10 Important Things I’ve Learned in 25 Years

25thI’ve hit another milestone, which is basically what I feel like I’ve been doing since I turned 16. For the past month and a half, I’ve been attempting to compose a list of important lessons I’ve taken away from life in these short (long?) 25 years. Initially I was going to do a list of 25 things, but that would be a long ass post that no one would read. So I cutcutcut and here we are! Hopefully it doesn’t come off as preachy because that certainly isn’t what I was going for. I feel like, especially lately, I’ve come to a lot of conclusions due to some pretty crazy life experiences, and naturally I wanted to share them with the anonymous readers of my blog.

  1. Who gives a shit what strangers in public think of you. High school me wouldn’t be caught dead going outside without straightening my hair until it was a nightmare of split ends, doing my whole “thick black eyeliner, emo girl” thing. Now it’s a miracle if I can make it through a train ride without my head falling backwards, mouth dropping open, and drooling on myself. These people will probably never see me again, so why do I care if the bags under my eyes or the food I spilled on jeans (pretty much a daily occurrence) bother them?
  2. Family members are the perfect people to help you at your lowest. Time and time again when a problem arises or I find myself in a situation where it feels impossible to recover, my family is there to pick me up. Even if we usually don’t see eye-to-eye, there are a lot of simple reassurances that a close family member can offer. Plus endless hugs.
  3. The people who complain the most are often the ones with the least to complain about. I’ve seen it happen plenty of times. Hell, I’ve DONE it plenty of times. But once you’re faced with a true tragedy, it’s easier to listen to people complain about how annoying their day was as a distraction from your own problems.
  4. Being single is the perfect opportunity to rediscover yourself. I touched on this in my Valentine’s Day post, but I honestly love being single. I love prioritizing myself and working to make myself a happier Nicole every day, and this is something that I’m truly able to get from not having to worry about a significant other. Relationships are fun, but personally I feel like I’m a better, more content person when I’m single. Which is…depressing…Oh well, OVER IT.
  5. On that note…Prioritizing yourself isn’t selfish. Of course it’s nice to care about other people, and I’m not saying we should only care about ourselves all the time. I don’t even do that (I also like my cat!). We should recognize that making ourselves happy is really what matters most because we’re the ones living our lives — not our best friends, not our parents, not our significant others. Worry about yourself before worrying about the rest.
  6. Having a job that you enjoy is absolutely integral. After working a job that makes me miserable pretty much every day for the last year and a half, I’m realizing how absolutely important it is to work somewhere that I am excited to wake up for. Chasing down a dream job is hard work, but getting there is part of the fun and where you do a lot of growing.
  7. Having expectations often leads to disappointment, and maybe that’s because you already know what the outcome will be. I feel like when I’m excited for a date or seeing a friend or really anything, it ends up not being as great as I thought it would be. And maybe I always knew it’d be that way. Maybe deep down I had this quiet voice trying to tell me that there were signs that the date would probably suck, or that hanging out with my friend wasn’t realistic for when we planned it. But instead of admitting it to myself, I built it up into this incredible fantasy that ultimately doesn’t come to be. This is all simply speculation, but if I’m being completely honest with myself, it’s usually the case.
  8. Sometimes you have to force yourself to do the things you love to do. It seems like such a weird concept, but after I graduated, I fell into a rut where I stopped doing so many of the things I was passionate about (yoga, cooking, writing). These have all been things I have to make myself find time to do, but the payoff is always worth it because I’m doing something I love and enjoying the hell out of it.
  9. Being nice is great, but it shouldn’t come at the price of compromising yourself. I’m realizing more and more that as great as it is to be nice to people and try to help as much as possible, it leads to me getting taken advantage of often. I have to figure out how to walk the fine line between being helpful and also being self-assured enough to not let people use me.
  10. People are hypocrites. I’m hypocritical. You’re hypocritical. We’re all hypocritical, yeah! We all need to calm down and be honest with ourselves, even if it means admitting to believing something you might be ashamed to believe. It’s silly and deep down, you know the truth.
  11. BONUS: Life is way more enjoyable when you can laugh at it. Did you just fall down the stairs? Trip in public? Spill food on yourself? Find yourself in a bizarre/horrible social situation? Laugh it off. These are circumstances that I find myself in fairly often (seriously…), and now I’m in the habit of giggling about it and waiting for the next ridiculous thing to happen.
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