On July 24th, 2014, I turned 25 years old. We celebrated in beautiful Miami, FL and I had the time of my life – thus far. Most women don’t like talking about their age but I couldn’t be happier to be 25 years old. For once I feel like I’ve finally caught up to the number that I’m supposed to be. I’ve always considered myself mature for my age, but 25 feels like a perfect fit. I feel like I’m right where I want to be in life for this age. I’ve accomplished so much, made many mistakes and learned so much, and have grown so much in the 25 years that I have been on this earth.
So to honor my 25 years of life, I will share with you (in no particular order) the 25 rules I live by and why… maybe you can learn from a few of my mistakes as well 🙂
Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Don’t make it harder on them. I personally, get no joy out of treating others badly. In fact, I’m so ridden with guilt when I’m mean to someone, that I’m sure I suffer more than the person I was mean to.
Don’t judge a book by its cover
Even when someone seems completely different from you, like you’ll have nothing in common, you might be pleasantly surprised if you give them a chance. Some of my closest friends in Delaware are people who come from different racial, religious and (for lack of better words) mental backgrounds than me, but I am so glad to have them in my life. I’d never played flip cup, corn hole, or trivia at a bar before moving to Delaware, but now those are some of my favorite pastimes… ok, maybe not corn hole but you get the picture. Try something new! You just might love it.
Enjoy your life
It’s very self-explanatory, but what some people may not realize is that you have complete control of your happiness. If you don’t like something, change it. It’s really that easy. Don’t relay your happiness on someone else’s ability to make you happy. You will always be disappointed if you do. And furthermore, just make the best of things now. Would I love to be rich living in a penthouse in New York City right now? Absolutely. Would I be happier? No. Because I choose to be happy no matter where I am. I make the best of my situations and I bring the happiness I would have from my fantasy life into my reality. Truthfully, it’s not the materials we love about our fantasy, it’s usually something mental that we associate with that physical thing. For example, it’s not the penthouse in New York that I’m in love with, it’s actually the thought of being in a comfortable living space in close proximity to my family that I like about my fantasy. So I’ve made my apartment in Delaware comfortable and I visit my family often. What I’m trying to say is: change your present situation to one that works for you and enjoy the present now. Life is too short not to.
Save some money
Nothing is worse than having an emergency and not being able to handle it. Saving is not fun, but it’s an important part of growing up. I’m pretty sure you are not considered an actual adult if you don’t have any savings. Just keep some money aside for a rainy day. Or at least save some money for a purpose, like a new car, laptop, etc. My method is to save a small amount from each paycheck. That way its out of sight before I even get a chance to miss it.
Love… Deeply and genuinely.
This might be the biggest lesson I have learned in life. Love is not a feeling. Love is a choice. When you love someone, you are choosing to care about that person regardless of their flaws and/or what they can offer to you. Love is a commitment in itself. It is a promise to care about a person the way that God cares for us: never-ending, undyingly, regardless of whether we deserve love or not. That does not mean that I have to endure abuse because I love someone even though they don’t deserve it, but it does means that I treat people in a caring manner even when they sometimes don’t deserve it.
In addition, genuine love applies to any type of relationship: friendships, family members, romantic partners and strangers alike. Everyone in the world gets a little of my love, they just get it in different ways.
Get to know God.
I find it hard to believe that I would still be here today without the help of a higher power. I grew up in Brooklyn: a place where others don’t make it out, or at least not as well as I have. I know that it was because of my family’s prayer over my life that I am in as good of a space that I am today. I am truly blessed and I am thankful that there is a God that looked over me even when I didn’t ask him to. I am also thankful that God is a God who will call for you and always be open to a relationship with you. When I started getting to know God, my life started changing for the better. For me, I got a sense of peace and wholeness. It may be different for you, but whatever you need, it’s sure to be a perfect fit.
Get over yourself.
I will be the first to admit that I am a little self-centered. I blame my upbringing because I was the only girl in my immediate family. So anything girlly that I wanted, I got. But the sad truth is that the world does not revolve around me. And I cannot expect other people’s worlds to revolve around me. Not even my boyfriend’s. We’ve all got our own lives that we have to tend to. Unfortunately, we don’t have the time to walk on egg shells trying to get people to like us, or bend over backwards trying to make other people happy. We are just not that special and we have to get over ourselves.
Take care your body
I wish that I could treat my body like a car and trade it in for a newer model when I was tired of it, but I can’t. It’s the only one I’m going to get, so I do my best to take care of it. Mostly, I eat well balanced meals and choose the low fat items over full fat. Sometimes I work out, but not often. I just do what I can and I accept what I have. It’s mine. So I choose to love it.
I didn’t grow up in a household that emphasized the importance of volunteering, but thankfully my first job was with Public Allies Delaware, an AmeriCorps program. When I signed up, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but it was a great decision. So many things have been given to me, so it’s important for me to give back to the world. I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t grow up with family that encouraged, supported and took care of me mentally and financially. Some people don’t have that. If I can help someone who needs it, I’m happy to.
Be a bum sometimes
There are times when I don’t feel like doing a single thing and that’s okay. Who says you have to do something just because it is there to do? I don’t care if my house is a mess and I’m starving, if I don’t feel like doing anything, I think I deserve to sit and do nothing. I probably couldn’t have company and would have to fill up on junk food, but the choice is mine. I work hard all week, so if I feel like doing absolutely nothing in my free time, than I deserve to do just that.
