My birthday is coming up soon, and I will be the great age of twenty-eight. I want to share with all of you some of the things I have learned along the way.
1- You'll Have Plenty of Love Experiences
When I had my first boyfriend, I thought that he would be my last and only experience. I thought we'd get married and I'd never have to go through the terrifying process of dating every again. The truth was, he was the first of many lessons, mistakes, experiences, and friendships. There were more love experiences waiting for me to slam my heart against.
2- Rejection Is A Part Of Life
Rejection sucks, but it's something you're going to have to re-live over and over again. Whether it's a rejection from a job or love interest. All we can do is learn how to react in a way that's mature, self-loving, and healthy.
3- Hard Work Matters
A lot of us grow up thinking that G.P.A. and our luck on state exams is the most important thing that matters. But the reality is, that's hardly the truth. What matters is how much effort you put into something. I didn't grow up being the smartest kid in the neighborhood, but I sure as heck understood how important it was to really put my all into something.
4 - Bullies Never Stop Existing
Whether you're 6 years old being pushed around at recess, or you're in your 30s in the corporate world, you're going to have toxic people around you trying to find ways to make you feel less-than. You just need to learn to roll with the punches and be the bigger person.
5- But Even Bullies Are Suffering, Too
It's not an excuse for a bully's behavior, but it can help us understand why the behavior is happening. Bullies often have a sense of entitlement, lack of compassion, and have an impulse to control. Sometimes the best thing to do is to avoid it from affecting you.
6- You're Going To Need A Thick Skin
The world is fuckin' nuts. There are a lot of mean people, screwy situations, and a lot of walls you're going to walk into. Learn to develop a thick skin that won't really affect your overall life experience. Sometimes you gotta just shrug it out, and keep it movin'.
7- Be Confident About Your Strengths
We need to acknowledge what we're good at (along with acknowledging our weaknesses and asking for help when we need it). You suck at charts, but you're really great at formulating an argument? Awesome - own it, perfect it, use it.
8- It's Not Normal To Date Someone Who Makes You Feel Like Poop
When I tripped into the dating arena, there were a lot of things I did wrong. There were also a lot of things I just didn't understand. But one thing I've learned is that our partners are as human as we are. They are flawed. However, this doesn't mean that an abusive or toxic relationship is the norm. A good relationship is one that's honest, but also uplifting, encouraging, and loving.
9- Happiness Isn't Dependent On Love
Sometimes we think that romantic relationships can somehow rescue us from unhappiness - that's hardly true. Love is great, and it feels good, but it will not guarantee us happiness. Happiness is something we need to work on, on a individualistic level. You can be in the best relationship with most amazing person, but there will always be other factors in our personal lives (and even mental health) that can leave us feeling down in the dumps.
10- A College Degree Isn't Super Special
But you're probably already know this (or you're quickly learning this). A college degree is sort of becoming a standard, not necessarily something that's fascinating to have. With that said, it's important to start setting yourself apart. Gain some experience, develop something new, learn how to market your strengths.
11- Travel, Your Hometown Will Always Be There
When I was about 21 years old, I had the itch to leave my hometown. I wanted to experience something different, meet new people, explore new places. So I left. Then after that I bounced from city-to-city. I know my hometown will always be there, and if I have feel the desire to go back to it, I will.
12- Keep Calm, Shit Will Work Out
Calm the heck down. The more we freak out, the heavier our stress or burdens. Failed an exam? Fucked up a work document? Said something terrible in the heat of a moment? Just own up to it, apologize if need be, learn from it, and keep it moving.
13- The High School Bullshit is Just High School Bullshit
Remember how popularity in high school used to be one of your biggest goals in life (it actually STILL might be for some of you), let me tell you that all of that ends when high school ends. We get thrown out in the real world here people don't care how popular you were, or that you were teacher's pet. They care about your hard-work, ethics, character, efficiency, and what new things you can bring to the table.
14- You Should Learn OUTSIDE Of The Classroom
Not only should you learn outside of the classroom to avoid the cookie-cutter resume you might hand to a potential employer, but there so much you won't learn in a classroom. The classroom is not going to provide you with the knowledge of how to deal with a diverse work culture, how to behave professionally, how to tackle probing issues, how to communicate with difficult people, how to provide solutions that come from experience (and a lot of mistakes). Take what you've learned in school, and develop it further and gain knowledge that hour-long lecture won't provide to you.
15- No Two Relationships Are The Same
What works for you and your relationship, might not work for someone else and there's. What is also true is that your past relationship won't be a mirror of your current (or next) one. We can learn from our past relationships, but we need to understand that we're going to learn a whole lot more! Every person is different, and even they themselves change depending on what stage in their lives they are in.
16- Let People Be Mean, They'll Bury Themselves Just Fine
So, here's the thing about toxic people: they'll bury themselves on their own. Don't feed into the toxicity, don't entertain it, don't be a part of it. Just learn to stay clear and focus on you.
17- Make Your Happiness A Priority
When you're happy, everyone else around you will be happy to. What I've learned is that when we neglect our own personal mental health and happiness, we are essentially stripping our lives from just a good life experience. Dude, this is your life. Live your life in a way you know will make you happy.
18- Learn Humility
I have learned quite a bit over the past 28 years, but it doesn't mean I am perfect. I am gorged with imperfections and mistakes. I say sorry when I know I am wrong. I mend things I've torn it apart. I am not wholly better than anyone and vice-versa. I think one of the most important skills to have and develop is humility.