In 27 days I turn 27. That means 27 years of ups and downs, struggles and triumphs, wins and losses. It’s 27 years worth of mistakes, memories, and experiences. In 27 years, I’ve learned a lot of lessons. Some I’m thankful for, others I think I could have gone without learning. In honor of my upcoming birthday, here are 27 lessons I’ve learned in the past 27 years.
1. Holding grudges only hurts yourself.
I had always thought of myself as someone who was blessed with the ability to let things go and move on with little to no effort. But, a couple of things happened that swiftly taught me that was far from the truth. I found myself resenting people who had hurt me in some way or another. By dwelling on these negative people and experiences, I was actually doing a lot of harm to my well-being. When I started actively changing my thoughts, I started letting go of all the grudges and started to appreciate how much good was happening around me.
2. If people want to be in your life, they will be.
This isn’t a lesson that requires a long explanation. If someone wants to be a part of your life, they will make the effort. If they don’t, then maybe it’s time to let them go.
3. Feeling good is everything.
I spent a lot of time focusing on every part of my life except for my health. I was focusing on what people thought of me, what my plans would be two weeks away, how many notifications I had on my recent Instagram post, and every other menial thing you can think of. When I started thinking about how my body felt and what it needed from me, I started focusing on my health a little more than I ever had before, and I realized how important it is to take care of yourself. When you feel good, I honestly believe everything else in your life starts to fall in to place.
4. Be present.
Time is precious and often something we all take for granted. What’s important is to be present in the moments we spend with loved ones. It’s easy to sit at a dinner table but be glued to your phone or to be texting and checking social media while you’re having a conversation with someone. We are so preoccupied that spending time with people has morphed in to all of us sitting on our phones in the same room. You learn a lot about the people around you when you set aside the distractions.
5. Good things will happen when you let go of things you’ve been clinging to.
I hate letting go of things. Clothes, pictures, old notebooks, people, and anything else you can imagine. I’ve always felt like letting go of people meant a relationship had failed or that letting go of tangible items meant I had wasted money or would never remember certain moments. By letting go of some of the things I was clinging to most, I allowed for new experiences, opportunities, and people to come in to my life.
6. Listen to your body.
Your body will actually tell you when you need more sleep, when you need to take a break from the chaos, and when you need more water or better nutrition. It’s important to listen to your body and to check in on how you’re feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally.
7. Heartbreak doesn’t last.
I know what it’s like to have your heartbroken and feel like you’re literally never going to be okay again. I think we can all relate to that feeling. The good thing is, that feeling eventually fades. You meet new people, your life shifts gears, and someday you might actually be glad that the relationship you struggled to get over didn’t work out.
8. Wear sunscreen.
If you ask my mom, she’ll still tell you I’m awful at this one, but I’m trying. The pre-mature wrinkles on my forehead will tell you I haven’t been great at always wearing sunscreen, but I have learned it’s importance in my short 27 years.
9. Happiness come from within.
I want to punch myself in the face for saying something so cliche, but you can’t argue with facts. No amount of money, possessions, number of friends, or anything, will bring you happiness. If you aren’t happy with yourself, nothing else will matter.
10. Save money.
I should have started saving my money YEARS ago. I didn’t. That was my bad. My parents told me to. Society told me to. I didn’t listen. I’m working on it.
11. Age is just a number.
When I was younger I thought anything over 25 was sooo old. Now, I’m almost 27 but I still feel like I’m 20.
12. Don’t be the drunk girl.
I’ve spent more nights than I care to admit having more drinks than I should have. I’ve taken partying to another level on more than one occasion in college and post-grad. It’s not a good look on anyone. Don’t be that girl.
13. You won’t regret not going out.
I’m the first to admit I’m a homebody. I like going out occasionally but, for the most part, I typically like to be at home. Part of it is because I’m a dog mom and hate the thought of leaving her ever, and the other part is because I just generally like to be in the comfort of my own home. I can think of nights where I regret going out, but I can’t think of a single night where I regret not having gone out.
14. The beach cures everything.
It will alleviate your bad mood. Turn around your sad mood. Elevate your good mood. If you don’t live near a beach, I feel bad for you. If you do, go as often as you can.
15. Everything eventually works itself out.
Sometimes you may think you want something and it will be the best thing for you, but in reality, it’s not. If you don’t get what you want, don’t worry about it. The universe has a way of working everything out.
16. Don’t say yes to everything.
Somewhere along the line we became a society who started to view being busy as being successful. I hate to break it to you, but that’s not the case. You don’t have to say yes every time someone asks you to do something. You don’t have to say yes to every opportunity you encounter. Choose your choices wisely and only say yes to things that are an absolute yes.
17. Don’t dwell on the past.
I realize the irony on this one because I’m literally writing a list on things I’ve learned from my past. BUT, I learned the lessons and moved on. I’m not dwelling on things that didn’t work out or bad things that happened.
18. Timing is key.
It’s easy to see someone else’s life on social media and think you’re way behind on where you should be in yours. Friends are getting married, having babies, buying houses, and you’re watching Netflix in leggings drinking wine on a Friday. It’s fine. As long as you’re happy with where you are and working towards getting where you want to be, the timing doesn’t matter. You’ll end up where you need to be when the time is right for you.
19. Comparing yourself to others is a waste of time.
Your definition of success doesn’t match anyone else’s, so there’s no point in comparing yourself. The things you value in your life may be completely irrelevant to someone else. Focus on what you want and where you’re going instead of what everyone else is up to.
20. Be grateful.
Whether you write it down, say it to yourself, or just think about it, do this every day. It’s important to remind yourself that you have things in your life you don’t want to lose, and it’s nice to remind others you don’t want to lose them.
21. Make your health a #1 priority.
I still struggle with this. I’m constantly staying up too late, pushing off doctor’s appointments, taking on too many things, and stressing myself out. I don’t always make my health and wellness a priority but I’m really trying to. At the end of the day, people come and go, jobs change, and life happens to us. But, the one thing we can try to control is our health.
22. Being really busy doesn’t mean you’re successful.
It’s really not hard to make yourself busy. You can fill your schedule with all kinds of activities, jobs, meetings, etc., but that doesn’t mean you’re successful. In fact, I think it’s the opposite. When you find yourself being “so busy” then you probably aren’t doing your best at whatever it is you’re doing. Wearing yourself thin and overworking yourself doesn’t set you up for success at all. It sets you up for stress, sickness, and being tired 100% of the time.
23. Surround yourself with the right people.
You’ve probably heard before that you become the kinds of people you spend most of your time with. Pick people to be around who have a positive outlook on life and are constantly inspiring you to do and be better.
24. Never stop learning.
Whether you take a cooking class, learn an instrument, or go back to school, I think learning is key to living a fulfilling life. Constantly challenging yourself to try and learn something new is so important.
25. It’s okay to not be okay.
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. We all go through periods where we’re less happy than usual or even depressed. This doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. It just means you need a little extra help and to focus a little more on your mental well-being. Take it day by day and don’t be ashamed to admit you need help.
26. Everything happens for a reason.
You know those stories where someone met the love of their life at an airport bar after missing their flight? Or when someone gets laid off from their job only to land their dream job because they had to start looking for a new one? Well, there’s your reason. Instead of getting worked up when frustrating things happen, remind yourself there’s a reason. It may take a while to realize what that reason is, but hopefully someday you will.
27. I’m pretty happy.
When I stop and think about where I want my life to be in the next year, 3 years, 5, years, 10 years, I know I’m on the right track. I may not be where I thought I would be at 27, but I’m happy knowing that I’m consistently striving to be better and surpass my current goals.