I'm writing this on the day of my 24th birthday. "The big 2 4," said no one ever. But it does feel big to me.
All of a sudden, I feel like I've aged five years this past year. Not in a bad way, I just really feel like life finally hit me. I know what I value, I consciously choose the things I pour my energy into, and the bits and pieces of TV static that usually buzz around in my brain have started to come into a clear picture of my future. I've been feeling more myself than ever.
I've been finding it helpful to jot things down so I figured I'd share the thoughts I've been reflecting on today, in hopes that they might help some of you or even just get you thinking.
Here are 24 things I've learned, one for each year I've been here learning:
1. Friendships aren't measured by the amount of time you spend together.
Life gets busy. You don't have to see your friends 24/7 to validate your friendship.
2. Travel is one of the best forms of education.
It's one of the best ways, if not the best way, to learn about yourself and the world. You can only get so much from textbooks.
3. There isn't one right or wrong timeline for success.
We're all so different. Success means different things to each of us. Why would we expect everyone to hit life milestones at the same time?
4. Invest in a good wallet.
It will keep you 24 times more organized. I prefer a slight rectangle shape and lots of slots... if anyone was wondering.
5. Feeling down? Evaluate who you're spending your time around.
Thinking quality vs. quantity when it comes to friends is a huge help if you're feeling lonely, uninspired or just not yourself.
6. It's important to have a plan.
And it's even more important to realize that hardly anything will go exactly as planned. Roll with it. The most resilient people are the happiest.
7. Just because you're not actively looking for a job doesn't mean you shouldn't be looking for a job - you feel me?
Always keep an eye out. Odds are a great job you'd love could pop up a month, a week or a day before you decide you're ~ready to start looking~. But not if you're always looking.
8. Track your spending.
Life is expensive. Learning how to budget is so important. Make a plan - even if that's just a simple Excel sheet. Don't live paycheck to paycheck.
9. Just because they're an adult doesn't mean they know what they're talking about.
So you know... maybe don't even take my word on this? Who am I to give you advice? Go test this theory out for yourself. See how you like it.
10. The older you get, the older your family gets.
Obviously. But really let this sink in. Don't take time with the people you consider family for granted, no matter how close or distant you currently are.
11. Find a mentor.
Find a professional and/or person mentor. Asking for help doesn't make you weak, it makes you smart. No one accomplished anything entirely on their own, whether they know it or not.
12. The more we grow up, the more we grow out of some friendships we've had.
And there's nothing wrong with that. "You've changed" isn't always a bad thing.
13. Everyone should start taking care of their skin ASAP.
Moisturizer and sunscreen. Don't wait for the wrinkles. Stay away from tanning beds. I don't care how good you look tan.
14. Dogs are like children.
No one should own a dog until they are basically ready to be a parent. Those suckers take up lots of time, energy, patience and money.
15. School doesn't teach us enough about credit.
I really was flying blind after college for a while. Want to buy a house one day? Don't fly blind. Seek out a Business Math course, educate yourself online or ask someone who is knowledgable on the subject.
16. Everyone should find at least one creative outlet for themself.
Even if you don't consider yourself an artsy person, I truly believe that having a creative outlet helps you to feel more purposeful and more yourself.
17. "Everyone besides you" isn't traveling the world. Don't be fooled by Instagram.
Traveling Instagram "influencers" make up a very small portion of people AND posts from trips are often taken all at once and then spread out over time to make them look like they're constantly in glamorous places.
18. Start your day by doing at least one thing FOR YOURSELF.
Instead of rushing, wake up even just a few minutes earlier to listen to your favorite song, fix your hair the way you like, walk your dog or do whatever brings you joy.
19. Math IS important.
No matter what type of job you're pursuing, math is actually very very important! Pull yourself away from the calculator a bit too. It's embarrassing not being able to make change sometimes.
20. Your drinking tolerance seems to lessen by the second 21 ends.
What used to be a 3 is now a 10 on the Richter scale of hangovers. Enjoy.
21. Push yourself to try or learn one new thing every day.
It keeps life exciting and keeps you betting yourself. Out of college, I found myself feeling upset about not learning a lot on a regular basis anymore. This keeps me growing.
22. Balance your time with and without your phone, especially while in public.
Go ahead and capture moments that mean a lot to you. You'll appreciate being able to look back on them. But pick and choose those moments. Don't have your eyes glued to your phone 24/7.
23. Keep a daily gratitude journal.
You can also just jot down three or so things you're grateful for at the end of a regular journal entry or mentally list them to yourself. Doing this before you start or end your day can really improve your overall attitude.
24. DRINK MORE WATER.
Just do it. It's not that hard. (Note to self)