May 24, 2018
How many times have you seen this exact blog title or one super duper similar? Yeah me too. That’s why I hesitated to write this. But I’m not going to tell you the cliché things like “life is short” and “call your mom” and “go to that party because you’re young!”. That’s been done to death. Sorry to all the other people who’ve written similar things, but it’s just trendy to say the things we all want to hear. I’ve learned those lessons in my 21 years, but I’m going to make my list a bit different. It’s not going to be pretty, but I promise it’ll be true and real. Let’s go!
– Religious or not, you need faith to hold on to. It can get you through anything in life if you have faith that things will be okay and all work out in the end. Even if faith is just in yourself, you got this. Don’t be afraid to be faithful.
– Don’t suffer through a bad job or a bad friendship if you’re unhappy. Your mental health is way more important than staying in a toxic relationship or negative job. You’ll make new friends, find a new partner, or find other jobs that you love and make you feel good. Don’t put up with being treated less than you deserve, quitting isn’t the worst thing you can do. Especially if it’ll help your health.
– Change your look! Don’t be scared. It’s just hair. My pixie cut freed me of a lot of weight that was holding me down. I’d always wanted it and was tired of being judged and told “you’ll look like a boy” or “are you a lesbian?” It’s 2018. Chop your hair off, or just change your style if you need to. It’ll make you feel awesome.
– This is so painful, but you gotta do it. If you make a mistake, you have to own it and deal with the consequences. It’s unfair to do something wrong and not admit it. Owning your shit is a huge grown up adult thing, and we all have to do it at some point. It gets easier to own your mistakes each time because you’ll learn and grow from it all.
– If you’re being bullied, say something! I don’t condone violence, but don’t just keep it a secret. Tell a parent or trusted adult. If someone tries blaming you for something you didn’t do, stick up for yourself! You deserve to be treated with respect and kindness, and if you’re not, advocate for yourself. This can also be good in medical situations. If you think something’s wrong, push for yourself to be checked out and don’t settle for no answers. You deserve to be seen and heard and treated with respect. Always.
– I have a long list of excuses in my head. I use them all the time. I tell myself I can’t workout today because I have a headache, I’m busy, I’m scared, I feel sick.. They’re all bullshit. I’ve learned that you need to push yourself physically and mentally and make no excuses for yourself. No one cares why you can’t do something, show them why you can. Fight your fears and your excuses and just do it.
– My dad passed away when I was 8. If my mom didn’t have a camera glued to her face my whole childhood, I’d have nothing but memories that fade of my dad. I now have videos and pictures of all those moments together that keep him alive in my heart. So document everything, just trust me. You and your kids and family will thank you later.
– Some people peak in high school, make lifelong friends, and are super involved with their school and sports…. That person was not me. High school was terrible for me. If high school is terrible for you, here’s my note: IT GETS BETTER! College is a whole new world. High school has a lot of drama, and college is where you find mature friends and relationships, study things you’re actually interested in, and can live your life as an adult. College is amazing. Even if you loved high school, life gets that much better when you go off to college.
– You never ever know what someone else is going through. Always be considerate of their feelings and emotions. Even if they seem so out of line, just try to listen and see what they believe to be true, because then their actions and attitude will make more sense and you can work through things better. Have an open mind and never judge anyone.
– It’s terrifying, but it’ll help you so much. Also, don’t settle for crappy psychiatric help. If you’re unhappy with a therapist or treatment plan, go look for other opinions and other people. There’s so many resources out there, don’t give up because of one bad doctor or therapist.
– Don’t wait to build your credit. Even if it’s just a store credit card and you barley use it, start learning how to budget money and pay off credit cards. I’m 21 and my credit score is amazing. When I have the money to, I can get loans, buy a car, or even a house because I’ve built up a great credit with my cards. It’s worth it to just bite the bullet and learn how to deal with money as early as possible.
– You’re 70 and want to learn Spanish ( I’m talking to you Grandma Linda!) DO IT! You’re 30 and want to go back to school, DO IT! You’re never too old to learn, grow, and pick up new hobbies!! It might seem scary to go to college as an adult or learn a new language, but it’s possible. If it makes you happy, learn it, do it, go for it!
– Family isn’t always blood, and blood isn’t always family. The people closest to you, who you think of as family or are family, they’re the purpose of life. Relationships, love, happiness, and friendships are the point of life to me. No physical item we have will go with us when we die. What we leave behind is an impact. An impact on family. How much we loved them. Memories with them. That’s all that matters.
– You can be 15 or 60, you need a date night. A night with just your partner to have fun, relax, and spend quality time together. It’ll help you stay connected when your lives seem so busy. Sometimes Isaiah and I are running on opposite schedules, but date nights are our way to connect again and have some fun!
– Do what you love. Your money will not matter when you’re on your deathbed. When you look back at your life, you’ll wanna say “I was so happy and did what I loved” not “Wow I was so rich”. If you want to peruse a career in art, do it. Who cares if you don’t make the most money?! Are you living a happy life doing what fuels your soul?! If you have the passion to be a lawyer or doctor and just so happen to make tons of money, great! But don’t settle for a job or career or a person because it’s what’s “right”. Do what makes your heart swell with happiness and love.
– Wear sun screen, wash your face, have a spa day, eat healthy foods, exercise.. take care of yourself and protect yourself. All the things that may seem tedious, like taking your makeup off before bed, it’ll actually help you. Take your medicine and drink lots of water. Care for yourself.
– Any situation that you leave with an uneasy feeling, seek closure. If you’re feeling guilty about something, if you feel like you deserve answers, if you just need to say goodbye to a place or person.. get that closure. I’ve learned that closure helps me move on and live a more positive life without guilt, fear, and an unsettled heart.
– Life is hard. Everything is hard. Trying new things is hard. School is hard. Jobs are hard. Just push through and don’t give up if it’s something you’re really passionate about. Hard work does pay off, just keep taking one step at a time and you’ll reach your goals, and they’ll be so worth it.
– It’s painful, I don’t even know how painful since I had an epidural. But once you’re pushing for that baby to come out, it’s the least scariest thing you’ll ever do. Once you see that baby, you’ll have a whole new set of fears ahead. Giving birth isn’t the scary part. It’s doing right as a mom or dad to that baby. But the fears are what will drive you to be a phenomenal parent (and most fears are irrational when you’re a new parent too, your baby’s poop looks normal, stop googling it!) But don’t fear being a parent, it’s the most rewarding thing in the world.
– Forgiveness is so powerful. “The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive” is my favorite quote ever from ‘Looking for Alaska’ by John Green. I even have a tattoo for it. Forgiveness also sets you free of suffering, it shows you that you can’t change things, but forgiveness can help you move on.
– Life is a gift. It can be taken away at any age at any time. Every morning my first thought is “thank you God” followed by “Gabriel stop jumping on my stomach”. Even the worst day of your life is still a good day because you’re alive and here! Always be humble and thankful for every opportunity you’re given and each day on this beautiful Earth.
Picture Credit: Madison Ham (Madison Photography) in Wichita, KS