They say that with age, comes experience, and hopefully, some wisdom. As I come to terms with turning 25 years old, I find myself thinking about how true this is and I felt that 25 would be a good age to commemorate with a blog post. Although I considered making a highly cliche and mildly improbable “30-by-30” bucket list; I decided, instead, to look back on the experiences I’ve already lived. Through my experiences, I have learned valuable lessons which, for better or worse, have made me the person I am today.
Here are 25 lessons I’ve gained through my 25 years of life:
1. It’s okay to not have a five year plan… hell, it’s okay to not even have a five minute plan. Life rarely goes accordingly, anyway.
2. Expectations hardly ever meet reality and when this happens, you must realize that it is better to adjust your own expectations, than it is to try to change reality.
3. I’m convinced that there is a motivational Hamilton quote that is appropriate for every situation in life.
4. Realize that nothing you experience in life will ever be perfect. Life is a bundle of positive and negative. Embrace the negatives and never take the positives for granted.
5. Comparison truly is the thief of joy. If you spend all your time looking around and comparing your life to the life of those around you, or to the life you think you should have, you will never be able to appreciate what you do have and how far you’ve come.
6. Travel, alone, can’t make you a better person. Adding that extra stamp to your passport will not automatically make you deeper, wiser, or more profound. If you weren’t any of those things before, chances are, traveling will not make you so, after.
7. That being said, travel can change you, but only if you are humble and willing to be changed.
8. We grow more from our struggles and hardships than we do by our successes.
9. The struggle makes the successes all the sweeter. Celebrate them!
10. It’s okay to still have doubts and questions about what you’re doing in life, even if you are doing what you always thought you wanted to do.
11. Gratitude, empathy, and kindness are muscles that must be exercised daily. Travel will give you many opportunities to do so.
12. There’s a difference between living “the” dream and living your dream.
13. Make sure the life you pursue is one that brings you peace and fulfillment. If it isn’t, have the courage to start over.
14. Maturity is realizing that you are entitled to your opinions, but that doesn’t always mean that you are entitled to share them anytime you deem it necessary.
15. Not everyone has the luxury or desire to travel the world, and that’s okay. It doesn’t make their life experiences any less valuable than yours.
16. You only have one body and it can do amazing things if you allow it to. Take care of it, love it, be good to it.
17. Honoring your commitments says more about your character than anything else.
18. Traveling solo is one of the best experiences you can have. You can meet so many amazing people when you step out of your comfort zone and show a bit of vulnerability.
19. Scars make for the best stories.
20. The only timeline you need to follow is your own. It doesn’t matter what other people are doing, your life is your own. So take that year off between high school and college, wait for that right moment for your first kiss and for the right guy, if you need to. You live for your own approval, not others’.
21. Be active. Find something- anything- that will inspire you to get out and pump your heart rate up. An active person is a happy person.
22. Being happy is circumstantial, but being joyful is unconditional.
23. Life is too short to spend with people who do not make you feel valued.
24. Success does not come to those who wait for it, it comes to those who create opportunities for it.
25. Finally, always continue to be young, scrappy, and hungry (yes, this is a Hamilton quote.)