21 Things I’ve Learned by 21

Can you believe I’m 21?! That’s right, today’s the day, y’all. It is the momentous birthday that we all look forward to for most of our teenage years: twenty-one. To celebrate this [national] holiday, I’ve thrown together a list of 21 things that I’ve learned thus far. I’m no wise woman, nor have I have very many ‘life changing’ experiences, but I figured what the heck, might as well share what I know.

1. Laughing makes everything infinitely better. Doesn’t matter the situation or timing, find people that make you genuinely laugh- I’m talking like tears-coming-out-of-your-eyes, I-might-pee-my-pants laughter. That’s the best kind of laughter.

2. Trends change constantly. I want to give my mother a giant ol’ hug for never buying me, or letting me buy, ridiculously expensive brand name ‘trendy’ clothes and accessories when I was younger (I’m looking at you Juicy Couture) and saving my money for more timeless classics like brown riding boots. If you think it’s all the rage now, it probably won’t be in 6 months. If it’s been in style for years, chances are that it will be for more years. Spend your money on classics and go frugal on trends.

3. Step out of your comfort zone… literally. When I made the decision to go to TCU for college, I didn’t realize how much of an impact going somewhere completely foreign and unknown can change you. I’ve gotten an amazing outlook on life, met some amazing people and experienced things I never would have had I stayed in Kansas or Missouri.

4. If it’s not making your life better, get rid of it. This applies to a lot of things: relationships, friendships, habits, etc. I’ve wasted a lot of time trying to please people that weren’t worth it and that’s time I’ll never get back. Think hard about something is bettering your life or making it more complicated and take necessary steps to make that thing something beneficial, or get rid of it.

5. Learn to say ‘yes’ more. I’ve had a lot of trouble with this growing up- no thanks to my anxiety disorder. In college, I learned to let go a little bit more and realized life is a little bit more fun when you say ‘yes’ more and ‘maybe’ less. Obviously, this has its limits, but saying yes has led to some amazing memories.

6. Boys suck. Do I even need to elaborate on this one?!?!?!?!?!?

7. Post the selfie. If you got it, flaunt it. Your real friends will comment all the fire emojis, the fake ones will talk about you behind your back.

8. Find something that will make you happy when things aren’t great. This is drastically different for everyone, but when you’re crying in bed about grades or boys (see #6), you need something to cheer you up. Mine just happens to be a vine star who posts idiotically funny vines, and sometimes snapchats, too. I could have the worst day ever but his humor could send happy tears down my face (look him up: CodyKo).

9. Get to know people. In college, you’re always meeting someone new. Whether it’s at orientation, in the dorm or in class, you’re constantly around new people for the first couple of years. Take this time to try to develop friendships with as many of these people as you can. I totally regret not doing this as well as I could during my freshman year, so I tried a little bit harder sophomore year!

10. Pizza is so important. No diet is worth giving up pizza. Never do it. Always try new types of pizza, and always enjoy your pizza.

11. Your relationship with your parents becomes infinitely better the older you get. Gone are the days of arguing about my curfew. Now, I enjoy the dinners with my parents talking about the stupid things I did in high school, binge watching the same Netflix shows (check out Bloodline if you haven’t yet) and going on power walks through our neighborhood.

12. You really don’t need a boyfriend. I’ve been single for most of my teenage years and look how I turned out! [Mostly] fine! But seriously, I believe that sometimes being single can be the best thing to do for yourself. You’re able to experience more, worry a little less and learn a lot!

13. Remember to tell your loved ones that you love them. As we’ve heard time and time again, life is so precious. Remind people you love that you do love them, and you’re thankful to have them in your life. You never know what could happen.

14. Learn to look back and laugh. We all have our questionable moments in life. Whether it’s a bad haircut, a bad boyfriend, or a mean prank, eventually you’ll laugh about it. Don’t dwell too much on your mistakes, they made you some memories.

15. You’ll feel so much better if you go to the gym. Getting to the gym is half the battle, but once you get there you’ll feel like you can conquer the world. I struggle with this one, but in the end, I know I’ll feel 500% better if I get a workout in.

16. Everything looks better in coral. Or mint. I betcha couldn’t guess these are my favorite colors. I think I buy everything I see in these two colors. No shame.

17. Education is important. Yeah social life is an important part of college, but don’t forget why you’re there. People would give everything to be able to get an education, so don’t blow it on going out too much and skipping class. Balance is key.

18. Say your prayers. In the last few years, I’ve experienced a few more losses than I’d ever expected by the ripe age of 21. My heart aches for those who experience loss and I pray for those who are grieving, hoping that they find peace. I also pray for those who are still here, hoping they’ll get a few more rotations around the sun.

19. You are who you hang out with. It’s sad, but it’s true. Your ‘tribe’ will reflect your vibe. This could be good or bad, so choose wisely. I’ve ended up with the wrong crowd more than a few times and could tell how that reflected me to others. While not worrying about what others think, it’s still important to keep this in mind.

20. Never, ever give up. Doesn’t matter the situation. Don’t give up. Keep trying. You never know what door, or window, will open for you later on.

21. Be yourself! Soooooooooo cliche, I know. But seriously, stop wasting your time trying to be that girl you went to high school with, or that model on TV or even Jojo from The Bachelorette. Be yourself and you’ll be happier than you would be as someone else.

And that just about wraps it up! I’m still in minor shock that today is the day I become a ‘legal adult.’ My plans for the day include going to the DMV (gotta get that new ID!), getting some yummy bagels, buying a little alcohol (yay for legality!) and heading to the Royals game with my best friends! I’m so excited! I hope everyone has a great Wednesday and happy June!

Shoutout to my BFF Kaitlyn for doing some amazing amateur photography for me. Guess that high school photo class really paid off!



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