Last week, I turned twenty-four, thus entering my twenty-fifth year. Just around the same time every blogger in existence started writing about 25 things they learned in 25 years. And I haven’t stopped thinking about what I’ve learned since. Just during Year 23 I lived on three continents, grew a business, moved in with a guy, left my family for an indefinite amount of time, was on TV, in a national magazine, got flack, gave flack, etc etc.
While I may still have a lot to learn, here are my twenty-five things. I’d love to hear yours…
25 Things I’ve Learned in 25 Years
1. Ninety-nine percent of the time, online is cheaper (though supporting local shops is awesome – if you have unlimited amounts of money). I recently took advantage of a chain’s shoe fitting service, found the perfect running shoes that made my shin splints disappear, saw said shoes were $280 in store, then promptly bought them new on eBay for $120 (this includes shipping from Alabama to New Zealand).
2. Taking a little step is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Sometimes dreams are daunting, but as Jenny Blake mentioned in her amazing book, Life After College, even listing two steps you can take to make that dream a reality are two steps in the right direction. After recently taking such a step, I couldn’t be more sure about this lesson.
4. Beautifully decorated cake is the easiest and best gift you can bring to a party. Plus, it’s hugely impressive.
5. Just because a country natively speaks English doesn’t mean it’s culture is anything like another English speaking country. Same goes for cultures within a country.
6. The news only covers noteworthy stories. It doesn’t mean it’s representation is accurate. (Re: I still can’t get over how the news here is representing how Americans reacted to Bin Laden’s death.)
7. Going fast is fun. Ride the luge in Rotorua.
8. Running a successful business means ALWAYS being proactive about growing it.
9. Interviewing people is the best way to grow your network and get advice.
10. Putting yourself out there is the only way you’ll ever get anything. A great way to do this? Blogging.
11. You’re never going to make everyone happy. Don’t try.
12. Gossip is never okay. Even if you’re in a group of people doing it, abstain.
13. Drinking alcohol is overrated. Drinking water is not.
14. Naps are awesome.
15. There’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of a few trends. (i.e. food trucks, review websites… just don’t blatantly copy and, please, avoid creating another group deal site.)
16. Sometimes our high school hobbies are things we shouldn’t stop as adults. I adored singing in high school. ADORED. I did musicals, joined an all-girls honor choir and one year even made it into CT’s All State. I dabbled in college, but didn’t feel like making the commitment. Why? It made me so happy! So I recently joined the Greater Auckland Chorus and even after only two rehearsals I feel more like myself. It’s incredible how as we get older we stop doing the frivolous, fun things we’re passionate about. I say go out and take up a childhood hobby asap before you deem it unimportant. Trust me, it is.
17. Just because you’re passionate about something doesn’t mean you can suddenly support yourself doing it. I know every lifestyle designer on the planet may hate me, but a plan, a little experience under your belt, a couple dolla bills in the bank and a support system will make “living your passion” 100 time easier.
18. While experiences are significantly more meaningful than possessions, after a year of not buying a single piece of clothing, I have to say feeling good about yourself (this means pretty things, healthy food, kitchen appliance that work etc) is worth the money you might have spent on a week-long holiday.
19. Take your camera everywhere, as memories of the experiences you DO spend money on (and those you don’t) will fade pretty quickly. Having something to look back on is the best gift you can give yourself.
20. One of my favorite lessons was simply by learning from my boyfriend, Sam. Essentially, the more you listen to someone and ask questions and be interested in what they have to say, the more they’ll like you.
21. Make an effort to keep in touch with friends. If anything’s kept me sane over the past few months of utterly re-hauling my life, it’s my girls back home and the beauty of Skype.
22. Never mix friends, money and family in any sort of combination.
23. As much as I’d like to, I can never be vegan. Cheese is amazing.
24. No matter how hot you might look, heels are uncomfortable, expensive, and totally not worth it.
25. It’s the relationships you make with everyone, not just “A-Listers”, that show the quality of your character. These folks are also usually better friends, less pretentious and hugely underrated. Spread your wings a bit, mmkay?
What about you? What’s one important lesson you’ve learned in your however-many years?