It is that time of year again.
The annual celebration of my birthday is this week, and my birthday has a tendency to always get me thinking about the past.
The memories that make me smile, and laugh quietly as I think back. As well as the memories that make me cringe and say "why in the world did I do that". All of which got me thinking of the things that I have learned throughout my young life.
Here are the 24 Life Lessons that I have learned in the past 24 years of my life. Most of these I truly wish I knew before I learned them through experience, but hey! I wouldn't be able to share this with you if I didn't.
1. Don't sweat the small stuff it adds unnecessary stress to your life.
If your husband throws his clothes on the bathroom floor, or your child pours water/milk all over the kitchen floor. Don't let it get to you, it takes less time to clean it up/take care of it than to get mad. It also just adds more stress to your life while hurting your family.
2. Follow the Bibles teaching and you will save yourself some heartache.
God created boundaries for a reason.
Just like parents create boundaries for their kids, God creates boundaries for us. It is to keep us safe, to protect us from harm and to reduce heartache. Majority of the things I regret in life come from doing things that God advises against. He provides these boundaries because he loves us and doesn't want us to get hurt.
3. Always be honest, a lie causes more trouble than its worth.
Once you lie, everything from then on out will be questioned. Hold on to your integrity.
4. Be there for the people you love even if its an inconvenience.
One of the most important things in life are the people you surround yourself with. You can't predict when someone may need you, but when they do you should do your best to be there for them in some way. If you can't go see them: write them a note, send them flowers, Skype. There are a ton of different ways to let them know that you are there, if that doesn't happen you may loose a loved one in the process.
Who wants to be close to people who don't put in the effort?
5. Learn to enjoy the quiet- learn to quiet your mind.
I most definitely took the quiet for granted before I had Kolton.
Now, there is nothing better than the rare silence that I get to experience to refresh my mind during the week. To shut off all of the other distractions and truly enjoy the quiet.
Most of the time I will use those moments to meditate on scripture or read some literature. It was when I learned to turn off distractions that I was able to really be content with myself and my life.
6. It is never to late to start your day over again.
If you're upset, mad or angry, its never too late to change the way your day is going.
Change your attitude, change you're day!
7. Get to know yourself: know your stances, your likes and dislikes.
My whole life I spent too much time trying to be like others that eventually my own self became blurred. At 24 I am just now going after and learning about things that I care about.
Studying my Bible, Sewing, baking, reading classic literature, or practicing mon français.
Unfortunately, society has a tendency to tell us what we should or not be like. "The old ways of sewing, baking, and reading are a thing of the past", well call me whatever you please but those things truly bring me joy so thats what I will be doing.
8. Its OK to change your mind, in situations,
big decisions and with opinions.
I am a big people pleaser, and I always hated the feeling of letting people down when I changed my mind. So, in a lot of situations my eagerness to please compromised my own happiness. A lot of times, I ended up in conflicts that could have been avoided all together if I had just told them I changed my mind and been done with it.
Its OK to change your mind on things, if you said yes to something but while your going through it decide that it wasn't a good idea it is MORE than OK to say NO. Don't continue on a plan that you don't like in order to please others.
9. Not everyone will like you and thats ok,
you can not spend your life pleasing everyone.
Going along with the two points above, if you trying to make everyone like you, or try to make everyone happy you will loose sight of who you are.
Everyone has differences of opinion, and beliefs so if you try to be agreeable to all you won't stand for much because you'll end up contradicting yourself.
Figure out what you believe and stand by it. Most of the time the people who are worth while will celebrate the fact that you have different views and are a different person. It can make for some great dialogue.
10. Enjoy life and milestones with people you love. Take the time to slow down and celebrate.
At the end of the day its the memories of being with the ones you love you'll remember most. The accomplishments will mean nothing without the ability to celebrate with the people who helped you through it.
For a long time I thought all I needed was to get things done, get my high school or college degree, and it didn't matter if I made friends or created memories at all. I can tell you now that I missed out on a lot of good memories because I was too focused on "getting things done."
