Life & Love

27 Lessons Learned Before Turning 28

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Today marks the end of my 27th trip around the sun and beginning of my 28th, so the title of this blog doesn’t require some grand introduction. Let’s just jump right in, shall we?

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one

The most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself. Alright, so my idol Carrie Bradshaw said this first, but I’ve learned time and time again how right she was. People ask me a lot why I’m always reading so many personal development books, as opposed to fiction, and it’s because I truly believe I will forever be a work in progress. At any given time, I want to be the best version of myself because I am the only person I can rely on 100% of the time and I refuse to let myself down.

two

Getting over regret is a lot more difficult than swallowing your pride. This can apply to many situations, but for me what comes to mind is those times when you are avoiding texting or calling someone you love because you can’t be the one to text first after a fight, or double – or triple, or even quadruple – text and risk more silence in return. While extreme, I always ask this simple question: If that person died today, would you regret not sending that message or saying what was on your mind? If yes, let go of your pride and send away. If no, you may want to reevaluate that relationship altogether.

three

Don’t put any energy toward convincing someone to love you. Don’t get me wrong, I totally get the “If I want something, I’m gonna go out and get it” attitude. Buuuut when it comes to the feelings of other people, you can only demonstrate what you bring to the table and it’s theirs for the taking or for the leaving. Don’t waste your energy [like I did in previous relationships] trying to convince the guy/girl that you “should” be together. Really, why would you want a partner who isn’t just there on their own accord because they want to be, not because you want them to be? And while we’re on this topic…

four

Walk away from anyone who uses the phrases: “You’re too [something]” or “You’re not [something] enough.” Literally, it does not matter what [something] is… just walk FAR away from this person. They are not your person. Period. End of story. No epilogue.

five

Your primary reason for embarking on a fitness journey should not be changing how you look. I say this with no judgment because I have been the girl working out for a solid three months before falling off the wagon for twice as long. I have done it to look great in a bridesmaid dress. I have done it to look good on the beach. This year, I started working out again simply to embrace taking care of my body and valuing my health. No before pictures, no initial or weekly weigh-ins or measurements. I committed to one thing… moving my body to an intense workout for 25 minutes a day — thanks, Shaun T.

six

Set boundaries for every relationship in your life. Prentis Hemphill said: “Boundaries are the distance at which I can love you and me simultaneously.” There is no possible way for it to be defined more simply or perfectly. Just marinate in that definition and remember that boundaries are not limited to romantic relationships. This includes your mama and your best friend.

seven

There are endless ways to save money, so find one that works for you. For me, what works is answering one simple question when I’m about to swipe my card [or more often, when typing in the memorized card number during online checkout]: “Do you want this or do you need this?” Over the years, I’ve also learned that it’s okay buy things that I just want, but not all the time.

eight

Heartbreaks are not the end of the world. They’re the start of new chapters. I have had my fair share and most of them left me in the figurative pit of despair of “I’m done with love!” and “I’m never letting anyone in again.” I never stayed in that mindset long, but I look back and think if I had, that would have been a pretty lifeless existence. I’m not saying that you can’t go out with the girls for BOGO margaritas the day it happens and cry the entire time (true story of yours truly), but as you move forward, remember to remain open to what the universe has in store for you next.

nine

Weighted blankets and blackout curtains are the truth. If you suffer from anxiety, sleep disorders, or are sad and lonely post-breakup, you need to consider these investments. Pricey as they may be, they’ve contributed to my most restful nights. In other words, I’ll continue to roll my eyes at my boyfriend who refers to my 15-lb weighted blanket as my chastity blanket.

ten

Health issues are stressful. I’m gonna cheat here and just link you to my blog about 6 Things I Learned Living With HPV.

eleven

Never [repeat NEVER] burn bridges when it comes to professional work. When I left my last job, I gave one month notice and worked my ass off until the very last day. Despite my broken spirit from my time there, I stood by my mantra: “My only concern is setting my team up for success in my absence.” I had many reasons to leave bitter and chuck up deuces, but I guess you could say I took the high road. Less than 6 months later, I was approached about doing temp work for the company. The $ was right and it was flexible enough to fit into my life here in Florida, and SPOILER ALERT: I’m officially moving into my very own apartment. It was this additional income that qualified me for the lease by a whole $17. Do you think I would have been approached with this opportunity if I had left a bitter taste in everyone’s mouths? I can assure you, the answer is no.

