24 Life Lessons I Learned At 24

Because yes, Netflix is a perfectly acceptable way to spend a Saturday night.

Lesson #25? Party hats never go out of style.

Throughout my 24th year, I learned way more than I expected. So as an early birthday gift to myself, I’m rounding up the most valuable nuggets of wisdom life threw my way in the past 365 days. #HappyBdayToMe

1. Just because you think something is a good idea doesn’t mean everyone else will.

Still, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go for it. Trust your gut.

2. In that same vein, just because other people think something is a good idea that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you.

The underlying message here? Only *you* know what works best for yourself.

3. Avocado makes an amazing substitute for butter and oil in baking recipes.

Seriously, try it! (I recommend these peanut butter brownies.)

4. People will disappoint you.

Sorry, it’s an inevitable part of human nature.

5. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them a second chance.

Context: This year I rebuilt a friendship with someone I thought I would never talk to again. Now, I don’t know what I’d do without her.

6. At the same time, know when to walk away when something isn’t working.

If you’re not getting what you want out of a relationship (friend-wise, romantic, professional, or beyond), it’s OK to stop trying to force it.

7. Baby steps are better than no steps.

~Shoutout to my Fitbit Flex.~

8. It’s OK to put yourself first.

In fact, do so often.

9. Keep the people in your life who show up.

They may not be who you expected (or necessarily wanted there in the first place), but they’re good people and worth the effort.

10. You won’t always be right.

Hate to admit it, but totally true.

11. You’ll make mistakes, but overthinking afterwards doesn’t change anything.

Apologize and move on.

12. Take a chance and go after what you want.

For example, give your number to that cute, friendly Starbucks barista. It might not work out how you wanted, but it’s still worth a shot. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

13. Quitting doesn’t equal failure.

Knowing when to walk away doesn’t mean you gave up; it means you’re moving on to something better.

14. Don’t settle.

Whether for a job, guy, or anything else — know your worth.

15. Go ahead, ask for a raise.

Terrifying, yet completely worth it. The worst thing that can happen is you’re told “no.”

16. It’s impossible to please everyone.

And more so, it’s ridiculously exhausting to try.

17. If you set enough alarms, you can get yourself out of bed before 7 a.m. to go for a walk in the park.

Or a run, if you’re feeling especially ambitious.

18. Stand up for yourself.

Other people may have your back, but only you can be your best advocate.

19. Netflix is a perfectly acceptable way to spend a Saturday.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

20. You never know until you ask.

You can spend hours guessing what might happen, but you’ll only get a definitive answer if you actually speak up.

21. People can surprise you.

In both good and bad ways.

22. Venture up to the roof.

As in, go places you’ve never gone before. (Or literally, conquer your slight fear and climb your fire escape — because the view is beautiful.)

23. You can’t always change people’s opinions.

Whether about politics or other beliefs, it’s pretty futile to try.

24. It’ll all be OK.

The cliché, but true idea that things always work themselves out. You’ll be surprised by what falls into place.

All images from my Instagram (@jpreemo)