22 Things I've Learned Before 22

Birthdays have always been bittersweet for me. I've loved the idea of growing older, hopefully being a little wiser, and having a day to celebrate yourself inside and out. But growing up, my birthday was always right before school starts, which meant that friends were on family trips and my birthday always felt a little less sparkly than my friends with birthday during the school year. This year, I am in a new apartment in a new state and my birthday feels like the start of a new chapter in my life. I've grown so much this past year, and I wanted to share twenty-two nuggets of wisdom with you. 

1. Exercise makes such a difference in the way you feel mentally, physically, and emotionally. Prioritize it more. 

2. You can love what you do, but still have bad days doing what you love. 

3. Your mental health is worth so much more than FOMO. Stay in, recharge, take time for yourself. 

4. There's no such thing as reading too much. My industry is research, and everything that I do is improved by reading the literature. In my personal life, I've found reading to be so, so useful at helping me escape, open my mind, and grow into myself. 

5. Eat more greens. It makes you feel better. 

6. Spend money on experiences, not things. 

7. Use social media less. It'll make you happier.  

8. Being alone is different than being lonely. 

9. Only drink 100% agave tequila. A friend told me that you don't get hangovers drinking 100% agave. I don't know if that's true, but I've found that I prefer the way it tastes. 

10. Journaling every morning will change your life. 

11. Even though you think you're healed, do your damn physical therapy exercises. 

12. You should never rely on a substance to function. You should wake up feeling okay without a stimulant. You shouldn't need caffeine to feel awake or alcohol to mask the pain.

13. Order fries at happy hour. Everyone will eat them (even when they're "not hungry") and you'll never regret the carbs. 

14. You don't need to know what you're doing with your life. Enjoy the journey. 

15. Make time to reconnect with the people that you love. 

16. You need to be uncomfortable in order to grow. Take a risk, even if it doesn't work out, at least you tried. 

17. Goals are productive, comparison is not. The only comparison you ever need to make is between your current self and your past self. 

18. Forgiveness is a journey. 

19. Meditation is difficult and you're never going to feel like doing it, but it'll always make you feel better. 

20. Community over competition. Building people up will always be better than tearing people down. 

21. It's okay to share your struggle with others. Chances are, they've been there themselves. 

22. Love yourself. The only relationship that'll last a lifetime is the one you share with yourself. Forgive yourself, treat yourself with the same kindness and respect you treat others with, love yourself inside and out. 

I don't know it all, and I am still trying to grow into the person that I want to be. Let me know what a couple of your greatest life lessons have been in the comments so I can learn from you! I love you all so much, and I can't wait to see what this new chapter of my life has in store for me. 

x, S


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