Lessons in life come exactly when you need them too. They come from the time you are born to the time you leave and they help you grow through your life. Since I turned 21, I have been thinking about some of the most important lessons I have learned; some of them have helped me through the toughest times. Hopefully, they'll help you too.
1. Nothing worth having comes easy
When something takes extra work, a lot of times people will give up going after their dreams. It isn't fair to do to yourself, and nothing worth having comes easy. So keep working hard and keep going after your dreams. The complications will make the success story so much better.
2. Take one day a month to have a personal day
You absolutely need the mental health day, the personal day, the "you" day; whatever you want to call it — you need it. You need to dedicate time to do some things that make you feel good about yourself. Go shopping, read. write, nap, exercise — just have time with yourself. You can't focus on everyone and everything else all the time. You will be much happier when you take the time to do the things that make you feel better.
3. You are bound to make mistakes
Take a breath. Step Back. It is alright. You are going to be fine. A mistake is a mistake, you will come back from it. You are only human.
4. You need to really consider giving up friendships when it comes to your relationships
Although it may seem like your friends are not being supportive of you and your SO, they know you from a different aspect. There may be a reason that they are hesitant to support your relationship. Hear them out, they may actually be benefiting you in the long run.
5. Spend time with your family, you will regret lost time
Your parents are supposed to parent you, your siblings are supposed to be annoying, your grandparents stories are going to tell you the same story, and you are going to love every minute. You should know that they won't be here forever, you will regret not listening when they are gone. When they are gone you will miss it all. So just take the time with them.
6. Don't obsess over your likes
When you are wrapped up in the social media world, you are going to forget that the real world exists. The amount of likes on your picture doesn't matter. You are still beautiful in your own way. Find it in yourself — not in others.
7. Embrace that you are still young
You do not have to have it all figured out right this minute. You are an adult, but you are still young. Just embrace the fact that you are going to act young still. It is alright to not have all the answers.
8. Do the right thing, not the popular thing
You have a lot of life left to live. There are tons of times where you will be faced with deciding whether or not to do the right thing. The answer is always yes. The right thing will always make you feel like the best version of yourself.
9. Take a risk once in a while
Stop living like you have forever. You don't. Go to the party, take the vacation, tell someone you love them. Time is not going to wait for you to decide that you are ready when it comes time to go, take a risk. It might not end well, but it might be the best thing that ever happens to you.
10. Take pictures
You will want them. Eventually you will forget what happened an hour into your high school graduation party, the picture will remind you. You will be incredibly thankful. I promise. Just smile and take the picture.
11. Don't waste your energy being negative, the world has enough of that
You will see the evil in the world every day. You are growing up in a time where kids are killing kids, a celebrity is our president, and the environment is literally dying. Please just keep the negativity down. We don't need to read another hate post about the mother who couldn't control her kids in Walmart. How about you go over and try to help instead? She probably hasn't slept through the night in about two weeks. Just try positivity. It will really change this world.
12. Forgive the people that do you wrong, but do it for yourself
When you hold on to anger, you are allowing these people to control you. An old friend, an old fling, the girl from high school you still don't like — that anger is making your life worse. Just forgive them. They are incapable of being what you want, and they will never be and that is OK. You don't need them to be, you will be fine on your own. Just be happy, don't dwell on things you can't change.
13. Open your mouth and say it, you will regret it if you don't
When you don't like the way something is going - say it. When you are in love with someone - say it. When you stop being in love with someone — say it. When you are ready to move on to a new chapter in your life - say it. When you need a shoulder to cry on — say it. Do not allow yourself to be silent because you don't want to upset someone or rock the boat. You will regret holding back. Just open your mouth and say it.
14. Remain blindly optimistic
Somewhere along the line the person who could brighten the room with her smile and pure delight in life became dull and sad and angry. I regret every minute of becoming that person. Do not allow yourself to become that person. Stay blindly optimistic in every situation. It will come in handy when you can feel your heart breaking but are able to pick yourself back up again.
15. Don't forget the reason you started something
Why did you start running? Why did you start writing? Why did you start singing? Whatever the reason is, don't forget it. It is your motivation. It's what got you here. Use it to power you through when times get hard. You will need some encouragement sometimes, there is no better encouragement than your beginning.
16. Stay in touch with your faith, whatever it is
Your faith has been an important part of your life this far ( For those of you that hold it close to you) and you need to make sure that you don't forget that. It is important that you hold your values close to you. Only that will truly be your guide in tough times, so allow it to be.
17. Experience somethings on your own
You are allowed to eat a meal in a diner by yourself. You can go see a movie alone. You can shop alone. Create an independence for yourself. You will appreciate it later on in life. Being alone is great. Having alone time is wonderful.
18. Go for a drive sometimes
With no real destination in mind, just go for a while. Listen to your favorite songs. Think out loud. See the sights. Learn your way around. Driving around is an excellent way to be in touch with yourself and with your surroundings. You will thank yourself later.
19. It is alright to not be alright
You do not need to hold it together every minute of every day. You are allowed to experience bad days sometimes. It is a part of life. You won't always be put together all the time. Allow these days to come and go as they do, or they will be much worse when they build up. You are going to experience a ton of emotions. Just experience them.
20. Pick up a hobby
Do not make your spare time only about Netflix. Find something you love and do it. When you are 80 and on bed rest, you can binge watch "Friends" for the 405th time. For today, write. Or read. Or paint. Or draw. Just do something. Pride yourself in something.
21. Allow yourself to live the life you want, not the life you think you need
There is no right way to live. You are not in a movie. There is no perfect ending. So just do the damn thing. Just go out and live life the way you want, not the way you think you should. Go embrace things, feel everything you want, meet new people, start relationships, end relationships. Just live for yourself. Nothing else matters.
By the time I turned 21, I thought my life would be in a different place. I thought I would have different things and be a different person. But the lessons I learned were ones that changed my life and made things crystal clear for me. Life is meant to be lived, and when I stopped obsessing over everything I started living.