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23 Things I Learned in 23 Years

'94 to present




Every day is a lesson, and with 23 years of triumphs and mishaps under my belt, I carry wisdom unique only to someone at this phase in life. From the daily choices I make today to the smallest childhood memories, every step along the way to today has taught me something of value, and here I pass on that bit of knowledge. So here are 23 lessons I have learned in the past 23 years.


1.   Say No

It’s good that we are taught to always share, do nice things and to be there for others. But for the every day introvert like myself, saying yes for the sake of being nice is exhausting. I end up places I don’t want to be doing things I don’t want to do with people I don’t like. Its perfectly ok to put yourself first, and anyone who gets offended by that can kick rocks. Speaking of kicking rocks…

2.   It’s Ok To Let Go Of Friends

I’ve let too many badly influence me. I’ve let too many take advantage of me. And I’ve let way too many stick around longer than they needed too. I’ve learned that friendships come and go, and if they’re the good ones, I’ll see them around eventually. And as for those toxic relationships- I’m ok with letting those people drop off. It’s almost like the trash is taking itself out.

3.   Health Doesn't Matter Until You Think You're Dying

Take care of your body! In every way! I’ve been hypothyroid since I was 13, and just recently discovered that Hashimoto’s is causing it. I never really considered the severity of it until this most recent diagnosis, and as I dug deeper into it, I realized I was in trouble. The thyroid controls almost EVERYTHING in the body, from metabolism to brain function. I’m always so tired, feeling sick, and getting beat down by anxiety and depression. The root of it can be traced back to not only poor organ function, but my lifestyle as well. Popping bottles and driving through McD’s is going to tear you up one day. Have at least a couple bottles of water, and eat something leafy! Your body will thank you a million (Trust me. I have ulcers now. Someone please end me.)

4.   Your Worst Expectations Never Come True

One of the non-benefits of having anxiety is that there’s not a single scenario you haven’t planned out in your head. Based on my own experience, the worst thing isn’t that everyone in the waiting room laughs at you because you asked a dumb question. I get an answer, and it’s usually quite simple! I’m shaking for ten years after but hey, I did it, and best of all I didn’t die of shame. Go me!

5.   Take Care Of Yourself As Much As You Like

Is makeup empowering or oppressive? Who cares? It’s all about what you want to do. Since having a child, I’ve let me grooming standards slip a bit- and that’s perfectly fine. I gotta do what I can on a day to day basis, and if washing my hair is going to take too much out of me, then hey, a little natural oil will be good for this straw. And if someone asks why you aren’t all “dolled up”, tell them your personal stylist is taking the day off.

6.   Embrace Negativity

I was getting teased a bit- ok a lot- during middle school. I found a book at Hastings (RIP) called Mean Girls. It was basically a guide on how to handle bullies. There is one lesson from that book that has always stuck with me- “If someone is insulting you, say ‘thank you.’ It will surprise them.” From that day on, I have, for the most part, accepted that I am weird, out there, or a little too much. Because that’s just how I am! Every once in a while my anxiety rears its ugly head, saying “but what if they’re right?” That’s a whole different monster to deal with, but when it comes to others criticisms, use it as fuel for growth. If they have a point, improve yourself. If they don’t, well then haters gonna hate. Either way, we’re done here.

 

7.   Always Do Research

I learned in my journalism classes to always look up something if you are unsure of its authenticity. These days I spend a lot of the day bouncing between Google and Facebook seeing what’s legit and what’s not (you can guess how that goes.) Most importantly, however, is that it’s good to always stay informed in one way or another. Keep an eye out for big news or useless information to whip out at parties. Knowledge is power!

8.   You Have Natural Instincts For A Reason

Instinct, gut feelings, intuition. Whatever you call it, it’s not just a tickle in your stomach. It’s your real life sixth sense, and it’s telling you to get the hell outta there! If I had listened to myself long ago, my life could be drastically different. Instead I kept putting my feelings aside because I thought I was being irrational, or shallow, or just scared. I was wrong, always wrong. So listen to yourself. If something feels wrong, that’s because it is.

9.   If Something Isn't Working Out, Consider It A Dodged Bullet

When one door closes, another one opens! And that can be for the best for more than one reason. One, there could be better opportunities ahead. Two, you’re able to get out of a bad situation before shit hits the fan. If it’s not working out, don’t force it. There’s a reason (see #8 again!) and once you can look back without the rose colored glasses, you can see why you made the better choice by letting it go.  

10.   Boys Literally Ain't Shit

I’ve had more crushes than I care to admit, and let me tell you, they’re all losers. Every one of them. It’s not worth it getting all wrapped up in feels about another human being, because nine times out of ten they actually suck. Even into adulthood, boys don't change- they're just older and usually drunker. When a good guy comes along it'll be when you are good and ready for him. In the meantime, focus on yourself- wake up, slay up and make the money pile up. You are a million times more important than a sweaty sixteen year old. 

11.   Mad Money

Something I have always lacked in doing is saving. Mad money isn’t your regular savings though- it’s freedom in cash form. It’s a tough world when you’re female, and it’s way too easy to get caught in an inescapable situation. Towards the end of my previous relationship, I would lie awake at night, trying to figure out how much money I could hide out of each paycheck without him noticing. I had almost nothing to go on when I was finally rescued. I do my best to save dollars and change wherever I can, because there may come a day that I need to do something for myself, and I want to be able to say I can without any help.

