21 Lessons in 21 Years

These past few months have been a whirlwind of adult undertakings, moments of growth and incredible opportunities. As I near the fifth week of my 21st year, I’m taking the time to reflect on everything that I have learned along the way. Check out my list of 21 lessons learned in 21 years, an idea I sort of kind of stole from another QU-based blogger:

  1. Your natural hair is beautiful. Don’t feel pressured to blow it out and straighten it every day like everyone else because truth is, most others are dying for the kinky locks that you so effortlessly possess.
  2. Positive thinking is a choice, and it takes practice. So practice it whenever you can.
  3. When God wants you to grow, he makes you uncomfortable. When things aren’t great, use the circumstances to motivate you to build a better tomorrow.
  4. Tattoos hurt, but the right one(s) will be worth it. Think long and hard, then get the ink.

5. You don’t ever actually have to get rid of your baby blanket.

6. When you’re on vacation, put your phone away. Continuously make a conscious effort to be in the present moment, especially when surrounded by family and friends.

7. Sadness is nothing to be scared of. Don’t keep yourself in slow-burning, toxic situations just to avoid the sting of ripping off the Band-Aid.

8. All things in life are temporary, even life itself. Accepting this fact is crucial to making your time count and being able to move on.

9. You are currently doing things that, at one point, you never dreamed you’d be capable of doing. And years from now, you will be surprising yourself all over again.

10. Eyebrow threading is annoying, painful and necessary.

11. You won’t ever regret staying true to yourself. You will, however, regret doing things that just aren’t you. Don’t force yourself to conform or second-guess your intuition.

12. Falling in love, at least for the first time, is absolutely as glamorous as it seems. Don’t be afraid of it. Do it, and give it your all.

13. When you take care of yourself, all other things take care of themselves, too.

14. You’re not just “lucky”; you’re incredibly hard-working, and that’s how you’ve gotten this far. Create your own opportunities in this life.

15. Boxers are the WORLD’S BEST DOGS. (R.I.P. to my baby Lib forever ❤)

16. Dressing like an adult isn’t that hard. In fact, it makes you feel more powerful and in control. Slay, girl!

17. Make it a point to step out of your comfort zone fairly frequently. Take the initiative on that trip to Nicaragua, for instance, and push yourself to perform.

18. Show your family love every chance you get. (Friends, too!)

19. You are not your anxiety or your depression, although it sometimes feels like your emotions are swallowing you whole. You are not defined by these chemical imbalances. They are one more piece to your inspiring story.

20. Everything ain’t for everybody.

21. It is not up to you to change/fix/save people. It is, however, up to you to take care of yourself and be the best version of yourself that you can possibly be. (See #13.)

This piece was originally published on November 14, 2015.