Being called a baby by many, is a huge pet peeve of mine. If only they knew they life I have lived and how early I had to grow up. But, I’ve also been told I’m wise beyond my years. That being said, I’ve taken some time to look back at this year and I’ve put together a list of things I learned at 24.
24!? Shocking, I know. Most people think I’m 16 going on 17 and still think I’m in high school. But…I’m actually 24 going on 25 with a college degree and an actual job! I know, I fool myself too sometimes.
There’s a quote I love that says:
There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”
–Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
A lot of times I always wondered if we were supposed to recollect the life lessons based on New Year’s or your actual birth year. I like to think your birth year matters more. And as far as what kind of year this was for me, I think that this year did both—I asked a lot of questions, and I got a lot of answers.
24 things I learned at 24
1. Share parts of yourself with the world.
As human beings, we crave connection. Don’t be afraid to parts of yourself out in the world. Don’t be afraid to share parts of yourself. The world needs more lovely people, and the only way for the world to know that you are lovely, is for you to share your beautiful soul. It makes you human. Don’t forget that you’re human.
You can choose to share only the good times, you can choose to only share the bad. But neither choice makes you complete. It’s finding that balance and showing the world that you may have the time of your life some days, but other days you’re also down in the dumps and could use a pick-me-up. Balancing these things and sharing them with the world, whatever platform you chose to do so, makes you a lovelier human being. Don’t be afraid to be human.
2. Reach out to people more, get that face-to-face time.
You have friends, you just have to reach out. Look back at all the friends you used to have at one point and lost touch. I’m sure half of them live in the city you’re in. If not, I’m sure one of them knows someone that lives in the city you’re in. Reconnecting with old friends is a thing. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But you’ll get a few that stick around for a while. Just try it.
Reach out to people who were good to you in the past. They will be your only connection to the good times you burned away, because that time of your life was one you just wanted to make disappear. But reaching out to them to try and find pieces of yourself is a good thing. Some of them will stay, some will not, at least you tried. But I guarantee you’ll remember something you forgot and it will lead you one step closer to healing.
3. Dating apps help you figure out what you want.
I recommend trying dating apps if you don’t know what you’re looking for. They are a way to ask yourself questions and really figure out what you like and what you don’t like. You start to be confident in your favorite movies or foods or music. It builds character and preference. It also helps you build individuality, a sense of uniqueness.
But mirror who you are behind the swiping with who you are in real life. Don’t create two personas for yourself. Get out and meet people. Figure out your boundaries, your wants, your needs. Try dating apps. But know that it’s okay if they’re just not for you. You don’t have to necessarily know what you want, but be aware that odds are, everyone there is also not sure what they’re looking for. That being said, if he tells you that he’s moving an hour and a half away but still wants to keep in touch, only through social channels…RUN GIRL. RUN.
4. It’s okay to feel things for people.
Even if they don’t feel anything for you. Especially if they don’t feel anything for you. The feelings you have are yours. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s just all in your head. If they reject your feelings, good riddance girl. Someone is going to love you more than they ever possibly could.
It’s okay to feel things for people, even if they don’t feel the same way you do. You’re not a child for having feelings. You’re allowed to feel, you’re human. Feeling things is how you grow. Sharing feelings is how you grow. Understanding your feelings is how you grow. Be confident in your feelings. Having feelings makes you human, don’t ever forget that.
5. Love isn’t the only thing on the list of things you want.
This was my priority in life for a long time. And I know I’m not the only person who feels that way. And I know that sometimes it seems that way, that you are so strongly moved by love and you want to run after it constantly. But I know you have other dreams and desires! They may be as simple as cooking healthy meals to writing a book.
What are the things you’ve always wanted to do? Do them. Don’t know? Have fun figuring them out! Give yourself the time you deserve to do what you love. Love will find you when you’re doing what you love and aren’t looking so feverously for it.
6. Make reading a priority.
Reading helps you write. Reading helps you learn. Reading gives you new perspective. Reading helps you escape. Reading will inspire you. Reading makes you confident.
Non-Fiction, Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Mystery, Lists, News. Whatever.
Read, read, read, read, read. I cannot tell you how much this helps you grow.
7. No one can fix you, but you.
If you want to start healing, you have to start with you. If you are constantly trying to find someone to fill a void or love, it will never be enough. Because you alone are enough. Let me repeat that: You. Are. Enough.
And you need to fill yourself up with love before you go looking for it from someone else. You are the only one that can heal your past and breathe life into your future. Anyone else is welcomed to join you for the beautiful ride.
8. Learn how to do your makeup or have someone teach you.
You’ll feel really beautiful afterwards. In an odd way you feel more adult. Like you some how have your life together. You wear it to feel confident. You wear it for YOU. Not a boy or your mom, not for work not for going out—you wear it for YOU.
And you’ll start to realize sometimes you don’t really need it. Those are the best days.
9. Create! Create! Create!
Create stories, artwork, meals, friendships. Whatever.
Creating gets your brain working. Until you start to doubt. Creating without fear is something I’m still working on, but creating things is what makes you more human and more in touch with you. And you gotta find ways to love you more right? So, create.
