Experiences · Life

I don’t know about you, but there are a few things I have learned before 22.

I recently turned 22 so here’s 22 things I have learned and value about life, love, & happiness. Some of these I wish I would have learned a lot earlier in life.

22) Forgive (yourself). I have made many attempts to turn myself into a better person. I have spent a lot of time worrying about how my mistakes define me. I have seriously beat myself up over past mistakes. In the past I would push these mistakes in the back of my mind and bring them back out just at the right time to feel sorry for myself. Then one day I prayed about it and now I’ve prayed a lot about it. I have come to realize that I will always make mistakes, some are big and some are small. How I come out of them and learn from them though? That’s what defines me. I have learned to talk to God about these and forgive myself because he’s already forgiven me. I have recognized these mistakes and even plan to know I will make more in the future.

21) Photos are treasures. I am constantly taking photos. I believe it is the best way to capture a moment and remember a memory. It helps cherish them. However, one thing I am quite bad at is backing them up from my phone or social media accounts, but that can be done on icloud. I look back at photos from years ago and remember exactly what I was doing that day and how it made me feel. It’s like a physical memory bank.

20) It’s not a competition. I will be honest, I can’t tell you how many times I have thought. “Why can’t I have that?” “Why can’t that happen to me?” etc. etc.  I know we all have. But really, it’s not a competition to see who has the better life. We each live a different life. It’s so easy to drive yourself into negativity while trying to figure out how to compare something that someone else has to yours. However, I have learned to LET IT GO & genuinely become happy for someone else’s achievements. It really does make you a happier person. Besides, consciously focusing on all you have rather than thinking about what you don’t have is a far better use of brainpower.

19) It’s your life. Only yours. I have gone through moments in my life and wondered why I’m not happy. I know I am the only person who controls my happiness. I can’t stop and wait for the perfect opportunity for things to happen. I really despise it when people sit around and wait for the perfect job, experience, or opportunity to fall in their lap. It usually won’t happen that way. You have to chase your dreams. Make plans with people. Learn what makes your happy; and do it! Don’t rely on other people. Nothing will change until you make it happen. Go after your dream, that’s why they’re yours.

18.) Eat. I eat, I eat a lot and I’m not sorry about it. Sometimes I eat healthy and sometimes I don’t but if I ever have the opportunity to try a new, nice, restaurant or even a hole in the wall food place, I try it. Food is delicious and nourishment we have to have to survive, so why not try new food all the time and make the most of every bite you put into your mouth.

17.) Pray. I pray a lot. I do not think there is a right or wrong way to pray. I tell God about things in my life, I thank him, I praise him, I ask for forgiveness, and I ask him to be with people. I don’t always make it official and sometimes it’s completely random. I have had times before where I just start talking to him in the car on my long drive to and from school. The only way to have a relationship with him is to talk to him. I pray to strengthen my faith and I pray because he wants me to. I pray because it’s supposed to be easier to pray than not to.

16.) Love. I love like there’s no tomorrow & I wear my heart on my sleeve. Not just romantically. It’s not something I have always been proud of but I have come to realize, why not? Life needs love and where there is more love there is more life. I make sure if a person means a lot to me, if they’re important to me in any way, they know it. I cherish my family, my friends, & my boyfriend all so much and remind them as much as I can that they mean so much to me. I try to love everyone. I love deeply because I feel like love is the closest thing to happiness. Everyone deserves compassion. I try to love people, myself, and not things so much.

15.) Don’t sweat the small stuff. Life doesn’t always go the way we want it to and most of the time things don’t go exactly according to plan and it sucks but that’s just how it is. If it doesn’t involve death or serious injury or financial ruin, it’s small stuff.  Let it go and don’t focus on it. It doesn’t matter, because there are so many great things in this world that you should be focused on.

14.) Get out of your comfort zone & travel. Every single opportunity I have had to go somewhere, I have taken it, and never regretted it. Trips are so much fun, not only getting to the destination and enjoying the new atmosphere but traveling itself is fun. I know it’s expensive to travel so I haven’t been all of the places I have wanted to go but I hope to someday. There is so much out there to see and experience.

13) Make peace. Life isn’t fair; you didn’t get the job you want, they don’t have your size in the dress you want, the guy you like doesn’t ask you out on another date and it sucks. Life sucks. You’re just not going to do everything you want to achieve. Undeserving people will sometimes be more successful than you. You wont get everything you want. In most cases there’s nothing you can do to change some unfair things about life. Just make peace with it and move on. You’ll save yourself a lot of mental anguish.

