The last couple weeks I’ve been reflecting a lot on the last year. Honestly, this was kind of the first birthday where I was like “Ugh, do I have to do this?” and feeling kinda old and lame. But I realized there has been a lot of learning and growing this year, and I have definitely seen some tender mercies and gained a better perspective on things. That being said, I just wanted to share a couple things I learned being 21…
Life is all about your attitude and outlook
If you decide you’re going to have a crappy day, you’re going to have a crappy day. Life is what you make it, and choosing to be positive will make it infinitely better. I’m definitely not perfect (if I could only count the number of times my mom told me ‘you’re kind of a whiner’), but this doesn’t come without some effort for many of us. But it is so SO worth it.
Relationships are great, and so is being single
There is nothing wrong with you if you aren’t in a relationship. There is nothing you need to “fix” about yourself. Having a partner is not the end all, be all of your life. Don’t waste your time in relationships where you aren’t happy, where you feel you don’t have value, and where you can’t be yourself. Not. Worth. It. It’s awesome when you finally realize one day that you are awesome and you’re happy being YOU. Cultivate what you love, be happy and be fulfilled as an individual. Validation is something that comes from you, and shouldn’t come from another person. It’s nice to have someone tell you you’re pretty. It’s nice to have someone else buy you pizza. But at the end of the day, you should be able to look at yourself in the mirror and say “DANG I AM HAWT” and you can go buy your own pizza.
There’s a difference between putting your best foot forward and pretending to be something you’re not. I’m all about the dress up, show up, put on your blazer and own that job interview, do your hair and smile a lot for that first date, but remain true to you. With social media and the cliqueness that never gets left behind in high school, it can be easy to feel like you aren’t good enough, not pretty enough, not affluent enough. But YOU HAVE VALUE. You are a unique, wonderful person. Be you! Own those quirks and obscure or super basic things you like, wear your Birks with socks and listen to the weird music. I’ve wasted too much time pretending to be something I’m not to fit in with a certain crowd. It’s EXHAUSTING and at the end of the day you just feel like a confused little shell of a person. Find out who you are and just own it.
Surround yourself with people that make you happy
Find friends who you can be yourself with and keep them close. People who will be there for you, who will put up with you when you’re being a selfish butt, and who will tag you in funny memes are super important. It takes time to find these people, they might not appear right away, but keep looking and be open and you will find them.
Enjoy the journey, but don’t be afraid to make changes
So the last year has definitely been one filled with things that I didn’t expect to happen. Through all of it, it was easy to get frustrated that I didn’t have control, that things I wanted weren’t happening, and that my plans were just not happening. Life happens, and there’s definitely a bigger plan. So sometimes you just have to chill the heck out and let it go. Control what you can, but the rest of it you gotta just let it happen. That being said, if there’s something you don’t like, change it! I realized a few months in that I wasn’t happy where I was living, so one day I woke up and just decided to move. Two days later I had a new apartment, and while I’ve only been here about a week, I think this has definitely been an inspired decision.
It’s the little things
Find joy in the mundane and ordinary. Maybe this is as simple as a new sponge in the sink. For me, it’s driving with the sunroof open and new music, or a particularly good Diet Coke where the syrup/soda ratio is perf. Perform little acts of kindness. It makes a difference for you, and for them.
I found an old letter from my mom a few days ago and a line in it said “sometimes life isn’t perfect”. There are lots of times we might look at this lack of perfection, whether it’s our circumstances, ourselves, or those around us, and become discouraged. It can be heavy, it can be heartbreaking. But I know we have a God who loves us. He is so tender and loving, and while we might not understand everything in this life, I know He is always on our side. (Some more thoughts on this.. )
So bring it on 22 😉