22 Things I Learned at 22

I just celebrated turning 23. No, I'm not informing you of this so you can comment below and tell me happy birthday. I'm telling you this because 22 was one of the most hectic, stressful but eye opening years I have experienced on this planet.

It was filled with so many emotions and so many crazy events. 22 was an amazing year and it taught me so much about not only life, but myself. And today I would like to share with you just what I learned in my 22nd year on this beautiful planet. 

1. Plans don't always work out.

I'm not talking about your Friday night plans. I mean your life plans. You're not going to get married, have children, move out or get a career when you were expecting to. And that is okay. Life happens on it's own terms. 

2. If you obsess over the future, you're wasting the present.

This was one of the biggest life lessons I learned at 22. I spent pretty much my entire year obsessing over my future - planning out every detail of my life. This took away an entire year of my present. A year I could have spent living in the moment and enjoying every second. I'm upset that I did this, but now that I am aware it gives me the opportunity to take advantage of every second here on out.

3. Life is short and goes very fast.

Although I am still young, it blows my mind how fast 23 came. The older I get, the quicker each day goes by. I learned just how important it is to appreciate each second and never take it for granted.

4. You don't have to have your sh*t together.

This is similar to the first two things I learned but focuses a little more on career/finances. It's okay to not know exactly what you want out of life. It's okay to change your mind and not have your life in order. What's important at this age is learning and growing!

5. Learn about yourself.

This didn't happen until the end of the year for me but I'm so grateful that it did. I'm a very selfless person; I always put other people's needs before my own. For the first time I started to focus on myself. My interests. My hobbies. My needs. When you focus on who you are and what you're about, amazing things start to happen.

6. Travel is the best source of knowledge.

I didn't get to travel much at 22, but when I did I made sure to learn as much as possible. Whether it's the culture, the animals, the types of trees, it's incredible to know everything there is to know about where you are in the world. Traveling the world gives you first hand experience, something a textbook or magazine could never give you.

7. Friends will come and go.

As someone who gets very emotionally invested in every type of relationship, I generally have a hard time letting people go. Unfortunately, there comes times in life when people drift apart. Learning to except that was a huge thing for me at age 22. People come in your life to teach you things, whether you know it or not. It's okay to let go and no longer be close to people once their purpose in your life is served.

8. Family is extremely important.

I've always been close to a select few people in my family. This year was rough for me and throughout everything I went through, my family was continuously there for me. They've seen me at really down points in my life and continue to love and care for me in exactly the way that I need.

9. Your health matters.

Whether it's working out or being aware of what you consume, your health actually is more important than you think when you're younger. The older I get, the easier I gain weight. It freakin sucks and it's a constant reminder that I can't eat whatever I want anymore. When I eat better and do some sort of physical activity, I actually do feel better. You were right, Mom!

10. Compromise can make or break relationships.

Not just with your partner, but with every type of relationship. You can't always have it your way and they can't always have it theirs. It's important to see both sides of a situation and come to a mutual agreement. Even if you know your way would be the best way.

11. You can control your thoughts.

For many years I had a more pessimistic approach towards life. People sucked. My job sucked. The world sucked. When I began looking at things more positively, everything changed. Suddenly the world wasn't so crappy and people weren't actually so bad. When you look at things with optimism and a positive attitude, you open yourself up to a whole new world. A happy world.

12. You control your own life.

People can doubt you and fill your head with negativity, but at the end of the day you decide your own destiny. You can be anyone you want to be and go anywhere you want to go. You just have to learn to accept and believe in that. Your entire life is in your own hands.

13. Your interests will change.

If you would have told me at 21 that I would eventually be interested in attempting to cook, making jewelry or meditating - I would have laughed in your face and told you how crazy you are. Well, just like many things in life your hobbies and interests will start to change. 22 brought with it some really "grown up" hobby changes and I'm quite grateful that it did!

14. Gray hairs are not a sign of the end.

22 brought along the first signs of gray hair...dammit! You can imagine the panic I felt when I found the first one, then the second, now they're sprouting out all over. Once the panic wore off, I allowed myself to look at them as little hairs that are more wise than the rest. (I'm still working on this one!)

15. Bones creak and joints ache.

Maybe this is because I spend 8 hours a day sitting on my bum while working, but my bones sometimes sound like a symphony and my joints end the day being pissed off at me. Getting older isn't only mental, your body really starts to remind you daily!

16. Grocery shopping gets...enjoyable?

I can't believe I just said that. Going to the grocery store isn't such a miserable thing anymore. I enjoy having food in my house and in order for that to happen I need to go shopping for that food. Seeing as I don't really enjoy shopping at the mall, I guess the markets are a good way to get some shopping in. The rather large sum that comes out of my bank account from doing this isn't so great, but the actual store isn't so miserable anymore!

17. Organizing gets fun.

While I used to enjoy living in a cluttered mess and claimed to know exactly where everything was, suddenly living in organization is just more satisfying. I appreciate when things have a "spot" and don't get tossed on the floor. I like having my shirts organized from tank tops to long sleeves. Knowing where all of my pens are (because they're in their own designated box) is awesome! And having pillows strategically placed on my couch somehow makes me feel like a real adult! Who am I?

18. Being yourself is awesome!

At this age, it's becoming less common for me to care what people are thinking about me. It does still happen sometimes but it affects my life less. I know who I am and I am confident in that. If someone doesn't like me, what I'm wearing or how I live my life, that is 100% not my problem to stress about. We were put on this planet to be ourselves and not everyone is going to connect with who you are. There's way too many people who will connect with you to spend your time worrying about those who won't.

19. "Going out" isn't the same.

A long night out no longer means partying until the wee hours of the morning. That actually sounds exhausting. Now going out means going to a restaurant close to home and grabbing one drink (maybe) and then calling it a night. If I make it up past 11:30 PM, we had a wild night!

20. Heartburn is really painful.

I always thought people were such babies when they would complain about heartburn. Maybe it's karma biting me in the butt but that damn heartburn will really get you! Who would have thought that I would have to think twice about eating something because it may give me heartburn or acid reflux...Sucky!

21. Savings accounts and retirement funds matter.

Go figure. These are things you don't think twice about when you're younger. But they actually play a really big role in your future. Although I said I learned to not worry so much about the future, some things (like these) are good to keep in mind. Setting money aside monthly in each account is actually important to me now.

22. You will stop wanting to celebrate birthdays, at some point.

I'm willing to celebrate a few more years, but I think once I hit 25 I'll just start pretending that it's just another day. Birthdays are so fun when you're younger but every year that passes now just freaks me the heck out! Now I only look forward to birthdays because they're an excuse for me to call off work and travel. Forget the turning another year older part!

Can you relate to any of my findings? How did you spend your 22nd year?

Although some of these items on the list may sound somewhat negative, they're all very positive things. I'm grateful for every year I've spent on this Earth. 22 was by far my favorite year I have lived yet and it taught me so much about who I am and what I want out of life. 

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