I’ve learned so much in the last 6 years of my life. When I decided to get my life together and put myself first, I became a better person. I wish I would have learned some lessons a lot sooner than I did, but I’m still very happy to be where I’m at in my life. Even if I’ve learned the most in the last couple of years, I still have lessons from the last 28.
With every lesson comes growth, change, and so many possibilities on how to make your next move. I appreciate each new thing that I learn, whether it was during a difficult moment in my life or not. The constant pursuit of knowledge is, in my opinion, one of the most important purposes of life. I love reflecting on what I’ve learned, so I’m happy to share that with you too.
1. Taking care of yourself should be a priority.
I am happy to say that I now take care of myself, and I’m very proud of the positive changes I’ve made in my life.
2. Always include your mental health when taking care of yourself.
I overlooked my depression and anxiety from the time I was a kid until the last few years. I thought it would be weak to speak up, so I struggled with self-harm and staying silent. Being open about my mental health journey and getting the help I needed was the smartest decision I ever made.
3. Confidence makes you beautiful.
I had such low self-esteem growing up. I always felt like the ugly one in my group of friends. It took me until just recently actually to learn that I am beautiful. Being confident about not only my appearance but also my health and who I am as a person, has made me feel gorgeous.
4. Family isn’t defined by blood, and it’s okay to cut family out.
I have a hard time letting family go, even if they aren’t good to me. I hang on to the idea that family is family. It took a lot of conflicts and tears for me to let go of people who are family but don’t treat me like such.
5. You can’t fix abusive people.
I used to date and befriend people that I thought I could help. I though I could fix their problems, but I would just let them repeat their patterns of abuse on me. Whether verbal, emotional, or physical, I thought if I could just hold out, they would see the errors in their ways and change.
6. Running away will never solve a problem.
When I turned 18, I left home before I even graduated high school. I had a very rocky relationship with my parents, and I was struggling with so much. I could never open up to them without a fight, so I left. Once I straightened out my demons, we reconnected. Members of the family still think I’m a disrespectful runaway, but my parents and I know the reasons for everything that happened. We are at peace and very close now.
7. There will always be someone who doesn’t like you.
No matter how nice I’ve tried to be, I still have haters. It takes a lot for me to open up to people. I’m also pretty honest and not easily intimidated. I’ve been called a bitch more times than I can remember, and maybe that’s true. I’m a nice bitch if that’s possible, so get to know me first.
8. The world is a big clique just like high school.
I know it sounds negative, but it’s true. People tend to gravitate towards like-minded individuals, and that’s okay. Groups form naturally even as you get older. As long as you’re not a group of bullies, it doesn’t bother me.
9. Fighting isn’t going to solve everything.
When I was bullied in high school, I handled it. On more than one occasion, I punched a mean girl or guy in the face. It felt good in the moment, and they usually stopped being mean to me to my face. They were still mean to me behind my back and mean to others though. Breaking someone’s nose doesn’t instantly change their character. I don’t like bullies, but I don’t think going through life fighting everyone is the way to rid the world of bad people.
10. True friends can pick up where they left off.
I have a handful of friends I only see a few times a year, at best. We are all busy with jobs and our families, but when we finally get to together, it feels like nothing changed. Those types of friendships are to be treasured.
11. It’s okay to have friendships that don’t last.
I’ve had some pretty amazing friends over the years, but I’ve also had some friendships that didn’t last. People grow and change, and it’s okay to not try and force a friendship. Just be grateful for the times you had. I even did a post on this one.
12. Animals can change your life.
I’ve always liked animals, but I was also afraid of dogs. My parents had a dog that snapped and attacked a lot of people, including me. He was a border collie husky mix, and he attacked my face pretty brutally while I was laying down. It was the day before 8th grade pictures, and I still have scars. I had nightmares for years. When I was in my early 20s, I was at a shelter and was adopting a dog for my friends as an engagement gift. They said they wanted one so bad, and adopting was a good route.
They picked out a Rottweiler. I named him Sarge, because no one could settle on a name. They didn’t bond with this dog like I did and ended up getting a puppy.
