The following is a quick list of 25 things I have learned in 25 years (in no particular order), or 25 lines of advice to my younger self, or 25 notes to my future self, etc… you get the idea. What better way to celebrate turning a quarter of a century then noting down some stuff I learned (and wish I new a while back).
1. Don’t be a flake: if you say you’re gonna be there, be there. If you say you are going to do something, do your best to remember to do it. People should be able to count on your word.
2. Courage is a big part of love. Thank your husband often, as he is a brave, brave man.
3. Take the time to show people you appreciate them and why. Encourage others.
4. Cherish your siblings. Be nice to your younger sister, cause one day you’ll grow up and live far apart and you will miss her and want her around. And don’t yell at your little brothers to leave you alone when you’re a busy teenager–one day you will all be grown and teenage boys don’t like calling their older sisters to say hi. You’ll wish you spent more time just playing with them.
5. Mom was right when she told you when you were 13 and crying about being uncool and not having many friends “it’s about quality, not quantity” (Thanks to Halee for being almost the entirety of my social life all through the end of junior high and all high school. And thanks for the handful of amazing girl friends from college and beyond who have loved me as I am and have been true friends. You guys are the best).
6. On the other side of depression is joy. Life is worth living, even when you think it isn’t. It’s okay to feel sadness deeply, it’s part of life–just remember to feel joy to it’s depths, too.
7. Take time to do what you love doing–it will make you feel alive even if your job doesn’t.
8. Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want, don’t like, or don’t enjoy–it’s okay. It’s called being a grown up. It’s healthy to not have your way all the time, as the world doesn’t (and never will) revolve around you and you’re desires.
9. Be yourself–your dorky, silly, imaginative, overly-empathetic, quiet, frizzy-haired, weirdo, emotional self. There’s no one else that’s you, and someone has to be it. Besides, some people like it a lot.
10. Love those who hurt you, take time to be genuinely happy for those you might be jealous of. It melts bitterness and softens a hard heart.
11. Love and your parents and honor them by living in a way that honors the Lord.
12. Be nice and share your toys.
13. Don’t do it for the money, unless you graduated college with $95,000 in student debt… then you need to do it for the money. You can “not do it for the money” later when you’ve paid your debtors.
14. Defining yourself by what you do for a job or how much you make is a very poor definition of self. (PS–you’re not automatically entitled to a good salary/a cool job/something that is a dream occupation — just do good work wherever you’re at and keep searching for what fits).
15. I would rather be the “loser” or “uncool” girl any day of the week, than be that girl who makes other girls feel bad about themselves.
16. It’s okay to be that weird young person who routinely needs to go to bed early–just don’t go out with your friends in college and all ride in the same car and beg for them to take you home by 9pm. That’s weird, and it’s the definition of being a party pooper. (true story–and thanks for hanging out with me all those years anyway, Lauren & Julia).
17. Get to know someone who intimidates you–they usually are pretty great.
18. If your friends and professors and your mom say you should probably change your major to English Writing, you should (you’re gonna regret not doing it!!).
19. Walk daily with your God, Jesus Christ, who truly loves you and designed you for His purposes. Remember that thing you wrote that one time? “You must become greater, I must become less. When You are my vision, I’m at my best.” Live that out.
20. Trust your instincts–but not your fears… You have a LOT of irrational fears, by the way.
21. You don’t really need that thing you think you need.
22. While you are paying $50+ for your dinner, that homeless guy outside isn’t. Remember that. Keep that stuff in perspective.
23. Listen to your grandparents–they are older and wiser, and have great stories to tell.
24. Success is SO VERY relative.
25. Be patient with yourself, you’re only 25.