Tuesday, August 19, 2014

26 things i've learned in 26 years

in four days, i will officially be 26 years old. one year older than 1/4 of a century, guys! didn't i just turn 25? where does the time go? at times it is hard to believe i'm almost in my late twenties. most of the time i feel so much younger than that. being an adult is just weird sometimes. working full time, paying a mortgage, friends having babies, etc. when did this become normal life? can i have an entire summer off again? :)

it's always felt strange to me - because i guess you expect to feel different when you turn a year older. but it's really just like any other day. maybe you get a few more phone calls & texts. but it's a pretty normal day. and you don't really turn the entire year older all at once! you are continually growing the whole year, you just recognize it on your birthday. & i think that's why birthdays don't really feel all that different. the change has already happened, and you experienced it as you went along. but i digress.

i've seen some bloggers do posts where they talk about what they've learned in the time they've been on this earth. and i always love reading those posts because people think so differently and have different perspectives, but there is always some good truth in those posts. so today i am sharing some things i have learned in my 26 years on this earth. while humbly acknowledging that i have so much more left to learn!


o1 | no matter how hard you try, you can't befriend everyone. some people aren't going to like you and you can't make them. but be kind & do your best anyways. the only one you have control over is yourself.

o2 | your words can wound deeply. be intentional with the words you speak. just because you feel a certain way or think something, doesn't mean you always need to share it.

o3 | keep your priorities as your priorities. everything else can fall by the wayside. there will be so many good opportunities, but you do not have to take them all.

o4 | it's okay if you don't get the perfect picture. sometimes you need to lay the camera down, and just enjoy the moment. soak it in and "be here now". it still happened even if there's not a picture.

o5 | allow yourself to take a break. just because you could keep going, doesn't mean it's the best thing. taking some time away can refresh your perspective and give your soul rest. it's okay to take some time away from work, or your husband, or your family to just have some time to yourself and time with God. it's needed - and your relationships will only benefit from it.

o6 | social media is just a highlight reel. it is so easy to get sucked into facebook and instagram feeds and start believing that everyone's life is perfect except for yours. but it's important to remember that the real, messy, raw parts are happening behind the scenes. comparison is a lie either way, but you cannot compare your entire script to someone else's bullet points.

o7 | it is okay to make mistakes. mistakes are how we learn & grow. i would even say they are necessary for success.

o8 | God's plans are better than your own. don't feel as if you need to manipulate in order to control a situation. God has ultimate authority & if He wishes for something to happen, He can make it happen. rest in that. if something you want doesn't come to fruition, trust that it is less than the plan He has in mind.

o9 | laughter really is the best medicine. instead of getting angry about a situation, just learn to laugh about life's mishaps. instead of being embarassed by something you did, just learn to laugh at yourself. it makes life easier & more enjoyable!

10 | time is money. or at least, it's like money! once you spend it, it can never be spent again. so choose wisely.

11 | you never know until you ask. asking questions, even if it may be awkward, is the best thing you can do. so many good things can happen just by asking a question. and the worst thing that could happen is that the answer could be no. but at least you asked.

12 | creating healthy habits can be hard. but when you're young is the time to do it. it will be so worth it.

13 | relationship status does not define who you are. your worth is not found in "married" vs "single" - your worth is found in Jesus. you are His glorious creation no matter if you are a wife, a single lady, a mom, or a widow. Jesus defines the core part of you, and don't you ever forget it.

14 | focus on the donut, not on the hole. there are going to be a lot of things in life that you don't have, but guess what? you don't need them. focus on what you do have & use what resources are supplied to you. don't get lost in thinking "if only i had ____" because if you expect one thing to make your life perfect, nothing will hold up to that expectation. focus on where you are not where you wish you were.

15 | embrace the messy. the perfectionist in me sometimes cringes when things don't look the way i want them to or when things don't go the way i planned. but the best and most memorable parts of life are often messy and not scripted. i don't want to miss the memories because i'm trying to hide the mess. messy is real.

16 | beauty is there. you need only look for it.

17 | be vulnerable. it can hurt to open up & share the deep parts of you with other people. but life is so much richer when you do. it is awkward at first, but your marriage & friendships will deepen because of it. let people in.

18 | do uncomfortable things. whatever it is that is outside of your comfort zone, just jump in & do it! they are some of the best learning experiences & the greatest memories!

