Wow. I’m 23! I feel old and young simultaneously and I don’t know what to do with myself. I thought I’d share 23 things I’ve learned in 23 years.

  1. Having a cat makes you smile and laugh more than you could ever imagine.
  2. Love really does come when you least expect it. I learned, at least I feel, pretty early on (and by that I mean late high school/early college) that what’s most important is loving yourself. My focus on writing and reading and other creative outlets really allowed me to fall in love with myself so that I could stop falling in love with the thought of someone else. When I stopped thinking so much about love, it (and by that I mean Cole)  just sort of hit me on the head and said HERE I AM.
  3. Music will never get old. If you’re ever having a bad day, I recommend NOT playing a sad song, but something that reminds you of a past, positive memory. If that happens to be the “Everybody Wants to be a Cat” song from the Aristocats, then so be it!
  4. Going vegan has lifted a huge weight off of my chest knowing that I’m not contributing to animal cruelty. However, it has also made more aware of both human and animal suffering ,and therefore it has made me a tad more emotional. Can’t say I’ll ever regret it though.
  5. I don’t care what anyone says. Fast and the Furious will never get old.
  6. Your degree does not define what you will do. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been asked if I am going to be a teacher because my degree is in English. I’ve always loved writing and I enjoyed most of the classes I took for my degree because it’s something I’m interested in! Right now, I’m currently working at a Wildlife Rescue and loving it. Everyone also knows that I love animals and maybe I’ll travel every few years and find a wildlife sanctuary to work at. Maybe I’ll publish a book I’ve written. I do not have to to do ANYTHING with my degree. Yes, with the money I spent getting it and the possibilities of making more money with it, it’s a great thing to have. However, it is not my first priority to search for a job because money is not the most important thing to me.
  7. Spend time with your siblings. As I get older, I realize that there are less and less opportunities to go on vacations or find time to spend with my brother and sister. It’s never that I don’t want to, but now that we all have jobs and I will be moving, it makes it very hard for us to make plans together.
  8. Pay the extra money for that avocado! That is all.
  9. Sappy, romantic movies will always steal my heart.
  10. Coffee is your friend, therefore it should never be your alarm clock.
  11. You can still find a new niche after high school. I think that most people think that they’ve tried everything they might like early on. This is so not true! Sometimes I think about how decent of a painter I could be if I actually sat down to try, or maybe I’d be good at making music from wine glasses like Sandra Bullock’s character in Miss Congeniality. Have you ever considered that you might have a great singing voice or be good at acting? You should always give something new a go in case t becomes your new favorite thing.
  12. I don’t know what people put in their laundry that makes their clothing change colors on accident, but I have to admit that after 23 years, I have never washed my whites and colors separately and I have never had any problems.
  13. Related to number 12, as SOON as your laundry comes out of the dryer, fold it and hang it up. I have clothes that sit on my bed and eventually fall onto the floor and stay there for weeks. Do it first and so it now or it will never get done.
  14. Continuing on the topic of cleaning, dishes will never be your friend. I try not to use plastic silverware or paper plated because it really is awful for the environment, but boy does doing the dishes sink. I now understand why parents make that one of the top chores. I’ll sure as hell pay my kids to do the dishes.
  15. You must treat yourself with a massage. I waited until I was twenty-two to go to my first massage and now I am unbelievably disappointed in myself and anyone else who never told me how incredibly rewarding they are. When I went, I was in a very happy and relaxed state already because I’d just come back from a cruise and I went on Valentine’s Day. If you are feeling down, go immediately.
  16. Depression is real and suicide is not a joke. To be honest, I have never felt depression or suicidal thoughts, and I am very grateful. I cannot say that I know what it feels like, but I have seen it up close with friends and family, and it’s incredibly sad and frustrating to see what it does to them. It wasn’t until recently that I really knew someone who took their own life, and I think it’s really important to be aware of others and how people might be feeling.
  17. Save your damn money. As I’m saying this, I’m also thinking about how I have no regrets on what I did with most of my money, however, there are some things I could’ve done without. I think about how much I worked my booty off in high school working, and while I put a lot of money towards experiences such as the beach or my friend trip to Disney world, things such as my camera and laptop that I still use today, I also spent a lot of money on clothing, food, and random things to stuff my room with. If I’d even saved fifty bucks of month (which, I wish I could shake my younger self, because that is barely NOTHING when I think about the fact that I didn’t have to pay for rent, a car, etc.), then I would’ve had a more desirable savings account right now.
  18. Learn to cook in your early years if you can. I didn’t have the opportunity to learn how to cook many things, but also, I guess it wouldn’t have mattered because everything I would’ve been taught, probably would’ve involved meat and cheese and dairy. In a way, I’m a little fortunate not to have learned. However, at 23 years old, I still suck terribly. This is partly due to the limited time I have to cook with work and school, but I also don’t have any sort of motivation. Though I’m still working on this bit, I’ve realized the importance of it and also how much money it can save you!
  19. Buy a used and cheap car. The car doesn’t have to be crappy, but it does need to be cheap so that you’re not drowning in unnecessary car payments for four years.
  20. Almost everyone wants to hang out, be a part of something, go somewhere. Planning outings and trips with my theatre coworkers made for some of the best nights and conversations of my life. It also was part of the reason that Cole and I really got to know each other. Doesn’t matter if you don’t know people that well, invite as many people as you can out and I guarantee it will be a good time. I think we’re all afraid of meeting new people and hanging out with those we don’t know, but I always think about everyone going home at the end of the night and how much fun it’d be if we’d all just go somewhere together.
  21. Write anything. Write a daily journal, a dream journal, a poem, a song, a book. Maybe you find out it’s not for you, but writing has never failed me. I have maybe failed at writing, but once I’ve started writing, I’m automatically thrown into this perfect, invincible bubble. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is one of the best things I’ve ever done, in which you write a novel in thirty days. The amount of support from others and kind motivation is something I have to recommend to everyone.
  22. Hold onto your childhood friends. Some of my best friends I’ve known since elementary school or before! While we are so much more different that I could’ve imagined we’d be, it makes life so much better knowing I will never have a dull conversation and have all of the love and support I’ll ever need.
  23. Love your mother. Listen to her. Talk to her. Hug her. You will miss her when she’s gone.

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