It’s been 27 years since I first opened my eyes to this world. I’ve experienced hardships and wonderful moments as well. I really cannot believe I am three years from hitting the big 3-0! I’m still playing video games, in case you are wondering. Take these with a grain of salt and also they are in no specific order. Here are 27 things I’ve learned that I would like to share with you:

1. Learn to Breathe

I only learned to do this a while ago. In such a fast pace society, we wake up, eat breakfast, rush to work, rush back home, rush to make dinner. Learn to take a moment to ensure that we are breathing correctly. It gives me control of my thoughts and consequently my feelings. It allows me to think cohesively before I take action, whether it’s at work or in my personal life.

2. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

Strength comes in different shapes and forms. Being able to accept your mistakes when you make them is a form of strength that not many people have. Look at these mistakes as an opportunity to develop your skills, strengthen your weaknesses, become a well-rounded person, and accountable.

3. High Expectations vs. Reality 

It’s great to have dreams, be passionate about them, strive for them, be ambitious. However, there’s a difference between realistic expectations and high ones. Be careful not to confuse them with each other. Try to balance your dreams by making short term goals that will allow you to move a little closer each time towards your Big Dream.

4. Learn to say yes

Sometimes you have to step out of the comfort zone and allow yourself to experience new things to continue to learn about yourself.

5. Learn to say no 

It’s perfectly fine to say “No” to things you are not comfortable with. Explanations are not always necessary either.

6. Love is not what you think it is 

I used to play Barbies and watch fairy-tale movies from Disney. We all grow up with an illusion of how love is. Know that love hurts, it’s ever changing, but one thing that it always should be is Understanding. This video from The School of Life gives you a better understanding of this.

7. You don’t have to stay 

If something doesn’t feel right, whether it is in your career path, love life, friendships, you can leave. It’s perfectly fine and most of the time your gut has a very good reason why it cringes.

8. People come and go

What’s important is to enjoy the moments that you get to share with the ones you love. Cherish those memories. Keep them close. Because unfortunately life gets in the way, college, kids, careers, and yes, death are very real things and they will take your loved ones away from you.

9. Travel

This one is very important. Go out and explore, find new places, restaurants, museums, states, countries. Meet new people, talk to them, get to know their stories, you’ll learn that the world is way bigger than what you see on the screen and way more fun too!

10. Credit is important – Start early! 

I wish my parents would have told me about this one when I was in high school. Building a good credit is important. With that being said don’t swipe your first credit card while yelling “YOLO” because that’s not the way to go. Trust me. 

11. Our Parents aren’t perfect

They are humans just like us. They have flaws just like us. And they get in trouble just like us. Learn to be tactful and just be nice. They did feed your weird alien self and packed your lunches, washed your clothes and and wiped your butt.

12. Weird is good! 

Weird is great. Weird is unique, fun, sexy, delicious, adventurous and keeps everyone on their toes. Flaunt that ish like there is no tomorrow!

13. Don’t buy that expensive car! 

Instead buy a little hooptie, focus on your future, travel, eat good, spend that extra money on a nice apartment or save it for your future first home!

14. Get a picture album and print those things out! 

Record your adventures, memories, that time you were sitting, super drunk on the street. Place those in an album and collect those memories for your future self and little ones.

15. Tights and a long shirt feel better than heels and a plump dress

Just sayin’. Comfort over everything.

16. Hangovers get worse as you get older

I remember when I was 21 I could go drink all night and then wake up the next day as if nothing. Nowadays, I need to take my vacation right around the next happy hour.

17. Exercise is super important

And gets harder to make it a routine as you get older. So start early in making it a habit.

18. Reciprocate Positivity

The best way to get people interested in you is to be interested in them. At the same token, the most effective way to be happy is to make others happy.

19. Lying gets you nowhere

Simplicity is best when it comes to every aspect in your life. Why complicate things with lying? At the same token…

20. Not everyone needs to know everything about you

Giving explanations for how you live your life and being concerned about it only means that you are surrounded by unhealthy characters. Have friends that accept you for who you are and value their time with you, just as much as you do.

21. Find your ideal job or at least try your best to 

There’s nothing like waking up and feeling motivated to head out and do your best. Find your niche, find your industry, find your passion and do it well. Granted not every day will be sunshine and roses but having a passion for your job makes all that hard work ten times more rewarding in the end.

22. Have some nice suits or professional outfits

Having at least two suits in your closet is super important. We are now entering mid-level careers, or starting our business (statistically-speaking) or out there finding our dream job. Compliment your seriousness with a polished look. I personally love the cute, quirky, professional look and modcloth.com is my go-to store for my professional “business casual look”.

23. You’ll find out who your real friends are

And you’ll be super picky about your inner circle. When the going gets tough, when you guy argue, when things are said and are hurtful. . . if they are still around after that, keep them close.

24. Therapy is great tool and depression is real

I was raised believing that depression wasn’t a real illness. Boy was I proven wrong when I was suddenly diagnosed with it! Therapy is a great tool, to be able to listen to yourself, be truthful and get to the bottom of your inner workings. If you feel you may have depression or have been recently diagnosed with it, know that there are people who care and there are many resources that will help you get better.

25. Thoughts are powerful

Thoughts are very powerful things. When we learn to control them and understand that feelings are very much influenced by our thoughts, we get a better grasp of ourselves. We understand ourselves better and are able to communicate way more effectively.

26. Learn to Stand Up For Yourself

You ever heard that saying that you “earn respect by giving it”. That’s not entirely true. However it is true that respect is earned. So learn to stand up for yourself, respectfully of course. Don’t let anyone walk over you.

27. Remove Negativity from Your Life and that Includes People

Sometimes it is necessary to remove yourself from certain situations in order to protect yourself at the most vulnerable times. Learning to walk away, remove stress factors, end relationships, friendships is hard. However it is important for you to do it, even if it takes little steps. Nothing comes before your health and yourself.

Ultimately, life is an unpredictable roller coaster full of beautiful moments, including the ones where I’ve cried, or fallen, or failed. The most important lesson I’ve learned so far is to not be so hard on myself for my shortcomings and failures. This has helped me become more understanding of others since expectations are no longer unrealistic. I enjoy the moments in which I can share with those that I hold dear, and keep life as simple as possible.