It’s hard to believe that exactly one year ago I was concluding three of the most amazing months of my life. I look back on my year and I feel nothing but happiness. It’s undoubtedly been 365 days filled with adventure, explorations, hard work, laughs, love and learning. I jokingly tell people that I feel like I’ve learned more in the past couple of years than I ever learned in my four year of college. But really, life has taken me down one truly unforgettable path – one that continues to unfold in magical ways. Last year when I started traveling and writing I began a list in my journal entitled, “25 Things I’ve Learned by 25.” For whatever reason I never published it on my blog. Recently, as I was going through my things and reminiscing I found my travel journal and began flipping through the pages. Low and behold I came across my unfinished list and was reminded of the important lessons I’ve learned as a twenty-something. My 26th birthday is upon me (sigh) and I suppose it’s finally time to share my 25 by 25.
25 Things I’ve Learned by 25
1. Your parents are usually right. Listen to them.
2. Diets are ridiculous. The key to a healthy life is moderation, exercise and positivity.
3. You cannot feel the magnitude of love from those closest to you until you love yourself.
4. Always take care of the ones who take care of you.
5. Experience will bring you far more places than a degree.
6. The worst of jobs will humble you and pay off later in life (McDonalds, Janitor, Car Wash – I did it all!).
7. Never allow a relationship of any kind to hold you back from following your dreams.
8. Always send thank you cards, no matter how small the deed.
9. Expensive jewelry is a waste of money. Who really knows the difference?
10. Go to class. And LEARN.
11. Remember birthdays. Always remember birthdays.
12. Stay in touch.
14. Turn off the TV. It does little to benefit your life.
15. Forgive those who hurt you and do not try to justify retaliation. Those people are fighting their own battle.
16. The people who test our patience the most will be our best teachers.
17. The things kids are exposed to at a young age will strongly impact their entire life.
18. Be the most positive and enthusiastic person you’ve ever met.
19. The sooner you accept the fact that things change, the happier you will be.
20. Don’t cry over car problems. Just don’t. (Sorry dad..)
21. Enjoy and appreciate food – the taste, the aroma, the privilege to have it.
22. Take pictures. They are the best memories.
23. WINE. Drink it.
24. Sleep. Not a lot, but enough. It will be the difference between a bad day & an amazing day.
25. TRAVEL – IT IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL.
Exactly one year later and I still agree with each of these. Okay, number five is questionable. I don’t think I’m allowed to say that now that I work for a university.
I guess the only way to conclude my 25 by 25 would be to add number 26. It only seems right. So for now, here is my last piece of advice:
26. Learn to trust God and understand that there is a bigger plan in place. Too often we overwhelm ourselves with the problems of every day life – We don’t get hired by our dream job that we wanted so badly and feel like we’ve missed the best opportunity of our life. Our car breaks down at the worst possible time and we just can’t grasp WHY it’s happening now. The love of our life decides they’ve moved on and we just can’t picture a life with out them. Keep the faith people! As my mama taught me so well, it always works out.