22 Things That Took Me 22 Years to Learn (some of which I still have to tell myself)

 

  1. Things that seem extremely important at the time, like a breakup, the crumbling of a friendship, or not getting into your first choice school, will genuinely become irrelevant in time. Might be a few days, might be a few years. Trust me, this isn’t a cliché. Your life will go on even if it really feels like it won’t.
  2. Don’t count people out because of one small flaw. Aim to see the good in people. If every time you discover something unsavory about a friend (they like to gossip sometimes, they are chronically late, they’re a cat person, etc.), you decide to cut off that relationship, you will not have any friends. Not even one.
  3. That being said…it is okay to cut toxic people from your life. At risk of entirely contradicting myself, if you see all the good but it is grossly overshadowed by the bad, then it is okay to end a relationship or friendship. You need to weigh the pros and cons and decide which list is longer and decide from there.
  4. Don’t be ashamed of your likes or interests. If your favorite song is some from edgy new aged band, blast it. If it’s Hannah Montana, blast that too. Don’t let your fear of people judging you keep you from enjoying your favorite foods, music, TV shows, or past times.
  5. Be clear and honest about your needs. There’s nothing wrong with saying no to plans because you really need a night in, and there’s nothing wrong with using, “I just don’t feel up to it” as a reason not to go out. Instead of beating around the bush and making excuses, just be open and honest about what you need in the moment, whether that’s food, a night out, a nap, or to vent.
  6. Food and exercise should be a guilt-free part of life. It’s really easy for young women to get caught in a cycle of food and exercise obsession. If you find yourself not enjoying these parts of life, ask yourself why. If that question feels too difficult to answer on your own, talk to a parent or friend, or reach out to your RA or the school counseling center. These issues can get out of control really easily, and it’s best to nip them in the bud.
  7. Nobody is having as much fun as their Instagram says they are. According to my Instagram, I am having a BLAST. My life is fun, I am incredibly social, my boyfriend and I never argue and I definitely liked running around Halloween night in tights and oversized t shirt. Instagram is snapshots of people’s lives, and cannot be used as a point of comparison. This goes for all social media.
  8. Say “no.Like, all the time. This one can be tricky. If I was better at this skill, I would not be as over-worked or under-nurtured as I am. If your boss asks if you can work an extra few hours but you just don’t feel like it, say no. If your friend wants to come with you grocery shopping but you need time alone to examine which off-brand Easy Mac you want, say no. If someone approaches you and looks like they’re going to ask something, just say no before they even try.
  9. If you’re a crier, invest in Visene. I say this as someone that cries at literally everything, even comedies. Your eyes will get red. Visene works miracles and nobody will ask if you’re high after you binge watch Grey’s Anatomy (disclaimer I don’t even watch this show but my roommates do and they all cry about it all the time.)
  10. It’s okay to dislike your friend’s boyfriend, but don’t tell her that. If you think he’s abusive, genuinely disrespectful or unkind, or cheated on her and you have VALID REASONING and/or PROOF, then sure, let her know as her friend you have concerns. Otherwise you open yourself up to really horrible tension and making her feel excluded. You and him just have to be civil and friendly, they’re the ones that are dating each other.
  11. Similarly, continue to include your friends in plans if they start dating someone. Even if your friend seems to want to spend a lot of her time with her man, she’ll only separate herself more if you don’t invite her to things. Also, it’s just kind of mean and not being a good friend to just stop hanging out with someone because they have a new boyfriend.
  12. Unfollow people on social media that bring you down a comparison hole. If you find yourself routinely 172 weeks deep in some girl’s Insta trying to see if she ever even had an awkward stage, then maybe that’s not a great person for you to be following. Unfollow that person and find someone else to follow that has content that makes you feel good. If for social reasons you can’t unfollow them, try and find a way to mute their posts or come up with a plan to make yourself feel good when you start to get stuck on their page.
  13. Call your grandparents. I call my mom like eleven times a day. I don’t call my grandmother, though, nearly as much as I should. It really makes her day when I call, and they won’t be around forever.
  14. Customize your class schedule in a realistic way. There are certain things that will be unavoidable, like classes you need to graduate that are only offered at a certain time (I’m looking at you, Psych 380 at 8:00 AM). However, if you know you’re not a morning person, don’t sign up for all early classes hoping to change yourself. Be realistic and make a schedule that works for your life.
  15. Put your phone on “Do Not Disturb” every once in a while. If at no other time, do it before you go to sleep. Just try it for an hour and see how it feels.
  16. Don’t apologize to people for everything. One of my favorite comedians once said, “You could spill soup in my lap and I would apologize to you.” This statement rings true for me. If you do something wrong, by all means, APOLOGIZE. But don’t apologize for things out of your control, and don’t over-apologize for something even if you were in the wrong. Aside from appearing insincere, it’s not your job to make sure everyone’s feelings are spared at the expense of your own.
  17. Find people different from you and learn everything you can about them. I grew up in a white, Jewish bubble. In college I find myself surrounded by people of all races, nationalities, religions, and socio-economic statuses. I talk to my friends about their experiences in life, and ask lots of questions. It brings me back down to earth and I’ve learned a lot more about the human experience.
  18. Get an “Important Things” box. This one only applies to my ladies out there who, like myself, lose everything as soon as they find it. My boyfriend established the Important Things Box in 2016 and it has changed my life. I throw my keys, wallet, and phone in it, as well as my ID and credit card when I don’t have them in my wallet (which is frequent because I always misplace everything). Anytime I discover some random thing I know I’ll need later on when cleaning my room, I toss it in there for safe keeping. Total game-changer.
  19. Certain beauty products are worth investing in. If you have sensitive skin, it’s worth it to go to Sephora or another makeup store or even a dermatologist and have them recommend a cleansing and moisturizing routine. The same goes for skin and nail vitamins, hair products, lotion, and even makeup.
  20. In the same token, leave your conditioner in for 3-5 minutes. I have a few health problems that result in my hair getting dry and brittle really easily. By shampooing and conditioning first, then pulling my hair into a bun while I do the rest of my shower, my hair has gotten a lot healthier, softer, and stronger.
  21. Learn to listen. It can be really easy to vent and need to cry to your friends, but make sure to return the favor. Always ask your girl squad if any of them need to talk about anything if you feel like you’ve been supported by them more than usual lately. Just the gesture goes a long way.
  22. Don’t take yourself too seriously, all of your crazy experiences are fodder for your memoir. This is coming from someone who drove two hours to a job interview where the interviewer forgot I was coming and said, “I’ll definitely hire you so let’s just do this again closer to when you’d start.” At the time, I cried angry tears (I told you I was a crier), but in hindsight, it’s hilarious and makes for a great story.

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