Yesterday was my birthday. I woke up this morning and it really sunk in. I’m 21. Twenty – one trips around the sun and a life of adventures that have been packed into those years that I now have under my belt. Throughout all of those years, I’ve learned a bit about important life lessons. So today I just wanted to share some of those with you, but let’s be real here, I’m pretty sure this is more a letter to myself than trying to teach you all anything. 

10 Life Lessons I’ve Learned to Love.

  • Be Spontaneous. In my life, I absolutely would much rather have every. little. detail. planned out down to the smallest little thing. But, after a semester studying abroad, I realized that some of the best moments can happen when you say “YES!” to something last minute or unexpected. Whether it was airplane tickets I would purchase about 8 hours before the flight was scheduled, or even deciding to go hang out with friends last minute when I’d planned to stay in and watch a movie, so many of my best memories coming from spontaneous decisions that I’ve made. I might change my crazy ultra-planner self after all.
  • Don’t Compare. It can be so incredibly easy to look through Instagram or Facebook and see these incredible people (for me, it’s women who are in college and killing it as bloggers). The comparison game is so real, you guys. I actually have an incredible amount of self confidence but still fall prey to these feelings all the time. I’ll be scrolling through social media wistfully looking at a “perfect” account and wondering how I can get mine to look just like it. I feel like especially in any creative industry, this is an especially prevalent feeling. If you’re looking for an inspirational account to help you combat some of these feelings, try The Rising Tide Society. This account has been one that helps me stay grounded, especially with their tagline being, “community over competition”. 
  • Friends Take Effort. There have been enough friendships that I haven’t put enough effort into, and plenty of people who haven’t put enough effort into me either. Because of this, those friendships have either suffered or simply slowly dissolved. When you find a good friend, let them know. Show them how much they matter to you. Don’t ignore their texts, do something spontaneously kind for them, and pour into them like you’d want to be.
  • You Don’t Have to Be Friends with Everyone. I felt like this was appropriate coming after that last point. As a people pleaser, I get really bent out of shape if I find out that there is someone out there who doesn’t like me. But, what I’ve learned is, that’s inevitable. There will be plenty of people out there who you’ll get along with and be friends with, so it really, truly is okay when there are a few that don’t fit into that category, either. This one is an especially hard one for me to get through to myself on even still because I want 100% of the people I meet to like me! 
  • Don’t Give Up. If there’s something that almost five years of blogging has taught me, it is surely to never give up. This truly has manifested itself into one of my biggest mottos, no matter how cliche or overused it may be. As I wrote posts for so long on this blog as a senior in high school, nothing really ever came of it and I didn’t honestly see it going anywhere. But to have the platform that I now have and the opportunities that I have now, it really speaks volumes to the concept of not giving up. 
  • Internet Validation Doesn’t Matter (That Much). So this is an interesting one for me. While I am 110% grateful for each and every one of my followers, readers, subscribers, etc., what I have come to realize that it’s the people in my real, everyday life who are invaluable. This sounds a little harsh but let me explain. Those comments and likes used to give me so much validation, and that’s where a lot of my confidence and self worth would come from. But, then I realized that there is simply so much more to life than that. If my blog suddenly got shut down or one of my social media accounts get suspended or some other crazy thing like that, I need to be able to be completely fine and happy regardless. Learning this lesson, I reached out more to people in my everyday life and put more value in those friendships! This doesn’t mean that my blog/Instagram friends aren’t important to me…because you all are seriously the greatest! 
  • It’s Okay to Change Your Mind. Whether this means on your political views, values, etc….it is okay to change and sometimes I need to remind myself of this. As we grow, we are constantly evolving into (hopefully) the best version of ourselves, so it’s completely okay to realize that maybe those viewpoints from when we were younger aren’t how we feel now. Sometimes this is hard for me because I’m afraid of what other people are going to think if I’m not just like them or different from who they originally met or befriended. But, I’m doing myself a major disservice if I try to hide who I’m becoming from those who love and respect me. 
  • Self Care is SO Important. Whenever I tell other people this, they think I mean this in a really floofy way, as if I’m telling people to meditate 24/7 or something. That’s not my intention but hey, if you want to take up meditation to be your best self, go for it. Subscribe to podcasts, read good books, get some sleep. Whatever it means for you personally to be your best self and grow, go for it. Everybody has different things that are important to them as far as self care goes, so if that means watching some Netflix and eating popcorn in bed to you, go ahead.
  • Choose Your Involvement Wisely. Whether you’re entering college and thinking about what clubs to join, or you’re a small business owner/mom/contemplating joining PTA, this is for you. My heavy campus involvement has simultaneously been the best and worst thing. It has brought countless friends, great experience, and so much community, but it has also brought me so much stress. After I quit everything second semester of sophomore year to study abroad, I was much more choosy about my involvement when I came back to my campus junior year. I chose to get involved in the things that really mattered and that I enjoyed, rather than the things that I felt were simply “resume fillers”. 
  • It’s Okay to Ask. So, I have always felt the need to do everything myself. I’m pretty sure it’s a major pride issue, but I’ve never been one to ask for advice or help. But, if there’s one thing that the last year or so has taught me is to ask for advice. Don’t always assume you can do a job the best alone, or know the best answers. People in my life are incredibly supportive and helpful, and I’m sure you might find they are like that in yours, too. 

These are some of the lessons that have helped me so much in college, and simply through life. I hope they strike a chord with you as well! Have the best week. 

Olivia

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