23 lessons from 23 years


So I turned 23 today.

Yeah, I’m not sure how that happened, either.  I swear that memories from high school are as fresh in my mind as they were the day after they happened.  But some five or so years have passed since then.


I’m not one to get super-reflective or sentimental on my birthdays, especially not with ones with non-milestone numbers (have you ever seen a section of 23rd birthday cards in Hallmark shops?  Neither have I.).  But I thought I’d try something that I’ve never done on my birthdays in the past:  some lessons that I’ve learned in the 23 years I’ve been walking this planet.  I’ve seen posts from my fellow bloggers of this nature, so I guess it’s my turn.

1.  Don’t judge anyone.  You have no right.  You’re not perfect, either.  End of discussion.

2.  If something is difficult but you really want to get better at it, practice it.  Find people who will support you and help you and critique you and mentor you.

3.  If you’re going to a music festival, don’t rush for the barricade at the main stage.  It’s a festival.  Take it all in.  See the vendors.  Meet bands and have them sign your merchandise.  Explore.  And if you absolutely insist on parking yourself at the barricade all day, at least make plans to eat and drink, especially if it’s hot.

4.  That being said, though, there really is no other way to see your favorite band than to be at the barricade.  I recommend doing it at least once in your life.  Or multiple times.

5.  It’s okay if you’re in your early 20s and don’t like to drink and party.  You’re not weird and there are other people like you out there.  Don’t feel pressured just because you feel like everyone else is doing it.

6.  Drama is dumb.  Avoid it.  Unless that “drama” is of the theatrical variety.  Then by all means, eat your heart out.

7.  You should have at least one birthday party in your life.  I had mine at 13.  That was 10 years ago…wow, old.

8.  College professors are awesome and super-helpful.  If they hold office hours during the week, take advantage of that.  They’re there for YOU.

9.  Just be nice to people.  Be patient with employees.  Always tip your server.  Rudeness isn’t worth your energy.

10.  IT’S OKAY TO BE A QUIET PERSON but if you feel like it’s preventing you from achieving your goals or resolving problems you might want to seek counsel for that.

11.  If people keep telling you you’ve got talent, don’t ignore them.

12.  Learn to write well, in terms of spelling, grammar, punctuation, things like that.  It comes in handy in college and it establishes credibility and competency beyond.

13.  Animated movies and movies marketed as “kids” films are sometimes even better when you’re an adult.

14.  Do not consume a hefty portion of pizza and 20 ounces of beer in one sitting if you don’t have the stomach or alcohol capacity.  You’ll feel buzzed AND too full to move and that’s not very pleasant.

15.  Jesus still loves you.

16.  If you get an awesome idea, WRITE IT DOWN.  You’ll forget it if you don’t.  And then you’ll recall that you had this awesome idea but won’t be able to remember what it was, and you’ll kick yourself for not writing it down.

17.  Your value can’t be measured by a scale or measuring tape.  Your value can’t be measured by a scale or measuring tape.  YOUR VALUE CAN’T BE MEASURED BY A SCALE OR MEASURING TAPE.  Got it?

18.  When you receive a jar of cookie mix as a gift but that jar doesn’t include flour, don’t attempt to bake those cookies without adding some flour.  You’ll end up with something resembling cookie brittle.  Which isn’t terrible, I suppose.

19.  Don’t worry if you don’t like a band that a lot of your friends like, and don’t be ashamed of your music taste or make other people feel ashamed.  Just listen to whatever makes you happy and let others do the same.

20.  Spend time with friends.  Even if you’re quiet like me.  Make it a point to spend time with people every now and then.  It’s good for you.

21.  The world is a scary place and bad things happen all the time but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to be happy.  Happiness is a choice.  You’re not a victim of your circumstances.  However…

22.  …It’s okay to be angry.  It’s okay to be sad.  They’re normal reactions to things that happen to us.  There’s a time and a season for everything; don’t get down on yourself for being upset about something.

23.  Round cakes always come out of the oven a little lopsided.  I don’t know why and I don’t know how to fix it.  Who cares.  It’s cake!

Cheers to 23 years!


2 thoughts on “23 lessons from 23 years

  1. Hi Erin,
    I came across your blog on Elena.Teresa.Ann’s blog – she’s my wife’s cousin. This is really cool. Happy Birthday! Your birthday is on the same day as my wedding anniversary!
    Hey, 23 might not be a Hallmark milestone birthday, but when I turned 23 (a few years ago), I came across this really cool poem that I now share with friends and family when they turn 23. I hope you don’t mind, since you happened to just turn 23, if I share it with you? Hope you enjoy it!

    by: John Milton (1608-1674)

    How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
    Stolen on his wing my three-and-twentieth year!
    My hasting days fly on with full career,
    But my late spring no bud or blossow shew’th.
    Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth
    That I to manhood am arrived so near;
    And inward ripeness doth much less appear,
    That some more timely-happy spirits endu’th.
    Yet, be it less or more, or soon or slow, It shall be still in strictest measure even
    To that same lot, however mean or high,
    Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heaven.
    All is, if I have grace to use it so,
    As ever in my great Task-Master’s eye.

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