With 21 Years, Come 21 Life Lessons (And Major WTF Moments!)

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Can we please take a moment to appreciate the fact that my title of the day sounds like a Fall Out Boy song title?

Turning 22 and my mind’s more clever than ever.

The infamous 20’s era has only merely begun with two wildly eye-opening years under my belt.

There were highs, followed by lows, but hey, that’s what contributes to someone’s character growth, right?

Tough times suck, and they’re usually frustrating, but it helps you grow up and grow out of bad habits.

At least that’s what I’m told.

Anyway, 21 years later, and I have quite a few life lessons to take away.

Here’s my proof:

  1. ASK. LITERALLY, JUST ASK.
    The amount of times I’ve allowed myself to be passive when I’ve wanted something is so ridiculous. I sometimes fear asking for something straight up ridiculous, and to be honest, that’s so tragically stupid. What’s the worst that could happen? Someone says no? Someone ignores me? So what? Rejection is a thing. Build a bridge, and get over it.

  2. DEVELOP A CONSISTENT SKIN CARE ROUTINE.
    This one’s obvious. Wash your face, kids. Invest in a cleanser, toner, moisturizer that’ll make you want to fall in love.

  3. LAUGH AT YOURSELF.
    Please, for the love of God, do not take yourself so seriously all the time. You’ll say ridiculous things. You’ll do ridiculous things. Laugh!

  4. KEEP LEARNING HOW TO COOK.
    I only know how to make two signature dishes - fettucine alfredo and chicken pesto paninis. Must keep learning. Must keep feasting.

  5. SPEND AS MUCH TIME AS YOU CAN WITH YOUR PARENTS.
    The simplest joy. Mornings where I can make myself a cup of coffee, sit in the backyard, and enjoy a few minutes with my parents are magical. If you’re fortunate enough to have your parents around, take advantage of moments like these. Talk to them, ask them questions, laugh together. They won’t be there forever.

  6. IT’S OKAY TO BE VULNERABLE.
    The world around us pushes us to mask our emotions. We’re told that it’s a sign of weakness. That heartless attitude is such a stab at human growth. It stunts us. It takes us backward, and lately, I’ve found myself more and more angry with this mindset. If you love someone, and they love you, be proud! Be happy!
    Let your heart vibe with another’s.
    Life’s too short to hide behind walls.

  7. LEARN TO SAY NO.
    To friends, family, and even your co-workers. Say no and be comfortable with that. If you don’t want to go somewhere, then don’t. If you don’t want to switch shifts, then don’t. It’s not an obligation. Say no and be selfish with your happiness and mental health!

  8. ALWAYS KEEP A SMILE ON YOUR FACE.
    The best compliment I’ve received this year is, “You’re always smiling. I appreciate that about you.”  It’s the most underrated accessory. Sprinkle some sunshine, sunshine!  

  9. LISTEN.
    I talk way too damn much. About anything and everything. Give me a topic, and I’m yappin’ away to anyone within earshot. I’m frustratingly stubborn. Argumentative - even if my argument makes no sense. I could realize, mid-argument, that I’m completely missing the mark, but I’ll keep going. Not the smartest thing to do.
    I’ve been trying to talk less and listen more.
    It’s a struggle.
    I’m learning.

  10. FOLLOW UP WITH IMPORTANT MATTERS.
    From your grades, to car payments, FAFSA, ANYTHING! Follow up and be consistent. There are deadlines to be met with practically everything and the quicker you catch mistakes, the less anxious you’ll become. Trust.

  11. SPEAK UP FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE (or don’t) BELIEVE IN.
    Your opinions MATTER!!! Your thoughts MATTER!!! Express them. Write them down. Unless you’re being hateful and awful, then shut your mouth. No one needs more negativity thrown into this chaotic world.

  12. GO OUT THERE AND VOTE.
    I learned how to vote this year! We live in a country where we’re given a legitimate voice. Again, use it. Take advantage of it. If you didn’t (or couldn’t) in 2016, then I hope in 4 years, you reconsider and get out there!

  13. SOMETIMES FRIENDSHIPS FADE …. AND THAT’S OKAY.
    People grow apart. People you trusted your secrets with, people you thought would be in your wedding’s bridal party one day, people you believed were your soulmate in a friend-type of way. People who swore that they would always be there for you no matter what.
    It’s hard. It hurts. It happens.
    But hey, you can only wish them the best. That’s all.

  14. CONFRONTATIONS SUCK, BUT YOU HAVE TO DO IT.
    That’s kind of why I used to actively avoid it. Not a smart idea. Don’t bottle your emotions in. Don’t bite your tongue when you have something that needs to be said. Confrontation is so scary, especially for me, but it’s something that we all have to deal with.

  15. GIVE YOURSELF A DAMN BREAK, DUDE.
    No, really. You have your whole life to work. If you need a day off, then ask your boss and treat yourself! Reminder: mental health breaks are 100% needed (and supported)!!!

  16. PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE.
    Whether it’s in class or at a public event, stop holding yourself back from the fear of someone else’s opinions or thoughts. Get comfortable in your skin. You’re stuck with it forever.

  17. BUY A JOURNAL. USE IT.
    Easily the most underrated, therapeutic thing you could do for yourself. If you don’t own a journal, take a trip down to Target and please buy yourself one. You’ll thank me later.

  18. DON’T BEAT A DEAD HORSE.
    If something isn’t working anymore, then cut it out. Stop dragging it on. Don’t exhaust yourself or anyone else that may be in the situation with you. Plain and simple.

  19. IT’S OKAY TO ASK FOR HELP.
    No one’s going to penalize you for it! Things get overwhelming sometimes, and you won’t always have the answer, so reach out to someone you trust and ask for their help.  
    Don’t let your pride stunt your growth.

  20. TRY SOMETHING RISKY.
    Whether it’s a new outfit, a new place for dinner, or hey, starting a blog - try it! There’s no harm in trying.

  21. LOVE YOURSELF.
    I say this often and every day to anyone who listens. Loving yourself is a process, sometimes a difficult one. I understand that. You need to learn who you are, understand yourself, and ultimately, show yourself the love you deserve. Love is the greatest force in the world, and once you show that kind of self-care to yourself, I think you’d be unstoppable.
    This past year, I began to love myself fully, shamelessly, and without a single regret.
    I’ve begun to understand who I am. I know what I deserve. I refuse to tolerate the things I once did. It’s the most liberating feeling. And I deserve it.

And you, if you’re still reading this, you deserve it, too.

All photos taken by Amanda Lac.

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