I wanted to make a post to celebrate the lessons I've learned in the 20 wonderful, quixotic, bright years I've gotten to spend on this planet. In commemoration of my past 20 years, here's 20 of life's finest lessons it decided to throw at me. (Along with badass photos taken by my very own Erik Clausen).
1) Being Alone Does Not Have to Mean Loneliness
There’s something empowering in spending the day amongst your thoughts and not feeling empty without someone to share every moment with. I’ve learned that some things must be done alone, and I’m still working on being comfortable with that.
2) Take Photos
Time is fleeting, it moves with rapid pace and no pause. These are the good ole days, and we want to remember them.
3) Know When Not to Take Photos
Some things are better left undocumented, maybe not because they’re shameful, but because the moment is so sacred that pausing to photograph it would ruin it.
4) You Don’t Always Have to Pretend to Be Happy
I struggle with this a lot. I always felt a pressure to act happy and positive until I realized that I don’t carry the weight of everyone’s mood. If you’re upset, or need guidance, it’s never too late and it’s never wrong to need help. Whether that help is someone to talk to, a specialist, or an embrace from someone you trust. Pulling down your walls just a bit to give people you trust a glimpse of what’s going on in your mind is so important.
5) Live a Healthy Life Without Making Yourself Miserable
Everything has a balance. Getting active, eating the things that are natural and good for your body, and staying mentally fit. These things are incredibly important, but not if it costs you your sanity. Order a slice of cake after your meal every once in a while, get the burger instead of the salad if you’re feeling it, go out for midnight waffles (at your own risk). Staying happy is crucial for a healthy life.
6) Wear Sunscreen
Yes I’m going to be mom for just a bit, PLEASE wear daily sunscreen on your precious face + protect it!! Summer is coming up and its going to be the hottest one yet, I’m very excited, but very prepared.
7) Drink Water
I know I’m still being mom, but I can’t stress this enough!! And I need to drink more myself. If you think you’ve had enough for the day, drink more. A tip that I’ve found useful is finding a cute water bottle that you wouldn’t mind carrying around, and flavor your water with fresh fruits! I love cucumber mint water. It’s so simple, but sooo refreshing. Add lemon oil or fresh lemon if you want to energize it.
8) Go Out and Live!!
You never know who you’re going to meet if you decide to say yes to going to the party. Be safe and smart, but enjoy yourself. Have a drink, or don’t! Do what makes you comfortable while living the life that makes you free and excitable.
9) Style is Important
“The better you dress, the worse you can behave”.
-Fred E. Castleberry
This applies to every day! Whether you’re running to the grocery store or spending a day exploring your city, style is important. Find the clothes that make you feel alive, confident, and strong.
10) It’s Ok to Stay In
Some people may think this contradicts my #8 point to go live, but I’m only reiterating the fact that life is full of balance. Sometimes what your soul needs isn’t a loud party full of dancing (as much fun as that sounds right now)... Often the best thing for you is to stay in. Maybe alone, watch a movie, have a dance party--solo, or eat ice cream. Or maybe with people you love, playing board games and creating new memories. Going out isn’t always the answer!
11) Be Aware of Your Surroundings
This is for everyone, but especially ladies. The world we live in is dark sometimes and you have to protect yourself at all costs. If a situation makes you feel violated or uncomfortable, don’t bottle it up so that no one gets their feelings hurt. Speak up! You never know what someone’s intentions are.
12) If You Can DIY, Don’t Buy
I like to consider myself a thrifty shopper. I tend to look at things that I want and try to ask myself “could I make this?" If the answer is yes, or even probably, I’ll typically give it a shot before I break the bank on something!
If you just can’t make it, but you’re balling on a budget, resale sites are the second place I look! I can’t tell how many times I’ve found the exact thing I need on Facebook’s Garage Sale Page for way cheaper. Save your money for summer fun!
13) Keep Your Family as Close as Possible
This isn’t just for people you’re blood related to, family is much deeper than that. Hold onto the people you call family. They are your rock, your biggest adventure, and the purest form of love.
14) Travel as Often as Possible, as Far as Possible
Whether it’s a road trip a few hours away, or an 18 hour flight to the beaches of Australia, travel is good for the soul. It gets you out of your comfort zone, opens your eyes to new things, and can really clear your mind!
15) Spend Time in Nature
With all of this global warming going on, we gotta enjoy the earth and LOVE her while we can. Treat the grass and the trees like they’re keeping you alive...because they are...
16) Everything You Do Makes Some Kind of Difference in the World
I honestly believe that every interaction you have has a lasting impact. Be wise in the way you speak, the way you post on social media, and with the people you surround yourself with.
17) School Can Be Important, But it Isn’t Everything
The modern school system is not always looking out for your best interest. Especially once college rolls around, keep in mind that your mental health and happiness should come before anything else.
18) Travel Alone At Least Once
I had never truly traveled by myself until my last trip to Haiti. It was incredibly hard for me to do so many things alone, but so rewarding. I felt strong, valid, brave, and capable. My decision to go alone was pretty last minute, (you can read about that HERE), but in the end I found a way to embrace it. If you can muster the courage to journey alone safely, know that you are enough and you can do it!
19) Explore the City You Live in
Travel is dreamy, but sometimes unrealistic financially and time wise. Fun can so easily be found by looking at the place you call home with a whole new perspective.
20) Allow Yourself to Grow
Whether this means removing yourself from a toxic relationship or maybe stretching outside of your comfort zone and dancing even when you’re unsure, growth is good for your soul!!
Cheers to 20 years on earth full of lessons and brilliant adventures. Here’s to the beginning of the rest of our lives.