Photos by Alex Stern
Today is my birthday! I'm officially 24 years old! Wow! Where has the time gone? It's been a crazy and fun time. I've loved a lot, cried a lot, moved around a lot, made some bad choices, made some good decisions, felt complete happiness, and experienced some of the lowest of lows. But, here I am 24 years old and still trying to figure life out!
What better way to celebrate your birthday as a blogger than to write a blog post about it? I wanted to be totally honest with you in this post so I hope you enjoy it. Life is filled with so many lessons. So without further ado, here's 24 lessons I've learned thus far in life.
Vanilla Cream donut by Five Daughters Bakery
24 Thoughts on Turning 24
1. Try everything. As a kid I always thought I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I "grew up" — a professional ballerina — but fast forward to present day and here I am still trying to figure it out. I've had six side-hustles in the past year (since we're friends I'm telling you that) and still have no idea what I want. Other job ideas I've thought about: editor-n-chief, actor, photographer, model, news anchor, store owner, stylist, writer, full-time blogger, and princess (until Prince Harry got engaged and that ship sailed).
2. Happiness is your greatest weapon. In life you have two choices, you can choose to be sad and miserable, or you can choose to find happiness in your circumstances. Only one choice is actually going to improve your situation. Choose happiness!
3. Don't quit your daydream. This one is scary guys! Deciding to finally follow your dreams is pretty intimidating. I always think to myself "what if I mess up" or "what if I fail" and maybe you're in the same boat. Here's what I've learned in my 24 years on Earth, you'll never know what can happen until you take that first step.
4. There's no such thing as a perfect time. If you're waiting for the perfect time to take the first step towards your dream, let me just be the first to tell you that timing isn't always perfect. In fact, you could be waiting around until you're 80 years old. Don't be that person. Carpe Diem!
5. You don't always get what you want. Previously I told you that I've had six side-hustles in the past year. Well, I've probably applied to 100s more. Guess what I never got any of them. This is a fact of life, but you can't ever stop trying.
6. Retail therapy is necessary. Carrie Bradshaw said it best, "I like my money right where I can see it... hanging in my closet." As cheesy as it sounds, retail stores are my happy place. I don't even have to buy anything. Window shopping will do, but I probably can't resist buying something. Find your version of retail therapy.
7. Being single is the best time to discover yourself. I was single for most of my 24 years (except for the last three and a half), and I'll never regret a minute of it. Singleness is a beautiful time in life to find out what you do and don't like. If you can't define yourself as an individual before you start dating, then you'll end up losing yourself in a relationship. So to all my single ladies out there, enjoy this time because it won't last but it's truly a gift.
8. Find true love. Biggest tip ladies: be VERY picky! You deserve the best of the best when it comes to love. Remember your value and don't ever settle. Find someone who lifts you up, pushes you to chase your dreams, encourages you to be the best you, and loves you equally as much as you love them.
9. Family is everything. I would not have made it this far if it weren't for my family. My mom has shown me that it's never too late to find your dream. My dad has shown me that true love is hard work, dedication, and always going the distance for the people you love. My sister has shown me that strength can conquer any fear, and there's no better friendship than that of sisters. These are my people.
10. Comparison is the thief of joy. This one is oh too true and always relevant. You're your own person, living your own story, and going about it your own way. In the 2016 Summer Olympics, Michael Phelps won a record-breaking race at 31 years old, meanwhile, his competitor sadly lost because he was too busy focusing on Phelps' race. Stay in YOUR lane and focus on YOUR race!
11. You're the only one standing in your way. "I can't" is the worst phrase and the quickest way to kill a dream. Before I started blogging, I had no idea how to design a website, take photos and edit them, manage and grow a social media account, and come up with blog post topics. It was a learning process, and I taught myself everything I know — praise the Lord for Google!
12. Take a trip. I love traveling and always say I want to do more of it. Your 20s is the best time to travel and explore the world. In fact, these are the experiences that will shape you as a person. So this one is easy: travel when you can!
13. Treat yo self. Get the donut topped with frosting and sprinkled with powered sugar! And then ENJOY it!
14. It's okay to be down. Life is HARD and sometimes disappointing. You can be down (I've been there a lot), but you can't stay there. There's always something bigger, better to fight for. Just keep going!
15. It's okay to feel alone. I didn't really have the typical college experience. I transferred schools at the start of my junior year, which was probably one of the hardest things I've done. I didn't know anyone there and didn't actually find my spot until senior year. The best thing I learned from this experience is that you're never alone because there's probably someone out there feeling the same way you are.
16. Find your bravery. I started reading 100 Days To Brave by Annie Downs, and this book has given me more confidence to pursue my dreams or "my calling" as Annie puts it. It's a daily devotional that walks you through steps to finding your bravery.
*This is not an ad; I just really love this book!
17. Enjoy the little moments. One of my favorite things is taking my dog for a walk at the end of the day. It is the perfect time to experience this beautiful world God's created and to thank Him for the many blessings He's given me. Whether you're a morning person or a night owl, remember to slow down and give yourself time to enjoy life.
18. Don't ever stop being you. You are your greatest superpower, and don't ever let someone tell you otherwise. Be the best you you can be, and you'll do great in life!
19. Your past doesn't define your future. I don't know your story, but I do know that your past doesn't define who you are today. I've done things I'm not proud of, but I've asked God for forgiveness and made an effort to move on. Live in the present because the past is already gone.
20. "Adulting" isn't what you thought it would be. I don't know about you but I definitely had a 13 Going on 30 vision of adulthood. News flash, it's not that easy! Most of the time I don't even feel like an adult, but you can find solace in the fact that you're not alone. I'm over just trying to figure it all out too. Don't believe people's Instagram lives!
21. Haters gonna hate. It seems like everyone has an opinion these days about what you should be doing with your life or where you should be in life. Guess what? I still live with my sister and mom because it makes sense. I'm a part-time nanny and a side-hustle girl! That's me plain and simple, but it's working for me right now and this is where I need to be.
22. Find good girlfriends. There is nothing better than hanging out with your best gals on a Friday night drinking wine. Everyone needs to find a bestie they can confide in!
23. Don't waste time on negative people. Surrounding yourself with downers will automatically make you a downer. Who you hangout with will affect who you become. Surround yourself with people who see the glass as half-full, and you will start to have the same perspective.
24. Enjoy the journey. That's it! The End! Nothing more to say here!
Thanks for baring with me there! I hope you were able to get a little bit out of this. Please feel free to email me or message me on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter if you would like to talk about one of my lessons. I'm not an expert but I'm a real, honest person living life. Now, it's time to treat yo self to a donut, piece of chocolate, cake, or whatever is your kryptonite (do yo thang girl!).
Love you guys and thank you for all your support!