Lessons I Learned By 27

unnamed-1My 27th birthday is in a few days (cringe) and I decided to share some lessons I’ve learned thus far:

The older you get the smaller your circle will get
When I was in college I was under the false illusion that my high school and college friends would still be my friends as I got older. Even people I was close with in college I’ve lost touch with. Your circle will get smaller as you age and as different life events occur. If the majority of your friends are married and you’re single, you might find yourself having less and less in common with your married friends. Growing is a natural part of life; don’t be alarmed if the growth and change is away from someone you were once close to.

Don’t sweat the small stuff
Life is too damn short to be worrying about things that won’t matter a year from now. Stress is the number one cause of so many diseases, cancer, and ailments and we don’t even realize it. Stop giving your time and your energy to people and things that are negative.

Don’t skimp on sleep
In a world that places increasing importance on how much work you can get down, there has been a staggering decline in the amount of sleep Americans get every night. Sleep deprivation can be the catalyst to several health issues so make sure you are getting the proper amount each night.

It’s okay to log off sometimes
I am the first to admit my semi-obsession with social media (namely Instagram)…after I post a picture I find myself constantly checking back for likes and comments. Sometimes it feels like we derive our self-satisfaction from feedback on social networks. Sometimes it’s okay to not log on for a few days or a few weeks to clear your head and get back to living in the real world. While living vicariously through your favorite celebrities is fun, you can’t forget to live your own life.

Embrace your mistakes…
Don’t beat yourself up over mistakes you’ve made. Learn from the situation and move on. A mistake is only a mistake if we don’t learn from it. Some of life’s best growth experience come from mistakes that we’ve made.

Life is too short to be unhappy
If your significant other isn’t treating you the way you need to be treated DITCH him/her…why be with someone who doesn’t bring you sheer and utter happiness? A lot of people get caught up in the idea of being in a relationship and are more concerned with putting up a facade, than actually being in a happy and healthy relationship.

Nothing’s wrong with being single
To piggy-back off #6, a lot of times in life we are made to feel bad because we haven’t found that other piece of the puzzle that “completes us” [don’t get me started on my aversion to the saying “better half”]. Particularly, women past a certain age feel pressured by society to have kids and marry because their biological clock is ticking. Some women rush into situations they aren’t necessarily happy with just to be able to say they have someone. I’d rather be single and happy than committed and miserable.

Exercise is essential
No matter how angry, upset, or stressed I may get I try not to miss out on going to the gym. Exercise is not only beneficial to your health but it works wonders on your mood. Some people clean when they’re upset, others eat…I find exercise to be the better de-stressor than that pint of cookies and cream you may want to devour. Incorporate exercise into your lifestyle and you will find your confidence increasing as well as your mood soaring.

Believe in yourself
Remove all the negative words from your vocabulary. Stop saying “I cant,” and replace it with “I Will” and “I Can.” We put so many limitations on ourselves and our abilities and we don’t even entertain ideas if we think they’re too impossible to accomplish. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take…so take a chance. Do you know how little would have gotten accomplished if no one believed in the beauty of their dreams? Nothing is impossible in this world…if you can dream it, then you can certainly achieve it.

Flaws are beautiful
When I was growing up, I got made fun of and teased for my lips. At one point when I was 13 years old, I considered having surgery on my lips so that I could make them smaller. Once I grew up, I started receiving compliments on my lips from men and women. It baffled me; here I was feeling cursed for my features, when people are PAYING to have procedures done to enhance their lips. What was I thinking? Moral of the story is that what makes us different and unique is what makes us stand out. Different does not equal bad. So many models we see in the media made it big because of a unique feature that made them stand out from the rest. Embrace your individuality and what makes you different from the herd. Would you want to blend in with the crowd and look like everyone else?

Don’t fear society’s judgement
Do what you want to do; people are going to judge you no matter what you do. The best way to lose yourself is trying to please everyone. There will ALWAYS be naysayers and everyone has an opinion about what you do; don’t let this serve as a deterrent. Do what makes YOU happy. At the end of the day, you’re the one that has to live with your decisions.

Kindness goes along way
I am a firm believer in karma. Whatever you put out into the atmosphere will come back to you ten-fold. Put forth positive energy and you will see positive things manifesting in your life. But if you spend your days spewing negativity at others, belittling and demeaning others [i.e. leaving hateful comments underneath youtube videos *cough*] you will reap what you sow. It costs you nothing to be kind to someone else. Doing the right thing is indeed hard sometimes but it’s important to treat others how you’d want them to treat you. If you wouldn’t want someone doing something to you, don’t do it.

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