1. Your parents are your greatest resource
Despite being highly independent and wanting to learn things on my own, my early 20′s have been all about realizing that my parents may actually know more than I give them credit for. Whether it’s 100 phone calls home asking Mom for help with cooking for a dinner party, or calling Dad to get business advice, my parents are always there for any questions I may have – with no judgement.
2. There will be days you’re not crazy passionate about life – and that’s okay
I’ve always maintained that I will never stay in a career that I am not passionate about, or partake in activities that I am not passionate about. Sometimes this passion fades… Sometimes it’s all about survival… And that doesn’t mean your life sucks. It just means you have to refocus, hang on, and the passion will come back. If you lose passion for everything in your life – odds are it is something more than just your career or just your hobby. Hang on – it will get better.
3. People will not go out of their way to make you feel like you fit in
Whether you join a new club, church, or small group…whatever it is…. don’t expect everyone to go out of their way to include you. If you sit awkwardly in the corner and don’t try to engage people, they’re not going to engage you. It’s up to you to approach people. Some people you won’t mesh with right away, others you will… Just keep introducing yourself and making an effort and you will eventually find your group.
4. Some traditions will time themselves out, and it’s best to let them do so
Whiskey Wednesday was one of my all time favourite traditions… Friends, whiskey, and some of the most ridiculous conversations I’ve ever been a part of. However marriages, kids, careers, and life have made it more complicated than fun anymore… If you have to fight to keep a tradition alive, think about whether you’re gaining anything from it anymore, or if it’s time to retire it as a great memory.
5. Movies can inspire you… regardless of how ridiculous their premise is
The best grades I ever got in my life were the year after Legally Blonde came out. That movie, despite it’s complete lack of realistic circumstances, inspired me to become a lawyer. A few legal studies classes made me realize it wasn’t my dream, but for a whole year I was inspired by a blonde “bimbo” who ended up in law school to chase a guy. And that’s not so bad.
6. Some people will never be happy for you. And that isn’t your problem.
There are some friends that it doesn’t matter what you start, what new adventure you go on, or how big the changes in your life are, they will have something negative to say about it. “It’s just a phase” “That’s a stupid idea” “You do the weirdest things” If it makes you happy, ignore them. They’re projecting their negativity over their inability to change on you.
7. Most people want to give back – they just don’t always know how
Granted, if they tried a little harder, they could find a million ways, but at the end of the day, most people want to do good in their community. Given the opportunity, they will step up. Just post something on Facebook or Twitter asking for a recommendation – people are pretty quick to recommend somewhere or someone they had a good experience with. This isn’t because they get anything from it – it’s because they want to help.
8. Random gifts from the heart are the best gifts
My family doesn’t do much for Christmas and Birthday’s anymore… We’ll all adults and buy what we want anyways. But randomly, my mom will buy me gifts that she knows I need. Like a fan when it’s 36 degrees in my condo and I keep forgetting to pick one up. Or a humidifier because I don’t have one. Or a football cake pan because she saw it and thought of me. Those gifts mean so much more because they’re unexpected and meaningful.
9. A good song can indeed fix even the foulest of moods
It doesn’t matter how my day has been, what’s on my mind, or how stressed I am, the second Good Vibrations or Don’t Stop Believin’ come on the radio, for the next 3-5 minutes, I don’t have a problem in the world. Every. Single. Time.
10. People’s words don’t always represent who they actually are
Sometimes I am shocked by the words that come out of my mouth… I don’t know if it’s nerves, social awkwardness, or just straight up stupidity, but sometimes I say things that are so against who I am and what I stand for that when I think back on it I just want to facepalm. While I am a huge believer in guarding your words, sometimes mistakes happen… Don’t judge people on one statement.
11. When you say you are going to do something – do it. Regardless of whether you want to.
There is nothing more frustrating than when someone commits to something and then last minute either has a change of heart or a better offer. If you say you will go somewhere or do something, suck it up, put a smile on your face, and do it. If you’re unreliable, you will become known as the flake. And nobody wants to be “that person” in the group.
12. Hugs are essential for survival
I am biased on this one – I have studied the impact of physical touch extensively. Human beings take comfort from physical contact… Hugging someone will make you bond closer with them, be more comfortable around them, and make you both feel better. Just make sure the other person is okay with it first, please.
13. You actually are what you eat
What you are consuming can make a huge difference on how you feel. When you start eating to fuel yourself instead of to fill yourself, you’ll find you have increased energy, decreased mood swings, and feel better about yourself.
14. Shit happens
Sometimes, shit just happens. Whether it was unavoidable, because you weren’t paying attention, or just because you were lazy. It happens, we all experience it. Acknowledge it, correct what you can and move on… You can’t change it. Don’t let it ruin the rest of your day, week, month, or year.
