In my 23 years, I have become a collector of things; a collector of experiences, books, words, poems, music, friends, boyfriends (no, I'm not a serial dater but for the sake of this article this is important). So here are the most important things I've learned by 23. Keep this in your pocket and save it for a rainy day (or when you think about texting that boy who broke your heart).
1. Don't text the boy (or the girl) back.
I did not alter that above statement based on sexual preference. In all honesty, why should I just limit my first tip to only lovers. Friends can be included in this, as well. If they weren't right for you then, they won't be right for you a month from now or even years from now. It's perfectly normal for people to want to reach out to an old friend (or flame), and while I commend the courage to do it, just don't. Don't answer their messages when you've finally moved on.
2. You are your biggest fan (and enemy).
Sometimes, we can't help but judge ourselves. We stand in the mirror and worry about the weight we've gained, or the clothes that don't fit anymore (whether too big or too small). We worry about how others perceive us. I'm here to tell you that while you may judge yourself ferociously, don't forget to revel in the amazing things you do in your everyday life. Maybe your biggest accomplishment of the day is getting dressed to go outside, if that makes you proud of yourself, don't be afraid to give yourself a pat on the back.
3. Self-care is the best care.
I personally battle with my mood, my eating, and my body image. And when one thing is off, everything is off. Never forget that self-care is the best care. Remember to take your makeup off, take a long shower after a hard day, put on some music that makes you feel good, and relax. Sometimes, a mental health day is necessary.
4. Mental health is so important.
As a crisis counselor, and a person living in the every-day, mental health is so important. It's important to check yourself (in terms of how happy or sad you are, your feelings and moods) and if you notice something is off, try to figure out why. Talk to someone or spend some time self-reflecting if talking to someone isn't your cup of tea (raises hand slowly because self-reflection is my favorite form of keeping my mental health in check).
5. Be kind to everyone.
This sounds absolutely cliche and some people don't deserve the kindness you are capable of giving, but keep it in the back of your mind that everyone has a past and a story that brought them to the point where they are right at this moment. This doesn't mean to be naive and ignore the bad people can do, but in being kind to everyone, you may be offering someone a break from harsh judgement and maltreatment.
6. Stand up for what you believe in; even if you're the only one standing.
With so many issues in the world today, speak up about what you're passionate about. I am personally passionate about advocating for people suffering from addiction. I will not hesitate to stand up and let my opinions be heard and neither should you. You were given a voice, so use it. Don't let it go to waste.
7. Stand up for yourself.
People will inevitably treat you like a doormat throughout your life. As humans, we are conditioned (whether we are aware of it or not) to surround ourselves with people who benefit us. Maybe they make you feel smart, pretty, happy, etc. Regardless, our lives largely consist of one-sided relationships where we give more than we get. In this case, stand up for yourself. Recognize when you're giving too much of yourself to someone who isn't returning the favor or doesn't seem appreciative of your position in their life.
8. Cry when you're sad. Laugh when you're happy.
It is so important to feel things and to let yourself feel things. We live in a time where, at the first sign of complex emotions, people tend to run away, hide, joke about needing a "safe space" but honestly, people do. We're so accustomed to shoving our feelings so deep inside that we crack at the smallest inconvenience. Let yourself feel, whatever you're feeling.
9. Try new things.
Trying new things is something I struggle with but something I always want to do. Try a new experience, try a new restaurant, go out with that dude who isn't your "type". New experiences open your eyes to things you would have never even expected and will shape you into a new person.
10. Don't be afraid to fall, but get back up.
Failing is an inevitable part of life and life plans don't always work out. As someone who had their entire life planned out by the age of 16, I can tell you that anything and everything can and will change. Life throws things at you that you would never expect and sometimes you fail. Just because you get knocked down, doesn't mean you won't excel at something else. Let your setbacks teach you something, dust yourself off, and move along with your next big plan.
So if you're anything like me, keep this list in mind the next time you're feeling a little lost. I hope this help.