29 Lesson on my 29th Birthday…

 

…it’s been one hell of a decade. This decade was truly about evolution. As I said on my instagram, I made a lot of mistakes but I learned a lot. I burned a few  bridges, but I built some back. I partied way too much, but I still learned the value of hard work. I cried a lot but I laughed a lot too.  Here are the 29 lessons I learned during my twenties. White lace Dress

#1 Be nice but never too nice.

One of the toughest lessons I learned in my twenties is that you should always remain true to yourself. If doing a good deed or being nice is who you are then you should continue to do that without the expectation of receiving your gesture in return. That being said, be cautious and selective when you over-extend yourself.  Some people will expect more from you — say no to them. Some people will take you for granted — find solace that you are true to yourself but learn when to say no to them. Never be upset that you were “too nice” but learn the power of no. Read more here.    Pretty Little Thing“>White Lace Dress From Pretty Little Thing.

#2 You CAN sit with us

Mean people are truly miserable and unhappy. There is nothing to be gained by being overly exclusive of others. Meet people, invite them to your table, keep your boundaries but give them a chance. There is an old proverb that reads “when a bird is alive it eats ants. When the bird is dead, ants eat the bird.” Never undervalue anyone. Time and circumstances will always change.

#3 Learn you boundaries

It is important to learn your boundaries because as a woman you need to learn what you can and can’t accept. This is part of discovering who you are and standing firm in it. While you’re inviting people to your table, you still need to be cautious with your energy and be able to determine  what its reading. Those with bad intentions will always reveal themselves, keep your heart open but also your eyes.

#4 Find a man who knows how you like your coffee, tea, and liquor and when to give you which

MartiniAs your progress in your twenties, dating does not get easier — SORRY.  But fret not my friends, you should still pursue love if that is what you want. In your quest for love, find a man who truly knows you. A man who cares so deeply about you that he takes the time to learn all of the complex pieces that create you. When you find him, do not rush it. There is no perfect formula to love that determine what stage your relationship should be at any point. What I’ve learned is that having a solid foundation of trust, comfort, love, respect, and friendship are invaluable tools in relationship. These things take time and Rome wasn’t built in a day, love.  Relationships are hard work but they are so worth it.

If you’re a single gal, check out more tips here.

#5 Confidence is a hell of a thing

I have always considered myself a very confident woman till one day I realized that maybe I wasn’t. I’ve learned that I am extremely confident in some parts of my life but lack confidence in others. My confidence struggles are usually found in areas that I am passionate about. For example, I began running track at the age of 9 and I quickly fell in love with the sport. I had dreams of running in the Olympics and going far in the sport. For some reason, I never felt good enough and it had a negative impact on my performance. My senior year in college I managed to develop the necessary confidence and I excelled during that year. I came to regret not having the confidence earlier on because I could have been more. Once I noticed this theme, I focused more on confidence and trying to force it in my passions. This lesson is still in progress, but wow, confidence is a hell of a thing.

#6 Food should be used for nutrients not to indulge.

When I was young I could eat a slice of pizza, Philly Cheesesteak, and a cheese cake all in one day. To make matters worse I hated water and would only drink juice or gatorade. I wasn’t gaining any weight, I had abs, and appeared to be healthy despite my poor choice in food. I quickly leaned that appearance isn’t the only determining factor for health. Being thin doesn’t mean you’re healthy. I learned that food is supposed to fuel and be nutritious to the body. Also, your metabolism will change and definitely won’t appreciate your poor eating habits. Take care of your body and be cautious as to what you’re using to fuel it. See the healthy snack subscription box solution here.

#7 Time is everything

Time is the single most important thing. We do not have a lot of it, we can’t take wasted time back, and we we will regret the time we didn’t take. Be selfish with your time, be smart with your time. Arrive to places on time and leave early. Spend time with your family, spend time with friends. When you’re growing  in your career it is easy to forget to take the time and focus on what really matters.

#8 Never burn a bridge

People will annoy you. They will do or say things to make you raise your eyebrows. A person may even ba you. None of these are good reasons to turn your back on someone and completely cut them off. Understand that keeping distance from someone and burning a bridge are different things.

#9 Self Care

Take a mental day and relax. Schedule a massage, a mani/pedi, and a hair appointment. Find the time to write in your journal. Read the book. Enjoy the glass of wine on your back patio or front porch. Do what it is that feels like an escape for you. When you need to breathe, find a way to breathe. If you need a therapist, find one. Take care of yourself.

#10 Never Settle

When I graduated from law school, I was in a rush to find a job and be a real lawyer. My rush turned into desperation and I ended up taking the first job offer that I got. The pay was terrible, the office was shady, and I found myself in ethical dilemmas. I lasted 30 days at this job before realizing that I shouldn’t have settled and I should have kept looking. I made the decision to quit and it was the best decision ever. I went back to square one and waited for a better opportunity. Today, the trajectory of my career is much better than I would have ever imagined. If I never learned this lesson, I would be in a much different space. Do not settle in your career, your relationship, or your current circumstance.

#11 Experience over things

I used to tell myself that I when I started working I would purchase a lot of designer labels. This never happened. I realized that I wanted to spend my money traveling and experiencing the world with my love and my friends.