twelve

It’s okay to change your mind about the things you want in life. With my high school boyfriend, I was positive that marriage, kids, and the white picket fence were in my future. Had we not broken up before my senior year of college, I’m sure I would have been married and/or pregnant by my 23rd birthday. Instead, I was dancing on a bar covered in Mardi Gras beads. I think there was a part of me that really wanted those things back then. Present those things to me today and I couldn’t be more turned off by the idea of them. But guess what, it’s okay if I change my mind in a few years, or hell, even tomorrow. Much like what I said in #eight, I choose to remain open to what the universe has in store for me.

thirteen

You gotta switch up your self-care routine. Sometimes, I need to do absolutely nothing… besides grabbing the remote when Netflix asks me if I’m still watching. Admittedly, sometimes I need a mid-day nap even on these days of telling Netflix I’m still watching. Other times, I need to go watch the sunset, read, and meditate. Then there are times when I enjoy the stereotypical face-mask, bubble bath, aromatherapy candle, and rain on roof playlist. The important thing is to find the practices that work for you and be in tune enough with your soul to know what you need at any given time.

fourteen

Coordinating large and extravagant trips with a group of friends is difficult. One of the best trips I ever went on was my birthday cruise last year, which started with me approaching my girl friends: “Here is the cruise I’m going on. Are you coming?” I ended up with the best group of people because they simply committed to my plans. I was not in the business of coordinating… what week works best for everyone, which cruise line is the best, and what can everyone afford? People who want to go will make it work. And guess what, if no one was able to come, I would have gone by my damn self.

fifteen

People are in your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. The sooner you can accept this, the better you will feel when relationships end or when you grow apart from friends you thought would be in your life forever.

sixteen

Let your heart lead the way, untamed and unafraid. The battle of heart and mind has always troubled me. I can recall all the times my head just couldn’t yell loudly enough for my heart to hear it. Ultimately, our logical, thoughtful powerhouse brains are going to be “right” most of the time, but for me, all I’m interested in is allowing my heart to feel and experience life fully and fiercely. No room for safe choices here. Love and life shouldn’t be safe.

seventeen

People who do not love and accept your madness, your chaos, and your crazy are not your people. Quick story. My boyfriend called me on Memorial Day and I answered the phone, “I’m sunburned!!!” He laughed (keyword there) and said, “Don’t you lie to me!” Turns out he thought I said, “I’m sober!!!” He knew his girl was out on the beach sippin’ on spritzers all day and letting loose because it was the holiday. More importantly, he was happy I was out enjoying myself. Compare this with some of my exes and I would have been lectured about how I’m too [immature, drunk, etc.]. Refer back to #four.

eighteen

It’s okay to take a leap of faith even if you have no earthly idea where you will land. That’s actually the whole point, I’ve learned. Moving to Florida, leaving behind my family, friends, my “safe” job and growing “career” [and 401K for that matter], was incredibly scary for me. While I had the help of a dear friend to get me established down here, I’m now taking the next leaps (i.e., my new apartment) and feeling braver than ever about it.

nineteen

The power of positive thought is real. This takes practice. Some days I fail miserably. Some days I feel like I could add “Mindset Guru” to my Instagram bio. Find a mantra that you speaks to your soul. In 2019 mine has been: Everything that happens in my life happens for me, not to me. (Thanks to Yetti Says Affirmation Cards for this one). Put this mantra somewhere you will see it everyday… your bathroom mirror, your phone lock screen, on a Post-It note on the Keurig. The more you see it and repeat it, the more you’ll believe it. Again, I promise, the power of positive thought is real.

twenty

Baking is one of the most therapeutic activities, even if you don’t know your way around the kitchen. As a kid, I put foil in the microwave and I set an oven mit on fire because I didn’t pull the oven tray out causing it to catch fire on the coil. Oh, I’d also give my mom a heart attack any time I had a knife in hand. Translation: I do not know my way around the kitchen. Nonetheless, there is something about baking that has always been so calming for me. It requires a level of concentration, on measurements and such, but I just throw on a dance playlist and make the whole process a party. Like imagine stirring batter while BeyoncΓ© has got you #feelinyourself .

