Since April is my birth month and this year is the big quarter century (!!), I'm changing it up from the usual structure of these posts to share 25 things my twenties (the first half of them, anyway) have taught me. Shout out to T-Swift for the inspiration.
1. That first year of post-undergrad can be a rough one, especially if you don't go right into grad school or live in a city full of people your age. Life will probably be lonelier and possibly more boring than you expected.
2. Check to make sure your license has been renewed before you humiliate yourself by being bounced from a bar on your twenty-first birthday.
3. It's really important to learn how to navigate conflict before unaired grievances and passive aggressiveness slowly whittle away at all of your relationships. Repeat after me: HEALTHY CONFRONTATION IS YOUR FRIEND.
4. Once you hit twenty-three, staying up until 3 a.m. suddenly won't seem so appealing anymore.
5. Neither will downing an entire bag of your candy of choice in one sitting. (Well, it might, but just give it half an hour and then the only candy you'll want are those tropical flavored Tums.)
6. Twenty-four is a strange age to be. Expect to feel confused and maybe a little sad that year, especially if your life doesn't look like what your fourteen-year-old self imagined it would.
7. No one is too crazy (or not crazy enough) to benefit from counseling.
8. If you're having a down day, vitamin D and a long walk work wonders. Also, never be afraid to phone a friend.
9. If you think that hitting a certain number on the scale or looking a certain way in the mirror will magically fix your self-confidence issues, I promise you it won't.
10. However true the above statement may be, taking care of your body (read: feeding it with colorful foods and moving it in the way you enjoy most) is one of the best forms of self-compassion there is.
11. Social media breaks are one of the best things you can do for your soul, especially if you're in a season where you're struggling to find contentment in your circumstances.
12. That being said, logging off of Instagram won't instantly make said circumstances better. You need to find life-giving activities (i.e. spending real world time with people you love, traveling, reading, making art, writing letters, cooking/baking, de-cluttering, etc.) to replace those hours of scrolling.
13. THAT being said, social media is not the enemy. It is a tool that, just like any tool, you need to learn how to wield properly in order to get the best use out of it. Try to look at it as a means of encouraging, connecting with, and learning new things from others - rather than as a measurement of your own worth/value based on arbitrary numbers of likes, views and followers - and you will find the (moderated amount of) time you do spend on it be much more enjoyable.
14. Even after high school, life never really stops feeling like a popularity contest. The good thing is you're not required to participate. Find your people and hold them close.
15. You can't force someone to be your friend. You can send the first text, extend the first invitation, offer the first compliment, etc. and hope for the best, but recognize where your responsibility ends and where theirs begins. Try not to get hung up on someone who isn't willing to invest in a relationship with you when there's a good chance there are plenty of other people who are.
16. Speaking of relationships: if you're twenty-five and you're not currently in one, there are going to be days when you cherish your singleness and other days when you resent it with your entire being. If today happens to be the latter, it's okay to break up with Facebook for a little bit until you reign in that raging pity party.
17. Don't run from your feelings.
18. Don't camp out in them, either. Accept them, embrace them for an appropriate amount of time, and then do your best to move on from them. (Disclaimer: this is in no way an attempt to invalidate real mental health struggles!! Please see #7.)
19. I have two words for you: thrift stores.
20. I'm gonna go Marie Kondo on you for a second to emphasize that, in my own experience, less truly is more. If you're feeling weighed down emotionally, take a look at the things surrounding you physically and spend some time narrowing them down to only the ones that (in the words of my girl) "spark joy" in your heart.
21. Marie Kondo probably wouldn't approve of this next point, but reading old letters and journal entries is a form of therapy like no other. So maybe don't throw those out.
22. Sometimes we make friends for life and sometimes we make them for a season. The people who are going to stick it out for the long haul will reveal themselves over time (hint: your mom is probably one of them.) Once they do, don't ever take them for granted.
23. That being said, people can be surprising. Forgiveness, grace, and reconciliation are real things, so never fully give up on a (non-abusive) relationship.
24. Just take the dang photo.
25. Jesus is real and he'll change your life if you let him. For the record, this process usually involves humbling you by showing you the worst parts of yourself that he somehow chooses to love anyway, so be prepared for that.
That's all, folks!