22 Lessons I Learned in 22 Years

I celebrated my 22nd birthday this past weekend, and before anyone asks, yes, I had Taylor Swift’s “22” stuck in my head pretty much all day. Taylor perfectly sums up every conflicting emotion about being in your early twenties in the lyric, “We’re happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time,” and I’m sure that line will perpetually be echoing in my head over the next year as I go through more and more experiences. All jokes aside, I do feel like I’ve learned plenty of valuable life lessons over the past 22 years, both within the walls of a classroom and outside among the seas of happy, free, confused, and lonely people of the world. On my birthday, I sat down and listed some of the outstanding things I’ve learned over my 22 years of life.

  1. There’s no use putting any pressure on having a perfect birthday. No birthday is ever perfect. You’ll never be satisfied if you concentrate on “what could’ve been.”
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether it’s on an assignment, a personal dilemma, or for professional help. Realizing you don’t have it together takes strength.
  3. Pack your lunches. You’ll save a lot of money.
  4. Be patient with your parents – they’re getting older, too.
  5. When getting a haircut, make sure you know exactly what you want before you sit in the chair. If the person cutting your hair suggests something that you’ve never heard of, by all means, DO NOT take that risk.
  6. If someone tells you that you can’t sing, sing louder. They’ll be annoyed, and you’ll feel great (this applies to things other than singing).
  7. If a girl is chasing after you, don’t hide in the boys bathroom.
  8. Don’t compare your chapter one to someone else’s chapter 20, especially if you’re on different books.
  9. If you don’t ask, the answer is no.
  10. You are good enough. For the love of God, you are good enough.
  11. The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.
  12. Sometimes the end result isn’t nearly as important as the journey to get there.
  13. AP classes in high school don’t matter unless you take (and pass) the AP exam.
  14. Frustration solves nothing. Patience is everything.
  15. Authority should derive from the consent of the governed, not from the threat of force!
  16. Don’t try to plan your life out step by step. Nine times out of ten, things won’t go as you planned, but will be infinitely better than you ever would have fathomed possible.
  17. Nearly everything you find yourself complaining about on a daily basis won’t matter in the long run in a few minutes.
  18. Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
  19. Don’t let dirty dishes sit in the sink for more than one day.
  20. Life doesn’t wait.
  21. Everyone’s a stranger until you give them a chance.
  22. Life is beautiful.

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