So a few days ago was my 25th birthday and as I received a reminder from my best friend that I am a “quarter of a century old” I started thinking of all of my favorite memories throughout the years. As a person who often finds herself in unique situations, I decided to share some wisdom from my personal experiences. It’s also kind of a fun way to share with you more of my story, beyond Unplanned Whimsy.
25 Life Lessons From A 25-Year-Old
These are in no particular order…
1. Tell the People You Love How You Feel; You Never Know When They’ll be Gone
2. Shark Week is Best Celebrated in the Water
I have had the rare privilege to dive with sharks twice! It was only through seeing how calm, playfully curious, graceful, and totally chill these beautiful creatures were in the water that I was able to appreciate them. Sharks aren’t scary, they are just misunderstood; which in its own way is a whole other lesson learned.
In case you’re curious both dives were in Oahu, both in a cage, and these babies are Galapagos Sharks.
3. Sometimes You Just Can’t
I know there are endless amounts of inspirational sayings such as “can’t is not in my vocabulary” or “she turned her can’t(s) into cans” or whatever that dentist poster on the ceiling is telling you, but sometimes you actually can’t do something.
I didn’t learn this lesson until I began having serious symptoms from my Periodic Paralysis. Maybe you want to go to your best friends’ wedding but instead you are completely paralyzed and unable to move, speak, eat, or simply wipe your bum without help. Going isn’t an option. Maybe you want to go to a funeral home to say your final farewells to a loved one, but instead the stress of your grief has given you a migraine straight from the depths of hell. Going isn’t an option. Or maybe you have healthy people obstacles that force the notion of can’t, such as a car accident or weather disasters.
Whatever the issue, sometimes you just CAN’T and that’s okay. If the people who were affected by your “can’t incident” place judgement upon you because of it, they shouldn’t be a part of your life. Which leads to lesson #4.
4. Get Toxic People Out of Your Life
Sometimes people suck. Some people lie. Some people cheat; they might cheat on you. Some people are rude. Some people are judgmental. Some people are selfish. Some people try to influence you to do things you’re not comfortable with. Some people will blame you for things you didn’t do. Some people will bring you down to build up their own self worth.
Some people are bad people and it is not your job to fix them. Get them out of your life, because you are amazing and worthy of greatness. Do not hang on to trash. Take it to the dump. Get your phone, social media, email, laptop, whatever and BLOCK and DELETE. Block and delete these people out of your life! You deserve better.
5. Always Wear Shorts Under Your Dress
I attended a Catholic high school where we wore jumpers as uniforms. Certain times in the winter we were allowed to wear pants, but I’m not about that life. I’m not sure if it a widespread tradition or just at my school, but we wore shorts under our jumpers. There are a few reasons it makes sense: 1. The school did not have air-conditioning which lead to some “non-lady-like” sitting positions (we needed airflow) as well as ummmm sticky thighs. You know what I mean, you wear a short dress; you sit down; your bum sweats; and boom you’re stuck to the chair. 2. In classes such as ceramics, we needed to sit on a spinning wheel and would again, sit in non-lady-like positions.
Anyways, from my days in high school to now, I always wear shorts or spanks under my dresses. You never know where the day will lead you so you should be prepared. Maybe you’ll need to climb a tree on a dare, or you’ll fall down a flight of stairs, or you’ll need to dance, or jump for joy, or the wind will make you have a Marilyn Monroe moment, faint because you have POTS and that’s part of life (my life anyways).
Wear shorts because sometimes you need to look like a lady but move with freedom.
6. Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
Just don’t do it. You know… I know and we do it anyways because we’re human but we should try to be better.
7. Hugs are Free so Freely Give Them
8. Always be Prepared
So this is a picture of me boarding a tiny plane on the Big Island headed to Maui. Completely overpacked. I am always overpacked, but that’s okay because it has made me the mother hen of every situation.
