Do you remember what you thought about adult life when you were younger? I remember when I was younger I thought that by the time I turned 21, my life would be a lot different than how it is now.
I thought there was going to be this imaginary bridge to walk across a few weeks before my 21st that would take me to grown up land and I’d be prepared to perform all the duties that come along with adulthood.
I’d know how car insurance works, how to get a mortgage, how to do my own taxes, how to pay off debt and especially how to cook white rice. I’d have a real job, I’d be tall enough to at least look like an adult and, is it just me, or is my bank account the only one that screams everything but, “I’m ready to be financially independent!?”
I thought that life’s mysteries would suddenly reveal themselves to me. I always thought there was a class or a training session or at least a pamphlet that would teach me all of these things and at the end, I’d be ready to conquer the world… as an adult.
Turns out, I thought wrong. There’s no such thing. Not even in a fortune cookie or a session at a technical college. There are only lessons, mistakes, failures, obstacles, curiosity and challenges.
I laughed when I realized that 10 years ago today, I turned 11. Twenty years ago today, I turned 1. So after being alive for 660 million seconds these are the 21 things I’ve come to know as facts in my short, short life. In no way do I believe I have it all figured out, but these are just a few (or 21) things I’ve learned in these 21 years.
1. Seasons come and seasons go. Life is full of swift transitions. Accept them, value them and appreciate them while you have them. Ask God what it is you need to learn from the season of your life you are currently in to prepare you for the next one. Everyone in your life can’t go where God is taking you. That’s one thing I’ve really learned throughout my life. Accept the fact that people change and friends leave. No matter how much hurt it will cause you, you have to learn to let go. Everyone who walks into your life knows something that you don’t. So take the time to learn at least one thing from the people you meet. Even the people who really challenge you have something you need to learn from them. It’s not always easy to find the God in people. People move me more than anything else. When new people step into my life I think to myself, “Okay God, what role is this person going to play in my life? How are they going to teach me something about you and your love?”
2. Never say never. Try anything (as long as it’s sensible) at least once. Barney said it best. You never know what amazing experience or opportunity lies behind your ability to be optimistic.
3. Use your ears more than you use your mouth. Sometimes, people just need someone to listen, not necessarily someone to give advice. I grew up with getting “talks too much” on my report card, and yeah that talking game is basically my major. But sometimes, silence is beautiful. Especially with my friends and in relationships, I’ve had to learn that everyone doesn’t always need to hear that “I told you so” from me.
People don’t always need an intelligent mind that speaks, but a patient heart that listens.
4. Never grow up. Get rid of anyone who says Disney is just for children, you don’t need that type of negativity in your life. I promised myself I would never take myself too serious as I grew up. I never wanted to be in a place where I didn’t know how to enjoy life. I still enjoy watching princess movies and being free-spirited. That way, no matter how old I am, I’ll always be young at heart.
5. ABC-always be cute. When your nails are done, it makes you feel like you really have your life together. Don’t ever get caught in the “I’m not lookable stage.” Anytime you step foot out your door, you should be prepared to run into your future husband or your worst enemy. You also feel better when you know you look good. In no way does this mean this is all you should have going for you. Brains and beauty should be a packaged deal- a combo so-to-say.
6. People are people too. You never know what battles God has asked other people to fight so remember that when dealing with them. We all have something that we are going through. Try to be the sunshine in someone else’s life. Try to make their burdens a little lighter. Whether that’s offering an ear to listen, a heart to care or a hand to hold, try forgetting about yourself. (It’s never really about you)
7. Do what you love. No matter if it’s cool or not do things that make you happy. By the world’s standard, I’m pretty lame- but that’s just fine with me. Just like the Yellow Tang on Finding Nemo, I love bubbles! You can’t help but be happy when there’s 3-D soap floating in the air.
8. No one owes you anything. Anything worth having in life is also worth fighting and working for. Don’t you ever think that just because you were born you are obligated to something. So always be and do the best you can and you’ll be just fine.
9. Reading is magical. Call me a nerd if you will, it doesn’t bother me at all. There’s so much mystery in a book that’s waiting to be discovered.
