22 was a great year for me. So since I can no longer sing Taylor Swift’s wonderful song 22, I decided to make a list of 23 things I’ve learned over my past 23 years (in no particular order). It’s a little long, so I’ll just jump right into it!
1. Sleep is important
When I was in high school and college, I took pride on how little sleep I could run on (seriously though, I don’t know how I did it). Eventually my body gave in and broke down. I need sleep. I like sleep. That’s okay. Actually, it’s healthy.
2. Have a hobby
Don’t just go to work or school and come home to eat and watch tv (although Netflix is pretty great). It’s important to have your own interests and hobbies. Whether it’s reading, painting, soccer, yoga, or learning a language, passions outside of your “day job” or normal responsibilities keep your life interesting and exciting.
3. Live in the present
It can be easy to get caught up dwelling on the past or dreaming about the future. Sometimes I forget to live and enjoy the present. While there is time to reflect on the past and to plan for the future, appreciating the present moment should never be taken for granted.
4. Do things by yourself
Be independent! You don’t always need to rely on friends or on a boyfriend to go do things with. Go to that park you’ve been wanting to go to by yourself. Go to the movies by yourself. Heck, go on a whole trip by yourself! Don’t wait around for others.
5. Keep a budget
Yes, it’s boring. But since making and keeping a budget, I’ve been able to take control of my finances. It seems counter-intuitive, but knowing where all of my money is has allowed me more freedom (trips to Iceland and Portugal are two examples!).
6. Learn what relationships to let go off
Once you are out of high school or college, friendships become much more intentional (you are no longer stuck in class together for one thing!). Focus on the friendships that are helpful and build you up. Let go of toxic relationships (whether romantic or otherwise), knowing it’s okay to move on.
7. Travel often
Don’t stay still too long, especially while you are young and have the flexibility. Travel before you are tied down with all those adult responsibilities. Take advantage of it!
8. Read a book
Or several books. Seriously though, reading is great for you. You can learn new things, see different perspectives, get creative ideas, and it’s way better than wasting all that time you do on Facebook and Snapchat.
9. Invest in friendships
Your early 20s is a great time to invest in deep friendships. Don’t get caught in the trap of feeling like you always have to have a boyfriend or significant other (not that there is anything wrong if you do). Meet new people and enjoy friendship, both old and new.
10. Find your go-to drink
It’s always good to have a fall back — whether you are going out with friends, family, or coworkers. My go-to is a Blue Moon or Yuengling. At Starbucks, it’s a mint tea 😉
11. Forgive (even when you don’t think people deserve it)
Everyone has had unfair things done to them. But you aren’t doing anyone a service by holding onto bitter feelings — especially not yourself. Forgiveness doesn’t depend on other people deserving it. It relies on your heart and willingness to give it.
12. Treat yo’ self
Take care of you! If you’ve had a hard day (or week) at work, allow yourself something you maybe don’t normally to cheer yourself up (my preference is ice cream or wine or both). Carve out time in your schedule for “me” time, whether it’s going to a yoga class, getting a massage, or just spending the night in reading a book or watching Netflix.
13. Life comes in seasons
You’ll have some seasons that require more work and others that can incorporate more play. If you are working on a goal, such as writing a book or learning a new skill, you might have to drop other priorities for that season. Realizing that it’s the natural flow of life makes it easier to drop things and then come back to them in the next season.
14. Be someone you’d want to date
Don’t just wait around for the perfect person to come to you. Be that perfect person (I mean, not that any of us will ever be perfect… but you know what I mean).
15. Be active physically
If for nothing else, PokemonGo is great for getting people outside and moving around. It’s good for you, people! Go for a run or do yoga. Sometimes I have to drag myself to soccer or to a yoga class (yes, even me as the yoga teacher doesn’t always want to go to yoga), but I rarely (if ever) regret going afterwards.
16. Set goals
“If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” – some famous person. It’s true though! Writing a goal down and creating an actionable plan makes it much more likely you will succeed. And don’t be afraid to dream big.
17. Unhappiness often comes from unmet expectations
The more you are tied to a specific outcome or way of doing things, the more disappointed you’ll be if/when it doesn’t work out that way. It’s great to look forward to things, but don’t let your happiness be tied to the outcome. Attitude is everything.
18. Drink lots of water
Hydration really is important. Carry a water bottle around with you and/or use a fancy app to help you keep track of how much water you are drinking.
19. Don’t be afraid to love
Especially if you’ve had your heart broken in the past, it can be hard to let people in again. It’s a lot easier to build the walls than it is to tear them down. But don’t let that dissuade you from loving again.
20. You are a sum of your habits
It’s what you do every day that matters and makes you who you are.
21. Face your fears to overcome them
The only way you will conquer your fears is to face them. If you continually avoid doing something just because it scares you, the fear will just become bigger. The more often you face your fears, the smaller and less controlling they may become.
22. Give back to your community
It’s easy to stay inside your own little bubble. But getting out into your own community can open up your perspective and broaden your world view. Find something you are passionate about and then ways you can share back that passion and give back.
23. Be unapologetically you.
You are worth it. Be your own person. You aren’t made to be like everyone else. That’s what makes life so wonderful.
Thanks to Janine Truppay Photography for the photos!