12) Be kind & humble— always.  When you’re so tired and so stressed and you’re just trying to get through the day and someone approaches you doing something that annoys you to no end. Just fight the urge to be rude, to make a sarcastic comment, to do anything that proves, in your own little mind, that you are somehow superior to everyone else around you. That’s a strong urge to fight, but you have to.  Kindness promotes kindness, opens doors, and it makes you a better person. Stay humble when life does go your way.

11) Choose to spend your time with people who lift you up.  It might seem easier to hold stronger relationships with those with whom you share a history, or who have been part of your social group for longer, but a lot of these relationships can be emotionally draining, especially if those people don’t know how to lift you up anymore. I don’t think you should cut them off completely, just make sure you’re spending the bulk of your time with people who make you smile, laugh, and feel good about yourself. Why would you want to surround yourself with people who do nothing less?

10) It’s not your job to make everyone happy.  Why should you seek to be liked by everyone? Focus on what makes you happy and not everyone else. What people say about you is none of your business. Don’t worry about what people think about you. I know that’s so much easier said than done but you’ll find you become a lot happier when you focus on yourself and not everyone else.

9) There’s more to life than a buzz. I know what you’re thinking, a 22 year old saying that? I’ve only been able to legally drink for one complete year right? However I believe this and I think it’s so important. You don’t need alcohol and drugs to get through life, I promise you don’t. There are so many things that can boost your happiness that you should be relying on. I’m not saying I don’t drink. I socially drink and could almost consider myself a wine connoisseur, but I have always been that friend that has more fun doing something sober or maybe just having one drink or two than getting blackout drunk and not even remembering the memories I made the night before. It’s just not something I typically enjoy. I think there’s more to life than that and you should experience those things too.

8) Perfection doesn’t exist. Stop looking for it.  Whether it’s a job, a place to live, a romantic partner, or something else entirely, there are always flaws. Always flaws! Always. If you keep looking for perfection, you’ll never be able to settle, so stop, because I promise it is not out there.

7) Age is just a number. Growing up, I thought 22 was old. Now, I find myself thinking the age that defines “old” is older every year. Why does age have to define us? Don’t allow a number to hold you back  or prevent you from being the person you really are inside. I have always thought I have an older soul and now I am realizing it is okay to let that show.

6) Your body is a temple. We all have something that we don’t like about our bodies. Focus on the beautiful things and the things you love first and work on changing the others last. Your body houses your entire existence. Treat it with the respect and care that it deserve for the efficient way that it takes care of you. Watch what you nourish your body with and take care of it. If you eat really unhealthy one day, eat really healthy the next.  Something I am wanting to work on is eating healthier.

5) You can handle it. Whatever you think you can’t, you can. God knows what we can handle and wouldn’t let you overcome anything alone. He knows what we are capable of. You have more inner strength and more inner wisdom than you give yourself credit for so hold on to faith. You will get through this. You will survive.

4) Little things matter. It’s not always about the big wins, the great accomplishments, or the status your holding in life that really counts. It’s the existence of all the little things. It’s the friendships you share, the quiet moments in nature, special time with your loved ones, the spontaneous adventures, seeing the smile on a strangers face when you open a door for them, life talks with random people, experiences and everything else. Pay attention to these little things and cherish them.

3) Worry Less. Something I need to work on myself. Worry is useful only if it leads directly to a certain solution, however the very nature of worry implies that it doesn’t. You worry about “what if’s” that aren’t real, and the worry itself creates stress. Learn how to manage your worry thoughts and forget about them. I have spent a lot of time missing out on experiences because I was too worried about the outcome.

2) Simple is better. A simpler life in gives you more space for joy & happiness. A life full of complications, obligations, and an overwhelming schedule make life more difficult and stressful.

1) Do what you love, find your passion, and do it often. There are many things I love doing and I do them often. I love being surrounded by people that care about me. I love traveling, shopping, eating. Etc. etc. However my true passion is taking all of the things I love, all of my experiences, and writing about them. Journalism is my true passion. I love finding the right words that help flow together to create something wonderful. I like to think I am pretty good with words on paper, however I can’t even begin to find the words to explain to you how much I love looking at a finished article, paper, poem, etc. and thinking wow, I created this. This is mine.

4 thoughts on “I don’t know about you, but there are a few things I have learned before 22.

  1. WOW…..Shelby, this is such an AMAZING list. If I had learned a quarter of those things by the time I was 22 it would have made a HUGE difference during a quite a few years of my life.

    I see so much maturity in your words, in everything from prayer to perfection. So well written. Something people from all ages could benefit from reading! 🙂
    Blessings, 🙂


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