Birthdays are a great time for reflection. It is another built-in time throughout the year where you can reflect on your previous 365 days around the sun. I’ve compiled a list of 26 things I’ve learned so far in life. I’ve learned more than just these 26, but these are great ones to share.
As we go through life we are given opportunities to grow and develop constantly. We learn lessons along the way. They influence how we act, solve new problems, and think about ourselves. Here are 26 things I’ve learned in my 26 trips around the sun.
- Be kind to others
This is the hill I will die on. You can never be too kind to others. Sometimes doing a kind deed or saying a kind word changes someone’s whole day and might be just what they need to keep going. Be kind. Kind to yourself and to others.
- Spend the money
It is okay to spend money. It is also okay to save your money. There are times though where it is much better to splurge on the trip or getting something new. Quality items cost more. We can’t take money with us when we die.
I’m sure you’ve seen the fact that it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile. Spend more time smiling at strangers. Smiling with your family. Smiling with your friends. Smiles are contagious. The more you smile, the happier you’ll be.
- Drink the extra cup of coffee
Just my personal preference, but I’ve never regretted drinking an extra cup (or two) of coffee. Call me Loreli Gilmore because I would take coffee in an IV if I could.
- People don’t think or talk about you as much as you think
Those preteen-teenage years are full of worry and thinking more about what others think than what you actually think. Once you get out of high school you realize it doesn’t matter. People are more concerned about themselves.
- Dogs are better than cats
Dogs are superior. Prove me wrong.
- Failure is a part of life
As a perfectionist failure isn’t fun. I like things to line up and fall together nicely. Life doesn’t work like that. And it isn’t supposed to! If everything worked out perfectly I wouldn’t have this list to write you. Failure is where we learn and grow.
- Family matters
Family is important. 9 times out of 10 I drop what I’m doing with my nieces and nephew’s call. A minor inconvenience for me is making their day and it is so worth it. I don’t always enjoy playing Roblox, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
- Reach out to your friends
This goes hand in hand with my last point. Friends can also be your family. As much as I love spending time with my family, reaching out and connecting with your friends is equally important. Even if it is a little text to tell them how much you appreciate them. A little goes a long way.
- You can’t live your life defined by other expectations
Read that again. Other’s expectations have no chain on your life. Don’t compare your timeline to your friends or even a stranger on the internet. Everyone is on their own path and comparing yourself to others and letting that comparison define your day is doing you more harm than good.
- Don’t lower your standards
For anything. Don’t lower them for a job. For a relationship. Or for a friend. You have your standards for a reason and the right people will meet or even exceed your standards. Keep your standards high.
- Always keep track of your money when you are traveling
This one is kind of silly and also serious. I misplaced my wallet changing gates once. Thankfully I have great friends who paid for me on the trip and nice parents to overnighted my passport to my hotel so I could get home. I was lucky this time but it isn’t always that easy.
Looking for fun places to travel? Look here!
- Not everyone will like you and you won’t like everyone
This has been a hard one for me because I want to see the good in everyone- I usually do! There are a handful of people that in my gut I know they are bad news. Trust your gut. But also know others will feel that way about you. It’s a blessing in disguise.
- Your dream can and should change
Rapunzel’s dream was to see the lights. She saw them and her dream changed. Sometimes, we don’t get to see the lights. Our dream changes on the journey to the lights. It might not always be fun to realize you have a different dream but the journey is more important than the destination.
- Your worth is not defined by others
Read it again. Write it down. Speak it onto yourself. Your worth is not defined by others. You decide your worth. Not opinions from when you were a child. Not opinions from coworkers or your boss. You, only you, decide your worth.
- Karma works in both directions
When you do good, good things happen to you. When you do bad, bad things happen. Karma works both ways. Spend your time doing more good.
- Take time to play with a child
This is coming from my early childhood background but we can learn so much from sitting down and playing with a child for 5 minutes. Children have a beautiful view of the world and we need more of it.
You can read more about my philosophy on education here.
- Life is not about always being in a relationship with someone else
It might be a cliché to say you are working on yourself. Sometimes you need to get true about who you are, your boundaries, and how you want to live life before you can be with someone else. Enjoy the time you have without a significant other.
- Find something to be grateful for every day
Gratitude is a gamechanger for your mindset. When you live life being grateful for the opportunities in front of you, you will see more great things in life. Start each day with a grateful heart.
- Nobody knows what they are doing – we all make it up as we go along
I remember being young and thinking when I was 16 I would know all these things. And when I was 16 I thought when I got to college I would be living this crazy perfect life. Then in college, I thought once I got a job I would have it all figured out. And now I am 26 and don’t have it figured out. I find comfort in knowing that nobody does.
- You don’t need to drink to have a good time
As a 26-year-old, I’ve had a few sips of alcohol. I’ve never been drunk. Never gone out drinking. I’ve never purchased any alcohol. Some of you may roll your eyes at those sentences, and that’s fine. But you don’t need to spend your money and get drunk to have a good time. You can if you want to, but it isn’t necessary. It can be a slippery slope when you start drinking regularly.
- A Netflix binge is always a good idea
I mean, get your main things out of the way but if you need a day to binge Bridgerton. Do it. There is nothing wrong with spending a day being lazy. Sometimes we need it.
- If someone is pressuring you to do something you are uncomfortable with – they are just using you
I am a creature of comfort, almost to a fault, but I like being comfortable and do things that are in my realm of comfort. However, if people, coworkers, friends, significant others, family members are pressuring you and you don’t feel comfortable with it you can do something about it.
Voice that feeling. But if they continue pushing it, find an opportunity to step away from it. People who matter will care about what you are feeling and thinking. People who are in it for themselves, won’t care about your thoughts and feelings.
- Your “dream job” is just a job
Y’all. This needs a post of its own because it has been one of the most recent things I’ve learned. My “dream job” turned into a nightmare and made me realize as much as I wanted that job, it was just a job. Life goes on and I can create a “dream job” that is perfect for me. Don’t focus so hard on your dream job when there are great things and people around you to love on.
- Life is about people and experiences – not things
This goes back to spending money. Now you can spend money on things, clothes, makeup, etc. OR you can spend money on experiences with people in your life. Still, be money conscious but spend more time and money creating experiences instead of having an “Instagram” perfect life.
- Taking care of yourself is not selfish
Self-care is looked down upon for some reason. Saying no to things you don’t have time for, or aren’t important to you is okay. You need to take care of yourself so that you can show up for the world in the best way.
There you have it! 26 things I’ve learned in 26 years. I hope your main takeaway is treating yourself and others with kindness and respect. You can never be too kind to others.
What’s one of life’s lessons that you have learned? Let me know in the comments! Or follow me on Instagram and let me know there!
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