15. Debt happens fast
One minute you’re speed shopping through Bed, Bath, and Beyond and the next minute you’re staring at your credit card statement trying to find the error. Build a budget. Track your budget. Stay within your budget. No matter how much you NEED the slap chop.
16. Sometimes you need to release your inner child
Someone told me I was too old to want to check out the new trampoline park when it first opened… As if. It’s okay to follow the desires of your inner child – whether it be a trampoline park, jumping in a pile of leaves, or destroying perfectly good friendships over a game of Monopoly. Some of the best memories of your life will be when you let your inner child take over.
17. Sometimes the best way to find yourself is to start new
When I graduated University, I packed up and moved across the world for a year. Nobody there knew my background, my personality, or had expectations of me. I got to start new and become the person I wanted to be with absolutely no resistance. And this person changed weekly as I discovered who I was and what I stood for. By the time I came home, I had a deeper understanding of who I am as an individual
18. The things that scare you the most will be the most fulfilling
I know you see this on a thousand different motivational posters, but seriously try it out… Once a month do something that terrifies you. Whether it’s skydiving, buying a new vehicle, approaching a stranger, or signing up for public speaking. You don’t have to do it again, just try it once. Your world will become a whole lot bigger very fast.
19. The peacefulness of nature will reset your soul
It is really easy to feel overwhelmed these days… There is never a second of the day where you’re not accessible, or surrounded by noise. Take time to enjoy nature. Turn off the phone (your Facebook will be there when you get back, I promise), put away your iPod and leave the camera at home. Just enjoy nature. The quiet and the peacefulness of it. You will walk away recharged.
20. Speaking of cell phones, remember life before them? That is what time with friends should be like.
There is nothing that makes me cringe more than when I see a couple on a date and they’re both playing on their phones. Or a group of friends sitting around the table checking their Facebook and Instagraming their meal, not talking to each other. When you are with someone, they deserve your undivided attention. As you deserve theirs. Put away your phone, and converse with the person in front of you. The others can wait.
21. Disney will give you unrealistic expectations about love
Prince Charming will find you, chase you down, and make you fall in love with him through his romantic gestures and kind words. And you will live happily ever after. This is what Disney has taught us we will find. And what we deserve. Realistically, Prince Charming is a bit harder to find than that… I don’t know about you, but if I lose a shoe, I am out a shoe. And that is the end of that story. If you do find your Prince Charming, there will be days he could have walked right out of a fairy tale. And days you want to kill him. He’s human… That’s life. Don’t expect him to always be a Prince if you’re not always a Princess. And ladies, lets face it… We all have our Evil Stepmother moments. Love is hard. Don’t give up because your life isn’t Disney.
22. Your early 20′s are about exploring and trying new things, but over-committing will leave you burnt out and not enjoying any of it
In addition to my full time job, I started training 4 times a week, and joined 4 boards. For 6 months, every night was running from place to place and sitting through meeting after meeting. All my love for all the things I was involved with became exhaustion and feeling like it was work. Yes, your 20′s are about burning yourself out, recovering, and starting again, but make sure to pay attention to how many hours are in a day and making sure there are enough to do everything you committed to.
23. Friendships will change, but it doesn’t mean they’re over
Through high school and probably university, your best friends were your life. You were in school together, you spent most evenings in the library or coffee shop studying together, and your weekends were laying on the couch watching movies saying that you should be studying. Then you graduate, one of you gets married or moves in with a significant other, and the other person moves to second place. Just because things are different, doesn’t mean that you’re not still important to each other. You may have to fight to keep the friendship alive through the initial transition, but you’ll find your place in each others lives again.
24. Sometimes a “sure why not?!” answer can lead you down a path you never expected to tread down
When a friend called me and asked me to sign up for a Spartan Race with her, I thought, “Hey why not… Should be fun!” Then I found a trainer and started strength training for it… Almost a year later, I am in love with weight lifting and am finding myself on the journey of getting stronger, healthier, and pushing myself more than I ever have. I never would have started down this path if I hadn’t said “sure why not” for that initial invitation.
25. The key to happiness isn’t behind a locked door that requires a complicated sequence of dance moves, followed by a password, followed by fighting a three headed dragon to get to – it’s gratitude.
If this is news to you – research the Law of Attraction and give it a try. If that sounds like too much work, just take a few minutes every day and recognize everything you have in life…. Even the little things. Be grateful for shelter, for shoes, for food. Give thanks for a family that loves you, friends that support you, and mentors who push you. Appreciate the education that taught you to read, the rights that allow you to vote, and the freedom to express your opinion. Be grateful for everything you have, and you will find yourself having more to be grateful for.