I recently celebrated my 24th birthday, and so I thought I would share some thoughts about the past few years that might help you make it to 30 sane. Don’t get me wrong here, I know 24 is really young still. I think everyone’s 24 years are different though, and while you may not have dealt with some things by 24, I may have mastered them. And vice versa. So sharing life info and advice seems like a nice gesture to me. Like a, “hey, that puddle is way deeper than it looks, don’t jump in it, take this route if you can instead.” So take it or leave it, here are 24 things I’ve learned in 24 years:
1.) Time is infinite, but you are not.
Don’t make the mistake of procrastinating on everything you do. There are only 24 hours in a day, and if you don’t make an effort to plan the important things out they will get swept under the rug and forgotten. It’s part of adulting, and I don’t like it, but at some point you have to get things over with for your own peace of mind. If you plan and strategize how you’ll accomplish them, you’ll eliminate so much stress from your life.
2.) Take your time.
Seems like I’m un-telling you what I just told you, right? Wrong! You should totally be responsible with your time. Important things are important things, and you shouldn’t slack off on them. BUT – you also should not spend all of your time flustered about what’s happening next. Take time to do nothing. That sounds crazy, especially now in this super fast paced world, but trust me, you need that nothingness time to decompress and unwind. My favorite thing is to just cuddle up on the couch and let my brain chill out while I watch Nash play. If you don’t do this, you’ll miss little moments and important memories. Besides, what are you even rushing through your days for? Is all that stress worth it? Sometimes there is a traffic back up because God is protecting you from an accident or something. Take your time, don’t worry about the next 2 seconds every second of your life.
3.) Life is not just about accomplishing things.
This is as forward and plain as I can be. What you accomplish on Earth – your degrees, your trophies, awards, projects, etc – those are all things to be proud of, but they are not your sole purpose in life. From a Christian perspective your purpose is to glorify and walk with our Creator, and demonstrate a life that reflects and draws others to His love. My point is though that we shouldn’t put all our focus on getting things done and checking off the goal lists. Unless those lists include things like enjoying the company of others, smelling the roses, taking in the sunsets, and being kind to others just because, in which case you check that list off like no body’s business! Try not to make everything about what you earn and have and win…sometimes it’s just about being in the place you’re in, nothing more.
4.) Politics Suck
I am so sick of political sewage all over TV. I can’t even turn it on or even listen to the radio without someone complaining about someone else. For one day, please, consider just not freaking out about issues that other people cause or bring up. I have no fear about Trump because I know who is really in control, and it’s not him, it’s not a political party, it’s not the voters, it’s God. And while I do not trust people, I do trust in Him. His word gives me peace no matter what happens in this country. I don’t live in fear of men or their actions. And I refuse to. Elect who you want, but I won’t let an election or a bill cause strife or stress on my mental health. Neither should you.
5.) Be aware of your words
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.” Not true. It’s great fine and dandy if you have a strong back bone that allows stuff to roll off of you, but know that your words have power and they can break even the strongest person down. Your words can be life-giving or poison, be careful and think about what you are about to say when you speak.
6.) Have integrity
Always assume someone is watching you and you might change the way you do things. Act righteously, keep your word, and do the honorable thing even when it costs you.
7.) Keep your word
Simple; If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you say you won’t do something, don’t do it. I figured this one was worthy of it’s own number. It seems like a lot of people are flaky these days and it bugs me…not that I haven’t had my flaky moments (all I can think of when I say that word is the Pillsbury flaky buttery biscuits, carb monster much? lol). If you tell someone you’ll be somewhere or do something, then be respectful of them as a person and do it or show up or whatever it is. If it doesn’t work out, then have the courtesy to be up front and tell them about it.
8.) Men are completely different from women.
If you are a lady and you want Prince Charming, you may be in for some disappointment. Guys think in a totally different way than we do, and I went through a tough time being angry with God over the absence of that “fairytale” feeling in my relationship with Matthew. I did not understand why this man that I love so much who is clearly ‘the one’ – did not just GET me. I didn’t understand why he didn’t know that when I turned away from him I really wanted him to pull me closer to him. I mean, duh, am I right ladies? lol I struggled with it. I thought everything would just be wonderful and that once you find ‘the one’ that it would be easy because we were meant to be. WRONG! It’s all a learning process. It’s two people learning to co-exist in a very new, close setting. You have to learn to talk about what you want (even though we think they should just know without us telling them) and even more importantly, listen to their point of view. This is hard work, but worth it. If he loves you, if he’s the one, he will learn and grow with you.
9.) Sizes on clothes don’t matter
This is shopping, where everything’s made up and the numbers don’t matter! A size 10 in one brand can be a size 2 in another. Don’t sweat the numbers.