Need a bandaid? I’ve got you. Tissue? Scissors? Clorox wipes? Bug spray? Sunblock? Nail File? Dental Floss? Snack? Flashlight?
Seriously though, if you need something, anything, I probably have it in my bag and if I don’t I’ll go get it for you.
9. The Only Thing You Will Learn From a Group Project is How to Hate Other People
As a Summa Cum Laude graduate from OSU I am a hard working perfectionist and I am telling you that group projects should be avoided at all costs.
Do something for the greater good; it will change your life.
11. Face Your Fears
Once upon a time I has petrified of roller coasters. Then my friends lovingly peer pressured me into facing my fears at Cedar Point (*deep voice: the roller coaster capital of the world!!). We rode everything.
By the end of the night I was hooked. Now I love roller coasters.
Facing your fear is obviously scary but it is also freeing and joyful and totally worth it. So go do it.
*Unless facing your fear puts you in danger, then don’t do that.
12. Be Present
Have eye contact when someone is speaking. Don’t sit during a conversation thinking of the story you want to tell when it’s your turn to speak. Ask questions. Dive deeper into the details. And for the love of all things wonderful put your freaking phone away. Silent and out of sight. Get rid of it.
This also applies to simply being somewhere. Go in your garden and close your eyes. Feel the warmth of the sun on your cheeks. The small breeze you didn’t notice before. Listen to the birds. The bees. Your neighbor mowing the lawn. Feel the grass. Is it soft? Open your eyes. Look at the flowers. See the layers and layers of petals on the flowers. The colors are so vibrant. Take the time to just be present.
13. Cuddle Time is the Best Time of the Day
14. Proper Manners are Appreciated!
Hold the door open for others. Let people in front of you in the check out if you have 155 items and they only have 10. Say please and thank you and yes ma’am/ sir. Ask “How are you today?” If someone is struggling, help them. Offer a tissue to a stranger who is ill.
A world filled with people who do not have the manners to respect one another is not a world I want to live in. We deserve more, so give more.
15. Learn a Second Language
You never know what kind of opportunities it can lead to. Obviously it looks good on a resume, but better than that it allows you to bond with a community whom you otherwise wouldn’t even know.
I took American Sign Language at the Ohio State University and from that experience I bonded with all of my classmates as we would practice in and out of the classroom. We became close friends and I still chat with some of them even after graduation.
Also, I became a member of the ASL Athletic Group who would sign Carmen Ohio and the National Anthem on the football field before games. That lead me to tutor some of the new signers to practice our songs and our signing in general. Stepping up to help others gave me recognition from the professors; which lead me to become the student lead of the ASL Athletic Group at OSU men’s basketball games for two seasons. I was unchaperoned (which was scary at first) I greeted, practiced with, and lead other signers onto the court. It was an amazing experience that I will forever be grateful for. All because I choose to learn a second language.
I even made it on Brutus Buckeye’s SnapChat during my last game!
16. Love Yourself
Listen to some Lizzo, be your own soulmate, and start loving yourself. You are beautiful, unique, talented, fabulous, and capable of greatness. I don’t even know you and I love you. Loving yourself can sometimes be difficult. I know; I’m an insecure human. I get it. But let me also tell you if you need a cheerleader to help build you up, you let me know. I’ll go get my pompoms. You are worth love so love yourself.
17. What doesn’t kill you may make you stronger but a long battle will eventually take its toll. You don’t always have to be strong.
That sounds like a separate post to come…
18. You Cannot Pour from an Empty Cup
You need to take care of yourself before you are capable of helping others. If you don’t love yourself, how do you expect to go out into the world and find love? If you don’t have passion for something, why are you waisting your time on it? If you don’t live your faith, your sermon will be meaningless. If you don’t keep yourself as healthy as you can, you will not be able to care for your loved ones. You cannot give what you don’t have.
19. Fight for What You Believe in
Now I do not want to be political here, so don’t start any fuss. As a Catholic, I am a firm pro-life believer. I have been to DC for the March for Life countless times. I feel as though it is an important issue that I believe in and worth fighting for.
