July 04, 2016

The Most Important Things I've Learned in 30 Years

After writing, reading, and editing this list, part of me thinks it’s all very cliche. And maybe it is, but these things have become valuable to me nonetheless. Maybe they’re cliche because they’re lessons everyone has to learn? Either way, these are my thoughts behind some of the most important things I’ve learned in my 30 years.

1. Live in the moment.
At a very young age, I learned that life is precious. It really can be taken from you in an instant. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t learned this when I did, at the tender age of 12. I never did anything reckless as a teenager...never stepped outside my thoughts on what was safe. I was too scared. “What if something happens” was always in the back of my mind. But then, I had a sense of maturity and wisdom most kids didn’t have that pretty much shaped me into who I am today. All of this to say: enjoy where you are right now. Try to put down your phone, step away from work, and be present.

2. Take chances.
I’m a very strong believer in doing things outside your comfort zone. It’s a great way to grow as a person and challenge yourself. Have you been eyeing a dream job, but don’t feel confident in your ability to get it? Tighten up your resume and portfolio and go for it! Do you want to befriend the girl you work who has her cubicle covered in things you also love? Making friendships as an adult is hard, but ask if she’d like to hang out sometime - you could end up being great friends.

3. It's ok to make mistakes or admit that you were wrong.
This is one I struggle with on a daily basis. I’m hard on myself. Like, really hard. I’m working on this though, because as much as I try to do everything just so, no one is perfect. I also think one of the biggest things you can do as an adult is to swallow your pride and admit when you are wrong. If you said something hurtful, forgot to do something, or just inadvertently screwed up in general...apologize. Say you’re sorry. Both parties will feel better and it creates trust when people know you have the ability to fess up to a wrong-doing.

4. Be kind.
It always eludes me why people cannot just be nice. It makes me mad to hear people judging others or talking about them behind their back. What does that do for you? Does it make you feel superior in some way? It shouldn’t. Everyone deserves kindness. It especially irritates me to hear women putting other women down. Build each other up instead - help a fellow lady feel confident and put a smile on their face.

5. Stop caring about what other people think.
There are always going to be people who disagree with your opinions, think your dress is ugly, judge the things you eat, give you the side-eye about the laundry pile in your bedroom, or any other number of things. Guess what? Who cares?! Those people are not you and do not live your life. You do you, always.

6. Surround yourself with awesome people.
Find your tribe, as they say. Everyone needs a support system! Spend time with family and friends who will build you up and make you feel loved and valued. If there’s someone in your life who constantly brings you down or fills your life with negativity...they’ve got to go. Obviously be tactful about it (don’t say “bye, Felicia” and be a jerk yourself), but what does having a person like that in your life do for you? It probably just makes you disgruntled and you should probably share your friendship with someone else.

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