21 lessons from 21 years

Hi friends! For those who may not know me, today's my 21st birthday. While for many, that may mean gulping down large amounts of alcohol, I've decided to spend the next few days with family and friends soaking up the things that make me happy (and also sipping on a margarita or glass of bubbly legally now). In starting another year, I always try to look back at the past year, and with a milestone birthday like 21, I tend to look a little farther back than that. I figured I'd share my 21 life lessons from the past 21 years with you. 

1. You can do anything, but not everything.

This is something I've talked about before- set high goals, and make work towards achieving them every day, but don't expect yourself to do everything you have to do to reach 5 years worth of goals in two years. It's okay to have high reaching expectations, just don't overwork yourself. 

2. Kindness costs nothing, is the easiest thing in the world to do, and will always make you feel better. 

I stand by the idea that helping others is the best way to spread a good mindset. It takes very little effort to smile at someone, hold a door open, or just strike up a conversation or check in with someone. 

3. Your energy will introduce you before your words do. 

If you have a negative or needy vibe to you, the people around you will pick up on it before you even open your mouth. Try to cultivate the type of energy you want to give off. 

4. You are the person you will spend the longest amount of time with. Treat yourself as such. 

Spend your time making your relationship with yourself something you're proud of and can lean on in rough patches. 

5. Don't complain about something unless you can find a solution to fix the problem or a suggestion to make it better. 

This is a rule I'd LOVE to instate in our sorority, in most office environments I've worked in, in my family, in my friendships, in every aspect of my life. I think it's crucial to put out positive vibes to offset negative ones, and complaints bring everyone down.  

6. Sometimes doing the "wrong" thing or the unexpected thing is the best thing. 

There are times I've jumped head first into a situation when everyone around me told me not to, and it's turned out to be the best choice I've made in a while. Case in point- when I ran for President in Gamma Phi- a lot of people discouraged me from doing it and biting off more than I could chew, but it's been one of the best experiences of the last year.

7. It's okay to make mistakes. 

You will never be perfect. Accept it now and have fun making mistakes. 

8. The best way to change something is from the inside out. 

If you don't like the way something is, find your way into the middle of whatever it is that's bothering you and start rocking the boat. Make some noise and make some change. (For example, I've had a lot of problems with the stereotypes surrounding Greek Life, especially within Panhellenic communities nationally and I wanted to change that from the inside out through my chapter). 

9. Confidence never hurt anyone. 

Yes, confidence can come off as cocky. But guess what, it's okay to toot your own horn. It's okay to congratulate yourself on a job well done. And it's okay to be proud of yourself just for being you. 

10. Being enthusiastic is the best way to live life. 

Don't be afriad to fully feel the ups, fully feel the downs and enjoy every strong wind that comes your way. I'm a believer in living life passionately and fully- get MAD, get SAD, get HAPPY, get EXCITED. It's ALL GOOD in the end! 

11. Lifting up others doesn't bring you down. 

It will never ruin your career path to help someone else out. It will not make you a lesser candidate or friend or coworker to help someone with their struggles. Yes, the idea of "putting your own oxygen mask on before helping others" still applies, but guess what? You'll have time to help yourself and help others. 

12. Learn to accept that there some apologies you will never get. 

There are times you're going to want to hear that long, sweet sincere apology from your ex. And guess what? You're never gonna get it 9 times out of 10. Write yourself that apology and MOVE ON. You will live a brighter life without time wasted over lack of closure. 

13. You will never waste time spent in the sun. 

The sun cures all sadness and evil. That's it. 

14. Gifts aren't only for special occasions. 

I believe in celebrating the little things. Celebrate small and big accomplishments and moments in your friends' lives and families' lives. They deserve it, you deserve it, we all deserve it. It will make you a more thoughtful person in the long run. 

15. Give back to the communities that raised you. 

In any way- time, money, efforts. You will understand that much more how they shaped you. 

16. Your attitude changes the situation more than the actual sequence of events does. 

This is something my dad taught me- something called the 90-10 rule. 10% of a situation is what actually happened, and 90% is your reaction and attitude. Shape your attitude and change it to a positive one, and the situation will be that much better. 

17. Showing your true self is never something to be ashamed of. 

I'm gonna use some strong language here, but fuck people who can't take you for who you are. (I have no other way to say it, that's how strongly I feel about it). You are you, and no one should treat you as if that's a bad thing. If me showing my affectionate enthusiastic self scares of 75% of romantic interests because they can't handle it, I'm not going to change for them. 

18. You don't have to follow the crowd, in fact, it's more fun not to. 

Do what you want to do. If everyone else is going out on Friday, and that bottle of wine in your fridge and your Netflix are reaaaaallllly calling? Just stay in. If you're feeling like catching up on the news instead of the latest episode of the Bachelor, that's cool too. It's not your job to stay up to date on current news, current trends, current whatever. It's your job to do what you want and make sure you enjoy YOUR time. 

19. Question what's handed to you. 

This is another thing my dad taught me- do not blindly accept any sort of doctrine or information given to you- even by an authority figure. Just ask questions like why? and how? and they'll get you further than you expected. The more you question, the more you learn. 

20. Recognition goes a lot farther than you think. 

The best thing I learned from my sorority is how to cultivate recognition. Telling someone "thank you" or "good job" or "I appreciate you" is never a bad idea. I often (read: ALL THE TIME) feel underappreciated and overlooked and like my work is something I do constantly without notice. More often than not, I'm not the only one feeling that way. Going out of your way to recognize someone and what they're doing will make more of a difference than you realize. 

21. "how you love yourself is how you teach others to love you- rupi kaur

Cultivate a relationship with yourself that sets the standard for all other relationships in your life. 


Hope y'all enjoyed my little insight from my corner of the world! What are your life lessons?