24 Lessons the Year 24 Taught Me

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1. I am my best self in the morning.
You really can be a morning person. I know I’ve mentioned it in past articles. I worked nights for many years, and quit being a night owl- cold turkey. I fully immersed myself in morning rituals and early bedtimes. I’ve found that I truly put my best food forward and I get the most out of my day when I rise with the sun. It has absolutely changed my life.

2. Take care of your mental and physical health.
Get your check ups, dental cleanings and try out therapy. When you feel good, you can do even more good. Mom and Dad aren’t going to make those appointments for you anymore, and you don’t want to be walking around with rotting teeth and a weird mole that you’ve been meaning to get checked out for ages now. All jokes aside, mental health is big now too. You are responsible for your mental well being. Don’t let your emotions rule you; don’t let mental illness take over your life. You can do this.

3. Venting about problems makes things worse.
Very few people actually should hear about your problems. When you complain about your problems, chances are that the other person is either happy that you are miserable like them or they don’t really care. Venting doesn’t make anything change, but it does make your mood worse.

4. Stop living your life to impress other people.
Again, nobody’s paying that much attention. Everybody is usually wrapped up in their own head. Do what you want, when you want and how you want. If it’s going to create something positive, don’t pay attention to anyone on the sidelines. 
You don’t need to prove your happiness.

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5. Do something you’re afraid of.
This year I really got into the flow arts. The flow arts are hula hoop dancing, juggling, dragon staff spinning, fan props and many others. This was fun but I wanted even more of a challenge. So I tried hula hooping with fire. As crazy as it sounds, it was so addicting and a lovely experience. I chose to surround myself with individuals that are educated on fire safety. What I learned is that, trying something scary can usually turn out to be really really exhilarating.

6. Moving will always be stressful.
Moving sucks. It always will. I’ve moved 5 times since I moved to Orlando 4 years ago. The only thing that makes it easier is to start packing in advance. And make friends with/keep in touch with family that have a truck. Other than that, it still sucks. There’s not much else you can do but brace yourself for the stress.

7. Having a savings account for random expenses is important.
You’ll get that unexpected parking ticket. You’ll need to pay those overage charges for when your A/C broke. You might get robbed. And unless you’re a mechanic, you’ll have to pay someone to fix your car when it does some funky stuff. Set aside money to save yourself the hassle of scrounging for change.

8. You will have less friends as you age, but they will be better friends.
This one is tough to accept. As you get older, people will move away for family or jobs. Relationships will change. There’s nothing wrong with that and you are totally allowed to be nostalgic. It’s important to recognize the difference between nostalgia and getting stuck though. Be fond of those old friendships but allow your new ones, or the ones that you still have to flourish in place. 

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9. Pity parties are no longer acceptable. Buy yourself flowers instead.
Self talk is something I struggle with. So when I feel like I’m really getting down on myself, I cut it out as soon as I recognize it. Show yourself some self love and even go buy yourself a cheap bouquet of flowers. It may feel funny at first but those flowers will make you smile when you wake up the next day.

10. You will only make as much money as you are willing to work for.
It’s all about the hustle. If you don’t have a side hustle or side job then you’re probably getting complacent. Unless you are totally established in your dream career and making millions, you could probably be innovating another income. Even millionaires continue to have side projects, why shouldn’t you?  

11. Painting furniture is awful.
This is another inevitable fact I came to learn this past year. It seems like a great idea to say “Oh it’s fine, I can just paint it all. It just looks like there’s four or five sides to it.” Until you realize their are handles and drawers and edges and textures. It’s the worst. Painting always takes long than you expect it to.

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12. It’s important to know what you like to order at a bar; have your own drink. Or be confident in knowing that you don’t like to drink.
If you like girly drinks and you’re a big man, order it with confidence. If you’re a girly girl and you know you like an old fashioned with rye whiskey, you’re probably my kind of girl. Whatever it is, know your drink. It’s your preference and it’s good to get to know your preferences.

13. Establish a style all your own and then refine it a little.
If you like wearing bright colors and patterns, make it work; make it cohesive. Or if you prefer comfy clothing, you can find complete looks with great materials that feel so good on your skin. Even if it’s only an extra 5 minutes out of your day to plan your outfit, it will show that you put in some sort of effort. Let your outfits flow and be an extension of who you are inside. You don’t have to buy the most expensive clothes to wear clothes with personality. Style does not equate to high expenses. Be you and wear what feels like you.

14. Having goals and plans will keep you moving forward.
Stagnancy is a drug. We too often get comfortable and then years pas and we wonder, what happened? Even small goals in fitness or making more time for family are important goals. Big career goals or creative goals are always possible too. Anything is better than not having something to look forward too.

15. But finding love will keep you present.
You so deserve to be loved in a healthy and satisfactory way. Passion does not have to be toxic. Love will greet you as soon as your stop looking for it. Don’t push it away though. There’s nothing cool about saying that you hate relationships. That’s like saying you hate the idea of somebody totally accepting you and celebrating you. Finding love will remind you to take each day as it comes, alongside your partner.

16. Fight with your partner- however, do it constructively.
Name calling doesn’t help. Violence doesn’t help. Lying doesn’t help. Why do we avoid confrontation? Because we connect fighting with these actions. Once you eliminate all the negative actions from fighting, what do you have left? A conversation. You can ask your partner: “How can I do better next time? What can I change to make things work better?” Or you can say “This certain thing upsets me and I would like for you to consider why it does.” A conversation can solve something. Negativity cannot.

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17. Bad things will happen; then more bad things will happen.
When it rains, it monsoons. The best you can do is keep a sense of humor. Breakdowns are normal. Learn from them and you will be stronger.

18. Be Safe.
Don’t drive without your seat belt on or text while you are behind the wheel. Take a cab or an Uber or have a friend pick you up when you’ve been drinking. Don’t walk around the city at night alone. These are all common sense but your safety is important. So there’s your sign!

19. Some of your ideas will be unsuccessful, some will be epic.
That’s why you take risks.You have to get all the crap out of the way to get to the good stuff. And if you don’t even try to get the crap out of the way, you’ll NEVER get to the good stuff.

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20. Taking trips is important. Get in touch with history and culture.
Even if you only go an hour away, give yourself a chance to learn something new and experience a new area. Our brains are wired to take in new information. I’m all about that daily grind, but it goes back to being stagnant. Find that balance between working hard and branching out. History and culture are two aspect of life that feed your soul.

21. You deserve to be cherished and valued.
You are worth a real loving healthy relationship. Sometimes we all need to remember that. Don’t settle. Look yourself in the mirror everyday and ask, “Am I getting the love I deserve?” If you aren’t, keep it moving. I’ve chased after too many people who frankly, just enjoyed being chased. There will be someone out there for you that will chase after you too.

22. Realize when you are have unrealistic expectations and let them go.
Letting go of expectations is the quickest way to find happiness exactly where you are. I struggle with this one everyday. Appreciate everything and simply expect nothing.

23. There’s no other feeling like jamming out to your favorite song.
Do it regularly. Have a dance party. You’ll feel fantabulous. You’re never to old to feel fantabulous.

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24. Good things take handwork and time.
Patience! Patience! Patience! I say this to myself often, but still not often enough. Life will grow and flourish as it should. We’re all on our own timelines, lets make it count and watch all the great things ahead of us unfold as we diligently work hard to reach our goals and get better everyday.

Thanks for reading! Much love~

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