So now that I’ve been 20 for 4 days, I’m pretty sure I know everything. Ha, yeah just kidding, I still know nothing at all. Even though I’m still learning things every single day and I won’t ever stop learning new things, there are still some things that I have picked up in these two decades of living. I thought I’d share them in this little casual chit chat post, because some of these things are thoughts and feelings I wish I could have heard from someone else while growing up. Like I said, I still have a lot of learning to do but here’s just a little bit of what I think some people might need to hear.
1. It’s okay to not know what you want
I always felt like I was doing something wrong by not being one of those people that has wanted to be a doctor since they came out of the womb or were born knowing a timeline of their future. Sure I had hobbies and passions and things that I loved doing, but I couldn’t tell you exactly what I wanted to do with my life and that caused me to force myself into believing I wanted to do certain things. Now, even though I have that part figured out a little bit more, I’m still not 100% sure where I’m going to end up, but at least now I know that, that is perfectly okay.
2. Drink water
I know you probably want to fight me after reading that because everyone hears it like a million times when asking for advice for just about anything, but it’s true y’all. Water is so important; drink up.
3. Be kind to others
I remember when elementary/ middle school me thought that having an attitude and acting like my life sucked so hard was the cool thing to do. What really sucks is that I feel like that’s common during that awkward stage in life, and that’s not cool. It literally costs nothing to be kind to others. The worst that can happen is that they are rude to you anyways but at least you know that you’re being the best that you can be no matter how they react. I strongly believe in karma and just being kind whenever you can. We need more nice people in the world, and being rude isn’t cool.
4. Your journey does not have to be the same as someone else’s
This is a conversation I still have with my best friend to this day. I think society conditions us to believe that we should all be at a certain point in our lives at a certain age or time. We’re made to think that everyone’s life should contain similar events happening at similar stages in life. Growing up this took a toll on me but I’ve come to realize that your life is completely unique to you and no one should be comparing it to someone else’s, especially you. Not everyone goes to college, not everyone has their first kiss in middle school, not everyone buys a car as soon as they get their license, not everyone gets married. There’s no one perfect life, our lives are all shaped and designed to specifically fit us and no one else.
5. Say how you feel
I’ve had to learn this one the hard way and probably on more than one occasion, but I think I’m finally getting it. There’s pretty much nothing I won’t tell you if it’s on my mind and within reason. I know it sounds easier than it actually is, but if you like someone, just tell them. For all you know they like you too but don’t know how to tell you either. If they don’t feel the same way back and they end up breaking all contact with you because of something as silly as that, then why do you want them in your life anyway? Also, always voice your opinion on things that matter to you. Never feel like your opinions aren’t relevant.
Whoever said laughter was the best medicine, really knew what they were talking about. I love to laugh and I love to be happy and I promise that there is not one day that goes by where I’m not laughing at something.
7. Your true friends will always be there
My friend group from middle school that contained over ten people for sure has shrunk down to three. I have three best friends who I know will always be there for me. I have three best friends who I can count on whenever. I have three best friends that wouldn’t change no matter how much time and space was put between us. I remember crying in middle school when two of my so called best friends wrote me a letter saying they didn’t want to be friends with me anymore. Honestly ten year old Caroline, get a grip. You can’t save a friendship that only you are willing to uphold. Just let it go, it might hurt a little bit at first, but you’ll be okay I promise. You might not have been meant to be friends forever but you can still always wish them the best in your heart.
8. Do what makes you happy
Whether that’s making short films, learning about the different molecules that make up the human body, or running so far that your body starts to feel like it’s flying; do it. You are the ultimate source of your happiness so don’t let anyone else hinder it. Always, always, always, do what makes you happy and eject yourself from toxic situations immediately. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for doing something you love.
9. Step out of your comfort zone
Doing something that scares you might end up being one of your favorite experience. You’ll honestly never know if you don’t try. Sure, being comfortable and sure of what’s going on is nice, but experience, growth, and taking risks are important too. I’m not saying you have to jump out of an airplane… but I’m also not saying not to? ( Or whatever is your equivalent to jumping out of an airplane, you know?)
