21 Lessons Learned Before 21

As I jump into this “big” year, I think it is important I look back on what got me to where I am. After all the lessons I learned in the past 21 years are why I am here right now. These are 21 lessons I have learned in the past 21 years that I am so glad to have learned and maybe, they will teach you something.

21 Lessons  Learned Before 21

  1. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

The ability to laugh at yourself is one that is crucial and will get you through many a mundane or bad day.

  1. Hard times mean good times are coming.

Failure doesn’t mean you are weak, it means you are learning. The failure and hard times are setting you up for success in the good times.

  1. You are beautiful.

I wish so many times I could go back and tell myself this everyday, you are beautiful, you are worth it, and you are enough. God made you into who you are and that right there, in itself, is beautiful.

  1. Learn from your past, don’t be defined by it.

Commit to making mistakes, this is how you will learn. Process your past and who you were then because that will help you become the person you want to be in the future.

  1. Be vulnerable.

Vulnerability is scary but healing and joy can come in being fully known and fully committed to being true to yourself and others.

  1. Search for lessons in everything.

Just because you aren’t in school doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be learning. School isn’t all it is cracked up to be, sometimes you learn the stuff you are being taught, other times it is just necessary  regurgitate it for a test, either way, this is okay. Realize everything you do is a learning experience, just because you are in a classroom or not does not define what you should learn.

  1. Apologize. And Forgive.

Last year one of the most life changing pieces of advice I received is “sometimes you have to be willing to apologize and take 100 percent of the blame even when you don’t deserve all the blame.” This advice rocked my world. It made me realize how much Christ has forgiven me and how I need to do that for others. Taking all the blame and apologizing and asking for forgiveness is so crucial. That being said, so is forgiveness. Forgive everyone and remember where our true forgiveness comes from.

  1. Don’t change yourself for anyone.

Embrace what is innate about yourself, discover your passions, who you are, and whose you are, and then stick to that. When given criticism process it, see if you agree with it, and only if you want, use it and change. Only change when you tell you to change, not for another.

  1. Take Pictures.

There is a reason why the saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words.” They truly are, they tell stories, remind you of people, places, and yourself, and just show you what life was but also what life can be. Take pictures and take time to look at them.

  1. Fully own your faith.

It changes everything. Stand firm in your faith and truly own it. Don’t fall into the trap of having your whole life be exceptions to your rules or morals, instead develop your rules and morals and stand firm in them. God forgives when you mess up but better to have a solid relationship to start with. It’s not your pastor’s or your parent’s faith, it is your own, take ownership and responsibility.

  1. You don’t need to be able to answer the question “what do you want to do with your life?”

As long as you are breathing you aren’t where you are meant to be yet. Therefore why stress about the next step? Instead learn all you can in this step, and maybe, just maybe, you will be one of the lucky ones who can begin to truly answer this question before already being in the next stage.

  1. There are cynics everywhere, this doesn’t mean you have to become one.

Being positive gets you a whole lot further with a whole lot more people supporting you than being cynical. Think critically not cynically.

  1. Traveling changes you.

In the most beautiful, life changing ways, travel changes you. Embrace it. Travel. And learn.

  1. Silence and being alone doesn’t have to be scary.

Learning to enjoy your own company is a huge step. Being comfortable in silence makes you more comfortable in noise. Being happy alone makes you even more joyous with others. You and Christ are your only constant in life, might as well like yourself and be okay with spending time with yourself.

  1. Follow your dreams. And excel at what you do.

If you are doing something you love and care about you will. Why waste your time with things you won’t dream of or excel at?

  1. Friends will come and go. So will boys.

If you place your worth in your friends, you will end up disappointed and hurt. Friends are wonderful and crucial, but also not the be all, end all. They are humans and will not be there forever, you will drift apart, and relationships change as people change. Immerse yourself in friendships and relationships but don’t let yourself be defined by them.

  1. Tell people you love them.

The three words “I love you” are the basis of our humanity and need to be said and shown more often. I love you doesn’t have to be scary to say, instead it should be freeing. Love deeply and openly.

  1. Live below your means.

Better to spend too little than too much has served me very well over the years. Searching for bargains now allows you to have saved for when you really want something. That being said, make sure you do let yourself splurge every once in a while. Like on new roommates and a single room. If extra money means peace of mind, this is a good thing to splurge on.

  1. Ask questions.

Always ask questions. It shows you care about what people are saying and interested in what comes next. This skill can get you far in life and serve you well. Act like you know what you are doing but don’t be afraid to ask when you realize you don’t.

  1. Reality is subjective

Your reality will change depending on where you are in life. Don’t let this scare you. Live in the moment and let your reality shift when you do.

  1. It’s okay to say no.

Truly, it is. I wish I had known this in high school during my anxiety attacks. It is okay to not say yes to everything and always be doing something. It is okay to say no and take you time. This time will allow you to better immerse yourself when you do say yes to something.

Until tomorrow my friends,


Birthday Princess

4 thoughts on “21 Lessons Learned Before 21

  1. I love all of these! They are so so so true! I love #4,5,6,7, & 9. I can’t choose my favorite, haha. I hope this encourages many young people, I know it will! 🙂 Happy Birthday!

  2. You are wise beyond your 21 years, Melanie! And you do realize that most, not all but most, of these took you fully ALL of your 21 years to learn, don’t you?

  3. Pingback: 21 Things I Don’t Want to Forget about my 20th Year Through the Eyes of a Runner. | Through the Eyes of a Runner

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