I’m not sure how I’m old enough to be documenting the 25 things I think are the most valuable lessons I’ve learned over this past quarter century but, here I am.
Like Mark Fable always says, it’s better than the alternative.
1. There is value to alone time.
Being alone AND being comfortable being alone is one of the best things you can ever give yourself. Not everyone can command that kind of comfort + independence. When you’re comfortable being alone with yourself + your thoughts — no one can take that away from you.
2. Never miss out on something you want to do because no one can go with you.
I still get some people that are shocked or look at me funny when I tell them I often go to concerts alone. BUT I swear once I went to one alone, I’ve never thought about skipping out on something I wanted to do because my friends or boyfriend couldn’t make it. Not to say that shared experiences aren’t the way to go, but when you’re alone at a concert, you don’t have to worry about anyone getting lost as you push through the crowd to the front — jus sayyyyin. This also leads me to #3..
3. Smile at strangers. Kindness leads to happiness.
It’s so easy to spread happiness. Well — or come off as super creepy — but either way… if you can make someones day even a tiny bit better, I promise it will make your day better too! I learned this while traveling and maybe it was a case of “tourist privilege” but people passing you on the street and sending you a beaming makes your smile a reflex. Happiness really is contagious as ~*cliché*~ as it is.
4. Compliment yourself and others, daily.
I’m my biggest fan. Maybe not every single day, but the majority of days — for sure. I once had someone tell me, “You love yourself too much”, and to that I say, WHY SHOULDN’T I?! Can’t rely solely on others for that kind of happiness. And once you’re done complimenting yourself, share that love. One tiny comment in passing about loving someone’s outfit or how their hair looks can completely brighten up their day.
5. EVERYTHING ebbs and flows. The good, the bad, the mediocre. Ride it out and know that change is inevitable.
Remembering this really helps me whenever things seem to be on a downward swing — know when you’re in a slump, acknowledge it, and ride it out. A change will come, pinky promise.
6. Spend. time. with. your. parents. and. grandparents.
I know this is not possible for everyone for a magnitude of reasons — but if you are lucky enough to have them around, cherish that. There is so much you can learn from your parents and grandparents. I used to think I was missing out on something for skipping going out some weekends in college to get dinner with my Nonna or just go home to see my parents + pups — but I PROMISE you I did not regret a single one of those nights/weekends spent with them. Without sounding too preachy, respect your elders. Like me, I am now your elder. #25
7. Call your Mom or Grandma right now. I promise they’ll love it.
Sending a random text or a quick phone call will make their day. Do it. Do it.
8. DO NOT SPEND MONEY YOU DO NOT HAVE.
I was lucky enough to be taught this before I had to learn it the hard way — but it is still some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten from my parents. Use your credit cards as debit cards. If you have $50, you only spend $50. That. is. it. (Or $40 save some of that ish). That being said…
9. Don’t spend less. Earn more.
I threw this in there because this is a truly motto I live by — especially when it comes to flights to new countries.
My Dad is shaking his head at this point because always laughed when my Mom would tell me this. This is NOT sound financial advice BUT it will push you to work your booty off for what you want. Money comes and goes. …or something like that.
10. Persistence pays off.
Self-explanatory but stick with whatever it is you want most — because not everyone has that tenacity it takes.
11. Don’t quit the instrument you took for a couple of months in middle school.
I really should’ve listened to my #10 piece of advice…
If for some reason you’re 12 and reading this — don’t quit playing an instrument you decided to randomly pick up one day! I find myself saying at least once a month, “I wish I never quit guitar in middle school”. Lol or maybe do, it’s just something I wish I hadn’t done. I think it’s time I get my guitar restrung..
12. MANNERS MATTER.
Completely meant to be preachy here. My biggest pet peeve, other than people chewing with their mouths open…….? is when people don’t say please + thank you. If you cannot say, “thank you” or “please” when it is warranted, chances are I’m disappointed in you. It is effortless to say please or thank you and can go such a long way. PLEASE & THANK YOU!
13. If you can’t tip at least 15%, don’t go out to eat.
It’s as simple as that.
