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.
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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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44 Lyrics For When You Need An Instagram Caption

Your caption is just as important as the filter.
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Choosing the caption for your Instagram can be almost as challenging as deciding on a filter. So, if you’re ready to post that Insta, but don’t know what to say, here are 44 lyrics for when you need an Instagram caption.

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

2. “I can’t really see another squad tryna cross us.” - Drake, "No Tellin’"

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

4. “I’m throwin' shade like it’s sunny.” - Nicki Minaj, "Want Some More"

5. “I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn't exist.” - Sia, "Chandelier"

6. “Find me where the wild things are.” - Alessia Cara, "Wild Things"

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

8. “Sweet like candy to my soul, sweet you rock and sweet you roll.” - Dave Matthews Band, "Crash Into Me"

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"

12. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” - John Lennon, "Imagine"

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

14. “She acts like summer and walks like rain.” - Train, "Drops of Jupiter

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

16. “Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones.” - Coldplay, "Fix You"

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

18. I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart.” - Sia, "Elastic Heart"

19. “Give me the beat boys and free my soul.” - Uncle Kracker, "Drift Away"

20. “One of these days the clocks will stop, and time won’t mean a thing.” - Foo Fighters, "These Days"

21. “Sunshine mixed with a little hurricane.” - Brad Paisley, Perfect Storm

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"

27. “Celebrate we will ‘cause life is short but sweet for certain.” - Dave Matthews Band, "Two Step"

28. “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” - Florence + The Machine, "Shake it Out"

29. “There are many things I’d like to say to you but I don’t know how.” - Oasis, "Wonderwall"

30. “You say you want a revolution, well you know we all wanna change the world.” - The Beatles, "Revolution"

31. “God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy.” Billy Currington, "People Are Crazy"

32. “Well my heart is gold, and my hands are cold.” - Halsey, "Gasoline"

33. “I don’t want to be heard, I want to be listened to.” - Twenty One Pilots, "Forest"

34. “Where you invest your love, you invest your life.” - Mumford and Sons, "Awake My Soul"

35. “I think I need a sunrise, I’m tired of the sunset.” - Augustana, "Boston"

36. “All of these lines across my face tell you the story of who I am.” - Brandi Carlile, "The Story"

37. ‘Ready or not, here I come. Where you at? The night is young.” - Bridgit Mendler, "Ready or Not"

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40. “Know yourself, know your worth.” - Drake, "0 to 100"

41. “I’m little but I’m coming for the crown.” - Lorde, "Still Sane"

42. “Didn’t they tell you I was a savage?” - Rihanna, "Needed Me"

43. “Hands in the air like we don’t care.” - Miley Cyrus, "We Can’t Stop"

44. “I’ma keep running because a winner don’t quit on themselves.” - Beyonce, "Freedom"

Cover Image Credit: https://pixabay.com

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Words Are Not Just Words

They can cut like a knife and bring unwanted strife
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It's an argument that seems to be going on continually. Some claim that words are just words and no matter what is said, it shouldn't be offensive because it's just words. Others argue behind the power of words and the impact they can have on the lives around them. In a way, both sides are true, but I tend to lean more towards the side that claims that words cannot be just words.

If words were just words, tell me why racial slurs and catcalling are offensive.

If words were just words, tell me how bullying exists.

If words were just words, tell me how "I love you" means so much more than "I like you."

If words were just words, tell me how certain song lyrics cause us to say "I FELT that."

If words were just words, tell me why are we so adamant that we should have said the things we never did once it's too late.

The truth is, words aren't just words. There is so much meaning behind a word, literally and figuratively. You can make someone's day with a simple sentence or ruin it in one blow. You have the power to cause a girl to never wear her favorite shirt again or to bruise a guy's ego to the core. You can start a Twitter fight in 280 characters. You can make a girl walk a little faster down the sidewalk. You can bring people into your life, or you can kick them out. You can end an argument. You can change the world. If you don't say anything at all, I can guarantee that none of these things would be true.

Words have the power to cut deeper than knives could. They can rock you to your core, stir up emotions, and stick in your brain for years to come. They can make you feel on top of the world or like you've sunk right to the bottom. Yes, we get to make the decision on whether or not we will let the stupid things that someone else says impact our entire day, but when the initial line is delivered, there is no doubt that if it's intended to be hurtful, you feel the brief flashes of pain before deciding you won't let it affect you. Words carry a power to them. They carry ideas, thoughts, opinions, judgments, and more within them. Words will always mean something; it's just a matter if they mean enough.

So, choose your words carefully. You have the power to make or break someone's day, so why not choose to make it? Why not use the power of words for a greater good than for harmful purposes since you have the option? Why not try to avoid offensive terms or slurs if you know they're offensive? You never know what someone else is going through or what could trigger hurt for others, so it's so much easier to just be kind. The world would be so much better off if we thought about the impact our words might make in the world before we actually let the world hear them.

Cover Image Credit: Emily Myers

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