21 Lessons I Learned By The Time I Turned 21

21 Lessons I Learned By The Time I Turned 21

What I learned in order to live my best life.

1. Call your mom!

I cannot stress this enough. My senior year of high school, I couldn't wait to get out of my house and have a dose of freedom. But, the older I get, the more I realized I really do miss home. I call my mom probably 3 times a day if not more. I call her when I need a recipe, when I have adult questions, and even when I just need to vent.

My mom is basically my on-call therapist. When my day is falling apart, I call my mom. When I have the best day and make an A on a project, I call my mom. My mom is there to laugh with me, cry with me, give advice and yell at me and tell me to get my life together.

Without calling my mom, I probably would have burnt my apartment building down due to my horrible cooking skills and failed my education classes and not known how to present a lesson plan. Your mom is the best person in the world, and she is a superhero, so pick up the phone and call her!

2. It is okay to not have your life figured out

This is a lesson that took me a while to learn because the planner I am likes to have everything planned out. You are young, you have time! So, travel the world, take that Maymester, get a minor, and pursue your dreams.

3. It is okay to fail

Now, I am the type A student who hates failure. But as a person, I learned that it is okay to fail. Yes, I may have failed my first math test this semester, but failing that test taught me perseverance and hard work. The harsh reality of seeing that F on my paper made me study even more for the next test, in which my hard work paid off and I made a 94.

4. Volunteer

I have a heart for volunteering and have always loved doing it. At the College of Charleston, I have volunteered with many programs, and all have been life-changing for me. Without my volunteering opportunity at Reading Partners, I would not have gone into the field of early childhood education.

I realized my true passion for children and how to love them and support them no matter what. Volunteer for the right reasons, not just so you can put it on your resume. When you volunteer for the right reason, your life changes and you are truly blessed.

5. Wake up each morning and enjoy a cup of coffee

I am the first to say that I hate mornings. I am a dead zombie when my alarm goes off, and if someone talks to me before I have my coffee, well the end result is not a good one. So, wake up and fix yourself a morning cup of coffee and enjoy it. Crawl back in bed under your fluffy comforter and soft blanket and sip your coffee while waking up.

6. Cherish friendships

My time at the College of Charleston did not start off on the right foot. I struggled my freshman year making friends, and my sophomore year, I struggled to cope with the fact that I had had 3 roommates. I look back and thought of my freshman and sophomore year in college as a failure.

Starting my junior year, I finally found my best friends. I learned that it is perfectly okay to not have ten thousand friends. I value friendship on the quality of the relationship, not the quantity. It took me three years to find friends who love me for me and will answer stupid texts and pick up the phone at 2 AM when I need someone to talk to.

7. Don't go out every weekend, rather take time for yourself

After three years of college, I finally realized that college is not about being the life of the party. I also realized that I am truly a 40-year-old woman that is stuck in a 21-year-old body. It is perfectly fine to stay in for the night, light some candles, paint your nails, and watch How to Lose A Guy in Ten Days. Of course, for me, I like to have a glass of Riesling and eat my favorite candy, peanut m&m’s.

8. Share your struggles and challenges with the people you trust

Starting in high school and throughout college, I have dealt with terrible anxiety. It wasn't until my sophomore year at the College of Charleston that I saw a doctor about my anxiety. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. There have been times when I felt completely lonely and no one understands what I am going through.

Not until I opened up and shared my struggles with anxiety did I really feel loved by other people. I realized by sharing my struggles with anxiety did not make me weaker, it made me stronger. Anxiety is something that is hard for me to control, but having people in my life that come alongside me and support me has helped me control some aspects of anxiety.

9. Travel

I am the type of person who hates airplanes and going anywhere but home is out of my comfort zone. However, I have taken two mission trips, one to Mexico and one to Haiti. For some odd bizarre reason, I felt God calling me to go and I couldn't ignore him. My trip to Mexico taught me the lesson of love and forever changed my life.

During the summer of sophomore year in college, I went on a mission trip to Haiti. I am not going to lie—this mission trip was mentally and physically exhausting, but boy was it oh so rewarding. I was immersed in a culture unlike my own and witnessed that life is not about having a bunch of riches and money. It is about enjoying the simple things and being grateful for those while abiding in Christ, for he is our provider.

10. Get plenty of sleep

I am a strong believer in naps and getting into bed by 10 PM. Yes, so many people call me a grandma for going to bed so early. Seriously, getting eight hours of sleep is so important! Don't pull all-nighters studying, rather get some shut-eye so you are ready to take on the day.

11. Read all sorts of books

Reading is the best thing to do on a sunny day at the beach or cold fall day while snuggled up in a blanket. We learn so much from reading, and often times we get lost in the words of others finding ourselves.

12. Try new things!

Life is simply boring if you don't try new things! I recently tried taking yoga over the summer and it was totally worth it. Be open to trying new things, and you never know; you may find a hobby! So try a cooking class, try a yoga class, or take a woodworking class. Whatever it is, try something new!

13. Get a job

This lesson is a tough one to learn, but a valuable one. I recently started babysitting a family in January, and I have learned so much. It is about relationships. I learn so much about the children that I babysit. I am inspired by their imagination and love for life. Although some jobs may not be as fun as mine, make the best of the situation!

