22 Things to Learn at 22nd Birthday

22 Things to Learn at 22nd Birthday

My 22nd birthday was a few months ago (hello to my fellow Libras) and I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflecting on what I’ve been up to in the last few years. Now I know that 22 isn't that old but I’ve picked up a few life lessons here and there that I thought that I would share.

1. Friendships are important

I’ve had a few missed opportunities with a friend I had in the past that I can’t get back now. Friends come and go in life but I’ve come to realize that you need to put in effort into your friendships. You can’t just wait for them to hit you up. Invest in people who invest their time for you, there’s a reason why they are hitting you up.

Looking at the friends that I surround myself with now, sometimes I get emotional because I’m so lucky to have them. It wasn’t easy to get to this point but I can confidently say that I have a solid group of homies.

2. Learn to negotiate

Knowing how to negotiate is important for growth. I’ve just started my career and walking into a negotiation was one of the most nerve-wracking things I’ve ever done. The first time I had to negotiate my raise I was literally going to shit my pants. Know your worth and do your research! Keep different offers in mind so you don’t get blindsided and you have options open.

3. Life is not linear

Even though you may have a 10-year plan, keep in mind that life can throw you a curveball. Sometimes you just have to work with what you’ve got, it’s all about moving forward and making progress.

4. Everyone smiles in the same language

A smile from a stranger could make someone’s day, plus it’s contagious. Everyone recognizes it and it’s hard not to smile back.

5. Swap expectations for appreciation

I’m guilty of comparing my life to my peers, and from this, I’ve learned that gratitude is powerful. Changing your perspective from expecting more from life and appreciating what you have can change your outlook. If you think about it, you could be that icon that you’re constantly comparing yourself to in someone else’s eyes. Count your blessings and appreciate what you have.

6. Party it up

Let’s be real, we’re not going to be young forever. We might as well take advantage of our high metabolism and alcohol tolerance while we’re young. I say, at least try it once, if it’s not your scene at least can say you’ve done it. You’re not always going to be able to bounce back.

7. Invest in your skincare

I first got acne when I was 12 so skincare became very important to me at a young age. My mom has always taught me that skincare is important and you have to invest in it if you want to look good. You’re stuck with the skin you have so treat it well. It’s all about prevention so wear your sunscreen and moisturizer!

8. Shoot your shot

How often have we let opportunities pass us by? Scared to make the first move? Do it! Want to ask for a raise? Go for it! Trust your Uber driver in Tijuana to take you on a 2-hour grocery trip to Walmart? Why not?!

9. Check up on your grandparents

Oftentimes, we forget about our grandparents. I’ve always been jealous of anyone who was able to visit their grandparents on the weekends because my grandparents live in Indonesia. I don’t know how many more moments I will get to share with my grandma so I take any chance I get to talk to my best friend.

10. Your past doesn’t define you

Everyone’s been through shit and everyone has a past. Your past helps shape who you are today but it doesn’t define you.

11. Surround yourself with good vibes

If you’re like me and you feed off of people’s energy then surrounding yourself with people who hype you up and support you becomes very important in your life. You start adopting the traits of the people around you so make sure you surround yourself with the right people. People who genuinely care about you, make you laugh, feed your drive for success and are not afraid to ask you questions.

12. Smelling good

I can’t stress this one enough. Think about it, if a hot guy comes up to you but smells like he hasn’t showered in 6 days, would you want to be around him?

13. Be an active listener

This one took a while for me to understand. I used to try to change my friends and family by giving them advice or I would want to be there with them every step of the way. At one point I realized that I don’t have all the answers and I should let people live their lives. Sure, I give advice here and there but you just got to believe that they are doing the best they can. The majority of the time, the best thing you can do is just listen and stop trying to fix people. We all want to be heard and understood and often it’s best to just listen and ask questions rather than giving your two cents.

14. Being indifferent is the opposite of love

I used to think that hate was the opposite of love but if you think about it, if you hate a person you’re probably not over them or the situation. When you’re truly over a situation you are able to talk about it without feeling hate.

15. Your words become your identity

People hold on to the words you say and language is a powerful thing. Try not to lose your mother tongue, it is a part of your identity.

16. The difference between rich and wealthy

You work hard for your money and your money should work hard for you too. A rich person works to keep their money while a wealthy person can make the same money off their assets. It’s important to learn financial literacy so you get the most out of your money. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Invest and save as early as you can.

17. There’s a reason why it’s called a crush

I get it now. Infatuation is a real thing. I never really understood it but I get it. The moment that it hits you, GOD DAMN. It feels like you’re getting hit by a bus, Regina George style. It’s the most intoxicating, craziest, consuming feeling and it’s pretty intense. What you choose to do with it is completely up to you, but have fun with it.

18. Invest in quality staple pieces

My style philosophy is “invest in classics that you’ll wear in the future.” Pick quality items that will last season after season and just mix and match your wardrobe. Don’t forget, accessories can make your outfit go from a 6 to a 10.

19. Try it at least once

Looking back on life, I found that I always felt the most embarrassed and insecure when people would make fun of my food. I would get so embarrassed that my ears would get hot and my appetite would disappear. It’s important to be open to trying new things and be open to different cultures. If you’re not into it just shut up and eat your under-seasoned chicken breast.

20. Your mental state comes first

Let me tell you…if there’s one thing I learned in university it’s that burnout is a REAL thing. In my third year of university, I had joined an academic club, juggled 2 jobs, my then relationship was going through a rough patch and dealt with my parents’ divorce. It really took a toll on me because I was always so exhausted and I was always go go go. I was always pretty good at keeping things to myself because I didn’t like being vulnerable so everyone thought I was okay. On top of that, people would come to me to vent and even though I wanted to be there for them it took a toll on my mental state. It felt like there was another thing added onto my plate.

I had a lot of breakdowns and it affected my relationships. Looking back I would tell myself that it’s okay to take time for yourself. Work-life balance exists. There’s nothing wrong in saying “I love you, but right now I don’t have the mental capacity to help you.” You’re not an alone girl and there’s always going to be someone who is willing and able to listen.

21. Don’t hold in your pee

I don’t care if you’re afraid of the dark or lazy. Bladder infections and UTIs are not fun. I repeat. Bladder. Infections. Are. Not. Fun. It doesn't matter if it’s 4:40 am or one more episode, I don't want to hear it. Your bladder is about to explode and if you don’t go you’re going to learn that peeing is one of life’s simple pleasures.

22. Be nice to one another, pay it forward

The world is a small place and karma always finds her way to creep up on you. You don’t really know how a person’s day is going so try to be nice. Your attitude could make their day go from bad to worse. You never know, that co-op student you barely paid attention to could be the VP at the company you’re working at. It doesn't matter if you think you’re in first place, I’m not taking that dive for you, eat that blue shell.

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