Life goes ever so quickly. One minute you’re in participating in Jump Rope for Heart in elementary school next minute you’re eating Taco Bell after leaving Two Keys on a Thirsty Thursday (is that even still a thing??). The past two years have had their fair share of ups and their moments of downs as well. Over the years, these are the lessons I found to be most beneficial that I only wish I knew coming into my twenties.
The Punch Line
- There will come a day when you can no longer Hank It like you used too…. Even though I have been told over and over again that drinking is not a skill I refuse to believe it. In my extremely late teens to early twenties, Hanking It was a weekly tradition. That’s one shot of whiskey for every time Justin Moore sings Hank It. We used to do this several times per night, a couple nights in a row, especially during tailgating season. Just a few weeks ago, we took shots with water.
- Hangovers are a real thing apparently.. know your limits and know them well. By the time you reach your mid-late twenties, you’ll wake up feeling like a dazed and confused camel in the middle of the Sahara desert if you don’t from the night before. As someone who’s always been able to handle their liquor (THANK YOU LIVER), it may be a hard concept to grasp, but the day will come and then you’ll know exactly what I am talking about.
- Nightlife will soon become your new favorite spectator event… You’ll have those moments when you go out for ladie’s night or just a night out with friends and you’ll find yourself people watching. At that moment, you’ll find yourself wondering if you ever acted like that or mortified at times saying that was never you… I assure you by all accounts you most likely have been there and done that. *sighs*
4. You meet a lot of temporary people in your twenties. When it comes to friendships I never lacked in variety. I had several different groups of people I enjoyed hanging out with and I never limited myself in that regard. Looking back, most weren’t friends, they were acquaintances. The sooner you learn the difference, the better. Not everyone who smiles in your face is your friend. There are people that are around to feed the soil so to speak others are there to pick the fruit. If you’re lucky, you will make some lifelong friendships in the process though.
5. Not every friendship is a forever friendship. There are friends for a reason, friends for a season and everything in between. Life gets busy. People change. They change every day as do you, as do I. People get closer. People grow apart. Learn when to hold them and when to walk away. Friendships like any other relationship require time and attention. I’ve been thankful for those that I have had over the years that understood those things as I have with them. But it requires making an effort, people always find a way to make time for those they care about. It may be a text, phone call, quick coffee date, etc but they make time. If you find yourself drifting into separate directions, care enough to have the conversation, if it’s important to you. Ultimately, learn to walk away from the toxic ones in the process. Toxicity is never good, no matter the situation, No one needs that kind of negativity.
6. Is it too late now to say sorry?… The answer is always NO. Many say pride goes before the fall and that it does. Live and let go. People make mistakes. Making the same mistake, more than once then becomes a decision. Learn to admit when you are wrong even if the other person has a hard time doing so. Burned bridges are not the way to go. Yes, things happen. But if there’s anything I’ve learned in this regard, apologize and move on. You may not ever be friends again, let alone best friend status, but forgiveness is a powerful thing and the world needs more healing no matter how small or big the indiscretion.
7. Find your tribe. Growing up, I remember my dad always asking me who I was hanging around, what their goals where, what they wanted to do with their lives, etc. I remember huffing and puffing that I was just having fun and that didn’t matter at the time. It always matters. You are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Think of those 5 people, maybe more, maybe less and think about what you share in common. Is this a positive or negative influence on your life? It’s important to surround yourself with people that lift you higher and that you can do so in return as well. It may be with similar goals, lifestyles, interests, etc.
8. If you’re a friend, truly be a friend. Be the kind of person you need in your life. Treat them the way you wish to be treated. Never lose sight of that. Being a friend means being there for them, knowing that people are constantly evolving as are you and never passing judgement. I’m not Willy Wonka, but hey there’s a time and a place for everything. For people to say that words don’t hurt. Sometimes they do. I almost lost a near and dear friend to me once out of immaturity. My words were like daggers and not to mention what I had something to say on was none of my business. If I hadn’t been such a judgmental individual about it, maybe that person would have felt open to share. Thankfully it’s water under the bridge now, but that never should have happened.
