I was truly inspired by Danielle from Sometimes Sweet with this post. It is an older post, but inspiring nonetheless. She lists 10 important life lessons that she has experienced and learned through living out her 20's. Though I am only on the verge of turning 22, I fully agreed with half of what she has said while also still living and trying to come to the same conclusion myself in terms of the other half.
Though still figuring it all out, personal experience throughout high school and college have left its own impressions on me whether it is of a positive or negative nature.
Here is what I've come up with so far. These are things that both triumph and loss have taught me.
1. The MAJORITY of first love relationships do not work out. People change, and that is okay.
I've come to fully believe that everybody that we encounter serves a purpose in our lives no matter the allotted time of their presence. My first real relationship was full of trial and error happenings (as I'm sure is the norm), and I learned many things about myself that I have since either enhanced or changed completely. If this relationship had never taken place then I am certain that my current boyfriend and I would not be as happy as we are today. It is so so SO hard to let go and to move on when the time comes, but it is possible, which is something that can probably only be believed if lived it.
2. Parents do not know everything. And marriage is only a word.
I'm sorry if you choose to believe otherwise, but we are all human, after all. Our parents have experienced more and can thus give us great advice the majority of the time. However, everyone makes mistakes and that goes for mommy and daddy too. I was unfortunate enough to figure this one out at an early stage in life, but I think that I am better for it now. The sooner one learns this lesson, the sooner one's own future marriage and parenting are put into a more realistic perspective. Maturity in age does not always directly correspond with emotional maturity.
Adults make mistakes too. Adults say things to their kids that shouldn't be said. Adults do not always have a backbone. Adults spoil their children. Adults give in to temptation. And adults break their promises. It's only natural. This in no way discredits them as good parents as much as it reassures their existence as true human beings. Kids, it is okay to not fully delve into your parent's developed belief system and to explore some of life's biggest questions for yourself.
3. Gossip reaps insecurities.
"If you are surrounded by chatty people who talk about others behind their backs, they are probably talking about you behind yours also" - point blank.
4. What works for one person does not necessarily work for you (as applied in all realms of life). As seemingly cliche as this sounds, it is amazing as to how frustrating it can be when a person on the other side of the conversation has not yet fully realized this. I've encountered countless persons of age that still do not understand just how powerful the influence is of one's past experiences, physical environment, and genetic makeup. Sharing your thoughts on a matter is one thing, but excessively pushing your views on a subject onto another will not always be taken lightly. Such protocol can be adhered to religion, parenting, career expectations, schooling, and the like.
I really cannot put it into better words. To quote Danielle,
"Don't let anyone else's definition of happiness/success/life make you question your own definition of those things."
5. Take advantage of your youth.
If keeping up with my blog you would know that though I am a spontaneous traveler at heart, I had a recent mental lapse in this area in terms of a destination internship. I'm happy to say that I have fully recovered and that I am ready to take advantage of any opportunity that comes my way, despite the distance.
To put it simply, take a chance! Go abroad, visit a foreign city on a whim, enroll in a school that is far away from the group of friends that you've known since you were five. Do this now because let me tell you, time flies and these opportunities will not always be there. As the years advance, priorities change.
To quote my own self, "Do things for yourself and focus on YOU while you are still allowed to be selfish enough to do so."
6. We cannot please everybody (no matter how hard we try).
What an important lesson to be learned! So important and so necessary. I understand that a lot of people have this sort of disposition- my boyfriend especially. We want everyone to like us, and it is so hard to cope when we find out that someone doesn't. What did I do wrong? What happened to make him/her think such a thing? How can they say that when they don't even know me? But the truth is, it is IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE EVERYBODY ALL OF THE TIME. I learned this in high school, and then I relearned it recently as my family steadily grew from an accustomed family of four to an unconventional family of nine. Since reading minds isn't an option, unless we physically sit down with every person each day in order to rationalize everything that we have done and will do in our lives, nobody will truly know our genuine intentions. There are many jaded, negative people in the world, and if that is how they choose to look at you then you simply cannot let it have an effect. We do the best we can! And if that isn't enough then why bother?! They aren't worth it!
7. Quality is better than quantity.
I was once caught up with the longing notion of being "popular"- of being a pretty girl with a lunch table full of other pretty girls that were alongside the cute boys that always accompanied said pretty girls. So many friends they had- so it seemed. My group of friends, on the other hand, has always been smaller by nature because I personally thrive through the one on one connection. My boyfriend always teases me and says, "Your presence might not immediately command a room, but just one conversation with you and a flash of your smile and anyone would fall in love." (<-- By the way, I love him.)
Anyhow, the point is that through building quality relationships with people I can truly say that I can count on EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of my friends to be there for me at the drop of a hat. There is a stark difference between a quality friendship and numerous frivolous lunch dates and acquaintances. These lasting friendships are imperative for reasons that would take days to explain. Loyalty outshines a high number any day of the week, which is why I very much encourage a bond of this nature to be formed.
8. Modesty is admirable, insecurity is a turn off.
This is something that I struggled with for the longest time and am just now coming to terms with. The biggest example I can conjure up has to do with my current boyfriend. Since the beginning of our relationship I for some reason put him on a pedestal of sorts, which was a result of our high school years many moons ago. He was fairly popular throughout the years and had an abundance of friends and a natural coolness about his person to boot. When the two of us hit it off I was in a state of disbelief. Me?! Subconscious thoughts would arise in my head, I'm not good enough or pretty enough. What does he see in me? Boy, I'm lucky to have him! When I voiced these tormented thoughts aloud it would feel fantastic to have him counteract them and to reassure me.
Then, it became a habit- much too much of one. Sooner or later I could tell that my consistent self-conscious nature was causing him to become weary. Finally, whenever I would passively say something stupid along the lines of "I look fat," he would immediate follow with the response, "Then do something about it. Change it." I would get so irritated at first! But I'm NOT FAT! That wasn't the right answer! I realized that although those insecurities weighed heavily on my mind, the truth was also deep down, buried somewhere beneath. I just had to bring it upon myself to realize that I AM comfortable with myself, and I do not need constant reassurance from others for me to feel that way.
[Deep breath]. And this is all. For now. I'm still living and always learning. And constantly thinking.