23 Things I’ve Learned By the Age of 23

I recently turned 23-years-old. I honestly wasn’t expecting to feel good about turning 23 — I quite liked being 22. But I’m lucky to have some pretty amazing people in my life that made me appreciate being one year older.

I feel blessed for how it was celebrated. My family took the time to invite some family friends for lunch. My close friends surprised me at the door with a cake as I was about to step out to have dinner and ice cream with another close friend. I received many calls and text messages with an occasional Facebook post. Although these were simple gestures, they made my heart happy for everyone’s love and care.

As I was on the phone with one of my childhood friends, she asked me this: “tell me 23 things you’ve learned at the age of 23.” After much thought and help, I came up with a list of little nuggets of wisdom that have stood out to me in my short lifetime. So here they are:

  1. Try to have no expectations with your family and friends.

Believe me — it makes things a lot easier.

2. V’ahavta leraiacha kamocha — treat others as you would treat yourself.

3. Always have a phone charger with you.

#technologyproblems

4. Always carry a set of headphones.

For those times when you need to tune out the world while walking down the street.

5. Say your feelings out loud, even if you know it might hurt.

6. Always be yourself and love who you are.

7. Anything can be solved with a cup of coffee and chocolate.

Mom’s words, not mine.

8. Always push yourself out of your comfort zone — you never know what you’ll find at the end of the zone.

The only way I got myself to climb a roof.

9. Be tolerant of everyone.

“Love is love is love is love.” — Lin-Manuel Miranda

10. Think twice before sending a text message.

11. It’s important to have a few close friends than many acquaintances.

I used to think that the more friends you have, the more popular you were. I now realize you only need the few friends you trust completely with all that you are.

12. Work hard and be kind.

13. Sometimes letting someone know you’re thinking of them can do wonders.

You never know how much a simple “hi” can do for someone.

14. Everyone has their own path. Follow your own path.

15. Treat yo’self.

There’s a reason Tuesday is dedicated to this with face masks.

16. “The sun will come out tomorrow.” — Annie

17. Always have a little cash on hand for a cup of coffee.

As all my friends know, this is an essential component in my life.

18. Friends will talk about you and get annoyed with you. It doesn’t mean they don’t care about you.

This goes both ways in a friendship. But if the friendship is important to both parties, then you learn to move past things and go forward.

(Side note — I have a friend that always freezes like this when I hug him. Mostly because he hates hugs.)

19. Always keep learning.

Just because you might not be in school 24/7 doesn’t mean that there isn’t something to learn.

20. It’s not about pleasing everyone — it’s about pleasing yourself.

21. Know when to apologize and when not to apologize.

Sometimes sacrificing your pride for the sake of a relationship (familial, romantic or platonic) is more important than being right.

22. Everything happens for a reason.

23. “Just keep breathin’ and breathin’ and breathin’ and breathin’.” — Ariana Grande, “Breathin”

I know this seems like a lot to take in. Maybe it is. I don’t always follow these ideas, but it’s my own little manifesto that I try my hardest to follow every day. I believe in them with all that I have. Without them, I wouldn’t be… me.

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