This past Sunday I (finally) turned 21. Those who know me know that I am big on personal reflection and examining the ways I’ve grown. I’ve had more personal growth at the age of 20 than I could ever imagine. Some big things happened to me the last year. I had a dramatic and drawn out end to a not so good three and a half year relationship, further learned the importance of family, learned how to date as an adult, had one of those infamous gen-y “not-relationships”, and grew in my faith. Here are the 20 things I learned at 20:
1. Put God first… and the rest will follow.
2. Carry mini toiletries with you always… ESPECIALLY a tooth brush. You never know when you’ll be spending the night somewhere so go to target and raid their travel items section. My travel tooth brush, tooth paste, and face wash are the most important items in my make up bag.
3. Don’t kiss two friends… especially when you actually like one of them. It’s stupid and it’s silly. And trust me, you’ll save yourself from feeling very awkward later. Don’t dip into the same dating pool of friends twice. Just don’t do it!
4. Life goes on. No sadness is forever. You’ll get over things if you let yourself.
5. Stick to 1 drink… maybe 2… but definitely not 5. You may find yourself blacked out and coming to in a toilet bowl… don’t say I didn’t warn you!
6. If you have dietary restrictions, follow them. It’s better to not eat the fun food than to feel like crap hours later.
7. Stop assuming things… ESPECIALLY when it comes to someone else’s feelings for you. Don’t assume that they’re using you, really like you, don’t like you, or only with you because they’re bored. This just adds unneeded stress for you. The only person who can tell you someone else’s feelings… is them! And if it really is bothering you that much then talk to them. Figure it out. Move on. But don’t assume things that you don’t even know. You’ll drive yourself crazy.
8. Everyone has a story, secrets, a past, and drama of their own.
9. You’re better off with the guy you can be yourself around then the dream guy you get nervous around. It’s so much more fun and enjoyable to be around a guy you like and not have to closely measure and over think every word before it escapes your lips!
10. Your family loves you and will always have your best interest in mind. Lean on them when you need it. They’ll be there.
11. Your friends are usually right and deep down, you’ll know when they are right. LISTEN to them.
12. Relationships are a two way street. You give and you get. There shouldn’t be only one person giving while all the other person is doing is getting. But at the same time, give without expecting to receive.
13. You can’t change someone. Save yourself the stress and don’t try.
14. Staying positive is the best way to be in any situation. It’s always so easy to just pick out the negative in any bad situation. But that won’t make you feel any better. See the silver lining of the storm cloud and find something to be happy about. Can’t find any positives? Think of all the people there for you in your time of need and be thankful.
15. When you’re upset, you’ll find the most comfort in prayer.
16. Don’t settle for a part time position in someone’s life when you treat them like they have a full time position in yours. When a guy treats you like an option, even if you’ve fallen for him, it’s time to say BYE! You are always deserving of being someone’s first choice. Don’t settle for being an option just because you want to keep someone in your life. The guy worth keeping won’t have you be runner up to some other girl. Know your value. Know your worth. Know what you have to offer and give it to someone DESERVING of it -someone who puts you before anyone else.
17. Always be on the same page with the person you’re seeing or talking to at all, whether it’s your boyfriend, the person you’re casually dating, the twice a month hook up… whoever. It’s never fun to be the one who cares more. You should both be aware of the other one’s feelings and if you’re feelings differ, say bye.
18. When meeting new people, give them the benefit of the doubt. If you act cold and rude right off the bat without giving them a chance, you could really miss out on an awesome friendship.
19. Don’t go on second dates that you don’t want to go on. Not only is it rude to the other person, but you’re making yourself suffer as well. Don’t lead someone on and don’t torture yourself by sitting through an hour of dinner listening to him drone on about whatever when you rather be washing your hair or watching Netflix.
20. It’s better to be bummed out about the truth than happy believing a lie.
My main take aways from the last year can be summed up like this:
Know your worth and your value.
Put yourself first.
A positive outlook in a negative situation is crucial.
And just love, love, love until your heart hurts and find something to be happy about. Also: pray. Always pray. Pray when you’re sad, but pray when you’re happy too.
Here’s to turning 21 and beginning a new chapter in my life! I will be posting a photo diary soon of my 21st birthday!