It’s my birthday today. If you’re reading this, the best present you could give me is being here on my blog and interacting with me, so I hope you’ll take some time after you finish reading today’s post to comment on this list!
So, for my birthday this year, I wanted to share 25 life lessons I’ve learned in my 25 years on Earth!
1. MONEY IS MONEY, NO MATTER WHAT FORM IT IS IN
I remember when I was a child, I was embarrassed when my Nana scrapped together several dollars in quarters for me to use on a movie ticket. So much so that I decided not to go to save myself the embarrassment. But, $7 is quarters is still $7. You should never be ashamed of how much money you have and in what form it is in.
2. PEOPLE LEAVE OR STAY UNINVOLVED FOR THEIR OWN REASONS
I always used to tell myself that I was the cause of people leaving my life or being uninterested when, in fact, it was those people who decided to leave my life or stay uninvolved. Now, I refuse to get upset when someone decides to take off. It doesn’t happen often, so I know it is that person’s heart rather than my personality.
3. DON’T LET SOMEONE USE YOU FOR YOUR CREDIT SCORE
Jonathan and I once rented a house with a “friend.” We knew him personally, but we admittedly didn’t know much about his finances. He ended up signing on to a lease with us after using my credit score to be able to rent. He often had money troubles and ended up leaving the house with a ton of his junk left in it, which resulted in a long night of cleaning and throwing stuff away from Jonathan and I.
4. YOUR AGE DOES NOT LIMIT YOUR WISDOM OR CAPABILITY
You often hear people make comments about how someone is naive because they are young. But, being young doesn’t mean you are naïve or any less capable than any other person. By the time I was 23, I was the features editor at a newspaper. My age didn’t stop me, and I’ll never let it stop me in the future.
5. CHANGE YOUR FREAKING OIL
I’m not too savvy when it comes to cars. I got my car when I was in college, and rarely had much money to take care of it. Instead of getting my oil changed, I would just put more oil into the car. That resulted in my car breaking down on Christmas Eve the first year I was married when I was on my way with Jonathan to his family’s house. Just. Change. Your. Oil. People.
6. YOUR FAMILY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER
When I was in middle school or high school, my mom and brother saw a turtle trying desperately to cross the road. They asked me to get out and move the turtle along, but I decided instead to shoo the turtle in case it was a snapping turtle. 10+ years later, it is still a topic of discussion when turtles come up.
7. SIMILAR SITUATIONS DON’T ALWAYS END THE SAME
Just because similar incidents happened in someone’s life and it didn’t end well, that doesn’t mean the same will happen to you. Every life, every person, and every situation are different. Only God knows how it will work out.
8. MARRY YOUR BEST FRIEND
Of all the relationships I’ve been in (three to be exact), I’ve never had more fun or felt more loved than I do in my marriage. That’s because Jonathan and I are best friends and were best friends first. I guess it is true what they say: the third time’s the charm!
9. LIFE IS BETTER WITH GOD IN IT
At the time of writing this, I woke up with a splitting headache. I decided that I would listen to some Christian music and my headache slowly drifted away. God will always be there for you, even in the darkest and hardest of times. I wish I would have stuck by Him more when I was a teen and young adult.
10. BUT NOT ALL OF HIS PEOPLE ARE GOOD
Good is an arbitrary word, really. Christians aren’t always so Christian. This is something I’m still struggling with. In the past two years, people have refused to shake my hand, demanded to know where I’d been, not tried to get to know me, and so forth. But, that won’t shake my faith. That just means we haven't found the right place yet. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some wonderful people who have come into our lives.
11. EVERYONE NEEDS TO LIVE IN A CRAPPY APARTMENT AT LEAST ONCE
I firmly believe that everyone, at least once in their lives, has to live in a crappy apartment to understand life. Have you ever had a panic attack after seeing a giant roach crawl across your wall? Have you ever had a pipe burst and had the crappy management team do absolutely nothing about it? No? Then, do you really appreciate your current and better situation?
12. PROTECT YOUR HEART AT ALL COSTS
At the end of the day, you have to live with yourself. There is no use in making yourself miserable because of some stupid boy or a bad family member. If someone is toxic to you, remove them. Don’t keep putting up with people who make your mascara run.