twenty-one

Most of the things you worry about will never happen. I have been obsessed with Raw Beauty Talks podcast recently. In an episode on her struggles with anxiety, guest, Michele Kambolis said something that shook me to my core. “Anxiety is living in a fear-based, future-focused life. So when we start to cultivate a life practice where we discover the magic of being in the moment, and discover that we can, with each breath, bring ourself to our real place of power and well-being, which is present time… then there is nothing to fear.” It is saved as a note on my phone and I read it any time I’m feeling anxious and then I practice the square breathing she speaks about in the episode!

twenty-two

Invest in skincare. Buy a nice cleansing brush to exfoliate. I recommend Clarisonic. Find a miracle cream that works for you. Mine is snail cream and I use it every single night. Wear sunscreen. Every single day, including the cloudy ones. Trust your mother and the 87 beauty bloggers you follow when she tells you dermaplaning (or tinkling) is good for you and won’t cause your hair to grow back coarse. Et cetera.

twenty-three

It’s okay to talk about your feelings. I have mentioned him a few times in this blog, but I am so grateful for the man in my life, despite some recent hard times. He can read me like his favorite book when something is wrong and he can even sense it over the phone (we’re long distance). “What’s wrong?” he’ll ask. And he means it. Even if it’s not the best time, even if it’s going to mean calming my tears over the phone, he forces me to talk about my feelings in a way that I never have before… probably because of #four and the times I heard, “You’re too emotional.” As opposed to weakness, he has taught me that feelings are what make me human and as a result, I’m learning to honor them. Especially because I see that he truly cares about them.

twenty-four

Read the fine print of all contracts. I am currently stuck in a 12-month contract at a local spa because I did not do this. I also got suckered into a stupid membership at Books-A-Million, which put me on an auto-renew of magazine subscriptions that I do not read or want. Of course, it started charging my card on file with Books-A-Million and it took hours of phone calls to rectify the result of my oversights of… the fine print.

twenty-five

Hangovers are like death sentences after the age of 25. I don’t know how else to describe this, but it’s been a rough two years. Sadly, I only imagine that it only gets worse, unless this second wind at 30 is a real thing??? Please weigh in on the comments. Also, don’t ask me for a blog with tips/tricks for surviving hangovers after 25 because all I’d be able to say is, “Just don’t drink.”

twenty-six

Don’t ever quit your day-dream. More importantly, find a way to live it. UNTAMED MELODIES is the first step toward my dream life as a full-time writer. Do I have a “K” next to my Instagram follower count? Nope. Am I as consistent at publishing content as I was when I first launched? Not even close. However, I’m still here. Showing up when and how I can and I couldn’t be more proud of this little dream of a blog and what is has been for me and for others.

twenty-seven

Being UNTAMED is a choice. To me, being UNTAMED means remaining unbroken despite life’s circumstances. It represents a desire to live your life fully and entirely, unafraid of the pain, heartache, and suffering you will undoubtedly experience along the way. It’s getting back up every time you fall. It’s forgiving yourself when you make mistakes while also finding compassion for those who have wronged you. It’s accepting the good with the bad. Being UNTAMED means you are ready to love and embrace the process of living. It means you are ready to be a shining light in your own life. It’s something I will always choose.

And as I begin this 28th trip around the sun… my one wish is that you choose to be UNTAMED, too.

P.S. I’ve played the song below on my birthday for the last 3 years… convinced that John Legend is singing to me. πŸ™‚

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8 thoughts on “27 Lessons Learned Before Turning 28

  1. Some great life lessons you have learned from the last year! I appreciate you sharing as many of them resonated with me (typical, since I feel like we are practically the same person! Haha). Wishing you a very happy birthday and cheers to another exciting year!πŸŽ‰

    1. Thank you!! I love that you picked up on how many of these were within the last year!!! 27 is such a YEAR for women I feel like, one that is different from all the rest. Also, I have it on my list of to-do’s for the weekend to read your blog on self-care practices!! I’m amazed you came up with so many and can’t wait to dive in! P.S. YES! You and I are totally on the same wavelength of life! πŸ’›

  2. So I was going through and actually prepared to say “oooh, love this, three..four.. five..etc really resonated with me” until I got halfway through the list and I’m like “okay, EVERYTHING is resonating with me!”

    1. Ahhh! I’m so glad! πŸ˜ƒ I wanted it to be relatable but at the same time, not too preachy. I am so happy and proud of this blog because it really is representative of all I’ve learned in this “short” time here! Thank you for reading and supporting!

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