14. Focus on the good.
It’s so easy to spiral down a rabbit hole of negativity when things seem bad, but I promise as cliche as I can possibly sound — there is ALWAYS a silver lining. Bird pooped on you? — You prob saved the tiny bug it was about to drown. (It’s 12:40am idk what I just typed out either…)
You woke up? Can breath, see, and walk on your own? Not everyone can. Your blessings are still there even when you choose to ignore them to dwell on the suckiness, just try to guide your thoughts back to a positive place. I’m starting to fill this post with a crazy amount of platitudes BUT mind over matter is a thing! It is all about perspective, people!
15. Travel. You will open yourself up to new perspectives that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
I try to get some of this across in the vlogs, but some you can’t teach — no matter how hard you wish someone understood just how good they have it, they won’t understand until they see it for themselves. Traveling has taught me so much. For example, the first time I truly traveled verses went on a vacation, I realized that the luxury of clean water, paved roads and air conditioning are so damn luxurious yet I swear some people think they’re just the simple basics. Obviously I knew these were luxuries before traveling, but until you experience things yourself, other people’s words can only hold so much weight.
16. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. For at least 7 hours a night.
Do as I say, not as I do. (lol It’s currently 1:03am..)
I have lost so much sleep to my nocturnal-creative brain. From editing, to Netflix binges, to being too excited for the next day — I have lost so much sleep I’m actually 40 years old right now.
17. Always pack Benedryl when you travel.
You guys remember Morocco? No? Click HERE.
18. ADOPT DON’T SHOP.
My dogs are two of my favorite, if not my favorite, living beings on Earth. I’ve had dogs all throughout my childhood and I swear — the demeanor, love, everything is 10x greater with an adopted pup. Mark my words. One day I will own a dog sanctuary.
19. Look out for your siblings.
Family is not easy. They’re messier than they’re not. But I have to say my parents always drilled into Quinn, Shane and I to look out for each other above all else and I swear life is that much better knowing I have my two brothers on my side, no matter what. Of course we fight, but I am super blessed to have two built-in best friends.
20. Being thoughtful doesn’t cost a damn thing.
OK, well in this example it costs less than $10.00.
Whether you’re surprising your friend on a sucky day or going to someone’s place for dinner — don’t show up empty handed. You don’t need to make crazy big gestures — surprise your friend with their favorite Trader Joe’s snack or snag some $6 flowers from TJ’s (can you tell I love Trader Joe’s??) for the host of the house you’re going to for dinner — I promise you will make a lasting impression and the happiness//thoughtfulness it brings outweighs the object itself. A little something goes a longgg way.
Refer to #3: “If you make someone’s day that much better, I promise it makes your day better too!”.
21. Don’t become addicted to sugar. I am and it’s terrible.
22. Try and see things from other people’s perspectives before you get too deep in your feelings.
This goes back to #14 a bit, but if you take a step back to see things from someone else’s perspective, I promise it’ll make things make more sense. Maybe. IDK I’m only 25 and still learning…
23. Try everything, at least once. Then decide if you do or don’t like it.
No, Sheila — I’m not telling you do shrooms. I’m just saying — don’t knock something until you’ve tried it.
Unless it’s juuling. That shit is STUPID.
24. Be a little selfish.
Sometimes a lot selfish maybe, remember if you don’t love yourself and care for yourself — it makes it near impossible for others to do so. Do things strictly for yourself sometimes.
25. Mean people suck.
This is a bit of an echo of previous numbers but my mom used to tell me this all the time growing up. And it has always rang true.
Mean. People. Suck.
While I often say all I want to be known for is being kind and bringing some happiness into people’s days/lives, I can’t say I’ve never been mean. (There was one time when I was 19 I think, I was pretty mean to someone who was somewhat a stranger, it truly bothers me to this day — it just was so uncalled for and not ever how I want to be known/remembered. I sucked that night. While I did say it to the person’s face — I’m not sure if that made it better or worse…)
I’m leaving that story in this because I absolutely preach kindness but we’re all human and we mess up. Just know when you have to take responsibility and apologize. And always remember: Mean. People. Suck.
Now go smile at some strangers, call your Grandma, and adopt a dog.
Yeah, I think that about covers it.
I’m going to go ride out this quarter life crisis.
p.s. I’m totally kidding, there is no QLC…
…brb as I book a flight to a foreign country.
Love this! LOVED. EVERY. WORD. Cheers to #25! You’re already killin’ it!! ?
Thank you so much! I wrote this super last minute the night before my birthday and I’m so glad I did ?
Most tender! I ❤️? my LaynaBayna.
You are so kind, smart and beautiful…