9. Learn the difference between love & lust. Millennials… we’re the generation notorious for being the hook-up culture, moving on to quickly, and not knowing how to commit. I can only imagine what the grandchildren might say one day, “Papaw and Mamaw both swiped right and they lived happily ever after.” I’m sorry, what? Perhaps Tinder could work for some but I don’t imagine too many success stories coming from that. Now to say that you only love someone for what’s on the inside, I can’t entirely agree. You have to somewhat be attracted to them, at least a little. Lust says I can’t wait to sleep with you, love says I also can’t wait to wake up next to you the next day as well. Sleeping together does not mean that person loves you. Always keep that in mind that just because the chemistry is there doesn’t mean there’s anything else of substance. It takes a lot more than two good looking people with a great sex life to make a relationship last.
10. Timing is everything. There are so many variables that go into having a worthwhile relationship but I’ve met so many people that didn’t work out because of the timing due to one thing or another.
11. You cannot expect them to love you, if they don’t love themselves. You simply cannot expect someone to give something they don’t have. Nor can you expect them to truly be able to love you if they haven’t taken the time to love themselves first. Time heals, love heals, forgiveness heals but it all starts with yourself.
12. You can and most likely will fall in love more than once. As someone who is living proof of this, it’s totally possible. There are 2 billion people in the world, you honestly think there’s only one person ever that you’re supposed to love? Now, I’m not saying you won’t get lucky on the first go around and they won’t be the love of your life, but it’s highly likely that you will. So don’t give up hope, if you haven’t found the love of your life.
13. There are certain individuals that you will forever share a connection with even if they are no longer in your life. Remember that whole you can and most likely will fall in love more than once in your life? Yes, I’m talking about that. People get together. People break up. Sometimes you’re not good for them and sometimes vice versa. Sometimes the timing is off. Maybe one person or both wasn’t ready. Maybe you never even dated, which seems to happen more than we’d all like to admit with our generation. No matter the reason, sometimes you don’t get closure. Sometimes, it’s not a clean break. Life is not always black and white. Love, attraction, certain indescribable feelings and emotions don’t always go away. But people move on and that is a small part of the beauty of life. You’ll save yourself a ton of trouble by understanding that revisiting those individuals often solves nothing and it’s almost like re-reading one of your old favorite novels… you’re expecting a different outcome even though you already know the ending.
14. Relationship are meant to be in between the two people having it, no one else. And also the good Lord above in my case but often times people forget this. It’s about what their parents want, what their friends think, what society seems to deem just, etc. Social media hasn’t helped in this regard. I see WAY too much get posted about daily from getting together, to breaking up to getting back together. And unfortunately in my late teens til I was maybe 21, this was me too. Every time Facebook Memories pops up with something I posted between 6-9 years ago, I cringe, read and delete it. Oversharing is not caring and is not a good look. Not everyone needs to know your business and contrary to popular belief, most don’t give a shit about it to begin with, they just want to know to know.
15. There’s no such thing as the perfect partner, but don’t settle just to say you have someone. Every one has their quirks, it’s about knowing what you can live with versus what you cannot. There may be no such thing as the perfect partner but two very imperfect people can workout beautifully. In the same token, don’t waste your time or the person you’re with if you don’t want to be with them for the sake of not being alone.
16. Move at your own pace, not what society has deemed the norm. Ever dreamed of the perfect house, in the perfect neighborhood, with the 4 kids, perfect husband, a station wagon and the white picket fence? No? Me neither. Partially because it’s not the 1950’s anymore and partially because I haven’t. My boyfriend and I have been together 4 years in August. I’m one of the last of the mohicans as far as no spouse, no children and no fur-babies. This still doesn’t deter me from being happy where I am. If you want all of those things, right here and right now, I’m also screaming kudos to you as well. At the end of the day not everyone has the same ideals or goals as everyone else, let alone same timeline. Go at your own pace and take your time. It’s not a race and there are no trophies once all of those items are completed.
17. Your parents only want what’s best for you. No, my mother and grandmother didn’t want my 18-year-old self back in the day to be out on a Friday night and they would call anywhere from 40-56 times during the course of an evening to prove their point. My father always encouraged school before everything because education was believed to be the foundation to a successful career. You may question their methods/wonder if they were ever your age no matter what age you are, but in their eyes, you’ll never not be their child and they only want better for you than what they had themselves. They only wish to teach you the lessons they learned in their life so you don’t have to make the same mistakes they did.
