Twenty years, Ten lessons

Let's make twenteen a thing. 

Now that we have that covered, I've decided to share a few (well ten because it's half my age, original-right?) life lessons that I have learned through all the mess-ups and random adventures these past years of celebrating the wonderful life God has given me. 

1. Say Yes. Personally, I have some hard feelings about saying yes all the time, mainly when I'm not super hyped to do that particular activity. But honestly, say YES! Why? For me, 9/10 times I end up regretting I did not go. The beach. The movie. Dinner. Going to the doctor's office to be someone's friend. Say Yes! I understand not being able to drop everything in the middle of the day and do something, but if you have time and the financial means- why not? What's stopping you? You will regret the things you never tried and later looking back you'll realize that it was a silly reason you didn't go.

2. Friends grow, change, and move on- and so do you. I've noticed (especially these past few years) that not only am I changing but so are my friends. And it's crazy because growing up we would experience things together- and now we are not. They are experiencing with their new friends just as you are experiencing with yours. I've also learned that your friend groups get smaller (but closer) and you have large ranges of acquaintances but a small group of friends. (Prime Examples: FRIENDS or How I Met Your Mother or That 70s Show or basically every sitcom). It happens and it is OKAY. The ones who are the most important in your life and truly care about you will make the effort to see and talk to you.  


3. Trust will be broken. It sucks- so much. The pain of having your trust in someone broken is a heart-wrenching affair, but it happens. You have the choice to forgive or to not forgive. I don't think forgiveness means that you have to trust them in the same way again (with such passion and reliability) but it means that you are willing to move forward and work towards re-establishing a relationship. 

4. Love happens when you aren't looking for it. I'm not just talking about being in a relationship love (boyfriend-girlfriend kind of thing), although that applies also. People walk into our lives for a purpose. Mostly it's when we aren't looking for it and that new friendship, that new love, blossoms and grows. It might not last forever, or maybe it does, but either way it happens when we aren't looking and those are the people that influence us the most. 

5. Surround yourself with people who are gong to lift you higher. Oprah Winfrey said this and in my book she is pretty darn smart. This quote is so relevant to the friends you make in high school and college and even after that. Be with people who INSPIRE you to grow, to believe, to understand.  Surround yourself with people who will push you and help you thrive and those who fill you up. Concern yourself with those who you are loving towards and be the person who lifts others up as well. Be a positive light and be around those who bring you light.


6. Do something that makes you slightly uncomfortable, everyday. This one is still kind of new for me. In fact it hit me in the face just a few weeks ago. Growing up my mom called me a "velcro child" because when I was uncomfortable in a crowd of people I would still stick to her side. Nobody likes to feel uncomfortable. So do something. It can be little. Just something that makes you feel uncomfortable at least once a day. It will probably always feel kind of uncomfortable and the goal really isn't to make you feel not uncomfortable, it's to try something new that you wouldn't have done otherwise. It is about experiencing. 

7. Find God. I believe in God, but to be honest I had to come to this on my own after many, many years of not really knowing what I thought or believed. For someone who went to catholic school since second grade until high school and then on to one of the more religious schools in the U.S. I honestly didn't really know who God was to me. I knew the stories, the Bible, what to believe and what not to believe. Honestly for me, God wasn't found in a church or in Religion class. In fact, He was found in the mountains (but that's a whole other story). When I say find God, it doesn't have to be in the same way I believe or even the way I experience God. Just try and discover what you believe. Religion is more than saying you believing it something, it is a way of life. Also, whenever something does not go exactly the way you want or is not the way you want, just breath. Take ten long deep breaths. Clear your head. 

8. Travel, even if it's thirty minutes away from your house. Over this past year, I've realized that traveling doesn't just have to be across the ocean or to another state- it can be thirty minutes away from your home. It is about discovering, experiencing, and learning. It is about understanding new cultures and people and be fascinated by them. The craziest realization I had while living in Europe is this: In America we always idealize going to new to places outside of the country and eating the foods while seeing the new cultures but the people we idealize, they dream about seeing somewhere that might be thirty minutes away from your house! I've been lucky to grow up in such a diverse city and I know a lot of people don't live in one of the largest cities in the world- but that doesn't mean that thirty minutes away from your house there isn't something to travel to and experience. 

9. Exercise really does make your day better. I have so much for more energy and that sore feeling, even though it kind of sucks, shoots the biggest smile across my face. That is hardwork. Plus it relieves stress and has a whole bunch of healthy reasons. But my favorite is the happiness and energy. 

10. Family is first. In my book, family comes first. They are my best friends and my support system. I know I am so lucky to have such a wonderful family and not everybody has the same family situation, but family doesn't have to through blood. It's those who support you and lift you up while loving you unconditionally. That is your family and they should always come first. I've also learned to take it easy on the parents, they are trying their best and love you.