24 Life Lessons
Let me just start by saying that I, in no way, shape, or form, feel that I know everything there is to know about life. However, I’ve decided to take a page out of Jenna Marbles’ book and list out 24 random things that I feel are important. Without further ado, here are 24 things that I have learned over the course of my 24 years.
1. Don’t give a damn what people think
I spent the majority of my middle and high school years caring what people thought of me to the point of making myself miserable. I really enjoyed staying up to play video games all night, chatting with people online who were half way across the world, and watching cartoons/anime. Those were the things that made me happy, yet most of the people I went to school with thought it was weird and “uncool” at the time. So I hid it from nearly everyone and tried to suppress it as much as I could. I never talked about it, I never shared my interests with anyone I made friends with unless they brought it up first, and I felt awkward if anyone who knew brought it up around people I didn’t trust. It took me a until around the end of my Junior year/beginning of my Senior year to realize that none of it mattered and if someone didn’t like what I liked, that was okay. If someone thought I was strange and made fun of me, that was okay too. The less you react, the less people cared to bully you. I’ve grown more comfortable with who I am over 24 years, but I wish I had reached that point earlier. Easier said than done, I know, but it’s extremely freeing to enjoy whatever you want to enjoy without fear of perpetual ridicule; I’m a much happier person now that I don’t give a damn.
2. Always check the pockets
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve put my husband’s clothes into the washer only to find that he had a pen in his pocket and it exploded. That, or I’ve washed his entire wallet. I always forget that men actually have pockets and can put things in there, since girl pockets only have about 2 centimeters of space (what’s up with that?). I’ve ruined a couple of his shirts and mine with pens, I’ve destroyed a good amount of my chapsticks, and I’ve had to take everything out of a soaking wet wallet to dry it with a hair dryer. It’s not fun. Always, and I mean ALWAYS check the pockets.
3. Build a savings account
Every time you get paid just put a little bit away and tell yourself that you aren’t going to touch it unless you absolutely have to. This teaches some discipline as well as saving your ass if you’re ever in a bind. You may be thinking, “but Quinn, I’ve never been strapped for cash, I always manage my money well!” There will come a time, trust me. Your future self will thank you. Even if somehow you live in a perfect world that I am incredibly envious of, at least you have some extra cash if you ever feel like splurging on yourself. It’s a win/win!
4. Be nice to waiters/waitresses
Honestly, just be nice to anyone you come across (especially those who work with the public). It gets freaking difficult sometimes when you deal with assholes 80% of the day, alright? But for the sake of this lesson – don’t be rude to the people who are serving you food. You really want to piss off the person who at some point in time could take your plate behind closed doors and do anything they want to it? I worked in a restaurant and let me tell you, spitting in food is NOT a myth. I witnessed a guy spit in some old woman’s pasta. I couldn’t believe that he actually did it, and I don’t condone this in any way, but I’m here to let you know that it 100% exists. Don’t be an asshole.
5. Trust your gut
Being a naturally cautious person, I learned early on to trust my intuition. I’ve managed to get out of a few bad situations just because I listened to that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I nearly lost my virginity to a guy who turned around and cheated on me not too long after we got intimate. My gut told me to stop before we went too far, and I’m so thankful I listened to that feeling. Trusting yourself is so important.
6. Don’t mess with that pimple
It’s not ready, and you’re about to make your face look 100 times worse. Just don’t do it. Don’t.
7. Perfect doesn’t exist
Waiting around for that “perfect” person, or that “perfect” moment to take a chance isn’t worth it in most cases. Life isn’t a Disney fairytale waiting to come true. I’m not telling you to settle for something less than satisfactory, just keep in mind that no situation or person can be completely perfect. Stop holding people to an unrealistic standard, including yourself.
8. Remember where you parked
I once went on a 4 mile walk for Breast Cancer and then walked about another 4 miles just looking for my friend’s car with her. I didn’t drive there with her, so I also had no clue where she parked, but I was along for the adventure (I couldn’t just leave her stranded!). Granted, she’s a bit of a scatterbrained mess at times, but it’s still useful to take note of where you parked. We ended up Ubering home because we were so tired of looking for her car (turns out it was in the parking lot that we gave up in… go figure). The Uber driver said she should take pictures of where her car was at next time – not a bad idea if I do say so myself! My feet/legs will never forgive me.
9. Learn another language
If you’re currently in high school, or will be, and you’re being forced to take a foreign language class – pay attention. I had to take Spanish during my high school years and looking back I wish I would have actually learned more than I did. I was an awful high school student and didn’t think I would ever need Spanish. Turns out the guy I married is half Mexican and I now live about an hour from the border. Oops! Still, it’s never too late to pick up a new language. You never know when it could come in handy.
10. Connections matter
In the professional world I’ve learned that connections matter quite a bit. Keep your options open and try not to unnecessarily burn any bridges. Any one could open up a door for you that you never thought was possible.
11. You’re only as good as the company you keep
Take this with a grain of salt, but I’ve found this to be true in most cases. If you’re hanging out with shitty people, you’re probably going to act pretty shitty. Don’t expect to live a positive life when you’re constantly surrounded by negative people.
