I've done some pretty neat things in my 20 years of living. I've certainly grown up faster than the average 20 year old as I spend my birthday at my full-time job. People, places, and experiences have truly made my life something magical and I couldn't go through this day without acknowledging that life is pretty freaking cool sometimes.
Here are some of my favorite (and hardest) lessons that 20 years of life have taught me. Enjoy!
- Happiness is always the right choice.
Sometimes things go wrong. Things can go terribly, horribly, insanely wrong. It's really easy to get frustrated, sad, angry, unmotivated, or all the above. Forcing yourself to be happy is the fastest way out of a funk. It still might take a while, don't get me wrong. But forcing a smile, making yourself turn off that depressing playlist, and watching funny cat videos is sure to make you feel better soon enough.
- Don't pick your friends. Let your friends pick you.
I spent a good portion of my life scouting out the people I had to be friends with - the popular ones, the pretty ones, the hipster ones. That's the easiest way to be disappointed. They might like you enough to grab dinner or invite you out one weekend. But when there's a birthday, wedding, or death in the family, those are the ones who aren't around. More often than not, it'll break you in half and make the happiest day or the saddest day that much more miserable. Let people pick you. Let them come to you and say, hey I think you're cool and awkward. Time will pass and when they're still around, you'll know it was meant to be.
- Set your own standards.
There's this strange rumor going around the globe that you have to achieve a certain salary, job title, and lifestyle to be successful? Does anyone know who started that? Because I want to punch them in the face (with kindness, of course). But seriously... take it from a girl in the real world, they're lying to you! Now, if that's what you really want then by all means, go for it. Someone's gotta do it so it might as well be someone who really wants it not someone who thinks they need that to make it in this world. Don't make someone else's set of standards your own.
- When you don't know what you want to do... Try everything.
Four years ago someone told me that college was the time to figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life... They need a reality check. Yes, I have a job. Yes, I love it a lot. No, I am not sure if it's what I want to do forever. If it is, then I should play the lottery because I'm a damn good guesser. If it's not, in a few years, I'll try something else. And guess what, that's ok!
- Go to concerts, a lot.
Music is something that has really helped me through a lot of really low moments in my life. All the while, it has helped me remember the really high moments too. I'm a sucker for live music and probably won't go a week without it ever in my life. If you're anything like me, I strongly suggest checking out the live music scene in your area. If you need help, let me know!
All the time. Never be still, until you have a spouse and a family - then you can stay. I have met the most fascinating, exhilarating people all over the world. Some are still my penpals, some are my future business partners, and others are my new coworkers. It's amazing what visiting new places can do for your network of friends and inspiration. Moving away from home, as much as I love it, and experiencing what this beautiful world has to offer has been the best decision I've made in 20 years. Yes, it can be expensive. Yes, you might have some uncomfortable conversations. Yes, it is absolutely worth it.
- Be Optimistic.
Life is guaranteed to get better or your money back. So keep at it. Don't give it up. You can do it. I can do it. Together, we can rule the world with kindness and love. Let's see what being a twenty-something has in store. I'm 111% sure it's going to be the best year yet, but I'll keep you posted.
Now it's time to dance on tables and eat cake for breakfast because it's my birthday!