Monday, August 15, 2016

10 things I've learned in 22 years

This blog post is inspired by Jenna Marble's 29 Life Lessons I Learned in 29 Years video. I limited this list to 10 things - 10 things that came to my mind first. Of course I've learned more than 10 life lessons in 22 years, but I could probably talk forever if no one stopped me! I will probably kick myself later for neglecting to add something or stating something oddly, but I will leave this list as is. Feel free to agree or disagree with anything on this list, or comment with your own life lessons or input. I'd love to hear it.
So here's ten things I have learned so far in my 22 years of life:

Taking care of yourself is important. I think your early twenties are a really important time to break bad habits and replace them with good or better ones. I like to believe your twenties are a time to have fun, but also be responsible enough to think long-term. I quit smoking, started exercising regularly, and developed healthy eating habits.

Your parents are human too. When I was a kid, I looked up to my parents very much and thought they could do no wrong. When I started really thinking for myself, I realized how toxic some of the thinking and interactions within my immediate family are. Emotional and verbal abuse are not normal. I strongly believe family is important, but if a relationship is only toxic to you and your life, then some space or distance can be a good thing. 

You might think you know what you want, but that can (and will probably) change. When I was 18-19 years old I thought I knew everything, including how I wanted my life to go. Yes, this was only 3-4 years ago but a lot has changed in just a few years time. I am wise enough now to know that life can change in an instant and that it's important to be flexible in your plans, and I also realize I have a lot left to learn.

Others will not always have your best interest in mind. People can be selfish. Oftentimes other people will do things and make decisions that will hurt you. And I guess that's the way the world works sometimes, sometimes you have to do things that make YOU happy. It becomes a problem when you are intentionally doing things to hurt other people. At the end of the day, you have to be an advocate for yourself.

Knowledge is power. I feel like a lot of people view college/university in a bad light nowadays. It is an investment of time and money, and no one is guaranteed a job after he/she graduates. I highly value my education and what I have learned so far. I strongly believe that continually learning and growing (no matter how you do this, it doesn't have to necessarily be a formal education) is important to becoming the best human you can be.

Change is uncomfortable, but necessary. I think this can apply to a lot of things. "Change is the only constant," is a saying that I try to keep in mind whenever I am going through a major change in my life (like changing jobs, ending relationships, etc). Change can be very scary, even if you know that it is a change that will be good for you in the long run. I just try to remember that the process is temporary and that I will eventually become accustomed to whatever change is happening, that that will become the new "normal" eventually, and that I will become a stronger and better person because of it.

It's important to be able to laugh at yourself. I think a sense of humor is a very valuable tool. Life is too short and goes by too quickly to take yourself seriously. I remember reading somewhere that a person is perceived by others as more friendly if he/she is able to admit when he/she is embarrassed and laugh about it (I'm paraphrasing here!)

No one really knows what they're doing, but most people are really good at pretending. Life is a crazy, scary, and beautiful experience. I think the sooner people realize this, and realize that we are all in this together, the kinder people will act towards each other. I've realized that all you can do is do the best you can with what you have. You don't have to be rich or famous to have an impact on people, but you can have a positive influence on people in your immediate environment - your neighbors, co-workers, clients, friends...

You will encounter people who have starkly opposing beliefs and opinions from you, and that's okay. If everyone thought, believed, and did the same things, the world would be boring. Not only that, but I think balance is essential (in politics, work/life, nature, everything!). Without balance, we would be going from one extreme to another. You don't have to agree with what someone else thinks or believes, but empathy and genuine understanding of another person's lifestyle is powerful.

There is still a lot left to experience and to learn. I feel I have already learned and experienced a lot as a 22 year old, but I have a lot of life left to live and I am looking forward to continuing to learn and to grow!

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