Now that I realize I am the oldest I have ever been, I thought it would be appropriate to share 20 things I learned before I turned 20. Here they are in no particular order:
1. My parents are the greatest. And my sister will always be my bestie
I feel like I already know this, but sometimes I lose sight of it (scary right). At the end of the day, they are the ones who push me to help me achieve my dreams and become the strong, independent, sensitive soul I am. As I age I realize I’m my mom—which is really alarming, put potentially freeing. Sometimes they pick on me, I scream at them, they drive me crazy—but hey that’s what family is for.
2. Surround yourself with good people—but not everyone will get you so be prepared to lose a few friends
I’m talking about the people who get you: the ones who accept you for being your messy self. Unfortunately—this still shocks me, but some people will never get you. Don’t change them—it’s their loss. Instead, stick to the people who make you feel good about yourself, who will do strange things with you, who accept you for being your messy messy self.
3. Don’t waste a minute of your life wanting to be popular
Kinda funny thinking about the tight Aeropostale t-shirt and UGG boots I wore just to be accepted by the cool kids in grammar school. Trust me the clothes you wear don’t matter. People don’t care.
4. Never be afraid to be silly
Wear crocs every day, dance to your favorite songs, and be your silliest self. It may inspire others. Don’t take yourself so seriously. When you are silly you are proving to people that you trust them enough to be your whole self.
5. Unpopular opinion but fruits and veggies aren’t healthy.
Every nutritionist I’ve ever been to would probably have a heart attack if they read that last statement… but they wouldn’t be completely surprised because I was their patient.
6. You are your best advocate—and damn you deserve to fight yourself.
You’re not a bad person for wanting better for yourself. The world is cruel and will knock you over, so don’t be surprised. As mom always says, “you won’t get it if you don’t ask.” Don’t feel bad for asking the waitress for the hundredth time what the ingredients are for your meal, don’t feel extra for telling friends you don’t feel up to going out, and don’t you dare feel bad for calling the doctors office 7 times in one day to see if they got your paperwork. (You are PAYING them for crying out loud.
7. The little things in life are the ones that make you happy: cling to them.
People will think you are a certified psychopath for going to the grocery store in 7 times in one week (never mind three times in one day), naming strollers by brand, eating chocolate chips out of the bag, dancing down the sidewalk. But if it brings you joy, it isn’t really worth anyone else’s opinion. I think I gained this perspective when I got sick. The little victories like getting out of bed early, watching a sunset, clean bedsheets, or going for a run are things you don’t cherish until they become a burden. Wish I knew the value of this sooner.
8. Being sensitive is your greatest weapon– never let anyone tell you different
I often find myself apologizing for showing my feelings which is absolutely ABSURD. I sometimes cry at the slightest inconvenience. Yes, I am a certified drama queen—but also I am a pretty big fan of just feeling my feelings. Joy and grief can exist at the same time—so just because you’re sad doesn’t make you a negative person.
9. Hope comes from unexpected places. People will be there for you—but you have to let them
I feel like these two are weird to have lumped together—but This is a life lesson I have learned, but have yet to put into action. People don’t have a magic microscope to look into my brain (and thank goodness for that—it can be a scary-ass place to be).
10. Don’t pin labels on yourself (and don’t you dare pin them on others)
When I was in the seventh grade I thought it would be cool for people to call me kibble… boy was I wrong. Labeling someone just carries the belief that someone’s behavior is who they are (and BOY is that wrong). The label may be a reasonable reflection of who they are right now—but it doesn’t define who they are as a person.
11. When life gets you down, lying on the floor is a valid coping mechanism
A life coach or someone whose inspirational may say something totally pathetic and bizarre like—lie on the floor and pick yourself back up, then ride a horse off into the sunset. But that is so not true. Life can throw some mean mean, mean, mean punches. Sometimes you just have to lie in your feelings and actually do the thing… (yes I mean feel them).
12. I want to be a storyteller.
Even though I take pride in the fact that I still have absolutely no idea as to what I want to do with my life, I have a passion for telling stories. Whether it be my story or amplifying someone else’s—I have a power and a way with words. Not quite sure how I am going to do this yet, but it’s a start.
13. If you fake being confident, no one will know the difference
Fake it till you make it is a life motto. If you don’t think you can be confident you can always pretend you are.
14. Stop saying sorry
Unless you did something wrong, no one really deserves your apology. As Joan would say, “Saying sorry is a sign of weakness.” But seriously—stop apologizing for things other people did wrong.
15. Not everything can be fixed with a hot glue gun
Unfortunately, this is a lesson I have to keep teaching myself. Hot glue isn’t the answer to all of life’s problems… so that’s why you’ve always gotta have a good backup plan.
16. People-pleasing is a recipe for disaster
If you are busy taking your time to make others happy, you probably won’t be happy… and you cannot make other people happy if you aren’t happy. (Probably made more sense in my head but… I TRIED!)
17. Choose to take the back seat
Although this was originally written in regards to me and my sister fighting for the front seat of the car, I think this is also good further life advice. Life is crazy, and sometimes you just really need to take the back seat and let others do the work
18. Craigslist taught me everything has a new beginning.
If you hung out with me long enough you may know about my family’s strange relationship with craigslist. I genuinely believe that my dad was (and well still is) a certified craigslist addict. Thinking back on my life some of my favorite things came from craigslist: the dog that licks me and fills me up with contagious joy (but sometimes bites me as well), the bed that is slightly too small for me but allows me to lie on it every night, the
19. Bumps in the road come but you will push through
Ironic as I type this during one of the worst health days of my life… But life will throw some major curveballs, you’ll get better or bitter…Or if you’re me potentially both. But regardless of what happens, I always find a way to push through.
20. Shine your light, no matter how dark the world around you appears
Make other people feel like they are loved. Not because it makes you feel good, or look good, but because you should genuinely care about the wellbeing of other people