I've had my heart broken, made new friends and have gotten to explore some pretty cool cities, along with numerous other things.
I've learned that you have to do what's best for you, that the word family doesn't mean anything and, most importantly, I've learned how to start loving myself again.
Along the way, I've learned numerous other things, but here are 21 of the most important things I've learned since turning 21.
1. You don't need alcohol to have fun
I had no interest in drinking whatsoever, even when everyone in high school was doing it, but the fact that I have medical issues that prevent me from drinking may have something to do with it, too. When I turned 21, I was more excited about not having to pay a surcharge at concerts anymore.
2. Your friends won't always have free time
We're all getting older. We all have jobs, sometimes with opposite schedules. Basically, when you're free, your friends won't be. You won't get to see each other as often as you want.
3. The gym isn't all that bad
Long story short, I have cerebral palsy, so basically, my hips, legs and ankles don't work as well as they should, and that has prevented me from exercising and losing weight like I want to. A few months ago, I got a gym membership with my best friend and started walking on the treadmill. My legs didn't fall off and I didn't die, so I kept going back and discovered that I kinda like it.
4. "Family" doesn't mean anything
Some members of my family haven't been treating me, my mom, dad or brother very well. Sometimes, we feel excluded, even at FAMILY events. I learned the hard way that just because you're related doesn't always mean you feel as if you're apart of the family.
5. Do what's best for you
YOU know what's best for YOU. Your family and friends may think they're trying to help you, and they may truly be trying to, but only you know what's best for you. If you need to drop a class, do it. If you need to go to therapy, do it. Listen to yourself.
6. It's not the end of the world when someone stops talking to you
Whether that be a friend, someone you see in passing at school or a coworker. There's likely a reason, big or small, that they stopped talking to you. But, life goes on with or without them.
7. Don't let anyone tell you how to spend your money
Seriously, don't. It's your hard-earned money. If you want to buy a designer purse or a meet and greet for your favorite band, do it.
8. Don't be so focused on falling in love
At some point, almost all of my friends had boyfriends or a boy they were talking to and I felt like I needed to do the same when I knew damn well that I was in no position to be doing so. I realized, thankfully, that I needed to focus on myself before I can give someone else attention.
9. You have to love yourself before you can love someone else
Cliche, I know, but it's true. I went through some things last summer and fall that really brought me down. I felt like I was at my lowest point, I didn't love the skin I was in and I didn't really see a reason to stay alive anymore. Long story short, take time to love yourself. How can you love someone else when you can't even love yourself?
10. Buy the damn concert tickets
If you don't, they'll sell out and you'll regret it. Your money will come back, the memories won't.
11. Your mom really is your best friend
My mom has helped me through so many things this year. I'm surprised she's not tired of me yet. Shout out out to you, mommy. Love you.
12. At the end of the day, your dog will always be happy to see you
No matter how bad it was, seeing the tail flap back and forth and them jumping up and down makes it all so much better.
13. Don't make promises you can't keep
If you know you're not going to be able to or you do not want to do something, don't promise someone that you'll do it. It gets their hopes up and then makes them feel bad about themselves when you don't pull through. I'm guilty of this, as terrible as that sounds. But don't do it to other people.
14. You can't always trust people
People don't always keep your secrets, come through on a promise or come to your rescue when you need someone to vent to. If you're unsure about someone, it's best not to get your hopes up.
15. Travel more
Usually, the only time I travel is when I'm going to a concert, but recently, I fell in love with Indianapolis and am already counting down the days until my next concert there, which is only a few weeks away. I made it a point to get out and explore more cities. I have so many on my list.
16. Don't keep your feelings bottled up
One day, someone or something may push you over the edge and you'll do or say something you don't mean. Talk about your feelings with someone you trust.
17. Tell your friends how you really feel
If you don't like what they said, tell them. If you're feeling excluded from the group, tell them. Don't let their potential reaction make you feel as if your feelings are invalid.
18. Don't max out your credit card
You'll think it's fine when your creditor increases your limit from $300 to $500, but you'll be sad every month when all you can afford is the monthly payment.
19. Spend more time with your parents
You're getting older, they're getting older. Nobody's getting older and you really don't know how much time you have left on this Earth. Watch Family Feud with them, eat dinner with them...trust me, you won't regret it.
20. Get some sleep
If you're only sleeping 4-5 hours a night, it WILL catch up to you. Aim for 8. Always.
21. Drink more water
Your kidneys will thank you.