21 Lessons I've Learned In 21 Years

As I've grown, I have learned many life lessons. Now that I am (sort of) an adult, I can look back on my life so far and see all that I have learned. Here are some of those lessons.

1. Your first love will hardly ever be your true love.

As much as you'd like to believe in a fairy-tale love, life simply doesn't happen like that. You'll waste time and end up burned if you try to force it to work.

2. An abusive partner will not change regardless of how hard you try.

I always heard, "Well, if you would do things like I want you to, I wouldn't react this way." I tried everything to make him happy. I gave so much effort to try and make our situation better. No matter what they say or what they try to get you to believe, they will not change.

3. Divorced parents and single parent households aren't inherently a bad place to grow up. 

My mom did the absolute best she could for me, and I turned out just fine. Yeah, our family dynamic is different than most, but that doesn't make it any less wonderful. My family has supported me and helped me grow into the woman I am today, and I wouldn't change a thing about it.

4. Pursue the things that you are passionate about.

I got caught up in the pitfall of burning out. I was trying to force myself to do things that I didn't enjoy just because I thought it was the right thing to do. When I started pursuing the things that I was passionate about, I started to enjoy life more.

5. Stop caring so much what other people think.

I used to get so hung up on other people's opinions. I would dress, act, and behave a certain way in order to make people like me. I did this to the point that I began to lose my true self. If you are unashamedly yourself, then those who take offense to that shouldn't be in your life anyway.

6. Don't be afraid to try.

I was always so afraid of failure that I wouldn't even try. It wasn't until years after the fact that I realized that by not trying, I am not growing. To quote Jake the Dog, "Sucking at something is the first step to being kind of good at something."

7. Embrace your individuality.

Yes, I have tattoos and piercings. Yes, I like to be bold and voice my feelings. Yes, I have short hair. And no, I will never be silent about who I am. For so long I have felt guilty about being the "black sheep" of the family, but now I know that I'd rather stand out than blend in.

8. Never leave a loved one angry

My dad passed away when I was 14. A couple months before his passing, we had had a major argument. I didn't talk to him for weeks. Once we started talking again and made up, he began to become more ill. A few months after we mended our relationship, he passed away. It took him passing away to make me realize that I did not want our last interaction to be a negative one. You never know when your angry words might be the last someone hears.

9. Stop comparing your rough draft to other people's highlight reel.

It is so easy to compare ourselves to others. We must remember, however, that what we see in others is often what they want us to see. We cannot afford to compare our darkest feelings to someone's best version of themselves. For me, I would always find negative thoughts swarming my brain, thoughts of inferiority. There is no need for that added anxiety.

10. Spending time in nature is a wonderful grounding experiences

When I first started college, I found myself in the vicious cycle of class-food-band-sleep. It wasn't until I took a yoga class and the instructor challenged us to spend quality time in nature that I realized its importance. I challenge you: put down your phone and allow yourself to be alone with nature.

11. Lose the friends that aren't supportive.

You are constantly working on bettering yourself, so you need to surround yourself with positive people that will build you up.

12. Explore your options in life.

Never limit yourself, because once you start, you let so many life changing opportunities pass you by. Open your heart and mind to the possibilities.

13. Stand up for what you believe in even if you're standing alone.

Make your values clear. Do not ever compromise on the things you believe in. Having a drive and a passion is something I hold very important.

14. Find love within yourself.

If you're like me, you'll give and give until there's nothing left for you. It is so important to learn to love yourself as much as you love others. I know that it's easier said than done, but once you love yourself, no one can tell you differently.

15. Don't wish away your youth.

I missed out on so much just because I couldn't wait to be older, to be 21, to graduate college. I lost a lot of time in wanting for the future, and I realize just how big of a mistake that was.

16. Do the thing that scares you most.

For me, it was leaving an abusive relationship or leaving for college. It took such a big step for me to overcome the fear of failing, but it was so worth it. It has given me so much happiness.

17. Don't be afraid to say "no" to something.

Stop doing things just because you feel like you should. It is perfectly okay to say "no" when you can't take something on.

18. Try new things.

You are never too old to learn something new! If it wasn't for me trying something new, I would have never known that I had a love for yoga if I hadn't tried it. I felt dumb, sure, but after a while, it developed into a full blown passion.

19. Fake it till you make it.

One of the things that my mom always told me was: pretend to be confident until you are. I had to force myself to hold my head high until one day, I realized it wasn't faking it anymore.

20. It's okay to make mistakes.

Fail and fail until you get it right.

21. Allow yourself to have fun.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It is absolutely okay to be good to yourself, so please do something you enjoy. I allowed myself to get so burned out and it is because I didn't take time to care for myself. It is seriously so important.

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