11. Don't waste your time on people who dont want to have a relationship with you.
If people want to have a deep, meaningful relationship with you they will put forth the effort. If they're always "too" busy to take time to see you or talk to you at all, you are most likely not a priority. If you have tried and they still don't want to be apart of your life: its their loss, not yours.
12. No one person or thing can make you happy.
Only you can choose that disposition.
13. If you learn of your faults or weakness, work to change them.
If being married the past two years has taught me one thing it's that your weakness and faults will come out. What you do after you discover them can mean the difference between a great relationship or a rocky one. If you figure out where you struggle, work on them. You can change, you just need to decide to change, put in the work and you will get there. Don't let the excuse "well thats who I am" or "thats who you are" get in your way, because you are whoever YOU decide to be.
"That's who you are" is a bad excuse not to become a better person.
14. Life doesnt need to be serious all of the time
I am naturally a serious person, it is hard for me to joke around and be silly.
However, my best memories include a lot of laughter because its the silliness and laughter that will bring you the most joy. Enjoy life! Be silly, make mistakes, go out of your comfort zone because I guarantee it will be so worth it!
15. Spend time with your family getting to know them.
It is incredibly sad that I never truly got to know my grandparents while they were alive. I feel like a piece of my own history is lost because I don't know what to ask or how to get to know the ones closest to me.
Your family is apart of you, you should take the time to get to know them and hear the stories of their lives because they are apart of your history too.
16. What goes into your mind, is what comes out.
The things you watch, listen to, read it will come out of you in your actions, words and reactions. If you are working on becoming more patient or calm the last thing you want to be doing is watching something that glorifies the opposite characteristics that you would like to portray.
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable. If anything is excellent or praiseworthy think of such things. Philippians 4:8
17. Its never to late to start something new
or continue something you havent finished yet.
I have had the goal of becoming fluent in french pretty much my entire life. I was so self conscious that it stop me from practicing and ever thinking that I could do it. For the past few months I have continued my studies after a few years break and am working toward that goal of becoming fluent. I am not there yet but eventually all of my practicing will pay off and I will be fluent in French. This time I am not going to let the difficulty stop me from pursuing it.
Don't give up on the things you truly want most.
18. Choose your battles.
There are some fights that just aren't worth the trouble.
I promise you that whatever it is you're fighting about will not be remembered in a week. So choose your battles wisely, if something needs to be said just state it as it is and move on.
19. Save, Save, Save.
Like the motto of my favorite family: "Buy used, Save the Difference". I wish I knew that I could find quality used clothes if I looked for them when I was younger, I could have saved a ton of money!
Also, save your money! I blew my savings account when I reached college on things that I did not need: the McDonalds breakfasts every morning, tanning sessions, monthly nail appointments, designer clothes etc.
It all adds up!
20. Dont accept anything someone says as truth until you have looked into it yourself.
With politics, religion, what pastors are telling you etc: reference the Bible to see if they line up with the Truth. The best thing you can do is make the decision for yourself, not just go along with what someone else says.
21. Don't have expectations, and if you do verbalize them.
Unsaid expectations can create so much conflict and disappointment. It can wreck your mood and your day if you go into a situation expecting one thing, and receiving something completely different. If you decide not to have expectations then you cannot be disappointed.
22. Smile, Its Always Worth It. (As my wonderful husband always says)
23. There are four things you can't recover:
The stone after it's thrown,
the word after it's said,
the occasion after it's missed
and the time after its gone.
24. Hold people you love close because sooner or later you'll be forced to let them go.
Don't wait for tomorrow to spend time with people you love. I remember vividly the many times I said I was "too busy" with work to go and visit a dear friend of mine. I placed my priority of money over my friend and I never got to see him again. Don't wait for tomorrow, because tomorrow may never come.
Though I have learned all of these lessons in the past 24 years, I am still learning how to change my life so I don't repeat the same mistakes. Life is a journey, and I still have a long way to go.