Y’all. I’m 23 on Saturday and I can’t believe it. I used to think 23 was so old and sophisticated. BOY WAS I WRONG.
Twenty-three feels a lot like twenty-two. However, I’m way more confident in my alcohol choices than I was a year ago. (Throw back to vodka crans).
Like any good blogger, I thought I would share 23 things I’ve learned in the past 23 years. Can’t wait for this next year, 22 has been rough!
Twenty-Three Years of Lessons Learned
- Mom & Dad are normally right, or at least partially right: Anymore need to be said? Your parents have lived longer. They’ve seen stuff. And in my case, they were way more rebellious than I ever was.
- Family is important, but you have to do your own thing: I absolutely love my family, and would say that I’m close with all four of my grandparents as well as my parents. Matt’s family is great as well, and we love spending time with them. But sometimes you have to leave the warm embrace of what’s familiar to learn how to stand on your own two feet. You can still be close with your family without being physically close to them.
- If you’re terrified of doing something, that probably means you should do it: That job you’re scared to apply for? That friend you’re scared to tell you have feelings for? Or that person you really want to get to know but are too scared to ask? It means you have to push through and just do it. The things that I have been the most scared are the things that have forced me to grow the most.
- STOP COMPARING YOURSELF: The pot is calling the kettle black here, but comparison is so unhealthy. People tell me all the time that Matt and I have the perfect relationship, or they wish they had someone. But please know that all paths are different for a reason. I don’t know why Matt and I are on this path, but I know that it’s going to be different from yours for a reason. Also, Instagram makes people’s lives seem perfect, when they just aren’t. Trust me.
- It’s Okay to Change: Eight years ago I would have never imagined myself as I am today. I wouldn’t have imagined I’d be getting married, or working at a start up, or having been in a sorority. If you’re a nice person still, you’re changing for the better.
- Call. On Your Cell Phone: Just pick up the gosh-darn phone. I know that our generation “hates it” but honestly why? I regularly speak to my family member for 30 minutes at a time and it’s one of the best parts of my week. Also, you’re making that family member’s day. Trust me. In the job realm, millennials who use the phone are noticed. Trust me.
- Plan Financially for the Future: Y’all retirement savings are important. 3 months of your monthly expenses in the bank are important. You have to plan for something bad happening, savings are just great for when you get laid-off, or if you end up injured.
- Everything Else in the Future Is Hard to Plan For: Let me tell you what 23 looked like five years ago, heck even four years ago before Matt and I were really serious: Me, single, fabulous, living in Chicago working at a big PR agency and killing it. Also guys maybe? A dog? YES.
My reality? Living in Boston with my fiancé, working at a PR startup, planning my wedding, watching a lot of Netflix, and begging my fiancé for a dog. Moral of the story? You can’t plan. You have to work for what you want, but take opportunities as they come.
- Your Best Friends Won’t Always Be Your Best Friends: Growing up is so hard, and a lot of the time your grow away from people you thought would be there forever. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to let the distance happen, and quietly cheer on your friend from a far.
- Making New Friends Is Hard: If you’d like to know what the name of this chapter of my life would be, it’s “Hello, my name is Ashley. Please like me and want to be my friend because I need to get out of my apartment.” It’s hard to make friends as a young couple, it’s hard to make friends in a new city, it’s hard to make new friends in general. But you just have to put yourself out there, pray a lot, and believe you’ll find good people. I’ll probably do a post on this later (as soon as I make more friends…)
- Balance Is A Myth: No matter what you do, some weeks will be work heavy, other weeks will be social heavy, and then there will be weeks that are just heavy. The important thing is to learn what you need to be your best self and make time for those things.
- Drink Your Water Damn It: Sorry to get a little graphic here, but y’all you need to buy a water bottle and drink at least 4 of them day. 70% of your body is water, and drinking has so many health benefits it’s not even funny. Just put the soda (and yes you with the La Croix) down and pick up some water.
- Eat Carbs Before You Drink, do not pre-game hard, and have a glass of water for every drink/shot you have. Also enjoy some pizza after you drink, “calories don’t count at 2am.”
- Hang Overs Get Worse As You Get Older: Y’all live it up now. I’m going to be up front here and say that you gotta prepare way more. Have water by your bed, try some Pedialyte, but have fun and stay safe.
- Healthy Habits Are Everything: This is annoying, but fueling your body is so important. Even when I eat healthy 75% of the time my body just feels SO much better! Establish them as soon as you can, trust me you’ll thank yourself in a couple of years.
- Communication is Key: In your relationships, at work, and in real life. Tell people where you’re at how you’re doing and what needs to change. If you don’t know how to communicate your feelings and status, it can be hard to get ahead in life.
- Be Grateful Always: Y’all life is good. God is good. Even if you have little or things are going wrong, trust me when I say that when you’re grateful, life seems so much better. If you don’t believe in a higher power, just thank the universe for what you have!
- Judging Other People Gets You No-Where: I can be SO judgey sometimes, and admittedly it doesn’t do me any good. It doesn’t make me feel better, it just doesn’t do anything. Just try to accept that people make their own decisions. (I’m still working on this trust me)
- Sharing Your Life is Worth It: While being in a relationship can be difficult at times, and having to balance another person’s family, dreams and habits can be tricky (especially at 23) but trust me it’s so so worth it.
- Now Is No the Time to Be Complacent: Not to get political, but now is the for action. No matter the side of the aisle you’re on, it’s time to encourage our politicians to reach across the aisle. Please research your candidates before you vote. Research the issues, and from various sources, and then make an informed decision. Now is not the time to use tweets as your news source. The country that we will be running in 20 years is being created now.
- Be The Person Who Says Good Morning, and Shows Up With A Good Attitude: You have no idea how far it goes to be the happy, positive person at work. There’s a difference between being over the top positive and just being friendly. This is definitely something I noticed after moving out East, people aren’t as friendly here as they are in the Midwest, which is fine. But it’s set me apart in a good way!
- Take Risks: I took a risky job this year, and honestly I’m happier than I’ve been in awhile! We took a risk moving out East, and we took a risk to get married. Taking risks pays off, in either lessons learned or other big benefits. We’re only this age once, with less responsibility (usually) than other times in our lives! Bite the bullet, and just do it!
- This Too Shall Pass: A phrase that basically sums up the past two years of my life. This too shall pass, things will get better, they will slow down, they will speed up. It might be a big season of change, or a big season of calm. Whatever it is, cherish the feelings and the moment and know that change will come soon enough.
Long list right? I’m thinking that next year I’ll just share some fun facts (though I don’t know 24 fun facts about myself lol!)
What have you learned? How do you celebrate your birthday?