12.   Remember That You Are More Than One Identity

Being a mother is THE hardest job in the world. It’s completely life consuming in that I seem to eat, sleep and breathe my child. Everything revolves around teaching her, providing for her, taking care of her. Some days I feel overwhelmed because I feel that all I am is a mother. I have to take a step back and remember that there are moments when I am not a mother. Sometimes I am Jasmine, the reader. Other times I am Jasmine, creator of terrible puns. Right now I am Jasmine the blogger. I don’t have to define myself in one way, because I am many things in one. I am me. 

13.   Being Ok With Where You Are At

Since I was in elementary school I’ve been in those gifted and advanced classes. I was proud of being so smart and ahead of others. I was determined to graduate college and make something of myself, something that will put me a step above. Over time, I’ve come to realize that always shooting for the stars is freaking exhausting. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to achieve great things. But for the time being, I’m happy with my life as it is. I’ll get where I’m going one step at a time.

14.    Have A Space That Is Yours

Living with someone you love is not magic and rainbows. It is hard. We’re fighting over dishes, he won’t get out of the bathroom, I can’t watch my crappy TV in peace. Our house has three bedrooms, mainly because we plan on having a second child and wanted to make sure we had the space. But for the time being, this is my part-time room/office. I work in here, watch TV, I’ve even stayed the night in here by myself. It reminds me of the old me, when I had total privacy and alone time. I cherish it, and having a space for me to go and do my own thing without being disturbed does wonders for my mental health. Thank you Jesse for letting me be.

15.   Shit Happens. To EVERYONE.

I’m always making mountains out of molehills, and while experiences vary from person to person, there’s often at least one common outcome- they pulled through. Bad things are gonna happen no matter what, and if you’re not sure what to do or where to turn, look to someone who has been there, done that and lived to tell the tale. Be inspired.

16.   Be True To Yourself

Don’t change yourself for others. It probably sounds like “well duh”, but it’s amazing what we do subconsciously to please the people around us. Don’t hold yourself back because one person thinks your too loud. Don’t hide your interests because your “friends” think it’s lame. Be unapologetically you, and anyone who’s real will stick around. There’s only one you, so you gotta be the best there is.

17.   Just Dance

It’s gonna be ok! Lady Gaga has been huge inspiration for me. When things get tough, I put on music I love and get to work- writing, cleaning, chasing the Tot around the house. I try and get back to what makes me happy, energized, and feel at home. So let loose and feel alive!

18.  Write Everything Down

I have probably the spottiest memory ever. I forget everything from small conversations to appointments, and it’s incredibly frustrating. Recently I’ve been so consumed with appointments and social plans and everything in between, I’ve made it a habit to write down everything. Names, phone numbers, dates and times. If I don’t there’s a 90% chance I’ll be sitting around the day of with a nagging feelings that I forgot something.

19.   Socks Are A Precious Gift

They’re never too warm, too beautiful, or too plentiful in your drawers. It’s like cozy hands holding your feet. I am so cold natured that socks are a necessity, and I am grateful for each pair every cold winter day and AC blasted summer night. I highly recommend the poem Ode to My Socks by Pablo Neruda to really get the full picture on how very dear a simple pair of socks are. It's something that I really do think about a lot.

20.    Life Is In The Little Things

Sitting on the couch with the curtains open, coffee in hand, watching Tate explore her little world is all I need. Sometimes the little negatives pile up until I am completely overwhelmed. When that starts to happen, I try to look towards the things that radiate happiness- sunshine, sleeping dogs, warm baths. When little things add up they become something great, and we can start to see that life is made of small pieces of happiness. So enjoy everything, even if others don't quite get why you're smiling so much at a tree (or something else just as lovely).

 

21.   Cleaning Is More Than Just... Cleaning

Keeping a clean home is good and all, and growing up I was terrible about it. I was notorious for having a hoard of water bottles, papers and the occasional rotten apple. These days at a stay at home mom I’ve had to up my cleaning and organization game- not just to keep the place safe and healthy for my family, but also because I gotta kill the hours somehow. Putting my house in order has proven to be a good way to ease my anxiety as well as get in the cardio I desperately need.

 

22.   Keep Your Imagination In Shape

I miss having art classes so much! Having the opportunity to exercise my creativity is an important part of who I am, so whether it is writing, drawing, or photography, expressing myself is important to freeing my mind and easing my emotions. If life is getting too serious, then it’s time to paint it silly!

23.   Keep On Keeping On

Life is a rollercoaster of ups and downs, they say. Although sometimes it feels more like an infinite loop-the-loop and you’re just praying to God you don’t blow chunks on yourself and everyone around you. But no matter how trying things get, it always passes. There are so many events in my life that I swore were going to impact me for forever and a day, and yet when I look back now I realize how short and almost irrelevant a lot of those things were. We’re gonna have anything and everything thrown at us at some point, and while there is no one rule on how to make it through life, the only advice that will get you through is to keep going. Tomorrow always gives the opportunity to be better. 

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