Today I turn 24. 24. Crazy, right? Yeah, I’m still young compared to my superiors but I feel like it was only yesterday when I was entering high school.
I have definitely matured and am the person I am today because of the people in my life and the experiences I’ve had, and my 23rd year wasn’t any different.
Every year I learn something new about myself and I grow, not just physically but mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
My 23rd year was filled with times of joy and sorrow, success and disappointments, but it was no doubt a big learning year and learning curve for me.
I entered a long-distance relationship with a man who I didn’t think I’d be dating but is now my best friend and the love of my life.
I started a new website, Reflect & Refresh, and spent a lot of time investing in my relationships and in taking care of myself.
Here are some other things I’ve learned while I was 23.
#1. I can’t please everyone, and that’s okay.
Whether it’s good or bad, everyone will always have an opinion about your choices and about you. It is very rare that every person in your life will be ecstatic about everything you do or decide to do.
People-pleasers like myself aim for perfection and that will lead to the biggest disappointment of all, because perfectionism in itself isn’t real – it’s a fabricated belief that it’s possible to be flawless.
And that’s okay, because we’re humans and we’re not supposed to be perfect. I’ve slowly learned to accept that and to let go of perfectionism.
#2. True love is a never-ending selfless daily act.
Ever since I’ve entered into a relationship with my boyfriend, I’ve learned what it means to truly love someone and what an actual happily ever after entails.
Loving someone does not stop once you’ve made it official or once you’ve exchanged vows and wedding rings. It’s a life-long act that has nothing to do with you and so much to do about your S.O.
The best way you can do that is to continue to cultivate and build on the solid friendship you already have with them, and if that’s not established yet, focus on that! It’s the key to long-lasting love.
#3. Career and a calling are two different things.
I realized that there is a significant and distinguishable difference between having a career and a calling.
Now when I think of a person’s career, I see it simply as a way to financially support themselves or their family, if they’re married and have kids, and nothing more.
A calling, on the other hand, is something that I believe that every person has, because it’s much more than a title and how much you make per year. It focuses on the bigger picture in life.
I discovered that my calling is to use the gifts and talents I’ve been blessed with, to reach out to others and to provide insight, hope, encouragement and to speak truth into their lives.
#4. Time management doesn’t exist, but prioritizing does.
Sure, there may be people who firmly believe that time management is the be all end all of getting things done and beating procrastination, but I disagree.
There doesn’t seem to ever be a clear cut way to make sure everything starts and finishes at a specific time or within a specific timeframe because life is unexpected and it doesn’t always go according to plan.
However, I’ve found that knowing how to prioritize my responsibilities and work was more effective and practical because I was able to focus on the important things first, minor things last.
#5. Being a Christian means more about loving and doing, than just praying and believing.
Praying and believing in God’s love and His words in the Bible are very important and a crucial part of being a Christian, because it helps us to become more Christ-like every day.
But I discovered that loving and putting that faith into action is often something that can be overlooked by even the most devout Christians, and both are a crucial part in maintaining your spiritual walk.
The first two commandments are to love the Lord with all your heart, your soul and your mind, and to love your neighbor as you love yourself.
Both are the most important because it deals with love, something that is hard to do if you see its definition as less than a feeling and more as a daily selfless decision.
#6. Be open to growth or else you’ll be stuck in a rut.
Growing, both physically and mentally, is an important part of life and it is for everyone no matter how old you are, and in every stage of your life.
The only way you’ll be stuck in a rut for sure is if you stay close-minded and closed off to critique, encouragement or suggestions from others.
You always have room for improvement, opportunities to better yourself and to become a better person, even if you have a number of experiences under your belt or even if you’re older.