At the tail end of 2013, I left the familiarity of my routine in the pursuit of travel. When I left the homeland and told everyone I would only be gone for 3 months, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I knew I wanted to see the world, and that I should do it before I settled into a comfortable life with my future hubby, adorable curly headed Gap babies and a kick ass career that I could never leave behind. But that’s about all I knew.
I quickly realized that traveling is a roller coaster of emotions, and I was committed to the full ride. As I set off to gain experiences, live life, and feel free among picture perfect waterfalls, slew of beach parties, and travel romances that you only read about in Nicholas Sparks novels, I also came face to face with some hard truths and self reflection. Every time I encountered a struggle, or worked through something in my year abroad (3 months, my butt), I jotted my life lesson down. And while I came up with a total of 50 life lessons by the time I stepped back on California soil, I’m only going to give you the first 25 life lessons… for now.
1. Sometimes things don’t work out, which opens your mind to new things. Better things.
2. Learn from your experiences. They will make you a better, wiser, and more patient person.
3. Don’t pry. You don’t need to know every detail. And in return it will make you more peaceful and happy.
4. Pick your battles. Not every mishap in life needs to become a struggle or argument. Let it go.
5. There are going to be people that simply do not like you. Don’t take it personally. Remember that you too don’t like every person you meet.
6. Don’t speak ill of other people. It only brings negativity to and upsets your life, not theirs.
7. Be open-minded. Everyone is dealt a different hand. You can learn from and appreciate the differences.
8. Don’t leave something for tomorrow. It’s better to get it done and over with and clear the air. You’ll be more relaxed and guilt free.
9. Be confident. Confidence attracts good people and positive vibes.
10. Live in the moment. It will never happen again and you will only be left with a memory.
11. Appreciate the people you love. You never know when that kiss, hug or time together will be the last.
12. Things are just that, things. Material. They weigh you down and don’t mean anything.
13. Learn to be by yourself. It’s the only way you can truly love and understand yourself.
14. It’s ok to make mistakes. They do not define you.
15. Time is your worst and best friend. It is the only thing that can mend your heart break.
16. It’s ok to miss people that were once a huge part of your life, but that doesn’t mean you need them in your life now.
17. Don’t be stubborn. It will get you nowhere.
18. Take advantage of your 20s. It’s the time to explore and discover. Don’t feel rushed to “grow up.” That’s what your 30s, maybe 40s, are for.
19. No one else should dictate how you feel.
20. Don’t mistreat someone else’s heart and don’t allow someone to mistreat yours.
21. Don’t be afraid to say hello.
22. Do things for you.
23. Be dependent on no one but yourself. In the end you, are responsible for getting yourself through.
24. Insecurity is the root of jealousy. If you are secure with yourself and your relationships, you have nothing to worry about. If you aren’t secure in your relationship, you’re in the wrong one.
25. If you honestly think you can do something, you honestly can.