  • Check out some of my favorite travel destinations here.
  • See also my travel hacks here.
  • 24 Hours in Iceland on Youtube.
#12 Whatever you do, do what you love.

Life is too short to be stuck in a career or a relationship that fits someone else’s idea of you. We are too old to wish or hope for anything. If you love it, find a way to do it. Happiness should always be the goal and the motive.

#13 Comparison is the end of happy

In my twenties, the age of social media really started gaining traction. We all became obsessed with not only posting our lives but the perception of happiness and perfection. Everyday we’d get a notification about an engagement, a wedding, a graduation, a new job, a raise, travels, baby showers, gender reveals, etc. It can be difficult to not compare your life to your classmates life who seems to be doing better than you. Social media birthed jealously.  Once you see through the facade you will also stop comparing and re-gain your joy. Understand that everyone is at a different place in their lives, you can be happy for someone without comparing yourself. Appreciate your own journey and stop looking at others.

#14 Cherish Family

In your twenties, most people leave the nest and start moving to different ends of the country. Do not allow the distance to cause you to lose touch with your family. Make an effort even if you feel like you’re always making the first move.

#15 Quality over Quantity

When I was in college and even law school, I purchased a lot of cheap items to save money. I didn’t know anything about thread count! As I’ve gotten older, I learned some items are worth the splurge. I love the feel of 1000+ thread count on my body, I love high end perfume, wallflowers from Bath & Body Works are my favorite!

#16 The world doesn’t owe you a thing

No one owes you a thing. Not a wedding invitation, a gift, a favor, a planned birthday dinner, a surprise, or anything. If you want to celebrate your birthday with all of your friends, do not wait for it, instead YOU PLAN IT. Do not get sensitive because you were not invited to a wedding, those things are expensive not personal.

#17 Go to a movie alone

If you want to do something do not wait for the availability  or interest of anyone. Just do it. Movies are a perfect example of this. Your favorite movie is premiering and no one is into it but you. What do you do? Miss your favorite movie or wait for redbox? No! Go solo.

#18 Invest in fitness

Not everyone has a fitness background and that is perfectly okay. Just like most things in life, if you need help find it. If you aren’t self-motivated but genuinely want/need to improve your fitness, get help. Sign-up for a group fitness class, get a gym membership, find a friend who will go with you. This is an expense that you should budget for. See my fitness journey here.

#19 Do not brunch every weekend

Welcome to brunch culture! I love mimosas and I love a good eggs benedict but weekly brunches add up financially and add up in calories. Stay home some weekends, opt for yoga with friends, visit art museums, do anything else.

#20 Lazy weekends are a necessity

29th birthday ideas for herAfter working long hours all week, sometimes laying in bed watching lifetime movies is just the relaxation you needed. Spend your Saturdays cleaning up around the house, read a book, hang out by the pool, etc. You do not need to go out every weekend, party every Friday, or leave town. Turn down.

#21 De-clutter every few months

I moved every summer in college to leave the dorm and go back to my parent’s home. After college I switched apartments every year or two. With each move, I spent a lot of time throwing away things that I no longer used and it didn’t make sense to move with it.  Now that I am in my own home, I’ve learned the value of de-cluttering my life. Every few months I do an inventory and toss old foods in the fridge/pantry, old beauty products, toss excess boxes/bags. and get rid of old clothes. The feel of a clutter free environment is relaxing.

#22 Cleanliness is really next to godliness

I woke one day and I was clean freak — this is when I realized I was growing-up. I used to wait until things actually looked dirty or messy before cleaning.  Now I am doing small cleanings daily and larger ones weekly or bi-weekly. I’ve grown to appreciate and crave the feel of a freshly clean home.

#23 Visit a museum

Art and history are beautiful. I encourage everyone to visit art and history museums  and really indulge in the culture.  Here is my take on the African American Museum in DC. 

#24 Invest

Take the time to learn about the stock market and different investing platforms. Learn that this is the fastest way to grow your savings if you’re smart and knowledgeable about it. While we’re young and can bounce back, now is the time to be aggressive with investments. Read a book, attend a webinar, talk to friends.

#25 You do not have to have it all together

This is slightly connected to my lesson about comparisons. It is perfectly okay if you do not have it all together. We may never have it all together. What is important is that we are trying every day. An ounce of effort will always take you further.

#26 A good friend is invaluable

Invest in a best friend if you do not have one. I seriously can not imagine life without having a best friend. Someone who has shared experiences with you, is loyal, and who feels like family. This relationship should be nurtured, taken care of, and held closely.

#27 Have a mentor

If you’re the smartest or most successful person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. Your network will most likely be the most important resource in your career. Network and build a relationship with someone who has your dream role/career.

#28 Be a mentor

Just as much as you seek help you should also seek to give help. Pay it forward, pull someone up with you.

#29 Forgive

The ability to forgive and happiness have strong correlations. When you forgive you make a conscious decision to let go of bitterness, releases grudges, and move-on. Your spirit is free, you’re not stressed. Taking care of yourself means learning to forgive.

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