22 Lessons in 22 Years!

It’s my birthday! More specifically, it’s my golden birthday! What’s a golden birthday, you ask? A golden birthday is when you turn the same age as your birth date [look it up on Urban Dictionary, it’s a legit thing]. And in honor of my golden birthday, I would like to share with you 22 lessons that I have learned in my 22 years. None of these lessons are scientific and some may or may not be completely original ideas, but trust me, experience is life’s greatest teacher.

1. Be yourself. In the words of Dr. Seuss, “today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is more youer than you.” Don’t let the world miss out on the incredible person that you are!

2. Life is short! This is a cliché, but haven’t you noticed that clichés are almost always true? For instance, I graduated high school a little less than four years ago and three people I graduated with are no longer with us. Life is short and precious; death does not discriminate.

3. Comparison is the thief of joy. The times I have been the least happy are the times that I’ve been comparing every little thing about myself and my life to other people. Joy is inherent. Don’t let comparisons rob you of it.

4. Sometimes you’ve got to stick up for yourself. Now I’m not sure if Queen Elizabeth II actually said this or not, but I’m really hoping she did: The world is not the most pleasant place. Eventually your parents leave you and nobody is going to go out of their way to protect you unconditionally. You need to learn to stand up for yourself and what you believe and sometimes, pardon my language, kick some ass.

5. Don’t date someone who doesn’t stick up for you. This seems like common sense, doesn’t it? But for me, it wasn’t so. I have always been the accommodating type. I may not like your team, but if we’re watching it together I’m going to pull for them. I may not like where you want to go eat, but I’ll go and not complain. That just seems natural, right? Well don’t date someone who won’t give you the same courtesy [especially if they turn on Alabama].

6. Follow your heart but take your head with you. As in previous posts, I’ve confessed my fondness for love. I just love it. It’s one of life’s greatest gifts. If you find yourself madly in love, don’t forget to stop every once and a while to re-evaluate your personal goals and your happiness. If not, you’ll find yourself living in your ex-boyfriend’s town with no friends.

7. Never half-ass anything. If you’re going to do something, commit to it and do it to the fullest extent. People notice when you do something half-heartedly, but they also notice when you do something 110%. You might as well make it worth everyone’s while.

8. Forgive each other. When I was about three years old, my dad was making me laugh by flipping me upside down and turning me right side up again…until he moved his foot a little bit while I was upside down and stepped on my hair. I can still feel the pain and I distinctly remember a bald patch. Oh my goodness…it hurt so bad! Then a couple years later on Father’s Day, I was wearing this cute, little pink outfit and I spilled grape juice on it. He got so mad at me for ruining “his day”. But as it turns out, we forgave each other and we still kinda like each other. I think he’ll even dance with me at my wedding.

9. Order something new off the menu. I’m a picky eater. Right down to my peanut butter sandwiches without jelly. Recently, I’ve started to order something completely out of the ordinary when I go out to eat. It’s exciting to anticipate the new dish and what’s it’s going to look/taste like. More often than not, I’ve liked the new item better than my normal, go-to order. So go for it! Order sushi instead of your typical hibachi steak. You won’t regret it!

10. Write thank you notes! You never know how much a small note of thanks means to someone.

11. It’s okay to not be perfect. We weren’t made to be perfect, so there’s really no reason to try to be. You’re only setting yourself up for a let down.

12. Well-behaved women seldom make history. Have you not seen Grease?! Now, don’t go get crazy on me, but let’s face it…everyone loved Sandy more with big hair, in her skin-tight jumpsuit and red high heels.

13. Paint your walls purple. Or pink. Or red. Or black. Just do something daring! When I moved out of my parents’ house, I painted two of the walls in my apartment a deep purple. The guy at Home Depot swore that I would hate it. That it would be too stark of a contrast against the white walls. Well that guy was wrong. I love my purple walls. I love that at this time in my life I don’t have to take anyone’s opinion of my apartment into account. I can have purple walls and a technicolor New York City skyline all in the same room. That’s what life is about.

