23 Lessons in 23 Years
Happy Tuesday, fam! If you don’t follow me on social media – let me catch you up. IT IS MY BIRTHDAY WEEK. I turn 23 years old on Friday and am so super excited. I love birthday’s and tend to celebrate them all month long. This year, I had a super fun birthday styled shoot with Erin Stubblefield (pictures coming Friday), am going out on a date with my husband to a Japanese Steak House (one of our traditions) and spending my actual birthday with my hubby & parents/sister playing board games. I am so blessed to have had another wonderful year with my spouse and my family and to still be enjoying life in Missouri! Last year I did a similar post (22 lessons in 22 years – check it out here) but this year I feel like I had different experiences and a different outlook that I did when I turned 22. Here we go with my “23 Lessons in 23 Years”.
23 Lessons in 23 Years
Lesson 1: Don’t settle for anything.
This was a big one this year for me. I am so grateful for my husband and I am glad I waited for “my person” before settling down. I am glad I didn’t settle in a job I hated. I am glad I didn’t settle for a life I was unhappy with. We are well on our way to making our dreams come true and my hubby and I are taking this year by storm and “not settling”.
Lesson 2: Be cautious in your spending.
Believe your grandmother when she tells you don’t spend it all in one place. Save for the good stuff and then take care of it. Don’t buy cheap things and then be upset when they break. Be smart with your money and be intentional in your savings. Make a budget and actually stick to it. You may just need that cushion on a rainy day.
Lesson 3: Buy all the cats and don’t look back.
This one is personal – I get it. Maybe you don’t “like cats” or you are a “terrible person”. It’s cool. But when it doubt, get a cat. It will make your life infinitely better and happier I swear. My husband wasn’t a cat person either…but 3 cats later, he now loves them. They’re the sweetest companions and the ultimate snugglers. If my two sweethearts don’t melt your stone cold cat hating heart…nothing will.
Lesson 4: Be intentional with every action.
Be purposeful in your words and actions. Live your life so it is meaningful and fulfilling. Make thoughtful choices. Interact and engage with your life. Don’t let things just slide past you – wake up excited for your LIFE. Know what you want to do and then take purposeful steps to get there. Things won’t happen unless you make them happen.
Don’t let things just slide past you – wake up excited for your LIFE. Know what you want to do and then take purposeful steps to get there.
Lesson 5: Stop caring what others think of you.
I do this WAY TOO MUCH. I care what people will think of my choices, and it’s something I am actively working on. WHO CARES what other people think. I was worried when I got married young because people like to talk about that but two years into my marriage, I am so happy and in love. More than I’ve ever been. My husband and I knew it was the right decision, so nobody else’s opinion should matter. Even on smaller stuff, do what you feel you should do and then accept the consequences (both good and bad) with grace and dignity.
Lesson 6: Everything in moderation.
This is true for everything but I am especially thinking in food and that type of thing. I am trying to eat better and exercise. When I first started doing that, I thought that meant I had to cut out everything I love out of my diet. I quickly realized I would probably DIE without cheese and carbs somewhere in my diet, so that failed epically. I realized that eating the things I love in moderation (aka don’t eat the ENTIRE box of Mac n cheese in one sitting) was ok. Don’t skip the cupcakes – just eat one instead of six. Take this lesson and apply it to other aspects of your life to live a well balanced life.
Lesson 7: Feel the fear, and do it anyways.
Lots of things are scary. We are ALL scared most of the time. Feel that fear, own up to it, and then do whatever it is you’re scared to do anyways. The hardest jumps come with the best rewards.
Lesson 8: Call your grandparents more than just twice a year on Christmas and your birthday.
I have been making a conscious effort to call my grandparents at least once a month if not more. They’re getting older and I don’t see them as much as I would like to. I don’t want to waste precious time because I’m ‘busy’. Too busy for a 10 minute phone call on your way home from work? I don’t think so. Call them.
Lesson 9: Buy the girl scout cookies.
I had a little girl come to my door selling her girl scout cookies the other day and at first I wasn’t going to buy any because you know “healthy” eating and all that jazz. But she was SO STINKING CUTE. She had her little script all memorized “hello, my name is _____. I am selling Girl Scout cookies to my friends and neighbors. They are really yummy and I was wondering if you wanted to buy a box”. Well how the heck do you say no to that? I am practically tearing up thinking about how dang sweet she was. So I bought a dozen boxes, naturally. Buy the Girl Scout cookies. They’re delicious and you are helping little girls gain the confidence and life skills they need to be strong, independent women in our society.
Lesson 10: Your value is not defined by other people.
YOU decide what you are worth and it is up to you to OWN that worth. People will always try to tear you down or tell you what you are and are not valued at. Don’t accept that. If a tree falls in a forest, and nobody is around to hear it, it still makes a sound. Your value doesn’t have to be accepted by someone else for it to be real and true.
If a tree falls in a forest, and nobody is around to hear it, it still makes a sound. Your value doesn’t have to be accepted by someone else for it to be real and true.
