Wow, it is so hard to believe I am 24 today. My brother texted me this morning, “I’m not sure if you are excited about turning 24 but Happy Birthday!” He’s not wrong, 24 isn’t a huge milestone birthday, I am still a few years away from being able to rent a car and being kicked off my parent’s health insurance. But I find birthday’s an excuse to celebrate yourself and a reason to get together with groups of friends doing a one-off activity you wouldn’t usually make the time to do together.
This past weekend, I was celebrated so big by all my sweet friends. We attended a candle making class together in Deep Ellum called Paddywax and it was a blast. You get to pick your scent, your vessel and what kind of wick you want! It was just a fun way to spend the afternoon with all my girls! Later, I went to dinner with some of my close guy friends from college, if you didn’t know, Pierce and I met my senior year of college where we were neighbors and together his friends and my roommate Carley and spent so much time together. Our group has since doubled in size as many of the guys have started dating new great girls.
As I was thinking about what I wanted this post to be about, Pierce and I started having a conversation last night about growth and just milestones and the kinds of birthdays that are truly milestones in your life not necessarily what society considers a “big birthday.” This birthday feels bigger for some reason as I look at what I have learned since turning 23. This past year was the first year I truly considered myself an “adult” as I payed taxes for the first year, lived a full year paying rent for myself and got surgery twice without feeling like my parents had to be there. These experiences (although none mentioned were truly very fun milestones) taught me a lot about myself in what it means to be an adult and when that transition happens. I decided I wanted this post to be 4 things I’ve learned by 24, so here they are, and I hope you can find some value or meaning in them in your own life!
You are Never Too Old to Make a Friend and Some Friends Grow Apart
This is something that really resonated with me this year as I grew my friend group from solely people I was friends with from college to people I met at work or through my guy friends new girlfriends. This may seem like a silly lesson, but I was very convinced I knew who my friends were and that these were going to be friendships I held on to forever. Although that is very much still the case with the group of girls I have surrounded myself with, as you begin to work full time you drift away from people who you once communicated with on a daily or semi-consistent basis. Some of my friends have moved away, some I just grew apart from. This was one of the hardest things I learned this past year because growing away from friends is almost like breaking up with them without them being completely gone from your life and it sucks and it hurts and there’s nothing you can really do about it. But I think what I’ve learned from this is that you can still be friends with someone and have your relationship evolve, instead of talking to them all the time, I cherish the moments we do have together. Graduating from college and beginning to work full time you have less time to fully commit to those friendships but that doesn’t have to mean you aren’t friends anymore.
Stress Less About the Things That Stress You Out
This year, I have really made an effort to stress less about the things that stress me out and give me anxiety. This is so much easier said than done and I don’t really have a ton of tips or ways I do this other than letting things go. I really try to not get worked up about things that I can’t change. I try to look at my stress by asking myself 1. Who’s problem is this? Is it mine? Is it my parents? Pierce’s? if the answer isn’t me, then I don’t let myself stress about it at all, even it if affects me. Then I ask myself 2. Is this something I can change right now? If it can wait I let myself push it out of my head and just move on because there is nothing I can do in this moment and stressing myself out about it isn’t solving anything. I’ve noticed as I started doing this I slept better, my face broke out less and I was just genuinely happier toward myself and others. It is something I still fight myself with and work on daily but making this effort has made all the difference in my day-to-day life.
Save Money More than you Spend It
I took a personal finance class in college. It was a one hour a week, quick and painless lecture with no tests and it changed my entire life. I thought about spending and saving so differently after that class. The first few months after graduation when I was 22, I really didn’t apply the majority of those tips to my life (typical). I was saving but I had no real purpose to my savings account, there was no set limit or date that I forced myself to save each month. It wasn’t until I turned 23 last January that I really sat down with myself and forced myself to map out a savings plan for myself and my blog. Keeping up with the Zebra ain’t cheap and it forced me to buckle down in other areas of my life so I could afford to keep up with my lifestyle and my blog. But it’s so worth it and I’m now making a profit (or coming out even) each month on my blog where I wasn’t in the beginning. In the past year, I was able to save 30% of my salary and develop an emergency fund for myself that could keep me afloat for six months if I lost my job or I need new tires emergently next month. I am so much more comfortable and confident in my savings than I ever have been and mapping out a plan and sticking to it is the best way to get financial security.
Love Yourself Before You Love Anyone Else
This is something I learned long ago but think it’s a lesson everyone should learn and the sooner the better. Loving yourself and being confident with who you are is the best thing you can do for yourself. If you don’t completely love yourself, you will never be happy in a relationship because you need to have that confidence in yourself before you can give love to anyone else. I am a pretty confident person, people when they meet me usually think I come off too strong and it’s because I’m a woo, (winning others over) I want to please people and get such a high off meeting new people. I have sometimes in the past tried to tone down my personality and I’ve hated myself for it. I shouldn’t ever have to “conform” to the way people expect me to act if I’m being kind. I have never been more comfortable in my own skin and so sure of who I am and part of this just comes with loving yourself and accepting you for who you are flaws and all!
I have been so blessed this past year and consider myself lucky to be where I am at today. I can’t wait to see what 24 holds! Thanks for being here and loving me so big!