23 Lessons | In 23 Years

Something I wrote before my 23rd birthday.

I’ve seen this done a few times, and with my birthday coming up in the year of “me,” I decided to jump on the bandwagon. Where I used to fear getting older, I now have feelings of gratitude and accomplishment for surviving another year. Yeah, that means I AM getting old. But, I’m rather giddy where I am today, and so I’ve decided to impart a few lessons I’ve learned (probably the hard way) that helped me get here over the past 23 years (or, you know, however long it’s been since I could talk and pee in a toilet).

23.) Force yourself out of your comfort zone. You’ll be amazed how much you learn.

22.) Money is a necessary evil, but there are more important things. Save a little for a rainy day, and spend the rest on experiences instead of possessions. I promise you’ll remember your impromptu road trip more than that unreasonably priced dress you wore on your birthday three years ago.

21.) Never let anyone take you for granted. If they don’t appreciate you, they don’t deserve to be in your life.

20.) You should, in fact, care what’s going on around you. Read the news, and volunteer once in a while. It’s not going to kill you, but it may just save someone else.

19.) If you mean it, say it.

18.) Winning and losing are often simply matters of perspective. Actually, a lot of things are.

17.) You will never learn more about yourself and what you want than when you have to walk alone for a little while. Never let anyone else define who you are—and never let them make you forget it.

16.) “No one is irreplaceable” = false. Some bridges are worth rebuilding. You’ll know when the other person is willing to meet you halfway.

15.) It’s all right to remain a “kid at heart”—in fact, I encourage it. But you have to learn to be a grown-up when it really counts.

14.) Beer and pizza with a great friend is the best therapy there is.

13.) Music—tangible evidence that someone, somewhere, sometime felt exactly as you’re feeling, and lived to tell the tale—can be as comforting as any religion.

12.) The most important, loveable, and inspirational things about the people who surround us are the things that make them different. Respect that. Appreciate that.

11.) Look on the bright side, and laugh at yourself. No matter what happens or how low you get—never lose your sense of humor.

10.) Everyone deserves another chance. Forgiveness is difficult, but liberating—the mark of a strong person. Grudges are easy, but heavy—they’ll only leave you cold.

9.) There are so many things about life over which we have no control. The past can’t be changed, nor the future certain. Only when you recognize and accept this can you actually live your life for all it’s worth.

8.) There isn’t just one person on this earth who is meant for you; be happy there are many. Love is not what Disney says it is, and often it isn’t enough. The white picket fence isn’t worth the torture of staying in a toxic relationship.

7.) Nobody’s indestructible. Be there for other people, but don’t forget to let them be there for you.

6.) Never regret anything. Make as many mistakes as possible, learn from them, let go, move on, repeat.

5.) Trust your instincts and don’t fear spontaneity. Some of my craziest decisions were the best I’ve ever made.

4.) There are no inherently bad people; only bad choices and bad circumstances. Everyone in this world does the best they can with the cards they’re dealt, and we all lose our way once in a while. Don’t be so quick to judge.

3.) You can’t please everyone—caring about what other people think of you is a horrible waste of time. Be good, but be yourself—and own it. If they don’t like it, forget ‘em.

2.) There is a difference between compromise and sacrifice.  Never.  Ever.  Settle.

1.) Life really is short. Live accordingly. When we lose someone we love, we realize how much we allow ourselves to worry about trivial things. Always remind yourself what’s truly important and what won’t really matter in the end.

Well? Agree, disagree? Anything to add?

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