Lesson 11: Stand up for the injustices you see around you.
Whether is is racism, sexism, ageism, whatever the injustice may be: don’t be silent about it. Change won’t happen unless we are loud. I am particularly well acquainted will sexism and inequality of the genders. Girls – don’t let anyone tell you your feelings are invalid. I am so proud of the women that are standing up for themselves right now. An incredible movement is happening in the United States. I don’t know a single woman in my life that hasn’t been assaulted in some way. That is UNACCEPTABLE. Don’t let it be acceptable.
Lesson 12: Complete yourself.
My husband and I like to say that we “compliment” each other, we don’t “complete” each other. We are two whole human beings that came together to create a life together. When I was still on the dating scene, I wasn’t looking for someone to fill a void in my life. I filled everything myself, I was looking for someone to share that wholeness with. Don’t wait for someone to come along and fit the holes in your heart. Fill those on your own first, and let love come to you.
Lesson 13: Dance parties are always acceptable.
Dance while you cook, dance while you clean, dance in the shower, dance just because. Dance alone, dance with your S.O., dance with your best friend. Dance when you are sad, dance when you are angry, dance when you are happy. Music heals the soul, so stop thinking about how you look totally awkward (we all look awkward, let’s face it). As Meredith and Christina say, dance it out.
Lesson 14: Be in control of your emotions.
Stop letting people get inside of your emotions. You are the only person in control of how you react to situations. Make a promise to stop letting your emotions and other people control your reactions. Get in control of them yourself and learn to deal with negativity in a healthy way.
Lesson 15: Nobody is entitled to you, EVER.
You do not owe explanations to anyone because they demand it. You do not owe anyone your body because they demand it. You do not owe anyone ANYTHING, EVER. You are allowed to cut toxic people out of your life with no explanation. You are allowed to put your mental health first. You are allowed to say NO, even if you said yes before. You are entitled to respect from everybody.
Lesson 16: Chase your passions with fire in your soul.
Don’t let anyone blow your dreams out. Find what sets your soul on fire and run away with it. Don’t stop until you are living your absolute best life. Go back to lesson 1 and do not SETTLE for anything less than what you deserve. Some dreams are harder to chase and involve more steps and higher climbs, but that just means the view from the top is going to be that much more incredible.
Some dreams are harder to chase and involve more steps and higher climbs, but that just means the view from the top is going to be that much more incredible.
Lesson 17: Not every year will end with a bang.
Sometimes we have quiet years. They are still worth reflecting on and appreciating. You do not have to be exploding with fireworks every second of every day. If you aren’t, that doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. Enjoy the silence.
Lesson 18: Cliches are unappreciated truths.
They’re cliches for a reason, right? Don’t discount them because they are said too often. Every cloud DOES have a silver lining. Don’t cry over spilt milk. Time heals all wounds. They’re said a lot because they’re true.
Lesson 19: Forgive but don’t forget.
Holding grudges is bad for your own mental health, so learn to forgive people for their wrongdoings. But remember – just because you forgive people, doesn’t mean you have to forget what they did or let them back in your life. You reserve the right to eliminate all toxic and negative people from your life and never look back. Just don’t hold on to the anger, because at the end of the day, all that hurts is you.
Lesson 20: You do not always have to be right.
Learn to assess situations and then determine what is worth being right. Most things truly aren’t that big of a deal and preserving your sanity and relationships for the sake of a tiny argument may be worth it in the end. Decide if being right all the time is worth ruining your friendships.
Lesson 21: Stop being a sore loser.
Sometimes you come out on the bottom and it’s ok. Everyone ends up down there at some point. Take your failure with grace and then figure what mistakes you made. That’s the real life application. This also applies to board games. Stop making Monopoly a living hell for your family and just enjoy the game.
Lesson 22: Confidence is about faking it most of the time.
I pretended I was confident for years before it actually caught up to me. Going back to our lovely cliches, “fake it til you make it”. Smile when you don’t want to. Get up and work hard when you don’t want to. Be fierce and strong and loud – even when you feel like you can’t. Eventually, it will be second nature and you will be those things.
Lesson 23: Be unceasingly kind.
I am not always as kind as I need to be. Stop letting every little things get to you. Stop yelling at customer service associates and Target employees (sorry lady-who-was-processing-returns at Target last week..). Stop flipping people off when they cut you off while driving. Smile when people are rude – kindness drives people way more nuts than being rude ever could. At the end of the day, you don’t know who may benefit from a smile or a kind hello. Isn’t it better to be extra nice than to be extra mean? I think so.
PIN THIS FOR LATER:
I hope you guys learned a little something with this “23 lessons in 23 years” list. Everyone grows and changes every year and I find that the older I get, the more I am realizing that not everyone has to love you, just a few good ones (thank you, The Greatest Showman for that gemstone of a quote).
Enjoy the rest of your week and be sure to check back in for more birthday themed posts and my big Instagram giveaway on Friday!!!