14. Never regret anything. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.

15. Clear mascara! [Okay, okay…this really only applies to my fellow brunettes out there]. It will be your best friend…especially if you’re a crier like I am. I cry about everything: country songs, Toy Story 3, old couples who hold hands in restaurants. Seriously, I cried this morning when my grandparents called to sing happy birthday. BUT clear mascara lets me cry without raccoon eyes! It also lets you go swimming/tubing without getting gunk all in your eyes.

16. Love has no price. You can shower people with gifts, but you can’t make them love you. You can have all the right material things (iPhones, fancy cars, etc.), but that’s not going to guarantee you love. Love is selfless. Love is kind. Love is friendship. And as the Beatles sang, “I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love.”

17. It’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter. I appreciate all of the wonderful and beautiful friends and acquaintances in my life. Some of them sharpen me to be a better worker, a better listener, and a better friend. Some of them teach me patience, loyalty, and understanding. But the ones I hold very dear to my heart are the ones who have my back even after I’ve messed up and the ones who talk to me when I can’t sleep. I cannot express how much I love those friends. You desperately need that specific breed of friend.

18. Draw a crown on your mirror with a dry erase marker. I promise you that you won’t be able to not smile. It’s impossible.

19. If you stumble, make it part of the dance. The number two rule of dance recitals is: if you mess up, keep going. Don’t acknowledge it, just keep going. The audience doesn’t have the steps memorized; they never have to know. Unless you fall…down the stage prop steps…in heels. That’s a little harder to come back from, and that’s when rule number one comes into play: smile.

20. Keep your heels, head, and standards high. Self-explanatory.

21. There are just some things you can’t learn in school. My Meme has this quirky knack for giving me strange gifts. One time she gave me a singing bear. It was the MOST terrifying thing in the world. It sang “I Hope You Dance” and moved it’s head back and forth and it’s mouth moved. I’m still a little scared of it and I’m pretty sure the batteries are dead in it. Anyway, when I left for college, she sent me a book called “Do’s and Don’ts of Underwear” and there was a note that said “Information not offered in college.” That book sits proudly on my bookshelf as a reminder that no matter how many degrees I might have on my wall, there are some things that you’ve got to learn on your own. [Don’t worry, I definitely have the do’s and don’ts of underwear down pat].

22. Embrace messy hair. As someone who had spikey hair until the age of 14, I didn’t grow up learning how to fix my hair. I didn’t play beauty pageant and I cried the first (and only) time I had my hair french braided for a dance recital (pre-haircut). When I finally grew it out, SURPRISE! It was a curly, wavy, uncontrollable mess. Needless to say, I almost always need help in the hair department. I would straighten it and people would say “Oh, I love your hair when it’s curly. It’s so beautiful.” I would leave it curly and people would say, “Your hair looks so much better straight.” Make up your minds, people! Within the past year or so, I’ve learned to embrace my messy hair. That’s all you can do.

Well, there you have it. I wonder what lesson #23 will be. I hope it’s a good one!

Always, L


Love. L-O-V-E, love.

I love love. I really do. I think it’s the best feeling in the world. I love the corny love songs and sending texts that say “xoxo”. It’s a known fact that I’m a hopeless romantic. I mean some of the things I have done in the name of love have ultimately embarrassed me or broken my heart, but it’s really go big or go home, right? So this post is not about how much I hate love or relationships because I don’t. I promise.

The most recent embarrassing proclamation of love was with my last boyfriend. For his birthday, I asked 22 of his friends/family to write what they loved about him or why they were thankful for him and I compiled it into a book. It was the best present I’ve ever given anyone. Then he broke up with me two weeks later. Yeah. Embarrassing. Not only did I find out he didn’t feel the same way, so did all of those people I asked to help surprise him for his birthday. Talk about a warm and fuzzy feeling…I’m still feeling a bit mortified over that one.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Love. How appropriate since it’s the week of Valentine’s day. I got to thinking today about how manufactured love has become. I know its especially manufactured right now with retail screaming at you that you don’t love someone unless you send them four dozen roses, their weight in chocolate and a teddy bear. Putting that all aside, I just want to comment on how it seems like everyone is so stuck on this idea that you aren’t complete without having a significant other. In a line from Lana Del Ray’s song “Video Games”, she sings “They say the world was built for two, only worth living if somebody is loving you.” She could not be more accurate. That’s how the majority of the population thinks. I guess I’m just sensitive to this issue because I was asked three times within 36 hours if I was a. seeing anyone special, b. okay with being single, and/or c. aware that I will meet the right person when the time is right. I have to wonder if I was a guy, would I be asked those questions on a regular basis? Would the world be as concerned with whether or not I was one half of a couple? Seriously, why is my romantic status more important than the fact that I graduated college early, got a job, and started supporting myself? Why is it so important that I belong to someone in order to be considered a success?

