Oh hey 31 ....WOW.
With my 31st birthday approaching rather quickly, I've been a little nostalgic. Life is funny and has a way of putting you right where you need to be, not where you've necessarily planned to be. I've been thinking a lot about my 21st birthday and the road I had to travel to get where I am today.
I made this list in hopes that it could actually help some of my younger readers. It's always better learning from someone else's mistakes.
I don't really have any regrets, and it's really hard to call anything I've experienced a mistake because I learned a ton, BUT, if I had it to do all over again I'd keep these things in mind FOR SURE.
my birthday photoshoot with Kevin www.lvm1na.com
31 Things I Wish I Knew at 21
1. Tell people how you really feel. To an extent, I've always been pretty blunt. But at 21, I had insecurities about my opinions and feelings.
2. Walk away QUICKLY from relationships that do not serve you. I don't regret any of the relationships I've had since I was 21 because I learned so much. However, I could have spent a lot less time in some of those and still learned the same things!
3. Go to college now. College isn't for everyone, but if you have a small interest in it AT ALL, GO. You don't want to be 31 like me and still a student. It's no fun.
4. Don't let people pick you. The times that this has happened to me, I've embarked on friendships that did not "fit." You are in control of the people that are in your life (minor exception of baby momma's or daddy's you want to rid yourself of).
5. Your real friends won't make you feel guilty for not wanting to hang out with them. Your real friends will understand. You will actually want to hang out with your real friends. It's OK not to want to hang out with someone. We all have that friend in our life that makes you feel guilty if you don't have time for them all the time. If you have a friend like this (Lauren Conrad, circa Laguna Beach), have the conversation now. If you actually don't want to hang out with one of your friends, then don't. Life is too short.
6. How to parallel park like a pro. The first place I lived in LA had "street parking" and I found that out at midnight after driving for three days. I also had a car full of belongings that I couldn't leave in there. It was interesting.
7. Asking for help is ok. Most of the time people are willing to share everything they know with you. People love to talk about themselves and what they do.
8. Nail your personal style. I've gone through many style phases since 21. Don't be trendy. It's ok to pick up a few of the trends here and there, but do your own thing!
9. Keep a journal and write things down. You really won't remember ANYTHING.
10. Make people feel good about themselves. At 21, I was only thinking about myself. I wish I would have been more considerate.
11. Family is the only thing that matters. Sure, I've always loved my family like crazy. But at 21 sometimes your priorities are out of whack. Family will be there no matter what, don't take them for granted.
12. You don't have it all figured out -- nor should you be made to feel like you should. Enjoy being young. You will have plenty of time to worry about that. As long as you're taking steps in a direction (at all) that will benefit you down the road, you're fine!
13. Drink less and get a hobby. Preferably one that can make you money at some point in your life.
14. Stop bathing in the sun and laying in the tanning bed. Dark spots showed up this year and they're not pretty or easy to get rid of.
15. Enjoy puppy love; romantic relationships won't be like that after 25.
16. Say no to shots at the bar. Hello! Why did it take me so long to realize this was the culprit. NO, I don't want a free shot. Thanks!
17. Don't obsess over boys. I've dated a lot of knuckle heads. They ain't worth it! He didn't call or text you? OH WELL.
18. Be single until the right one comes along. This one goes back to number 4. Don't let a guy/girl claim you if you're not feeling it.
19. Travel to Europe and stay as long as you possibly can ASAP. I've always wanted to live abroad, especially in France or Italy. I waited too long and life kind of happened.
20. Take BIG risks now. I moved to LA when I was 24 but I really wish I would have moved sooner. Make a bucket list (I know how cheesy that sounds) and get to work on it NOW.
21. Don't let a guy keep you from following your dreams. This one goes with #20. I didn't make that move sooner for this reason. The right guy will encourage you to follow them!
22. Be kind when you want to be mean (<-- for good reason). It will get your further in life. Still working on this one.
23. Take your health seriously. Papa John's is not a food group. Ok, so I've always been a little weird when it comes to food. In High School I thought caffeine free diet coke was healthy so I made my mom buy that instead of the regular. BUT, I went through a phase where I kind of ate whatever I wanted. I gained weight and felt and looked gross.
24. Your metabolism really does slow WAY DOWN. Take control of your habits asap unless you want to wind up on a diet. Those are NO fun. Don't eat crap (process foods).
25. This is YOUR journey. You get to call the shots and make ALL the decisions. This can be amazing and scary all at the same time.
26. If your family is already asking you when you're going to have kids just tell them NEVER. This way when you wind up 30 with no kids they're way past that.
27. At around 25, the friend sleepovers and impromptu visits will start to die down. Soak up as much of that as you possibly can.
28. Hangovers will just get worse every single year. Make the switch now to quality liquors (don't drink boxed wine, I did this in LA and now I have a red wine allergy -- I thought I was SOOO cool when I would jokingly refer to it as "wine on tap"). Eat before you drink and drink a LOT of water.
29. Read more books. Put down the smart phone and pick up a book (did I even have a smart phone back then?). I'm now catching up on books that I should've read a long time ago.
30. Have more fun. Ok, I've had my fair share of fun since turning 21. But I felt l compelled to tell you to GET IT OUT OF YOUR SYSTEM. It's a thing, really, and it works.
31. Be happy. Enjoy the journey. This small but magical part goes by way too fast!
The good news is that 30 is not as scary as it seems. You do have most of it figured out by now and even if you don't apply any of this to your life, you might just end up happy anyway!
Anything to contribute? Comment below!