A couple days ago I turned twenty-three.
It’s crazy how a birthday can make you feel completely different while others the next day you feel the same. However; for me something felt different this year. Mainly it is probably do to the fact that my life is changing.
I am a college graduate. This past year I have learned a lot. I guess Taylor Swift was right- I was feeling twenty-two. So many things happened at twenty-two- I moved out, I graduated from college, I traveled, and I was faced with a lot of different hurdles I had to jump over along the way.
The last couple days before my birthday I decided to slow down (something I struggle with) and decided to write a list of everything I’ve learned this past year.
- Capture Everything: Life goes by fast. Slow down take as many photos as you can. You will only regret the photographs you don’t take.
- Date Yourself: Girl take yourself out! Who cares what others are thinking it’s okay to go see a movie by yourself or treat yourself to that latte. The only person you would let down is yourself.
- Spend Quality Time: You fought hard for the people in your life. You went through breakups and the people closes to you have betrayed you. Celebrate the people you can’t see your life without.
- Face Your Fears: Even if I don’t master it- that’s okay! At least I’ve made baby steps to getting a new perspective. Scared of heights? Just climb the mountain- trust me the view is better.
- Believe: You are smart and beautiful- don’t allow others or even you. Don’t hold yourself back. Believe in yourself. You are capable, you are strong, you are smart enough, you can do this!
- Trust: The world is filled with all sort of people. Here is a truth it’s hard to swallow- some people aren’t just going to like you. Ouch well that’s okay! That’s why God created so many other types of people. Trust yourself over what others might say.
- Don’t Give Up: I’m a perfectionist. I constantly have a ‘better’ version in my head over what I think something should be. Often in that case if I create something and I don’t think it measures up. I get discouraged. There’s an eraser for a reason. Try and try again. Maybe the next shot or design will be even better than I can imagine.
- Silence: As someone who has the ‘gift’ of constant gab and sometimes fears being left in the quiet. This one is hard for me. Sometimes you just have to be still (another thing I’m not great at- always constantly moving) and listen. Psalms 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”
- Dream: I LOVE dreaming! It’s probably my favorite thing to do. I can come up with crazy and extravagant dreams or wishes. Yet, this year I stopped one day and just asked myself- Okay, I have this dream. What are the practical ways I can start- today not ‘one day’?
- Listen Before Speaking: Once again a hard one for me. If it’s someone I love or admire I tend to become over protective I want to take away the problem for the person. However; what will they learn? Even though it sucks watching someone you care about be hurt. Listen to them I’m talking about REALLY listening to them and then when they ask or pause give them your opinion not in a demand but in a loving way as giving them a new outlook on the situation.
- Jump: Just say yes! But don’t be afraid to say the word no too. You know your limits you know what you want to do. And you know what you don’t want to do. It’s good to be helpful and kind. But don’t be a pushover either. Don’t compromise.
- Patience: This goes back a little bit on the be still. However; I felt like this one could be broken up in two simply because we live in a world that’s all about the now. And over night delivery. It’s good to slow down, be still, and be patient. It will happen.
- Celebrate: Who doesn’t love a good holiday? Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween… Yes please! Well why wait around for what I like to call, “scheduled” holidays? Celebrate the little moments- you got through a tough day at work. You aced your speech presentation. Well take yourself out! Go dancing or go see a movie a little bit of a reward goes a long way.
- Simple Things: By nature I’m a very sentimental person.If someone wrote me a handwritten letter over a text- I will probably cry and keep it forever. Enjoy the laughter in the kitchen while you and your gal pals are dancing and making cookies or sneaking out late to get ice cream in your pajamas.
- Starting Small: When you have this huge dream and you know exactly what you want but don’t know how to even begin. Just focus on a portion of the dream. Start small- you’ll feel ten times better not so overwhelming.
- Smile: Everyone around you is fighting something. Just smile- pass along kindness trust me it goes a long way.
- Mountaintop: Who doesn’t love being on a mountaintop? The time where life is going good. However; we all have bad days and some days where it’s just hard. Don’t fear the valley. To quote Hannah Montana- “Life’s a Climb”
- Leave Your Phone At Home: It’s good to disconnect for awhile. Enjoy life around you- get out! Go for a walk or a bike ride- go exploring! Anything you will feel ten pounds lighter and ready to conquer anything that needs to be tackled. Facebook will wait.
- Breathe: Inhale and then exhale. Stop being so busy that the most common thing to do is a chore- breathe. Take some time close your eyes, lift your shoulders, and breathe out your load will feel lighter- guaranteed.
- Write Everything Down: I know my memory is good unfortunately it isn’t THAT good. I love list making! Create a list; ten things that made you smile today, ten things you are thankful for, and the ‘list’ can go on. When I stop and count my blessings it’s easy to be put back in place.
- Enjoy: Enjoy the moments, enjoy life, enjoy company… It’s good to be free- go swinging in the park, slide in your socks in the kitchen, bake cookies (who am I kidding eat the cookie dough!) Moments are what makes great life stories for generations!
- Stick To Your Guns: You are you. Be proud of that! The hurdles, the pain, the memories it’s all who you are. Your opinion isn’t wrong you don’t have to apologize for having a different opinion. Stay true to who you are and better yet- whose you are.
Twenty-two was a good age! I’m so thankful I was able to learn so much about myself this year! I believe we are always students. Always learning more about our craft, about ourselves, and about what you bring to the people around you.
Here’s to twenty-three!