12. Stay humble
Let’s be real, no one likes cocky jerks. Let your actions speak for you and do good things without expecting anything in return. It will be rewarded in time, and people will begin to take notice, I can almost guarantee it.
13. Yoga works
I have some hip issues, so my doctor told me to try yoga. I did, and within the week my hips were feeling great already! You might feel a little silly at first, but it seriously is so helpful for both body and mind. There is yoga for all levels, and even if you don’t NEED to do yoga it’s still good practice. After each session my mind feels so relaxed and, well, zen. Not to mention no longer having sharp pain shooting through my legs every time I stand up.
14. Get out of your comfort zone
It’s going to be really difficult to grow and improve if you never leave your comfort zone. Push yourself just a little bit and each time you will make it further than before. If I had never taken myself out of my comfort zone I would never have moved to San Diego or pursued a job that I love. It’s scary, but it’s well worth it.
15. Failure does not define you
I’ve mentioned this in my previous article “You Belong Here”, but I think it’s so important. Just because you have failed at something does not mean that you are inherently a failure. Failing is just the beginning of learning, growing, and improving! It is the beginning of success, embrace the failure and learn from it.
16. Make small goals
We all have big dreams of what we hope to do in the future, but not many of us think of what it’s going to take to get there. Not just that, but in your daily life make small goals to get shit done. If you’re like me then sometimes you have issues getting motivated to “adult” for the day. I will literally give myself a goal and a reward to get myself doing something. For example, “If I do all the laundry then I can play Overwatch”. Don’t judge, it works!
17. Worrying changes nothing
This is one that I always have to remind myself on. I’m the person who is constantly worrying about something, my mind is always racing and I’m usually anxious about one thing or another. The thing is no matter how much you worry, nothing is going to change. Stop fretting over things that are out of your control, all it does it make you miserable.
18. Show you care
This year I had a friend who I was very close with in high school pass away. She was only 24, she would have been 25 this month (October 24th). We drifted apart after high school because she got involved in some bad things that I wanted no part of, but I wish I would have let her know more often that I was still there for her and that I cared. Despite all her mistakes, she was still my friend. It sounds cliche, but make sure the people close to you always know that you love them no matter what is going on. Sometimes just the notion can help pull them out of that bad environment and make better choices – it could mean the world to someone, even if they don’t openly show it. Life can throw you a curve ball at any moment in time.
19. Beware credit cards
Credit cards are a double edged sword, a catch 22. You’re damned if you have one (or more) and you’re damned if you don’t. For some reason in the adult world you’re almost required to have a credit card in order to build credit, which will help you with things like car loans or buying a home. Yet you can quickly dig yourself into a deep, deep hole if you just keep swiping that card. So what is one to do? Discipline! I’ve seen one too many people get themselves into massive debt by not having some kind of restraint on credit cards. For me, I try to only use my credit card when it’s an emergency, or when I know I have the money and can pay it off immediately. Be careful with those plastic demons!
20. Be Honest
I don’t have many friends partly due to this lesson, but it has awarded me with a handful of quality people I call friends. You shouldn’t have to lie just to maintain friendships, and chances are if they don’t like the truth then they don’t deserve to be your friend. If you ask for my opinion, I’m going to give you the blunt truth. I expect the same of my friends. Sometimes we all need a reality check.
21. Let it go
And I don’t just mean sing along with Elsa in the Disney movie Frozen. Seriously, let go of your grudges. Stop waiting for the apology that you may never receive. Some things (and people) just aren’t worth arguing over, plain and simple. Holding in all of that hate weighs you down and destroys your quality of life. You don’t have to forgive the person and become best friends, per say, but try not letting whatever it is vex you so much. Move on. Life is too short to let other people ruin it.
22. Don’t let anyone borrow money
I don’t care who it is – family or friend – just don’t do it. Even if they say they will pay you back, 9 times out of 10 they will never pay you back. If you feel like giving someone money then do it and don’t expect to ever see it again. It’ll save you some anger and/or awkward conversations of you asking where your money is.
23. Everyone should have a pet
I would say dogs in particular, but whatever floats your boat. I grew up with numerous pets, and I continue to live my life with numerous pets. In fact, I have two dogs, a corn snake and a bearded dragon! They are my “children” and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. When no one else understands, your pet is there to hug and to lean on even if they don’t understand why you’re upset (okay, maybe not my snake, but I still love her!) They can’t give you advice, but sometimes you don’t want advice. I’ve sat in bed crying and hugging my dog, or my childhood cat; they just have a way of making you feel better in any situation. They bring a smile to your face every day and everyone should have that (if you can responsibly own one, of course). If you can’t afford a pet, plants are even a good option! Maybe not as comforting as a dog, but it’s nice to have something to take care of.
24. We’re all just winging it
I use to believe that once I reached a certain age I would know exactly what my path was in life. I’d have everything mapped out and never be afraid of the future. Turns out that’s far from the truth. I’m 90% sure nearly all of us are just improvising and acting like we know what we’re doing. If you’re like me and aren’t really sure what you’re supposed to be doing in this thing called life, don’t worry. You’re not alone. It’s about the ride, not the destination!
I still have a lot to learn, but I hope there was something wise and possibly helpful in there for you. Do you have any other protips for a floundering 24 year old like myself (or anyone, really)? Let me know in the comments!