10. Take pictures
I love candids. My favorite moments are always saved in my memory but taking random photos when people are just living and not paying attention is so organic and makes for the best photos. I’m always the one behind the camera and love looking back at all the small moments I’ve captured that might not have been that obvious but mean something when I look at them.
11. Be yourself
This might sound like an obvious one, but it’s easier to get lost than you think it might be. At a young age we’re all so impressionable and sometimes we morph to be like the people around us so that they like us and so that we fit in. Stop that right now and let your true colors shine. I promise that’s the cheesiest line you’ll read from me today, but it’s true. It’s so freeing to just be yourself and not care what others think. Trust me, you’ll have a lot more fun that way.
12. Be mindful and practice gratitude
Life gets hectic and it’s very rare that we remember to just stop and breathe. Remember each day to take a moment whether it’s first thing in the morning or right before bed to think about what you are grateful for that day. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, but practicing gratitude is something that I have made part of my every day routine. Being mindful is another one that has become my best friend. Take the time to pay attention to how your body feels, be mindful of your breathing. Pay attention to your surrounding and be aware of how you feel and what you are experiencing in every moment. Stop worrying about something that happened yesterday and what you can expect tomorrow and pay attention to now.
13. Dance like no one’s watching whenever you can
I have made regular dance parties a part of my every day routine. The best part is, you don’t have to be a professional! Just let go and have fun to your favorite music. Drop it low like you’re at the strip club making those coins or express yourself through your most inspiring modern dance routine. It’s so therapeutic and you’ll even burn some calories without even feeling like you’re working out!
14. You deserve more than what he never gave you
Most of us have probably had feelings for someone and most of us have probably had our hearts broken. It took me a long time to stop thinking, maybe I should have acted differently, then he wouldn’t have stopped trying; maybe I’m just not pretty enough; maybe that’s how everyone’s gonna treat me so I better get used to it. Sometimes I still have doubtful thoughts about boys and relationships, but I remind myself that I deserve better than someone that didn’t treat me like I deserve to be treated. I deserve better than someone who hurt me and didn’t care. Don’t bring yourself down just because someone couldn’t realize the queen that you are.
15. Eat your fruits and veggies
Y’all know I’m vegan right. You had to see this coming. But seriously you guys, fruits and veggies are so important no matter what kind of diet you follow. They fill your body with so many nutrients and leave you feeling amazing. Your body tries its hardest every single day to function and be the best that it can for you so feed it with amazing fuel!
16. Yes that ice cream was worth it
Yes I just talked about fruits and veggies, and yes I am a health and fitness freak, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know how to have my ice cream and eat it too. Although I might not indulge as much as others, I still do because I truly believe it’s good for the soul. I know that treating myself every once in a while won’t hinder my health journey and will make me happy, so why not?!
17. Puppies are in fact the best
Do I really need to elaborate on this? Have you ever seen a puppy? Yeah, enough said.
18. Don’t skip meals
Breakfast is in fact an important meal, but so is every other meal. There is also no magic number of meals that you need to eat every single day. Eat when you’re hungry and eat until you’re satisfied. Don’t let your tummy go empty, care for it.
19. It’s okay to want to be alone
I’m a pretty chill and keep to myself kind of person but I also know how to socialize. I like to think of myself as an extroverted introvert. After being in a large crowd or spending the day with tons of people, there’s nothing I love more than just spending the day with myself afterwards. I love being with my friends and family, but I also love being alone; and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with only wanting the company of yourself and maybe a good book. If that’s what you feel like you need then listen to your body.
20. Be nice to yourself
This is me telling you that it’s okay. You’re doing okay. You’re going to be okay. Don’t beat yourself up over every little thing. It’s easier said than done, trust me I’m still working on it, but it’s important. You try your best every single day and that deserves reward enough. Not everything will go the way you planned and there will be times when you aren’t satisfied, but be nice and love yourself every step of the way.