10. Take advantage of free shit.
Seriously. Half the stuff I did this year in my life was free.
11. Go see your favorite band by yourself.
There is nothing wrong with doing things solo, especially things you love. You’re more in tune with what the universe is trying to tell you when you’re enjoying something you like by yourself. Just tell fear and anxiety they have the night off.
No one is judging you. Have yourself a fan girl moment, you deserve it. Know that your best friends will casually bring it up because you sent them a recording, but that’s your moment. Live in it as many times as you need to remember that you touched Chris Martin.
12. Take advantage of things you already pay for.
Amazon Prime Now is amazing. It doesn’t make you lazy, it makes you efficient. The Public Library is yours, you technically own it. Stop buying books on impulse and read a free book before you buy it. If it changes your life, then buy it on Amazon or Half Price Books and add it to your bookshelf.
13. Show people how much you love them by showing them how much others love them too.
Throw someone you love a surprise party or dinner. Their face will be priceless. It will make you feel amazing how much they feel loved.
Making others feel loved is the best source for joy and fulfillment.
14. Travel helps you see the world in a different way.
Traveling is the best way to learn something—about the world, about yourself. Do more of it. Once a year check another country off your list. Embrace yourself in the food, the culture, the people. Travel with eyes wide open. Listen to your heart and your mind. Let the universe unveil your eyes and teach you something.
But pace yourself, it’s a big world and you have your whole life to see everything.
15. Traveling with friends can be fun…sometimes.
Sometimes this works out, sometimes this doesn’t. But you’ll never know unless you try.
16. Splurge on a really good meal every now and then.
Sometimes it’ll make you legit cry, cuz it was just that good.
This is the best way to Treat Yo Self.
17. It’s okay not to drink.
You’ll still have fun, I promise.
Just let loose. You don’t need a drink to do that. Tap into your inner child and bring out that robot on the dance floor again.
18. Playing music is a form of therapy.
You’re never too old to learn a new instrument, or pick one up that you’ve been meaning to dust off the shelf. But make sure you do it to make you happy. Play by yourself, take a lesson, play with other people. Whatever you need to feel the therapy kick in. Music should be a form of therapy, not something you don’t like doing.
19. Sometimes you need a break from all the chaos.
Whether that’s a relationship, politics, social media—whatever causes you stress. You deserve a break. You can take one. The break is for you, no one else. And when you find what works, you can continue to take these breaks as long as you need to.
In that time, have meaningful conversations with people, enjoy silence, try new things. Whatever you do, it will help your relationship with those close around you and with yourself. The growth you gain from this will feel more fulfilling than having someone just like your Instagram picture. And I know that that high is hard to compete with, but it’s worth a shot.
20. It’s okay not to know all the answers.
You don’t have to have everything figured out. Sometimes we will enter seasons of our life where things seem quiet, and there are pauses in the answers.
This is okay. This is normal. Just enjoy the ride!
21. Just say yes.
Even when you don’t want to go out, even when your bed seems like a better option. But, make sure you find a balance. Listen to your body. Use each experience as a way to learn something. Open yourself up to the universe and the universe will send you a sign.
22. Get outside more.
Hike, take a walk, lay under a tree and read a book, or don’t read a book—just get outside. Vitamin D is like the body’s way of chugging an espresso.
Being outside and in the moment makes time go by a lot slower.
23. Beauty comes from within.
For the longest time I hid my inner beauty for fear of rejection. For the longest time I showed my beauty to people and never got the same in return or got casted aside for showing it off and just trying to make people feel good about themselves. But, this year, I proudly (and anxiously) dusted it off and brought it back to life. And although, I still got rejected I managed to realize what made me, me. And guess what? I’m still alive and better than ever.
Whatever your beauty is, whether it’s being caring or artistic—whatever makes you light up and feel waves of love and bursts of sunshine inside your heart? That’s your beauty. And the world needs more of it. So don’t hide it anymore, keep showing the world what makes you, you.
24. Focusing on yourself is not selfish, it’s super important.
Don’t worry so much about pleasing everyone. It gets exhausting after a while. If you want to stay home one day and binge watch a show while in your unicorn onesie and eat popcorn and pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner, girl, you do you. It’s important to do what you want and recognize your needs. Take time for you. You’ll feel reenergized and able to give whoever wants to hang out, more focused attention when you’re charged 100%. But balance it, don’t just stay home all the time.
Taking the time to embrace your season of singleness, and I mean really embrace it, is 100% worth it. Focusing on loving yourself is equally important as trying to find someone to love you. It’s so vital that you take the time to love YOU. It’s not weird, or selfish—it’s important. You should always be the first love of your life.
So…Happy Birthday to me!
And…Happy Birthday to you! If today is your birthday, or it’s coming up soon. Take what you want from these things I learned at 24, I hope they inspire you to reflect on your birth year and see the Lovelee Lessons life had in store for you. I already know 25 will be filled with a lot more.
Photo by: @the_testudine in San Gimignano, Italy.