10. Alone does not mean lonely. I know I’m always talking about being alone and I promise I have friends! But I think this is so important and it’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve had to learn in these 21 years. To me, there’s nothing better than coming home from a long day of classes, work and meetings than just sitting in my room in the quiet. There is beauty in facing your personal thoughts. There’s strength in having to deal with you. So take the time to listen to yourself without any noise or distractions.
11. If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. Every thought that comes to your head should not be allowed out of your mouth. Sometimes I’ll start to say something and I just have to think “Brittaney, shut up.” Everything you say should be of value.. if it’s not of worth, it’s not worth it.
Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.
12. Stop comparing yourself to others. Never compare yourself to anyone else or the journey they’re taking. God made you exactly who you are for a special reason and He has you exactly where you need to be to develop into the person He has called you to be. Since before you were even thought about He knew everything about you and thought it was beautiful. The story He has written for you, is yours and no one else’s. So don’t look at someone else and compare their ending to your beginning.
13. Live life with no regrets. Never regret a decision you have made. For at one point, it was exactly what you wanted. Take it as a lesson learned.
14. Worry less, pray more. Spend less time talking to people and more time talking to God. This is pretty self-explanatory. Most of the time, the things that I worry about have a one in a million chance of actually happening. I constantly have to put my thoughts under subjection by ridding myself of the negativity and simply pray. Prayer changes things.
15. Some people were absent the day the teacher introduced the concept of homophones. There. They’re. Their. Waste. Waist. Weight. Wait. Weigh. Way. Accept. Except. Buy. By. Know. No. Weather. Whether. Than. Then. Your. You’re. Too. Two. To. Loss. Lost. But. Butt. Effect. Affect. Well. Good. Just to name a few. The last TWO aren’t homophones BUT they stress me out TOO. Take this quiz and see if you know the difference.
P.S. Conversate is NOT a word.
16. Your mom is more than likely always right. As much as I hate to admit it, there have been so many instances where my mom has told me something, but I had to discover it myself. It amazes me how often she is right, even in things that happen in my personal life. Save yourself some time, and just believe whatever she says. Whoever said “mama knows best” was probably a mother, because they were right. I thank God everyday for sending me such a beautiful angel to guide me through this journey of life.
17. Forgive and forget. Everyone makes mistakes. So if someone hurts you, forgive them and move on. Just roll with the punches and keep living. But never, ever hold it in your heart. That’s not healthy living.
18. Big birthday parties don’t prove anything. And honestly, they aren’t all they’re cracked up to be except lots of money and time. After years of over-the-top Disney birthdays, princess tea parties, puppet shows and limo rides, I’ve learned to just value simpler, smaller and quieter birthdays. I’ll take a quiet and intimate birthday dinner over anything else. It’s better to celebrate with those that actually matter.
My entire life I imagined my 21st birthday to be me in a sparkly dress drinking and living it up with friends at some club. But thank God for Jesus. I only wanted to celebrate this milestone with a few. Only those people who bring positive energy and light in my life deserve to share this moment with me. I actually think it’s funny that God has me turning 21 on a Sunday. It proves that He knows his children so much better than they THINK they know themselves.
19. TAKE. ME. HOME!!! I promise you, anyone who is really close to me has heard me say this phrase on occasion. Most of the time, I can handle situations when they don’t go my way or if I’m just having a bad day. But sometimes, no matter how grown up I may feel or act, I just want to go home to get a hug from my mommy.
20. Listen to tasteful music. Having a favorite artist that sings inspirational and uplifting music makes life a whole lot better. Don’t waste time depositing negativity in your life because what you listen to, you become. My favorite song is “There’s Hope” by India.Arie. Click here to listen to it!
21. Love God. Love Others. Love Yourself- and in that order. Matthew 12:22-34 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater command than these.” Learn to constantly live in love. This is not something that can be done overnight. It takes time to show others your love. The type of love to strive for is the love God shows to us each day. Although it’s impossible for man to exhibit the type of love God shows us, you can use it as a model on how to deal with and love others.
But these three things remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
What have you learned in your years? Comment below and share.