another year down, another year older. today’s my last day being 22 (cue t-swift anthem). it’s been a good year. i’ve learned things about life, about myself. it hasn’t been easy, but it has been one hell of a year.

1. say “yes” more, but don’t be afraid to say “no” | some of my favorite memories from this year are because i decided to say “yes” to things i normally wouldn’t. but at the same time, sometimes you just need time to re-group and not do anything. it’s perfectly acceptable to just hang back at home doing nothing.
2. time flies way too fast, savor everything as it happens | 
i probably sound like a broken record, but it really seems like we were just celebrating my birthday…
3. don’t hold a grudge | 
this one has been hard. but you waste so much time being mad at a friend or co-worker when you could just move past it and devote that energy to something more positive.
4. stop talking & listen | 
you can learn so much about people, where they come from, what they are going through when you don’t say anything & just let them share what is on their heart.
5. put your phone down |
 this is another hard one for me. i’m constantly on my phone – taking pictures, snapchatting everything that is going on, tweeting. but when i do this, i’m removing myself from the situation & not being an active part of what is going on. the best part about being on vacation was just living in the moment, not worrying about trying to empress everyone with what was going on in my life.
6. take a leap of faith & step out of your comfort zone | 
this plays off of lesson no. 1 a little. do something you normally wouldn’t do, something that scares you a little. if i hadn’t done this, i wouldn’t have two great roommates.
7. don’t be ashamed of your values | 
just because what you believe isn’t what someone else believes doesn’t make it wrong. stand up for what you think is right – just have support to go along with it when you have a conversation with someone.
8. learn to walk away |
 easier said than done. this could be anything from a toxic relationship or friendship where you have to learn to go your separate ways; or a work conflict where you have to agree to disagree and leave things be.
9. spend more time with your family |
 i’ve always been family oriented (they’re the best)! but i always lived at home & sometimes got too much family time. after living on my own for more than a year now, i’ve realized how much i miss just day to day life and being around my favorite people. if you live close to your family, find a night that works for everyone to have dinner or do something adventurous!
10. learn to cook | 
this has been the most fun lesson! i’ve learned to like new foods, try new things, experiment with recipes & find new favorites. find a friend who wants to learn to cook & try out a cooking class.
11. you can’t go wrong with a glass of red wine | 
thanks olivia pope for reminding everyone on a weekly basis.
12. keep work & social separate | 
you will thank yourself later. once you leave work, turn that part of your life off. don’t answer emails, heck, take them off your phone. don’t stress about things over the weekend. enjoy your free time and get out & do all the things you want to.
13. mistakes/failures are inevitable | 
you’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to fail at things. it’s better to accept them and move on than constantly dwell on these things and let them constantly drag you down.
14. read more often | 
in college i got out of the habit of reading for pleasure. i’ve been slowly getting back in the swing of it, even if it is just reading for 30 minutes before bed. novels, biographies, find what you like and just go for it. make yourself a challenge to read so many books a month, or in a year.
15. you don’t have to have everything figured out | 
live life. don’t worry about where you’re going to be in 10 years – that will more than likely change in 10 minutes. just enjoy what’s going on here & now. 
16. saving money is a pain | 
things come up all the time that you want to go do (remember say yes more!). sometimes you go on a trip, spend a little more than planned, dig in to your savings some. oh well, you’re living. don’t stress. i’m sure i’ll get to the point where things calm down & i’m all about saving. right now, i’m about enjoying life.
17. adulting is hard | 
remember how your parents always made adult life look so great? how movies always had adults living this fabulous life? they’re wrong. it’s tough as all get out. you have bills, responsibilities, you have to make huge decisions for yourself now. can i go back to fourth grade?
18. keep in touch with your friends |
 everyone is busy. everyone lives all over now. send them a letter, a text, plan a visit, plan a weekend trip with a group of your friends – something to remind them you’re thinking about them & cherish that friendship even when you’re miles & miles apart (now i have HSM3 stuck in my head…).
19. sleep is a priority |
 all nighters & staying out til dawn are only cool in college. those long nights or nights with no sleep are absolutely no fun when you have to be at work ready to go the next morning, trust me!
20. find a good community | 
this is definitely something i was lacking my first year out of school. i joined a small group this summer and have been going to church, having life chats with friends and roommates. it’s made a world of difference having people to bounce things off of, talk through scripture with and how it relates back to everyday life. its also a great support system when you are going through a rough patch.
21. find something you’re passionate about | 
this goes with separating work from social. find something you want to do and run with it! you will learn a lot about what you truly want out of life.
22. it doesn’t hurt to ask | 
ever wondered why you don’t have something in life, or why you haven’t been given an opportunity to grow at work? just ask. some of the best things i have been given are because i asked for more responsibility and was able to show i can do more. is there a question you’ve been wanting to ask someone? a person you want to get to know more? just send them a message, stop overthinking it. the worst that could happen is they say no or don’t respond. but you would never know if you didn’t just ask. speaking of there are some things i should probably start asking about…

i’m ready to see what is in store for year 23. thanks friends for making this such a great year.