What My Early 20's Have Taught Me

What My Early 20's Have Taught Me

Love yourself first

Say what? Yes, not even halfway through my 20's and I have earned a ton of badges on my lifetime sash. Life is a journey we all take and we must do so in stride.

Sometimes we find ourselves questioning what we are going through, and going through this life thing with no manual is not an easy task. But in your 20's you find you have to write your own manual as you go. Your early 20's especially is a tough time as you are figuring out who you are and what you want in life. Here are some of the biggest things I personally have learned in my early 20's that I find are very important life lessons to carry throughout all stages.

Love yourself. This is definitely something I struggle with everyday, but I have definitely learned that I should love myself first. That's right, love yourself first. We live in such a critical world these days and I know it is hard to do. It is a work in progress, loving my strengths as well as my weaknesses, but it is something we should all do. Because at the end of the day you have to live with yourself, during the good, bad, and the ugly. End of story.

Don't sweat the small stuff. Choose your battles wisely, it can be exhausting to fight every little thing you come across that you do not agree with. A friend kissed your ex behind your back? Your mascara ran during a date? You got into an argument with your roomate/bff/boyfriend/mom over something minuscule? In 20 years none of that will matter... though, it does suck and you can learn from your mistakes. Don't ruin a perfectly good dynamic with someone you love or with yourself even over something small. It will do nothing but drain your energy better applied toward something else.

Cut ties with all the negativity. Come on, we do not need to be with a toxic individual while we are so young and trying to find where we truly belong. Work on yourself, remember to love yourself first. All the negative energy and people are just going to drag you down and hold you back.

Never sacrifice your spirit for someone else. If someone wants you to break some core part of you and change you, you do not have to do it. Many times if something doesn't feel right, it isn't. Leave them behind because they apparently didn't like you for you after all. It is not good for you or your soul to let others dictate your karma.

Say hello to strangers. You will meet many people, and most of them won't even hang around. Coworkers, classmates, ex's, you name it will come and go in your life. There is no shortage of people in your community, or even the world. Go out and meet new ones often and do not be so dependent on a small amount for too long. You never know what kind of connections you might make during your social time. But exercise some caution with this one. If the vibe is not right, back up, re-evaluate and move on.

Keep your circle small. This kind of goes against what was previously stated. That being said, making new friends is important, quality over quantity is of the utmost importance. The best people should be in your close knit group. The ones you can truly count on, the rest you wouldn't drop just anything for.

Heartbreak is going to happen. In the pinnacle of your young life there will me many a heartbreak and boys and girls alike will come and go. Take these in stride, learn from it, let yourself feel. Someday someone will come along and mend all the hurt and it will be forgotten.

Being single is NOT a bad thing. Yes, we all hear it. "You're too young to settle down." but we also hear "When are you going to find a nice boy/girl?" Ignore it. If dating is not in the cards for you, so be it. Focus on you and whatever goals you may have. In this day, it's always who is with who, your business is everywhere. So instead of sharing every waking moment with one individual make memories that you can look back on with enjoyment and know that no one can take that and tarnish it.

TRAVEL!!! Go on small adventures or large expeditions. It does not matter. Admire the stars, hike by a river, discover the biggest waterfall. Have a good time going in the moment while you still have plenty of energy and time. Many of earth's greatest gifts are free to admire. An experience is a lasting memory.

Just remember, there is so much to learn out there and you are a sponge. Take it all in, piece by piece. We all have unique experiences we can pull from. Feel what you feel. Believe what you believe. Love. Hurt. Smile. Live

Cover Image Credit: Vax Maine Kids

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Empowering Mantras That Soothe The Soul

Learn and repeat these mantras to center yourself.

January is the month of change. We can decide to change at any time during the year, but the start of the new year pushes us to be our best self. If you have something you want to stop, or start doing, now is the time. As I sit in Spain far away from my family, friends, and peanut butter (which is shockingly impossible to find in Spain), I’m confronted with a new challenge and a new opportunity to grow. Although studying abroad is an incredible opportunity and I am more than grateful, I would be lying if I said there aren’t moments of crying in the shower and longing for my body pillow at home (his name is Maxwell and he is pink, and no, I’m not pregnant).