That dog changed my entire life. He taught me a type of love I never knew. I decided to have a surprise birthday party for my husband, and friends were coming in and out of the house. They left the door open, and he got out. He chased a farm dog across a busy highway. The man that hit him said he’d rather hit a dog than a guardrail. He split his neck open too bad to be fixed.
We were both drenched in blood, and I held him in my arms until he stopped breathing. Everyone showed up to a gory scene. I was in pjs drinking a 5th of whiskey trying to numb the pain. I only had him for 9 months, but he changed my life forever.
13. Size doesn’t define beauty.
I’ve mentioned my struggles with bulimia in the past. I know that society has beauty standards, and size is a major component of that. Times are changing, slowly, but they’re changing. Beauty comes in every shape, color, and size. A big part of learning to love myself has been about loving my size and my body.
14. It’s okay to have a breakdown.
It’s okay to break down and cry. It’s okay to have bad days. Just don’t stay in that breakdown as a constant state of mind. Everyone has rough patches, so it’s okay to let it out.
15. Everyone deals with issues differently.
Some people need to be open and talk about what they are struggling with. Others need to take time on their own and get some space. You can’t force people to handle situations they same way you do.
16. People are afraid of what they don’t understand.
The fact that I’m a legally blind mom, terrifies people who just don’t understand. They think my kids are in danger, and I should have help. I’m an amazing and tentative mom, and my kids have never been in danger because of my lack of vision. I just do things differently than a sighted mom, but that makes people scared and nervous because they simply don’t understand.
17. Disabilities are a part of us, but they don’t define us.
I’ve had my eye disease since birth, but I didn’t become legally blind until my teens. My sight loss has helped shaped me, but it is not my entire identity. Although it has given strength and taught me wonderful lessons, my disability does not define me.
18. There will always be entitled, spoiled people.
I know so many people, family and friends, who just expect everyone to help them. They expect handouts and the world to take care of them even though they are extremely capable. Whether they don’t want to pay bills or take care of their child, they are spoiled and haven’t heard no as often as they should have. People like that will always exist.
19. It’s okay to be weird.
Everyone is weird in their own way, and you’re most likely not the weirdest person even if it feels that way. It’s okay to be weird, because otherwise the world would be boring.
20. People lie.
You can’t change when someone lies. You just have to learn to walk away from liars.
21. Humility is best.
Be humble. Accept compliments. Admit to not knowing everything. It goes a long way.
22. Stop comparing yourself to others.
It creates jealousy and envy when you compare yourself to others. Be happy with who you are, and if you’re not, improve yourself for you, not others.
23. You don’t need goals to grow.
I love goal setting, but it can also be discouraging if I don’t meet my goals. You don’t need to set guidelines and task lists to grow. Just try your best, and that’s okay.
24. Always show gratitude.
Showing how grateful you are can be so beneficial in relationships and life. My marriage is good, partly because we remind each other how grateful we are for the little things we do for each other. Remind people you’re grateful for them, because it’s a good feeling on both sides.
25. You can’t control everything.
I don’t like not having control. It makes my nerves really bad if I can’t be in charge of the situation. I learned to let things go, and accept what I can’t control- for the most part anyway.
26. If you have a hobby or passion, don’t give up.
I’ve always loved to write. I wrote poetry until college. Then, I wrote fiction. Then, I found blogging. Whatever form of writing I was doing, it gave me so much happiness. When I wasn’t writing, I was in my darkest times. This blog has become my passion, and I don’t plan on giving up on that.
27. Being a mother has made me a better person.
I know that being a parent isn’t for everyone, but it has genuinely made me a better person. I love being a mom more than anything in the world.
28. Positivity is the best route.
I learned that in the last few months, I can overcome so much if I keep a positive mind-set and keep pushing through obstacles. Positivity helps you to never give up.
Soon to be 28
I will be turning 28 on February 10th. I have a million more lessons to learn, and I’ve definitely learned more than what I listed. Some of these may just seem like what I’ve learned about my self rather than life lessons. I could keep going, but some may build off of each other and become compound lessons. I also don’t want to keep repeating myself, but there are 3 big lessons that always present themselves to me.
Be a good person. Love yourself. Keep going.