I guess I’m just really starting to realize that love is not a fancy dinner date or diamond ring. It can be whatever you want it to be. It’s a wife taking care of her sick husband when he has lost the will to take care of himself. It’s a mom surprising her daughters with chocolate milk on their weekend visit home. It’s a best friend saying “it’s all going to be okay” when you feel like your world is chaos. Love is a lot of things. I think that’s why people try so desperately to define it with material things. Personally, I think there are a lot of unhappy, miserable people in relationships just because that’s what they’re supposed to do. And as for me, I am completely fine with loving all of the people I love in all the different ways that I love them. The world isn’t built for two, and to all of the people worried about me because I’m not dating anyone, don’t. There is so much love in my life that I’m never lonely even though I’m alone.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Show someone you love them then do it again the day after.

How I Spent My Weekend:

Let me preface this post by saying that I just realized my entire weekend revolved around food. Oddly enough, I’m okay with that. Now onto my post…

Happy Super Bowl Sunday! Or just Happy Sunday! I don’t really watch the NFL so it’s just another day to me; however, I have one-upped several men this year because I actually know who’s playing. (This is where I pledge my loyalty to the NY Giants because my college roommate is a die-hard fan, so Go Giants!). Anyway, on to my adventures this weekend.

There are only about three things I admit to loving about high school, and one of them came to visit me! Sarah and I became friends without really planning on it. We happened to be dating cousins in high school, and as it turns out, we were the best part of each of those relationships and our friendship has outlasted both of those boys. She texted me a few weeks ago saying she wanted to come down for the weekend and she brought her adorable roommate, Kylie. The weekend was full of laughter and good times and I realized a lot about what’s going on in my life.

First of all, the things we did. Let’s see. Saturday we ventured to the Farmer’s Market (something I’ve never done) and it was so awesome! Seriously, if you need produce or veggies, hit up the Farmer’s Market. Such friendly people and such a great atmosphere. From there we went to Market Imports and it was the coolest store I had ever been to. There was a gazebo (yes, I’m discussing lawn ornaments right now) and I swear I can picture myself getting married under it. Ahh!

Seriously, is that not the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen? Okay, obsession over. Then we went to the NC State basketball game (Go Pack!) and ended the night with Crook’s Corner and cupcakes from Sugarland. Yes, we hit the major cities in the Triangle all in the same day. We’re kind of a big deal. Now onto heavy stuff.

The first thing Kylie said when she walked into my apartment was “Wow, I can’t wait to be a real person and have a real life.” That just put things into perspective. Even though sometimes I wish I was still in school or that life was just a little bit easier, there’s always going to be someone admiring my life and what I’m doing. Comparison is the thief of joy. I’m definitely learning that lesson.

It was a fabulous weekend. I was sad to see those two girls leave, but all good things must come to an end I guess. Until next time. L

Hey, February!

Oh my word. I am such a slacker. Okay, maybe not a slacker. I’ve really just been off having fabulous adventures to use as chapters in some future book about my life and collecting obnoxiously cute things to put in my apartment (I mean is there such a thing as having TOO many ceramic animal piggy banks?!) I’m sorry I’ve neglected you, dear blog. I will try to do better. I know my avid readers (hi Abby!) have been missing my witticisms and lists. Since January got away from me so quickly, I’m pretending today (February 1st) is the new year. I’ve made two resolutions for this new year:

1. Do more interesting things, write about them, and share them with you!
2. Not let my life turn into a Taylor Swift song in any way imaginable.

I promise to do my best! Now with that being said, I’ll leave you with this glorious picture I discovered that describes me perfectly. Have a good one.  xo, L.

(photo from matchbookmag.com)