18. You may be getting older but your parents and grandparents are too. Make time for them as they did for you. The older I get, one of the things I truly regret is how I could have better spent some of my time and more of it would be with them. Thankfully, I have made much more of an effort to do so these past several years but my early twenties was much less than I would have liked to.
19. Build a career around what you love. Life is too short to spend a big bulk of your week, every week, for multiple years doing something your heart is not in. Sounds cliche’ maybe but follow your arrow and you’ll never regret it. You’ll never wish spending too much time doing something you don’t enjoy. Pursue something that sets your soul ablaze.
20. Find a work-life balance that works for you. The saying goes a little something like, “Don’t get so busy making a living, you forget to make a life.” Only you know the balance that will work for you but believe me time goes faster than you think and there’s nothing worse than looking up from the grind to realize you just blinked away a decent portion of your life.
21. Know the value in knowing your value. Embrace what you bring to the table and ask for what you desire within reason. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no. Understand there will be companies you work for along the way that may not be where you stay but that may be the stepping stone that gets you to the next level. In the same regard, do not fear leaving a position you have outgrown or no longer have the heart for. It may take time to find that new position willing to give you an opportunity to prove your value, but it will be worth it in the end.
22. Forgive yourself & others throughout your life. We’ve all fallen down. We’ve all made mistakes. Just as you might ask God or the person you wronged to forgive you, you must forgive yourself as well. And then truly let it go. Holding onto yesterday’s regret does nothing but provide a negative in your life. Same goes for forgiving others as well.
23. Do your best but don’t be so hard on yourself. Being as ambitious and driven (and overly competitive to be completely honest) as I have been it’s often hard for me to relax no matter how much I’ve accomplished in a day or week or year and God forbid if I don’t measure up to something I thought I would for myself. I am my own worst critic. I have issues with moderation. I’m either balls to the wall or I have nothing for it at all. This is something I have been working on for some time because I often give my all into something until I get burned out. Learn to rest so you don’t quit and move on to something else. There’s no prize for finishing everything in one day. Because then what? You’ll find yourself right back where you started with a new goal or initiative. Set a pace for yourself and go for it, not at anyone else’s.
24. Accept people where they are, as they are, for who they are. The world is full of differences. Being judgmental and close-minded never got anyone anywhere. Be kind always, you never know what their life has been like or what struggles they are facing.
25. Be the change. Often I used to wonder how I, in small town Kentucky can make a difference. It’s a ripple effect. Set an example. Find a community cause or council and serve, give back. Be a voice. It all started with me though. Your thoughts become your words and those eventually become your actions. Follow your arrow and find your purpose. It’s not enough to talk about it, take action and follow through. Working in the automotive industry, there was a great deal of stigma around it as a whole. It was my mission to change that perception, one customer at a time. Over 3 years time, I succeeded at this. It wasn’t about just making a sale, it was about providing great service and finding the right vehicle for the person I was serving. Leading by example, that incites change. Most recently, I joined the Junior League of Lexington and I only regret not joining sooner. The amount of opportunities to serve and give back to the community are unreal and they are everywhere. Start in your own backyard (so to speak). Do what you can, where you can.
26. Never take the time you have for granted. Tomorrow is never promised and we often take that for granted until someone we love has something happen to them. Don’t wait til then to wake up and start living. Someday isn’t a day of the week and sometimes that day never comes. Say what you need to say, do what you need to do. Live your life to the best of your ability within your means.
Cherry On Top
27. Stay unapologetically true to yourself. In a world full of fads and a media that praises trends made famous by celebrities, it may seem hard to resist at times. Social media tends to have a habit of creating an image of people’s lives when in reality people only post or share what they want you to see. People are like onions, in the retrospect that they have layers and lots of them. Often what you see hardly scratches the surface. In a world of full of conformity, take the road less traveled. There’s no need to go around pretending to be someone you aren’t. It’s human nature to want to belong and essentially fit in, but by being yourself, you will attract the people that are right for your tribe. At the end of the day, you have to live with the person that you are, no one else.