Today I turn 27. So I wore a fuchsia body con dress because I can. Nothing like a bright color to get lots of stares and a few honks while you’re trying to do a blog shoot (insert embarrassed monkey emoji). 27 is a strange age, passed the excitement of mid-twenties and so close to 30. Although, age doesn’t really bother me. I feel more self-aware and self-assured with each passing year. To switch it up I decided to post 26 lessons that I had reflected on as my 27th birthday approached.
1. It’s totally okay and normal to like staying in more than you like going out. The whole FOMO thing really gets less and less as you age because you realize that this Friday will be pretty much the same as last; in a crowded bar with drunk people stepping on your new shoes and feeling obligated to keep talking to the guy that bought you a drink when you didn’t even want another one. Fact: hangovers get worse with age. Every single hangover feels worse than the last and ain’t nobody got time for that. Don’t get me wrong, going out can be a lot of fun and I love getting dressed up BUT know you don’t have to do it all the time. The next time it’s Friday night and everyone is asking if you’re going out, know that it’s totally acceptable to stay at home and watch Netflix in your pajamas.
2. Everyone plays a different part in your life. Know their part and know their place. Don’t trust everyone with the personal things. Some people are so much fun to be around but not necessarily trust worthy or great to get advice from. Be aware of the difference.
3. Not everyone is meant to stay in your life forever. Sometimes the relationship will simply fade and others you may have to cut out. And that’s okay. Who you surround yourself with often speaks to the person you are. So choose carefully. Your time is valuable, make sure you are spending it with people who make you feel good and support you.
4. On that note, be sure take good care of your relationships. Good friends are not easy to come by and they will be the ones that you turn to in hard times, so make sure you return the favor. I’ve been lucky enough to collect friends from all over and it can be tough keeping up with them and their lives, but now and days we are so attached to our phones and it’s so easy to send a text even if it’s just to let them know you are thinking of them.
5. Make fitness a priority. Exercise makes you feel good. It’s just a fact. Find some form that you enjoy and make time for it. Getting out of bed an hour early to go on that run or going to yoga at the end of a long day can sometimes be such a struggle but I can almost guarantee that you will never think damn, I really wish I wouldn’t have exercised today. Instead you’ll feel healthier, happier, less stressed, more confident and have more energy.
6. Do not compare your life to your peers or anyone else’s. Moving back to Denver has been quite an adjustment, especially since so many of my childhood friends are engaged, married, have children, have bought their first house, are more financially secure etc. Comparing your journey to someone else’s will only get you down, and why do that to yourself? Just know that everything comes into your life at the right time, when you are ready for it. Trust in the timing of your life, don’t rush and never settle.
7. Crappy jobs are sometimes necessary but make them temporary. We’ve all had them and sometimes gritting your teeth and bearing that bad job for a little bit is the step you have to take in order to move forward. Stay as positive as possible and use it as an opportunity to grow and learn. That being said, work your butt off to get out stat. Nothing can bring a person down like going to a job you hate everyday.
8. Which brings me to one of the most important lessons I’ve learned: network, network, network. Make as many connections as possible. Talk to everyone and tell them about your job, goals or interests. You never know who they know or how they can help. Be sure you are being genuine though. No one likes a phony that’s just trying to get something and it’s almost always transparent.
9. Money comes and goes. It just does. Enjoy it when you have it and when you don’t know that it’s not everything. Try to make each purchase a positive one, even if it’s a bill, (thank goodness for that electrical bill otherwise you’d be living in the dark, and that would be terribly inconvenient). Save, for your own piece of mind, for that rainy day and for the unexpected.
10. Be nice to people. Life is too short to be an asshole. We are all living in a fast paced and stressful world, sometimes it’s easy to forget how little acts of kindness can not only brighten someone else’s day but yours too. Help an elderly person with their groceries. Give a homeless person your leftovers. Give the barista a tip. Let that person trying to switch lanes over. Or simply smile. You might be surprised at how flashing someone a smile can make you both feel good.
11. Laugh at yourself. When everything seems to be going wrong or you make a mistake. Laugh. It’s so much better than getting angry or embarrassed. Everyone screws up; don’t be too hard on yourself. Life is crazy enough without you beating yourself up. Remember that you are human and find the funny.