See the world
There are so many beautiful places and cultures in this world and I want to see as many as I can. Nothing brings me greater joy in life than a new experience. It helps to broaden my outlook on life and ultimately makes me a better person… And seriously, who doesn’t love a vacation. Find the time and money to travel.
Do meaningful work
We spend most of our time in life at work. If I have to spend most of my time there, then at least let it be time well spent. I could never work for a tobacco company or any sort of business selling items to people that are a waste of money. I want my work to positively impact society. Everyone doesn’t have to work at a non-profit like me, but there are plenty of for-profit companies that do more good to society than harm, I’d choose one of them.
Learn from your mistakes
If it happens once, shame on them. If it happens twice, shame on you. If it happens three times, you’re definitely not learning from your mistakes. The minute something goes wrong, I am evaluating the situation to see where I messed up. My time is valuable, I don’t want to live my life doing the same things over and over because I never learned the lesson the first time. If something doesn’t work out in my favor, there was probably a mistake I made somewhere in the process. It’s my mission to figure it out so that I may avoid it the next time.
Be independent: Financially and in every other way possible.
No one should ever have the power to control any aspects of your life. I need to be able to go where I want, when I want, by myself, and on my own dime if I want to. I’d never turn down a little help if someone offered, but I’d never be solely dependent on anyone either. I can’t depend on someone to be by my side at all times, cover my cost at all times, and provide transportation at all times. I would be thoroughly disappointed. Even though people love me, I know that it is too much to expect someone to do it all for me. And if you think they should, you should revisit number seven of this list.
Don’t believe everything you hear.
Do your own research. Sadly, I’ll admit that I am one of those people who finds most of my news on Facebook, but I always look for that information from a creditable source afterwards. Our friends and social media are all full of false information. If a major newspaper or news station has not covered it, then it’s probably not true. And if you hear a rumor about someone that you haven’t seen for yourself, then that’s probably not true either.
Value your family.
My family is so important to me. They are the people who love me unconditionally. They are always there to push me to try harder and also there to pick me up when I fall. They are the most important people in my life. So I try to treat them well and show them how much I care about them. Within the last few years of my life, I have found myself writing more meaningful messages in my cards and spending more time with my older relatives. I enjoy hearing stories of their past and learning from things that they went through when they were younger. Recently, stories about how my grandparents met became so interesting to me that I’d rather stay in the house to chat with them on a Friday night than to hang out with my friends. I know that those are the moments that I’ll look back on when I’m older and smile.
Trust people but don’t be a victim.
I’ve met so many people who genuinely care about me for no other reason than the fact that they just do. But I’ve also met people who try to break me down for no apparent reason at all. I choose to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I’m not oblivious to the truth. When someone doesn’t have my best interest at heart, I know that I have to let them go from my life. I’m grateful to have learned how to tell the difference between the someone I can trust and someone I can’t. It’s obvious when you’re ready to see it: I just listen less to what people say, and a whole lot more to what they actually do.
Just as important as not falling victim, I also know the value of forgiveness.
“Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die” –Author unknown.
I cannot allow myself to use precious time being upset with someone long term. I have learned to accept to apologies that I will never get and forgive the people who have hurt me anyway.
Sometimes the person we are most hard on is ourselves. I’m really my own worst critique. When I’d make a mistake I would automatically start judging myself and putting myself down. But that was not healthy. I had to learn to forgive myself for the things I did not know and the mistakes that I made. Growing can only happen when we do make mistakes, so how else could I expect myself to become a better person without them? Mistakes are a part of life, and it’s okay. Forgive yourself.
Just Keep Swimming.
I think Dory from “Finding Nemo” said it best, but to put it in my own words, it’s not a failure until you quit. No one can say that I have failed if I have not stopped trying. So don’t stop. Stay determined, dust yourself off and get back out there!
Reevaluate your goals
Don’t ever quit, but don’t ever be afraid to change directions either. As we grow, our goals should grow too. It’s okay to change your mind down the road. Don’t be so caught up in not giving up, that you get stuck on a dead end street. It’s not a failure unless you quit, but changing your mind is not quitting, it’s a reevaluation.
In a perfect world, everything we’d ever need would be there when we needed it and always the perfect fit. Unfortunately this is not a perfect world and more times than not, you will need to improvise. I’ve learned to take what I have and figure out how to make it work.
Don’t try to please everyone
Just as I have to get over myself, so does everyone else. My world can’t revolve around making other people happy either. I have to live for me, so I can’t spend my time trying to accomplish goals others have set for me. If we happen to be on the same page for my life, than great, but if someone wants something different for my life than I already have planned, well…. Hopefully they’ll come around later. But if not, sayonara!
Believe in yourself
Confidence is the key. If you believe in yourself, then there is nothing that you can’t do. I know that I am capable of doing anything I put my mind to. Not because I know everything, but because I know that I can learn anything. And since I believe in myself, other people do too.
Know your worth
I am an intelligent, beautiful and kind hearted woman and I expect to be treated as such. Even if I were not, I am a human being and that alone calls for a certain amount of respect. I know what I am worth and I will tolerate nothing less. It is important to me that I carry myself in a self-loving and self-respecting way so that I show others how they are supposed to treat me. In addition, I never know what little girl may be watching me for inspiration, so I try to always put my best foot forward.
I hope you enjoyed the 25 rules I live by. What are some of your rules to live by? Share them below.
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