Don’t you just love how I’ve turned the term “investigates” into “self-centered blog post?”
What can I say, I’m a millennial.
Now that I’m officially a year older, I, in my infinite wisdom, have decided to impart my vast knowledge to you, highly significant reader.
Or. You know. I ran out of ideas for blogs or whatever.
That works, too.
Before we begin, I just wanted to tell you that 23 is my favorite number. The reason behind it is pretty stupid – one year I won a wall calendar after guessing a number between 1 and 50. I guessed 23.
The number was 2.
But I won anyway(and it was a dog calendar, so trust me, I won BIG). And from then on, it’s been stuck inside my head even since. It’s not in the Fibonacci sequence, but it’s a prime number, and it’s one of the number on Lost, so there’s that.
It was my jersey number when I played volleyball in high school(take that, Michael Jordan). I look for it on the string of lucky numbers on the back of fortunes from pseudo-Asian restaurants. If I try, I can see it everywhere.
And here I am – I’ve finally reached my favorite number. But what does that mean to me?
Here are 23 lessons I’ve learned in 23 years(though, let’s be honest, most of them I’ve only learned in the past few months).
- When in doubt, drink more water.
This is admittedly a weird one to start with, but it’s my only practical piece of advice. Literally half of my stress and anxiety problems are immediately solved after a good 8 ounces. Bottoms up.
2. Anxiety = failsafe, but failure doesn’t keep you safe.
I have a very healthy sense of fear(probably the healthiest thing about me). Anxiety, at its core, is a good thing-the body’s natural response in self-preservation. But it can also sabotage you, and it’s no guarantee of safety. The key is in learning what kind of fear helps you, and what hurts you. Which one to trust is a whole other battle.
3. Taking time for yourself isn’t selfish.
As an introvert, I can’t be around people all the time, even the ones I love. Believe me, if I’m spending time by myself, it’s not because I’m angry, or sad, or trying to cut you off. It’s actually more for you than it is for me; you don’t want to see me when I’m drained, and I definitely won’t want to see you. Give me two hours, and I’ll be right as rain.
4. Pick your battles wisely.
Earlier this week I reminded someone at work that “it takes two to tango.” There is a way to be both kind and strong, pleasant but resolved. It takes a balance of both to earn the respect of others.
5. Kindness is a choice.
I am not a naturally kind person. That’s why I make it a priority in my life – even going through the motions. I want to remain soft to this world, like when I was young.
6. Your company dictates your actions.
I’ve had a lot of different kinds of friendships, but what they’ve taught you on VeggieTales and Adventures in Odyssey was no joke: choose your friends carefully. Even if they don’t change your character, they will change your behavior. I’ve literally cut off friends because of this: if I want to be kind and strong, then I need to surround myself with those kinds of people, too.
7. Nothing excuses unacceptable behavior.
I’ve sometimes made excuses for people in my life for the ways they’ve mistreated me. A bit of empathy goes in long way in these kinds of situations. But just because there’s something “wrong” or “bad” in someone else’s life does not mean they get to treat you badly. If anything, it should show them how to treat you better.
8. Cut toxic people out of your life.
There’s a point at which, though redemption is possible, it seems unlikely. Newsflash: it’s not your job to save people. If you’re close to someone destructive, let them know they need help, and get the heck outta there. Their actions are their responsibilities, not yours.
9. Friendship is a two-way street.
This friend thing should go both ways. If you feel like you’re doing all of the favors or all of the work, it’s time to re-examine the relationship. Your time is too precious to waste on people who do not care about you as much as you care about them.
10. Relationships are more important than being right.
Moral disagreements are one thing; petty disputes are another. Too often pride can keep us apart from people we need and who need us. Don’t burn bridges when all you need is a little spit and elbow grease. Put in the work first.
11. Romance isn’t everything.
After 23 years of spinsterhood(save for a brief fling in preschool), I feel like I know just a little about being single. And honestly? It’s freaking great. I can watch whatever I want on Netflix. I can make plans whenever I want. I don’t have to figure anyone else’s wants or needs in my life, which is good, because I need all the clarity I can get.
12. Beauty does not equal love.
Like my mom always says, “a lot of funny looking people get married.”
13. Success does not equal happiness.
Duh. But this lie is more prevalent than you’d think. It’s found in families, churches, jobs, relationships, etc. Don’t be fooled – you can have all these things and still be miserable underneath it all.
14. Emotions are temporary.
As in, most emotions only last for a certain amount of time. One bad day does not a bad existence make. On the other hand, if you are consistently miserable, then obviously something needs to change. Maybe it’s your attitude; maybe it’s your life.
15. Change is necessary, but not always.
It’s good to get out and experience new things, but it’s not for everyone all the time. I moved across the state to go to college only to get a job in my hometown after graduation. And it’s everything I wanted.
16. Travel broadens the mind.
Maybe it doesn’t do much for your wallet. But I want to travel when I’m young(remember that responsibility thing? Yikes!) Relatively speaking, I’m pretty poor when it comes to leisure travel, but there are still ways to make it work.
17. Work for what you want.
This one is twofold: if you want something, you’ve gotta work for it to understand the value of it later. And if you’re not working for it, is it something you really want in the first place?
18. Responsibility is a habit, not a skill.
No one is born with the natural tendency to turn a light off when they leave the room. But there’s also no excuse for forgetting, either, once you reach a certain age. That’s what it means to be a grown-up: no excuses.
19. 85% of adulthood is doing something you don’t really want to do.
See your dentist. Make that phone call. Pay your car insurance. It’s like anybody else is gonna do it.
20. Youth is a mindset.
Take it from the girl who still played Pixie Hollow in high school. There’s more immaturity found in how you act than in what you like.
21. Expression comes in many forms; choose one and make it your own.
It doesn’t matter if it’s blogging or singing or dancing or acting or folding tiny swans out of gum wrappers. You are only here for a limited amount of time; use it to affect others for good using your unique talents and experiences. Tell your story in the best way you can.
22. Let yourself grow.
Circumstances aren’t the only things that change. You will, too. And that’s okay. You’re supposed to become a better person as you grow older, one that has learned from your mistakes. As long as you’re making progress, there’s room for the new you.
23. Stay humble.
You don’t know everything. You’re not good at everything. You’re special, but so is everyone else. You’ve been given your own individual gifts and opportunities; don’t waste them by focusing solely on yourself. Reach out. Tell your story in the best way you can.