Growing up is a crazy ride that you’re not strapped in for. It’s like you’re cruising down the highway going 100 miles per hour with no seatbelt on and a lot of potholes. There’s dips and twists and road work that pop up out of nowhere, and a lot of times, you get a flat tire – but you fix it and you keep on driving.
In life, no matter where you’re going, you’re always learning. Through failed relationships, failed Pinterest recipe tries, and failed exams, there are always things to learn from and grow from. There’s so many things that you’re going to experience and so many mistakes you’re going to make, but you can never look back in regret. Instead of being disappointed in yourself, you have to view each moment as a stepping stone toward the bigger picture for you. Each moment holds a lesson to learn.
1. Choose a major you love.
A lot of people will tell you to go into a field that is promising or that makes a six figure salary. I’m telling you to run in the opposite direction. Go into a field of profession that you love, one that you are passionate about. Don’t choose something just to choose it, and if you can’t decide, take a bunch of different classes to experiment. You have four years to make up your mind, and make sure you pick one that makes your career less work and more excitement. Don’t spend your life living someone else’s dream.
2. You don’t need another pair of shoes.
I’ll be the first to tell you that I used to have a spending problem. Looking back, I’ve worked countless hours in restaurants and odd jobs to make extra money, and I should have a lot more in my savings to show for it. People will tell you that you’re young, and you don’t have to worry about bills and responsibilities – but that’s the farthest thing from the truth. Save while you can. You don’t need to have twenty pair of shoes and seven blue jeans. Instead, you should save for a future for yourself. Save to buy yourself something that’s worth it.
3. Travel is less about pictures and more about experience.
Most people want to go away on vacations and take a million pictures to make everyone else on their social media sites jealous. But, the older you get, the less you’ll want to post pictures while you’re away. You’ll actually want to use your phone a lot less, too. When you go away, you learn that vacations – near or far – are about experience and relaxation. You get to clear your head from all the regular life stresses, and no matter who you’re going with; family, friends, boyfriends you’re going with people you love and care about. You have to soak in every moment while you can, in all of it’s glory.
4. The little things are little.
It always seems that in the moment, we get angry at things because they’re such a huge deal. The more you step outside of the situation, the smaller the issues actually become. I’m a victim of letting minuscule problems at work irritate me more than they should. I’ve been a waitress for several years, and I always let the little things at work get under my skin – annoying coworkers, bad tippers, or overwhelming 12 hour shifts on my feet. I look back and laugh, thinking how crazy I must have been to let such petty issues control my entire attitude for that night. It’s important to not sweat the small stuff in life. The longer you spend being unhappy is wasted time to enjoy your life.
5. Keeping your word is important.
If you told your mom you’d take out the garbage – take it out. If you promised your friend you’d go on a double date with her even though your date isn’t appealing – go. Keeping your word is important in life because you don’t want to become someone who habitually goes back on their promises. Although it may seem like you’re just trying to not disappoint others, it’s really about preventing yourself from bad habits. You don’t want to develop a bad habit of being a cop-out.
6. Trust your gut – always.
Your gut may seem to annoy you when you’ve got cramps and nausea, but it’s the most important organ when it comes to trusting yourself. In life, you’ll get gut feelings that you can’t ignore. You may take a job that is wrong for you, and your gut tells you that it won’t work out. You may be in a relationship with someone who isn’t good to you, and your gut tells you to leave. Your friends may be flakey with you, and your gut tells you something is off. Always trust your gut. It’ll almost never steer you wrong.
7. Say everything you feel when you feel it.
Time is something that no one can promise. If anything in life is taken for granted, it’s time. Due to this, it’s important to remember that biting your tongue isn’t always beneficial. You never know when it’s the last time you’ll have the opportunity to tell someone you love them, or to go f*ck themselves. If you feel something, say something. Holding back only turns you into a bottle rocket that’ll be ready to blow at any given moment. In the words of John Mayer, say what you need to say.
8. Get off your phone, live in the now.
When you’re out to dinner with your loved one, spending the holidays with your family or at your girlfriend’s house for a wine and movie night – get off your damn phone. Instagram and Facebook can wait until you’re sitting in bed bored at 1 AM It’s important that we live in the now and appreciate the moments while we can. You don’t want to miss out on your memories because you were too focused on other people’s memories.
The best thing about growing up is learning that we’re always a work in progress. At times, things may seem like the end of the world, and problems may never be solved but that’s the furthest thing from true. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is patience. We’re young, we’re growing and in time, we’re learning. No matter how many times we may crash on the road of life, we always reverse, re-evaluate, and keep on driving down the winding road.