I've finally moved on from "twenty fun" to the iconic Taylor Swift age. As I'm wrapping up the semester, preparing for graduation, and looking ahead at my future, I know that my 22nd year of life is going to be filled with challenges and growth. I'm sure that through all of this, I'll learn a lot of lessons that I'll carry with me. Going into this year, I'll be sure to use everything I've learned up to this point.
Here are 22 lessons I'll carry with me into my twenty-second year and beyond.
1. Sometimes, you just need to cry it out.
Life can get to be a lot, and when things get overwhelming, the urge to cry can become overwhelming. Just let it out. Crying is so cathartic. Yeah, you might ruin your eye makeup and your face will look splotchy, but you'll feel better, and that's what matters.
2. Ice cream is always necessary.
It doesn't matter if it's a warm or cold day. What the occasion is. If you already had a dessert that day. Whether you go to a shop or your own freezer. There is absolutely no incorrect time and place for ice cream. I believe this more than I believed in Santa as a kid honestly.
3. Going to the gym is actually not that bad.
I used to be one of those people that thought working out was something I'd never do. It never piqued my interest and I simply didn't have the motivation to go. After my friends and I planned a spring break vacation, we started hitting up the gym a few times a week to work for that "spring break bod." I tagged along and surprisingly enjoyed myself. I've even made the effort to go on my own.
4. While it’s worth it to dress nice, legging days are necessary sometimes.
I love wearing cute clothes and taking the time to look nice. But, there are some days that I just don't feel like it and wear leggings and a sweatshirt, which can feel just as great.
5. Accept every opportunity to travel.
I absolutely love road trips, traveling, and exploring new places. I've been really lucky to travel to several states, locations, and sites with my family, some being quite far from home. There are so many more places I want to go too. Of course, there will always be a cost, but honestly, travel is one of the best things to spend your money on. Sure, you can look at pictures of Yellowstone National Park from your laptop, but it doesn't even compare to seeing it in person.
6. Don’t care about people who don’t care about you.
As much as we want everyone we meet to like us, it just won't happen. Some people don't mesh, and that's okay. Don't worry about those people. There are certainly better things to do.
7. School isn’t always the most important thing.
Most people go to college to get a degree that will lead to a job, but college is so much more than that. There are so many other opportunities for personal growth as well as meeting life-long friends. While studying and doing well academically is important, be sure to give yourself time to have fun.
8. Financial responsibility goes a long way.
While it's necessary to spend money in life (like for traveling!), it's even more important to save up for the future. You never know when you're going to need money.
9. Staying in trumps going out every time.
While going out with friends is fun, it's even better to watch a movie or Netflix, play board games, eat ice cream, and laugh all night long. That's when true bonding happens. Plus, it's free! (Read the previous item.)
10. You don’t need to be in a relationship to be happy.
It's totally normal and okay to want to have a boyfriend or girlfriend or have a goal of getting married and having kids. But, before you get to that point, you need to embrace singleness. Otherwise, you're going to waste months or years of your life being miserable.
11. Pet every cat you meet.
Cats are honestly a blessing. They're just so precious and fluffy, not to mention downright adorable. Whenever you meet a cat, if you don't have your own, show it some love. Or, if you have your own cat, pet it all the time.
12. Value your friendships because an amazing friend is hard to find.
Over the years, some of my friendships have fallen apart, others have been toxic and dramatic. Cutting these people from my life, and learning about how not all friendships are good, have just made me appreciate the wonderful and healthy friendships I have now even more. I'm at the point in my life where I feel like I've found my core best friends and I love on them and show them my appreciation as often as possible.
13. Don’t believe everything you see on social media.
It can be hard to remember that people only post the best parts of their lives online. It's easy to believe that everyone is doing better than you and make you feel bad about yourself. But everyone has a complex life with ups and downs, just like you.
14. It’s not always about you.
When something goes wrong, whether your friend is acting weird, plans fall through, or an opportunity is lost, your first thought can be that it's your fault. Most of the time, there are other factors that you're unaware of that caused the situation. So instead of beating yourself up, remember that it's not always about you.
15. Laugh every day.
"Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand." – Mark Twain
16. Take the time to be there for your friends.
Friendship is a support system for the good and bad times. Be a listening ear and shoulder to cry on for those who have done the same for you countless times. Not only will they appreciate it, you'll grow closer.
17. Love yourself, and if you don’t, make an effort towards it.
No matter who you're with, where you are, or what you're doing, you're always going to be with yourself. And if you don't like your own self, that's a long time to be miserable.
18. Knowing how to communicate with people is essential.
If I've learned anything from studying the English language for four years, it's that some people don't know how to talk to one another. It's too easy to mess up not only the words you say, but also how they're said. Being conscious of your words is so important.
19. Read for fun, not just school.
Some of the stuff I have to read for my classes is such a drag, and if it weren't for the class, I would never read it. Reading this stuff makes it hard to remember that I actually love reading. It's worth it to take a break and read a book you actually like just for fun.
20. Things are going to change whether you want them to or not, so learn to roll with it.
I've never been a fan of change, especially if it's for largely important matters. It's stressful, and if I dwell on it too long, makes me feel anxious. As much as I would love to not feel this way, I can't stop change from happening. Learn to accept it.
21. You don’t need to have your whole life figured out right now.
This is such a hard one as a senior in college to wrap my mind around. The college environment, and society as a whole, can put pressure on you and make you feel like you have to have the next few decades of your life planned down to the day. In reality, it's okay if you don't know exactly where you want to go. You'll figure it out along the way.
22. Helping others is a different, but good, kind of happy that should be enjoyed as often as possible.
I love helping other people. I love being there for a person when they need me. If I can help someone through a situation and make them feel better, then it is absolutely worth it.