21 Things I’ve Learned by 21

Hello, friends! I hope that you all had a great Thanksgiving weekend, surrounded by those that you’re thankful for. If not that, then I hope that you ate lots of yummy food. Over the Thanksgiving weekend I had my 21st birthday! Woo! And I wanted to share some wisdom. Enjoy! ūüôā

  1. It’s okay to like things that other people don’t.¬†I spent a lot of my childhood for liking movies, books, and music that nobody else did. On the other side of the coin, though…
  2. It’s okay to like things that other people like.¬†For anyone that knows me, they know that I went through a horrendous hipster phase where I refused to like things that were popular, and loved to hate on things that other people liked. I have since gotten over that, and I simply like the things that I like.
  3. Learn the importance of a good night’s sleep.¬†I, like many people, have always had a hard time getting to sleep at a decent hour/ staying asleep. I still struggle with it quite often, but I’ve gotten SO much better at going to sleep at a decent hour. Where I used to go to sleep at 3 AM, I now go to sleep closer to 10, at the latest, 11. It does wonders.
  4. When sleep fails… Coffee…Coffee…Coffee.¬†Now, listen. I love coffee dearly, but I do understand that it’s not always the best for you. I definitely would recommend weaning yourself off of it if you find yourself drinking it too much, but gosh, is it good for a little extra awareness.
  5. Make your own coffee! Speaking of coffee…I love me a professionally made coffee like no other, but I try desperately to instead make my coffee at home. If you haven’t invested in some sort of coffee maker, I definitely would recommend it. You will save SO much money by doing so. And if you forget to make it some days, that’s okay too. It’s all about balance…
  6. Always carry food with you. I don’t know about y’all, but when I get hungry, things get bad. I am notorious amongst my family for getting all sort of hungry. (hungry + angry = hangry) This tip is especially applicable if you’re in college. I always find myself rushing to class, unable to get myself lunch. I usually try to keep granola bars in my backpack at all times to sustain me until I can make myself a proper meal.
  7. Pick a college major that makes YOU happy.¬†I understand that the goal of obtaining a college degree is essentially to become more employable. But HEAR ME OUT. How successful can you be at something you have no interest in? Okay, yes, you can be successful, but at what cost? And to counteract the argument of, “Well, what are you going to do with that major?” a lot of places just want people with college degrees!
  8. Also, college isn’t for everyone. I know so many people that did not go to college, and they are doing just fine. Don’t go into debt just because college is something that you’re “supposed” to do. Listen to what you think is right.
  9. Weight does NOT determine your happiness.¬†I’ve been smaller, I’ve been bigger, and equally happy and/or miserable at either stage. It’s important to be healthy, yes, but small doesn’t inherently equal healthy, and large doesn’t inherently equal unhealthy.
  10. Go for a walk!¬† While it’s true that going for a walk may not fix the problem(s) at hand, it really can change your perspective. There have been times that I was so depressed that even the idea of getting out of bed was painful, but once I got outside I did feel better. Not all the way better, but it was definitely worthwhile to get outside. It also gives you a feeling of accomplishment when you may feel like you haven’t accomplished anything.
  11. There is NOTHING, and I repeat, NOTHING wrong with therapy.¬† For practically my entire life, I was SO opposed to therapy. My mom wanted me to go and I would go for a session or two and then completely check out. I was embarrassed, I didn’t think it would work, and I wasn’t ready to look within. Eventually, I overcame that way of thinking, and allowed myself to participate and therapy, and I was able to greatly help my mental health in the process.
  12. There is nothing shameful about taking antidepressants. In addition to therapy, I was adamantly opposed to taking any sort of medication.  Just like therapy, I was able to overcome that way of thinking and eventually allowed myself to be on a medicine that helped me get out of bed every morning. The same applies for any sort of medication that you are prescribed. There is no shame in it.
  13. Keep a journal. I have kept a journal my entire life, and while it’s sometimes embarrassing to look back at what you thought or felt, it’s a wonderful way to track your progress. It’s also wonderful because it helps you relive memories that you may have forgotten. I have so many wonderful family memories written down that I would have otherwise forgotten. Not to mention, journaling is a great way to vent.
  14. Allow yourself to be bad at things.¬†I think I’ve said this in another blog post, but I have such a difficult time sticking with things if I am not initially perfect at them. This is not a good thing. It is SO important to allow yourself to be bad at things so that you can grow and progress with it.
  15. Find a creative¬†outlet. I think that something that we don’t make time for in our day to day life is creativity. We don’t allow that part of our brain to thrive, when we really should. Creativity is such a wonderful thing, and can be expressed through so many mediums: music, writing, drawing, painting, baking, photography, scrapbooking, woodwork, to name a few. I understand that it’s sometimes hard to make time, but I recommend making time for this.
  16. When in¬†doubt, make a to-do list. I know that I’ve talked about my love for lists in at least one other blog post, but they are always my first step to getting my life in control.
  17. Technology is awesome, but make sure you’re spending some time without a screen.¬† I am definitely addicted to my phone, but I make an effort to spend time away from my phone, my laptop, and my tv. This is paired very well with #15.
  18. Let yourself be¬†excited about things! There are some things that you will be excited for that others might not be. That’s okay! Let yourself be excited about them! Don’t let other people dull your excitement.
  19. Hydrate, moisturize, and exfoliate! This tip is mainly about hygiene, and can include other things, but those three are some of the most important. When I was in my most depressed state, I found these sort of things so difficult. Sometimes I still do. This kind of goes along with #10. Choose one thing for the day that you want to accomplish in terms of hygiene and do it! Something is better than nothing.
  20. PRAY!¬†Sometimes life gets so overwhelming that you just sit there, unable to do anything about it. In these moments, I like to pray. I let my fears, my hopes, and my needs out. There’s something immediately freeing about doing this.
  21. BE SAFE ON YOUR TWENTY-FIRST BIRTHDAY!¬† I’m not much for going out, but if you are, make sure you are safe on your 21st birthday! Stay hydrated, stay with people that will keep you safe, and, of course, have fun!!


Mattie Mae

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