My birthday isn’t a day I particularly look forward to. Although it’s an arbitrary number, like my shoe size or lucky digit, it can still hold a lot of weight to it. This year I turned 22 but strangely, I don’t feel like I match that number. I’m only now starting to look like an adult, after being mistaken for a high-schooler since my freshman year of college. Whether I feel 22 or 18, I’ve learned plenty over the years. Here are my 22 lessons:
1. Other people’s opinions of you are none of your business.
2. Family is more important than you think. Remember, you have the best mom.
3. Embrace your ethnicity. Practice your Spanish.
4. Don’t give up on your passions.
5. Speak up for yourself and others.
6. There is never a correct time to go after what you want.
7. Go to family parties — they’re not actually that bad.
8. Do everything by yourself at least once.
9. You don’t need coffee or soda in your life.
10. Proudly call yourself a feminist.
11. Do not hold back in your personal writing.
12. Empower every woman you encounter — you are sisters, not enemies.
13. Be friends with people who challenge you intellectually.
14. Learn to relax — you don’t always have to be doing something.
15. Wake up early, drink a lot of water and sing to yourself every day.
16. A run can instantly clear your head when you’re overthinking.
17. Be positive. Think optimistically. Go with the flow.
18. It’s OK not to be in control sometimes — that’s life.
19. Love that you’re a “do” person instead of a “what if” person.
20. You can never eat too much chocolate but there is such a thing as overreacting too often.
21. Your anxiety lives in your head and nowhere else so let it go.
22. Don’t wear perfume or scents, they’ll remind you of bad moments. But so will songs.