If you have something you believe in, fight for it. Write to your politicians, volunteer for the cause, show up to rallies, do your thing. It’s your right!
20. Respect the Right of Free Speech
One of my favorite quotes is ‘I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’ by Evelyn Beatrice Hall in her biography of Voltaire.
I get it, you don’t agree with someone. They are saying something so shockingly disrespectful and ‘wrong’ that it sends chills down your spine. People will have opinions that you don’t agree with. Now, feel free to tell someone that their “facts” are wrong if you can back it up, but opinions are never wrong. They might be different. They might be disgusting. They might be disrespectful to your beliefs, but an opinion cannot be wrong. Everyone has the right to express their opinions, even if you don’t like it. Learn how to deal with these situations gracefully and always respect others.
21. Gods Grace is Enough
Even when you struggle, He is always enough.
22. Dress for Success, You Never Know Who is Watching
When I go out, I like to dress in clothes that make me happy. I often wear bright colors, dresses that flow when I twirl, flowers in my hair, jewelry is a must; basically anything that brightens my day.
Fashion is a nice ice-breaker for starting conversations with people and making new friends. Not to be cliche, but you only have one chance to make a first impression. One Chance. Dress for success. Wear something you would want to meet your future spouse in. I know that is a lot of pressure for an outfit. Don’t think too much that it leads to anxiety, but put some effort into your wardrobe.
At Ohio State there is a weekly magazine run by students called the Lantern. I am not sure how many students actually take the time to read it though. Anyways, I was once approached to be featured in the fashion section. I was interviewed and photographed. I was just minding my business typing a paper in the Union when I was approached. A perfect example that you never know who is watching or admiring your style choices.
22. Sometimes Impressions of Others Can be Wrong
Once upon a time in a hospitality management class the instructor was giving a lecture on body language. I was sitting in the front row. It was 8am in February and I decided to wear a short dress with just a jacket, because the building was usually hot. I was unprepared! The building’s heater broke the night before and we were all unaware.
So, here I was in the front row with my legs crossed, my arms crossed, sort of hunched over the desk a bit trying to get warm when I was called out in the middle of lecture as an example of poor body language. Without saying my name or pointing to me (though she was staring me down) she described “a person” who had my exact body position and everything that was wrong with the body language it displayed. Apparently, crossing legs and arms is an indication of not allowing oneself to open up and absorb the information being given. It is a sign of not listening. Slouching gives off negative energy. Also, twitching (shivering), rubbing your arms, or fidgeting are also signs of being distracted and inattentive.
After she was finished, I quietly raised my hand and said “that employee could have forgotten their coat this morning and is cold.” It broke the tension and the whole class chuckled, including her. The instructor then said that body language can sometimes be misinterpreted. I guess we all learned a few lessons that morning.
23. Never Stop Learning
The more you know the more successful you will be. It’s really that simple.
Broaden your knowledge and you will be able to make conversation with anyone. Remember that thing about first impressions?
You should have a list of talents and knowledge so long that you struggle to cut things out of your resume. Learn a skill, master it, then move on to the next. Never stop learning.
24. Be You Even if You’re a Weirdo
Yes ladies and gentlemen this beautiful display of grace and sensuality is me, from high school.
I am actually in costume here, but to be honest my friend and I decided to dress as nerds for a “twin day” during spirit week. Other ‘nerd costumes’ were kind of cool looking or sexy but this outfit was just a natural choice for me. I mean look at that hair.. or the sock rolled up. This picture will forever make me smile.
I am who I am and I’m not changing that. Not for a costume, not for anything.
25. Make a Bucket List and Actually Work to Check Things Off of it
There you go. 25 life lessons from a 25-year-old. I have so much more to learn as the years will continue to come and go. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed reading the little bits of wisdom that I had to share. Thank you for reading!