14. Get dressed up every now and then

It feels so good to get dressed up in a cute outfit and go out! Put on your booties, some mascara, and get that extra boost of confidence!

15. Stop comparing yourself to others

This is something that I am still struggling with. When we compare ourselves to others, we lose confidence in ourselves. We set ourselves up on a pedestal that will never be achievable. When you stop comparing yourself to others, you learn more about yourself and what makes you, you.

16. Love yourself

I have struggled with so many insecurities in my life, that often times it is hard to love myself for who I am. Find ways to love yourself. It may be as simple as saying “I got this” or “You look amazing” in the mirror each morning. When we love ourselves, we can begin to love others and love life!

17. Journal

My dad taught me how important it is to journal. It may be as simple as writing down your thoughts of the day or your high’s and low’s, but journaling is so important. I like to use my journal to write prayers and what is on my mind.

When I have written down my thoughts, I can go back and look through to see how much I have changed as a person. Journaling can be a stress reliever as well, a place where we can write all our thoughts down and let it out.

18. Wake up to see the sunrise

I am not an early bird whatsoever but something is so special about seeing a sunrise in the wee hours of the morning. I have had the opportunity to see the sunrise over the Grand Canyon and that was a masterpiece of nature. Take a moment to enjoy nature and start your day off right.

19. Go for a walk

Times when I am stressed or just want to talk, I like to go for a walk with my dogs and my parents. I love walking on a cold, crisp fall morning around my neighborhood. Escape your phone or the drama that is in your life and go for a walk outside. It is totally worth it.

20. Write letters

One thing that I love receiving is mail. My grandma always goes out of her way to send me mail with a sweet card and a little gift inside. It truly makes my day knowing that someone is thinking about me. Her letters always come at the right time. I may not be the best at mailing letters, but take some time out of your day to write to someone special in your life. You never know how much it means to them.

21. Live!

Live your best life. Stop waiting for the weekend! Buy the shoes that you've been eyeing in the window of your favorite store. Eat ice cream for breakfast! Whatever you do, find a life that you want to live and make it your story!

Cover Image Credit: Catherine Parker

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1. “Be young, be dope, be proud.” - Lana Del Rey, "American"

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3. “Darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream.” - Taylor Swift, "Blank Space"

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7. “If I was you, I'd wanna be me too.” - Meghan Trainor, "Me Too"

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9. “I swear this life is like the sweetest thing I’ve ever known.” - Drake, "Over"

10. “I hope you never lose your sense of wonder.” - Lee Ann Womack, "I Hope You Dance"

11. “But if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing’s changed at all? - Bastille, "Pompeii"

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13. “You can’t choose what stays and what fades away.” - Florence + The Machine, "No Light, No Light"

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15. “She’s a good girl, loves her mama. Loves Jesus, and America too.” - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, "Free Fallin’"

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17. “Say you’ll remember me.” - Taylor Swift, "Wildest Dreams"

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22. “You are the piece of me I wish I didn’t need.” Zedd feat. The Foxes, "Clarity"

23. “Her mind is Tiffany twisted, she’s got the Mercedes bends.” - The Eagles, "Hotel California"

24. “Life imitates art.” - Lana Del Rey, "Gods And Monsters"

25. “Nobody said it was easy, no one said it would be this hard.” - Coldplay, "The Scientist"

26. “You’re gonna keep my soul, it was yours to have long ago.” - State Radio, "Keepsake"

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Cover Image Credit: https://pixabay.com

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3 Reasons To Truly Live Life Every Day

There is so much to see and experience, plus it's fun.

1. The world is so beautiful

I think sometimes we forget that time isn’t limitless. We forget that the days are going by and we are missing things because we think there will always be another day to see them. We often don’t take the time to really take in just how beautiful our world is and what it has to offer. Even on its rainy and gloomy days, it is beautiful. Even when there is devastation or tragedy, something beautiful will come from it. We spend so much time focusing on what we want to do and looking at pictures of all the places we would love to go to. Let’s start exploring the places we want to go and doing the things we want to do because it is so much more striking when you see it in person.

2. Someone has to be the light

In a time where darkness seems to be the only thing we see nowadays, we need the lights. We live in a world where going to school or going to a concert have become scary places instead of joyous places. And while that does make us afraid and on edge, we have to push through and realize that if we don’t continue to live our lives, the darkness will take over. We have to come together and take control of our lives and the people around us. It is on us to live every day in hope and gratitude rather than fear. Let’s be the lights in the dark days and let’s continue to make the good days outshine the bad.

3. Because there’s no other way to truly live

I think the presence of social media has deterred many people from living the life they dream about because the photos and videos make it seem so unrealistic. We go through life comparing ourselves to the pictures and the personas so many of these people put on. It makes us not want to live our lives because we think it can never compare to those that “have more” than we do. One thing no one can have more of than you is the will to do and the will do see all that you want. Everyone is entitled to live the life they choose and if we don’t start actually living it, the days will continue to go by and things will continue to happen because until we take control of our lives, someone or something else will. Let’s go out there and make the world ours. After all, it doesn’t belong to one, single person anyway.

Let’s take the power we have today and make it change the tomorrows. No one can live our lives for us and no one can make us do the things we want to do. It’s on us, and isn’t that the most special thing?

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did.” — Mark Twain
Cover Image Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/oyHohgzK4XM

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