23 things I’ve learned before turning 23


22 + 1 day seems so starkly different from 22 + 364 days.

Technically, I haven’t changed a bit. I’m still the same [somewhat] introverted, melodramatic, sensitive girl who has a weakness for romance, fashion, food-related indulgences and sleep. I’m still the same, the only difference is that I’ve learned more about myself than I ever have before.

They say you find yourself during your four years at college. Sure, it may be true for some – but I say you’ll be far too preoccupied with all the debaucheries that college has to offer to do any sort of “soul searching.” Finding yourself simply seems too profound for the average college student.

I know I’ve grown exponentially from last year, so I’m assuming this is what it feels like to begin the process of truly discovering myself. Now that I look back, it’s humbling to see how all of my mistakes, real-world trial-and-errors, and general experiences have shaped my perspective and taught me more about myself.

Here’s a list of 23 things I’ve learned before turning 23 (written in no particular order):

  1. The people who matter are the ones who can take the furious with the sweet; the just-woken-up ugly with the made-up pretty; the lost-your-marbles crazy with the uneventfully sane; the introverted quiet with the attention-seeking loud; the obnoxiously annoying with the, I guess, not annoying.
  2. Things happen for a reason. It may feel like the worst, but it will be for the best. Know that something better is just waiting to happen and pick you up – it’s just waiting for the perfect moment to reveal itself.
  3. It’s always better to be over-dressed than under-dressed. If you’re over-dressed, you’ll just look better than everyone else.
  4. Don’t sweat the small things. Celebrate them instead.
  5. Being alone but not feeling lonely is a sure sign of being secure with and confident about yourself.
  6. 99% of the time, your friends and family are right. Listen to them. Their intentions are only the best, as irrational or as frustrating as they may be.
  7. It doesn’t matter if he (or she) looks good on paper.
  8. If you think you’re happy now, you will probably be even happier later. We’re only in our early 20’s – the best has yet to come.
  9. No matter how many heartbreaks you’ve endured, and no matter how devastating they were, don’t ever get jaded by them. Excuse the cliche, but love like you’ve never been hurt before.
  10. It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice. Good karma – believe it.
  11. Don’t ever have a birthday party at 2 different venues, especially if the first venue has an open bar. You’ll never make it to the second.
  12. Being financially independent, as early as you can, is the best thing you can do for yourself. Why would you want to take a girl out on a date using your trust fund or your parents’ money? Less than impressive.
  13. Never give up on anything you do – whether it’s as big as establishing a business or as minute as building a Star Wars Lego structure. (Seriously!)
  14. Exercise releases the happiest endorphins. Do it as often as possible – “I don’t have time” shouldn’t ever be an excuse not to. Make time.
  15. Always give yourself more credit than you think you deserve. Because you probably deserve it.
  16. Most 20-something year olds starting the real world begin at the bottom of the barrel. You may hate it – you may hate your salary, your hours, your commute, your boss, your coworkers, whatever – but if you stay positive, put in your 120%, take initiative, exhibit a good attitude, you’ll get where you want to be.
  17. Don’t ever settle for anything less. If you think you can do better, you probably can.
  18. Don’t stop enriching your knowledge about anything and everything. Be curious.
  19. It’s okay to make a mistake, just don’t make the same mistake twice.
  20. [In retrospect,] It’s always a good sign when 14 hours at work go by faster than any 8 hour job you’ve ever had before.
  21. When you’re at your worst, remember that it’s normal for it to get harder before it gets easier. The only thing you can do is be thankful for what you have, count your blessings, keep your head up, surround yourself with loved ones.
  22. 2 important things to always maintain: your youth and your sanity.
  23. Intangible experiences trump tangible materialism any day. It’s true, and it’s something I’m still trying to wrap my fingers around. Guess my last post about my Kate Spade wish list didn’t help too much.

Happy birthday eve to me.

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Categories: reflections & musings

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