10.) Take care of your finances
Don’t be irresponsible with your money. Seriously. Your credit score determines your ability to purchase/rent/lease almost everything. Take care to pay bills on time and in full, never max a credit card out or have multiple cards, and settle for the reliable items/vehicles/etc over the fancy expensive ones. Just because someone tells you that you’re qualified for a 8 million dollar loan does not mean you should take it. Debt is not your friend, people. Do what you can to be mindful and save. Also, don’t be greedy or stingy or rude about your money. There is a difference between being frugal and unnecessarily cheap. We always make sure to pay our tithe to our church as well. Maybe you don’t have a home church, but I believe it’s important to donate or give to someone/something else regularly. (Check out Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace plan for more professional advice)
11.) Make Amends
Life is far too precious and short for you to hold grudges and be disconnected with those you love. Do not be greedy with your love or forgiveness, you could lose someone today and never get the chance to apologize or make things right.
12.) High School-schmighshchool
Not sure how you spell that but hopefully you get it…lol High School you goes away and disappears along with all of your expectations for adulthood. I don’t think it prepares you adequately for real life anymore. You will have bills, you will have consequences for everything and every choice you make, what you wear or look like matters whole lot less, and no one cares if you think you’re cool or not. We’re all just trying to make it out here. Also, whoever said that people don’t change knows nothing. Almost every single person you ever knew in high school will change. Including you. It’s okay to give up a huge friend group and keep a few, close friends.
13.) Stop for sirens
Can I be any more clear? STOP AND PULL OVER FOR SIRENS! If it was you in that ambulance or in an emergency and that cop was in route to help YOU, I think you’d hope people would pull over. So PULL IT OVER! Can you tell this is a huge pet peeve of mine? If you don’t pull over I will find you. I might be under your bed waiting for you at this very instant. PULL OVER.
14.) Don’t hate your education
School is boring and regulated, but your education shouldn’t be. Everything new is part of your education. Can’t stand the classes you’re taking? Switch majors. There are other jobs and fields out there, so don’t continue a program if you are miserable doing it every day. There is time to change, time to investigate, and a million other ways to make money. Education should be fun, interesting, and challenging, but not boring, dreadful, and miserable.
Music is powerful, so be mindful of what you listen to. Consider switching it up to something more uplifting and encouraging if you’re always listening to screaming, sobbing, or sexy tunes. That stuff fuels your mood and attitude.
16.) Don’t hate your job
I’m a huge advocate for this. By all means, make the money and provide for your family and fulfill your responsibilities as a bill-payer, but for goodness sakes if you hate your job find something else! Maybe your dream job is in a factory making rubber ducks or something, but you just don’t know it. Check other options out, don’t settle for misery cuz you’ll just make everyone else miserable too.
17.) One body
Pretty self-explanatory. Take care of it. Love it. Compliment it. Fuel it. It’s one of a kind and you only get one.
18.) Go Outside
For reals, Netflix and the couch are soooo tempting and magnetic, but do check out the trees and stuff outside. It beautiful here in Michigan, even in the winter (boo to you snow haters, I love it), so it probably is where you are too. You’ll feel good after spending some time in nature, I promise!
19.) Grief is no joke
I was always a ‘get it over with’ kind of person. Someone dies, it’s not something to cry about, you just move on and remember the good things. But this summer we experienced a serious tragedy in our family, ( a subject for another time maybe) and it has changed me completely. I used to avoid the emotions of grief, they made me super uncomfortable, but now I know that they are unavoidable. Please, please, show compassion for others who have lost someone. Life is so very precious you guys. Death can leave a huge, gaping hole in someone for years, so be kind and understanding when you can.
20.) Keep Expectations in check
If you thought by now you’d have built a mansion and gotten married to the man of your dreams and that you’d have 4 law degrees and a pool boy named Antonio, but you don’t, don’t sweat it. Look up celebrities who didn’t get their big breaks until their 30’s, 40’s, even 50’s. You might be surprised. Life doesn’t go the way you think it should, and that’s okay.
21.) Try boxing
It is the greatest sport of all time. Everyone should try it at least once in their life, if not for the fitness then for the mental focus and clarity it requires. There’s a reason boxers are the highest paid athletes ever; not only are they required to be physically conditioned to perfection, but they have to be even more mentally focused and fit. It’s the Sweet Science baby!
22.) Do something uncomfortable
Write a blog! I’m way out of my comfort zone writing a blog. Some day I’ll share it with my facebook buddies (maybe I finally have and that’s why you’re reading..if so then I have really conquered a fear lol). Basically, I recommend doing something that intrests you but you’re shy or nervous about. It’ll stretch you in a good way, and then you’ll clear up a ‘what if I..’
23.) Try New foods
Another of my biggest pet peeves – people who won’t eat anything new. I used to be this way, so i can rag on those of you who are this way. When I went to Brazil I tried it all, even the weird stuff. Food is amazing! So quit being picky and TRY stuff. If you hate it, then don’t eat it again, but you’re missing out on a whole lot more than you know of you don’t.
24.) Spare Love
Give love to everyone. Have compassion for everyone. Be vigilant and look for opportunities to care for others. The actions you take will affect those around you. Your example matters to someone who is watching and emulating you. Some days drag, some days fly by, but life is short when you look at the bigger picture. So love unconditionally, even those who don’t deserve it. Forgive people for their wrongs, and show those who treat you badly that you will rise above the obstacles thrown at you. Know that what you do matters, and your life matters. Love yourself, love others, and love your Creator who formed you with His hands.
That’s all for now!