Everyone, it’s my birthday week!!!!! More importantly, it’s my golden birthday, meaning I will become the same age as my birthday. So, for me, I will be 20 on the 20th!!
In keeping with my theme of advice for the month, I want today to give you 20 things everyone should do in your life before you turn 20. Or, if you’re older than 20, these are 20 things you could or should do in the next 20 years!!
- Travel- I love going new places and learning new things. I went to Boston this summer. I’ve been to Niagara Falls, Philadelphia, Mexico City, St. Louis, Key West, Nassau, Greenville, Orlando, Tampa, and many other places. There is just something spectacular about seeing a new place.
- Eat a new food- I know so many people who are scared to try new foods. Me, I love trying new foods. When I go somewhere new (see #1), I love trying a local food rather than something I know. It just makes things so much more interesting.
- Learn something new/take a class- My freshman year of college, I went to swing dance classes for a while and I learned a lot. I loved what I learned and it was so much fun!
- Cook/ learn how to cook- Cooking is a vital skill to have no matter who you are. You don’t necessarily have to be the best cook in the world, but you should know how to boil water, use an oven, and know how to use a skillet at the bare minimum.
- Fail something- You’re probably reading this and are like “okay, I can do 1-4”. Then, all of a sudden, 5 is something a little more negative. You can learn a lot from failure and it makes you a better person.
- Set a reachable goal- One of the things I plan on doing this year is continuing my journey to be healthy and in shape. I eat pretty well, drink a lot of water, and work out just about every day. So for me, this goal is not unattainable. It will just take some time for me to get there. But I’m working on it, and that’s what matters.
- Discover some new music- I know that I get stuck in a rut sometimes of listening to the same music. When I get in those ruts, I try to find something new to listen to. It could be a new song, artist, or album. But finding new music that you like helps you to broaden yourself.
- Spoil yourself- This shouldn’t be an all the time thing, but every now and then is more than acceptable. I do a face mask every Sunday as a way to spoil myself. Another thing (which I’ll talk about more next week) is that I wait until I get paid to buy something I want. To me, it’s a reward for all the work I put in.
- Commit to yourself- I don’t mean this in a negative way. Similar to #6, it is important to take care of yourself. Go for what you want and do what’s best for you. Even though I live with another person in my apartment, we do a lot of things on our own. I don’t expect her to spend every waking minute with me. I hardly even see her most of the time. Also, she does her homework in her room, and I prefer to work on the couch. I’m doing me, she’s doing her, and that’s how we work.
- Take charge of your health- I mentioned earlier that I’m trying to get in shape. You don’t have to take it to extremes or anything, but all forms of health are important. Maybe start by taking walks to improve your physical health. Read books or relax to take care of your mental health. Your health matters, and not just physical health. If you are stressed all the time, that isn’t good for you. It affects your mental health and eventually affects your physical health too. Trust me. I know because I was really stressed out last year, and it messed with my sleep schedule and how my body felt. It wasn’t healthy.
- Recognize your true friends- Life is too short to have toxic or fake friends. I have had friends who took too much out of me, and I hit a breaking point with them. I don’t have the time or patience to be upset with people I call my “friends”. I need my friends to be real and genuine. On that note…
- Clean out your life- I used to be really bad about my email inbox. I would leave things unread for so long. It finally drove me nuts. So I literally spent a day this summer where I cleaned out all my email inboxes. Last summer (2017), I cleaned out my room and closet. I did some minor decluttering of my closet this year, but I didn’t have to do much. You don’t necessarily have to do those exact things, but if there’s some form of “clutter” in your life, then it’s time to clean it out!
- Understand how you respond in a situation/crisis- I always joke that I am the Mom Friend. I look out for all my other friends and usually come extra prepared. However, I am also super sensitive. So in bad situations that involve only me, I will cry and sob like there’s no tomorrow. But once someone else is involved, my “Mom Friend” instincts kick in. When I was in my car accident almost three years ago, I half expected to be a hysterical wreck. But because there was someone else involved in the accident, my mind and body had to make sure she was okay first. I didn’t react myself until later.
- Do the work that nobody else wants to- If you are already established in your career, this may be a little harder to do. So I’ll try to broaden my definition. Where I work now, I’m basically little more than janitorial staff. I work quite a few hours, and I’m on my feet a lot. It’s not necessarily a physically demanding job, but it’s not work that a lot of people would want to do either. I also make it a point to thank any and all bus drivers for the same reason. So for those of you who have already established careers, maybe take on some extra work. Not necessarily all the time, but if you have the opportunity, then go for it. But with that in mind…
- Know what comes first- To me, family is one of the most important things in life. You can usually get a new job, but you can’t always get a new family or develop those kind of close relationships. So enjoy the work you do, and do your work well, but know that work isn’t everything.
- Establish the best reputation for yourself- If I’m a couple minutes late to work, I usually get a text from my boss asking if I’m still coming in. The reason this happens is that I have established a reputation that I am pretty much always on-time. So if I’m not on time, that usually means that I had something come up. Also, I hardly ever ask for days off, and when I do, it’s because of a valid/important reason. The same goes for school. I have a class this semester where the place where we submit our assignments has a plagiarism checker. When you see your grade, it also tells you how much of your paper is plagiarized. Well, every week, that number always remains at 0% because I don’t plagiarize. I’m establishing that reputation with this particular professor so that he can know when I turn stuff in, it will all be my own work.
- Make someone else’s day with no thought to your own- One thing I really enjoy doing is waving at random people in certain situations. Over the weekend, I went on a class field trip to Ohio. We went to Put-In-Bay and rented a few golf carts for the group. I was in the back of the back golf cart (so the last row of the last cart) and the back of golf carts faces backwards. So anytime there was a car behind us, I would wave to them (pretty enthusiastically, I might add), until they waved back. I never said anything, but who knows. I may have made their day by waving to them. After all, they made mine by waving back.
- Don’t go out all the time to have a good time- Going out and doing stuff, but quiet nights in can be fun too. I enjoy doing things in public with people I care about, but I also like quiet nights in with either a movie or a book. Going out is great, but find other ways to enjoy your time as well.
- Don’t let your past define you- One of the amazing things about life is that every day is new. We’ve all done things that we’re not proud of. But those mistakes do not have to dictate your life now. There is room to grow and learn from them and leave them where they belong… in the past.
- Lastly, appreciate who you are- I’ll be the first to tell you I haven’t always loved myself (in fact, I have a whole post planned for that eventually), but I love myself now. I appreciate my faults and my strengths. I embrace who I am, even if there are parts of me that aren’t as good as other parts. Why? Because that’s what makes me who I am. I am not just my best qualities. I am also my worst qualities, and together they make me into (I think) a pretty incredible person.
Those are my 20 things to do before you turn 20 (or do in the next 20 years)! I’m so excited for my golden birthday this week, and I can’t wait what all I’m going to learn in the next 20 years!
Let me know if you have any thoughts or comments!