Midnight. May 20, 2014. I turned 22 and nothing felt different, which is how the story goes for most birthdays.
When I turned 10, I was stoked on reaching double digits. When I turned 13, I was a “teenager,” which turned out to be only marginally cool. At age 18, the law considered me an “adult,” but I didn’t get the point of the title if I still had no idea how to drive, how to pay taxes or honestly…how to pay for anything. Then came 21. I felt a shift because I went from being straight edge to drinking occasionally. Plus, the freedom to go to 21+ shows and clubs was liberating. You better believe I’ve taken advantage of it.
So, now I’m 22. And yes, I wrote some kind of snarky “feeling 22” caption for an Insta photo knowing it was my only chance to utilize that over-used Taylor Swift reference. Overall, it was a relaxing day with good people and good food. But now what? Every year, I wonder what the next year of my life will entail. As a 21-year-old, I learned a lot about myself and experienced multiple things that have helped move along my evolution process as an aspiring quality human.
With that said, here are five important life choices I want to continue making:
I want to be OK with being outside of my comfort zone. That’s the zone I can mentally and spiritually grow the most. To me, being comfortable 24/7 is a sign of no progress. I want progress. I want success. But life isn’t perfect. It’s the exact opposite. I’m at a point in my life where I’m OK with making mistakes. Mistakes are valuable lessons.
Doesn’t it suck when someone leaves you in the dark? High and dry? Unsatisfied? Disappointed? Let down? Follow. Through. If you tell someone you’re going to help them with something, do it. If you make plans with someone, stick to the plan. Of course, there are exceptions (life crisis, illness, death, other unavoidable issues, etc). I’m really trying my best to be a reliable person, especially when I expect others to act the same way.
Never stop being a student
Last week, I graduated from the University of Southern California (blog post coming soon…). It still hasn’t hit me that I’m no longer registered for classes, I have no papers to write or classes to sit through, and my student discount card no longer works (bummer). But just because I’m finished with higher education doesn’t mean I have to stop learning. I’m looking forward to reading more books (that I choose, rather than professors), reading more articles, having new conversations, meeting new people and figuring out how to create new things.
Say what the heart wants aloud
“The heart wants what it wants – or else it doesn’t care” – Emily Dickinson
Preach. To add to that, I think people should express, more often, what they want and what they love. Being quiet rarely gets anyone anywhere. Believe me. I’m more on the introverted side, but I’m finally realizing the importance of speaking up. Want that job promotion? Set up a meeting! Like a boy or girl? Tell them! Want that last chocolate chip cookie? Ask if anyone wants to split it, then claim your half (or maybe you’ll luck out and get the whole thing). Speaking your mind and sharing your heart is a lot less stressful than the old “shoulda, coulda, woulda.”
Stop using “later” as a crutch
I am guilty of this. I’ll call later. I’ll email them later. I’ll apply later. I’ll clean later. No. Stop it. “Later” is a crutch to postpone things that should actually be done sooner than later. My gut tells me that procrastination is crippling. We all understand that, but for some reason we still put things off. I want to attempt to wipe that out of my daily routine. Getting things done when I’m actually thinking about it will be way more productive and helpful in the long run. That pile of post-it notes and phone reminders are just a hassle – and one more thing to remember to read.