Whenever I get overwhelmed I find it extremely helpful to stop, take a deep breath (or sixty) and repeat calming mantras to myself until the feeling passes. Mantras can be words or sentences and phrases that you can repeat to yourself anytime, although traditionally they have been used during meditation. The goal is to help focus the mind internally and block out any external distractions. It helps to center you and mentally decongest. Scientifically, the benefits are incredible.

The repetition of mantras have been linked to a decrease in heart rate, brain waves and the ability to slow down breathing.

“I am enough”

Fake it till you make it. Believe it or not, say it over and over again. We are what we think, so think positive.

“This too shall pass”

Life goes on even when you think it can’t. We have to experience the peaks and valleys to live a full life. Remember that in a bad moment, it will pass and a new feeling will replace it. And treasure and revel in the good moments because you know what you have overcome and what you may face in the future.

“I am grateful”

Your nail breaks, you spill your coffee, you tumble down a flight of stairs. Plenty of things happen throughout our days that may cloud our overall perception. Challenge yourself in those negative moments to list three events or people you may have overlooked that made your day brighter. Gratitude literally alters the way our brains process our emotions and thoughts and the best part is that we are in control of making our thoughts positive.

“Let it Be”

Time and time again we learn this lesson. It is what it is, what will be will be. That’s not to say it’s always a graceful moment of acceptance, but there’s a certain freedom in knowing that so many things are out of our control.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/buildings-city-exercise-girl-374632/

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5 Must Things To Do During Second Semester

Looking for things to do during this winter season? This list has got you covered.

For many of us who have just started our second semester, or are about to, the stress of college is about to come at you full force and smack you in the face. Personally, I find second semester to be much more difficult compared to first semester.

First semester is filled with tailgates, football games, hayrides, pumpkin patches, Thanksgiving, Halloween, the list can go on and on. Due to the fact that there's so many more activities to do first semester than second, that can lead to a semi-dull second semester. With that being said however, here's a list of things you can do to prevent all that boredom.

1. Go to other sporting events that your college offers you

College sports are one of the best parts of living in America so you might as well take full advantage of them. Even though football season may be over, hockey and basketball season are in full swing right now. Also, by end of March and beginning of April, baseball will start as well. Going to games as a student is a great way to have fun with your friends while not having to bust open the piggy bank.

2. Pajama and movie nights

A simple enough idea, but has the potential to have tons of fun if you decide to give it your all. During the winter, especially up north, it can be brutally cold so staying inside is priority majority of the time. But that doesn't mean there's not a way to enjoy all that cold.

Curl up with your best friends whether it be in your dorm room or apartment while showing off the funniest or best pajamas you own. Pick out your favorite movies and settle down for a night full of laughter, gossip, and memories.

3. Enjoy the outdoors

Even though I just said that winters up north can be brutally, there's still plenty to offer when it comes to enjoying the great outdoors. Go ice skating and watch all of your friends struggle to stay upright and fall down, or go skiing/snowboarding and enjoy the beauty of the snow while getting a great workout in.

Or, you could be like my friends and steal dining hall food trays and use those to sled down some hills. Having these options can help you look forward to the winter and enjoy activities other than staying inside.

4. Go to a museum

Learning about different cultures or parts of history can be a lot more fascinating than people would like to admit. Go to your local college museum and check out cool facts there or drive to a city around you to check out other museums as well. If you're close to a moderate to large city, you will usually be able to find a history museum, aquarium, or some type of science museums. These are fun ways to learn new facts about the past, present, and future of our world.

5. Day trip

Spontaneous (or not spontaneous) day trips can be a blast with your friends or significant other. Choose a random place to go and drive there. Find something to do wherever you go. You'll make some great memories that'll last you a lifetime. It doesn't even have to be far, it can be only 30 minutes away and still be just as fun. Where the destination is doesn't matter, it's who you're going with that matters.

I hope these 5 ideas of what to do in the winter will help you enjoy your second semester of college while still having as much as first semester. After all, you're only in college for four years, so take advantage of everything you can do while you can!

Cover Image Credit: Maddie Blank

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