13. PRACTICE SAYING “NO”
I still struggle with this a lot. If I could tell my younger self something, it would be to practice saying “no.” I love people, my job, my family, and myself. But at times I need to say no to hanging out, doing more than my job description, visiting when I don’t have the money, or buying something for myself that I know I can’t afford.
14. SPEAK EVEN WHEN YOUR VOICE SHAKES
When I think back on my years, I think about the times where someone tried to best me, but I spoke up and talked back. Some of the most influential people in the world, like Dr. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and others all spoke up when they felt something was wrong, and they changed the course of history. I refuse to be a door mat, no matter who’s dishing it out. No matter if it is a church official, family member, coworker, etc. Know your worth and speak up.
15. JACK BLACK IS THE FUNNIEST MAN ON EARTH. FIGHT ME.
There are only a few people who I love so much that I’ll see anything they are in. Jack Black is one of them. I love him so much. Not like a creepy “I stan this guy who is like 20-30 years older than me.” More like, “I wish he was my dad,” lol. He would be such a cool dad. Is that weird?
16. EVERYONE EDITS THEIR PHOTOS. EVERYONE.
Until recently, I would get really bummed when I saw these gorgeous women on Instagram and wonder how they could be so flawless. The answer: they can’t be. Not naturally anyway. So, I am now a strong believer in photo editing before uploading. Sue me.
17. CATS LOVE CARPET… A LITTLE TOO MUCH
I knew that cats really liked to claw at carpet, but I wasn’t prepared for my cat Rum Tum to rip a hole into the carpet at the house we were renting with the credit score moocher. She ended up being kicked out of the house and had to live with my mom and grandparents for a few months until we moved. I’m happy that our current residence has hardwoods.
18. HEAR PEOPLE OUT
Even if you think that what they’re saying isn’t worth much, or if you think they’re having an emotional response, listen. Their words may help you better understand a situation or realize something you didn’t realize before.
19. WASH YOUR DISHES AS SOON AS YOU FINISH USING THEM
If you’re not fortunate to have a dish washer, washing your dishes after you finish using them will help you keep your kitchen clean. I have gotten into the habit of taking some extra time after breakfast to wash my pan, plate, and fork. It keeps the sink free of dirty dishes and leaves me one less thing to worry about later.
20. SPLENDA IS FROM THE DEVIL
Maybe it is the way I used it, but I tried to substitute Splenda for sugar in a cookie recipe and the cookies tasted SO awful. I would never do that again. I think stevia may be a good option. But, if you have suggestions, let me know.
21. MOST PEOPLE REMEMBER YOU FOR ONE THING
It doesn’t matter if you were young and dumb or if you’ve changed your stance or feelings about it. No matter what, you will always be remembered for one thing in someone’s mind. One moment that will forever define how they perceive you. Lovely.
22. DRINK WATER OR FEEL LIKE CRAP
Gone are my days of surviving on potato chips and Pepsi. I’ve noticed that when I drink hardly any water, I feel like crap. It’s called dehydration people. Be like Bobby Boucher and stay properly hydrated to avoid withering away into high fructose dust.
23. BEST FRIENDS DON’T NEED TO TALK ALL THE TIME
My best friend Jeremy lives in Georgia and we don’t always talk, but I can always hit him up to vent or to visit. My best friends Lauren and Tyler have a jobs and lives and we don’t get to talk super often, but we are always down to hang out together. Your relationships should be about the quality of your time together, not the quantity of it.
24. SKINNY DOESN’T ALWAYS MEAN SUCCESSFUL
My weight has always been a point of stress for as long as I can remember. I have told this story before, but I actually had a “friend” tell me she never thought I’d be successful, find a husband, or have children because of my weight. Look at me now, chick!
25. POLITICAL DISCUSSIONS ARE WORTHLESS. DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME.
Most people who have strong enough opinions on politics to write about them on the internet are very concrete in what they believe. So, arguing with them about their stance is pointless and causes unnecessary stress. It can also ruin friendships and relationships. Just stop.
Well, that’s my list of 25 life lessons I’ve learned in my 25 years. I hope you enjoyed and maybe learned something from my life! Maybe I’ll make this a yearly tradition.