infested produce. Each time I buy organic, this is an additional expense. That extra money spent on organic produce, over time, could have been extra money in my savings account.
- Each decision you make should benefit you in some way (but not at the expense of others). So, for the last one, yes, I buy organic produce 95% of the time I’d say. Sure, this means less money for me, but it also means that my innards are thankful. My environmental studies instructor once told me that every dollar is a vote. I can vote for Monsanto or my local farmers. Voting local is something I can feel good about and proud of.
- Making mistakes is okay. We are human, therefore imperfect. So, even though I try my best to vote for my local farmers, I acknowledge that it’s not always feasible. And that’s okay, too.
- You need to find contentment in solitude. Someday, I would like to have someone to call my “significant other”, but if my life continues on with phases of being single, in a relationship, uneasy breakups, awkward dates, and single again, I can now say to myself that being single is okay. I am not looking for my “other half”. I do not need someone to complete me; I feel whole on my own. (Having someone would be nice, but I can live a successful and happy life on my own as well is what I’m getting at.)
- Not all potential partners who break it off with you or vice versa are bad people. Everyone is at different stages in their lives and have had different experiences. Sometimes we have shitty relationships to teach us to appreciate good relationships. Sometimes good relationships come to an unanticipated end so that you can cherish the good moments in a relationship and learn how to cope when the waves are crashing. It’s all about perspective.
- The world is not out to get you. There are a variety of factors in addition to your decisions that have resulted in what’s going on with you at this very minute, this very moment. Everything from a cop’s clever hiding spot (!!!!) to the numeric digits displayed in your online banking account. Life happens whether you’re ready for it or not. Sometimes life just happens to surprise us more so when we’re not prepared. That doesn’t mean the universe is conspiring against you. I promise.
- Speaking of online banking… online banking is not a budget. You need to create a real, tangible budget. This is still a work in progress for me, but it’s getting better.
- You don’t have to wear makeup or lose more weight to feel beautiful. Beauty really is something you feel on the inside. (I don’t care if this sounds like a Women’s Network or Lifetime flick. It’s hard to consider yourself beautiful with all of the taboo around people who have imperfections [i.e. acne, weight struggles, physical deformities, etc.] AND the expectations that clever media and marketing strategies have set up. You’re beautiful, inside and out. Keep that shit up, girl! (And boy. You’re beautiful, too!)
- Everything isn’t as bad as it seems. Stress can be a monster if you let it. (Refer to #2 and #10.)
- Exercise and being out in nature are better forms of therapy (and cheaper) than brownies and Netflix. (I’m noticing an unintentional pattern here with the brownie and Netflix references…) Your body actually needs a certain amount of fresh air everyday to help function. I’m sorry that I can’t recall the source off the top of my head, but if you go to Dr. Google, I’m sure you’ll find some citations confirming this. Anyway – go on that run outside. Walk the dog. Lay out in the sun. You deserve to feel good.
All in all, I know very well that I don’t have everything figured out yet and I don’t think I ever truly will have everything all figured out. And age is just a number. It’s not like on the morning of my 25th birthday I realized all of these things. It took time, lots and lots of time. It took going through shitty situations. Coping with problems. Talking to friends and family. Constructive criticism. Self-affirmations. And so on.
I’ve got a long way to go and a lot more to learn, but I’ll continue to educate myself and more importantly continue to rock this life while I’m still here.