12. Make sure you get your “me time” in. Everyone needs alone time a little bit each day. Meditate for 10 minutes, write in your journal, read a book, take a relaxing bath. Whatever it is that you enjoy, take the time to do it. If you don’t want to spend time with you, no one else will either.
13. Love yourself first. The most important relationship you have is with yourself. Before you can merge your life with someone else’s you have to be whole on your own.
14. Dating is hard, but worth it. It can be awkward and confusing and scary. It can also be exciting and fun and you just never know when you’re going to meet the one that changes everything. It’s scary putting yourself out there and knowing that ultimately it’s going one of two ways (as Taylor Swift would say “so it’s gonna be forever or it’s gonna go down in flames”). But please, in the name of love, be mature. It’s so easy to blow people off and leave them hanging. Treat people with the same respect you wish to be treated. Unless they’re an asshole to you, then screw them. With that being said….
15. Forgive the people that have been an asshole to you. It doesn’t matter if it’s an ex or a family member. Carrying around hate or anger for someone doesn’t hurt them, it hurts you. Most of the time, they’ve done you a favor by showing you their true character. Let it go, move on and try your hardest to wish them well. Harboring hatred for someone takes up so much energy, and they don’t deserve any of your energy.
16. Forgive yourself. Far too often I think of a cringe worthy moment over and over or about that bad decision. It’s easy to relive those things but you have to learn to let that shit go. It’s over. In the past. Let it stay there. If there was a lesson you learned hold on to that and forget the rest. Every move you’ve made, good or bad has contributed to the person you have become. Everything happens for a reason, take comfort in that.
17. If you haven’t already, read Mark Manson‘s article. It’s so true. If someone is unsure about being with you than your choice is easy. At this age you should have a pretty good idea of who you are, what you want and what your deal breakers are. You deserve someone who wants to be with 1000% because you’re awesome and they would never let someone as awesome as you pass them by. If that’s not how it is then they are not worth your time.
18. Admit when you’re wrong. Our ego can really get in the way sometimes, it’s important to be able to take a step back and assess the situation as if you were on the outside looking in. Put yourself in their shoes for a minute and look at it from their point of view. We are all wrong from time to time, own up to it. It takes courage and vulnerability to admit when you’re wrong and apologize. People will appreciate it and respect you more for it.
19. Take care of your skin. It’s never too early to start and you will be happy you did when you’re older. Always take your makeup off, moisturize, wear sunscreen, drink plenty of water and get enough sleep. You cannot reverse the aging process unless you want plastic surgery, and we all know how that can end up.
20. Eat healthy. It seems like there is always a new fad diet or diet pill on the market. It can really get you down and make you feel deprived. Instead, educated yourself about food and know what’s good and what’s not. Take note of how certain foods make you feel i.e. I love cheese, but every time I eat it I get a stuffy nose and my tummy hurts so I avoid it as much as possible. Make sure you are getting plenty of vegetables, fruits and lean meats. Drink plenty of water and be mindful of portion control. Like anything, it’s all about balance; it’s okay to treat yourself now and again.
21. Happiness doesn’t come from anything outside of yourself. Happiness is a state of mind, not a place, not money, not material goods, not a relationship. Only you can control your happiness. So practice gratitude everyday. Look for the good and good is what you will see.
22. It’s never too late to start over. Your dreams and ambitions will change and evolve with you. If you’re on a path that no longer feels good, make a change. Be fearless.
23. Change is scary, but good. It’s almost never easy. The easy thing would be to keep things the way they are, even if that means being unhappy. Be brave, make the change. You might lose the comfort of what you have, but you will most likely end up gaining something so much better.
24. Travel. It feeds your soul and nourishes your spirit. Nothing can replace the experience you will have when visiting other places and cultures. Take the time, spend the money. The world is too beautiful a place to be left unexplored. My number one goal for this year, travel more.
25. Be nice to your parents. They are people too. They make mistakes and go through hard times just like we do. Just know that when they get all parent-y on you that it’s out of love because they care about you so much.
26. It only gets better. Up’s and down’s come and go. For every hard time, know that there is a great time coming around the corner. Ask for help when you need it and be patient with yourself.