19 | have a plan. let's face it, some things just won't get done if you don't plan to do them. (exercise, meals, retirement, date nights, even down time)

20 | leave some wiggle room. even though i believe planning is very important, it's also important not to plan everything to a T with no room for flexibility. some of the most fun moments in life are spontaneous!

21 | worry isn't worth it. there comes a point in time where you realize that worrying doesn't actually change anything about what's going to happen. life is going to happen & no amount of worrying will stop that. worrying does nothing but subtract from your joy.

22 | it really is the little things that matter. there are going to be awesome BIG moments in your life & they will be great! but life is made up of much more little moments that really define your life. life change happens in the details. look for the little things and treasure them.

23 | your parents are growing older too. it's easy to get caught up in your own life & all of the exciting things that come with growing up. but remember that as you are growing older, so are your parents. (and grandparents!) they won't be around forever, so make your time with them count.

24 | it is more than okay to say no. there are so many things that you can invest your life in, but no one can do it all. remember that because the older you get, the more opportunities come, and the more you will need to say no. allow white space in your life & invest in your marriage/relationships above all. events & functions are great, but relationships are what matter.

25 | always forgive. even before the person asks for forgiveness. because it really is true that bitterness & unforgiveness hurt no one but you. if you let it sit, it will become toxic. forgiveness is hard work and it hurts, but it is more than worth it. forgive, forgive, & forgive again.

26 | have fun! this is the only life you will get! don't spend time being embarrassed - people are going to think what they are going to think & you can do nothing to change that! dance, laugh, let your hair down & have fun!



what is some wisdom you have gained over the years?


38 comments:

  1. I think I agree with every point on this list, and I really don't know what I would add! I especially love 8, 18, and 23. It's so easy to forget that our parents and grandparents are growing older every year as well. It's hard to believe that my grandpa is 79 years old, and my dad is 55, but then again it's also hard to believe that I'm 26! :)

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  2. You are so young!!!!! Happy early birthday! #6 - so true! So thankful that they are though :) I really appreciate #13 as well. Good list - full of lots of wisdom - you are so mature!

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  3. Hey Robyn, this is an AWESOME post full of so much wisdom. Thank you for sharing what you've learned this year! #4, #6, and #23!

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  4. I love your perspective on birthdays :) "social media is just a highlight reel." -- this was + is such an important lesson I learned earlier in my 20's, but I still struggle with it sometimes. We've all grown up with computers in our lives, so it's hard to not sometimes lean over + compare yourself to another person. But it's important to remember that it's all just a highlight reel -- we all have good days, bad days, and in between!

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  5. Great lessons! #21 is definitely an easy one to forget.

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  6. This is an amazing list!! #1 was a difficult lesson for me to learn, but once I did it was very freeing. I also love #4 - as bloggers sometimes it's hard for us to step back and enjoy the moment because we want to capture the moment. I have to remind myself that sometimes it's better to just set the camera down! Great post :)

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  7. SometimesphotojenikAugust 19, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    i love this! All such good points and my favorite was probably "focus on the donut not the hole". found you through oak&oats and totally enjoying peeking around your blog! :)

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  8. yes, yes, and YES! The top three are so true. I think it's taken me longer to learn those (inching through my 30s as we speak) but they are such important lessons!

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  9. happy happy almost birthday! And the years definitely teach you alot...and this is absolutely ridiculous, but I have to say that when I got to your point about the doughnut and the hole my mind totally got distracted and I just started imagining the most delicious doughnut...apparently it's one of those days I'm craving USA treats?? :P

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  10. I would have a REALLY LONG LIST if I had to do something learned for each year of my life... although truthfully, I could probably list a few things I've had to 'learn' more than once - Like God's plans are ALWAYS better than mine (which has been tough because I'm oppositional, and a control freak...) Great list and lots of wisdom. Happy birthday!

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  11. these are great. I agree with the first one!

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  12. thanks Chelsea!! it was such a huge realization to me the first time i thought "my parents are aging too" mainly because they've looked the same my entire life so i just don't think about it!!

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  13. ha! i am! :) thank you Caroline! #13 was a super important one for me to learn! & i'm glad i did before i got married! :)

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  14. thanks Beka! :) i figured it would be worth compiling this because i will probably need to learn them over & over again! :)


    #4 has been a hard one for me! :)

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  15. thank you Caitlin! you are right! we've all grown up with social media/the internet so comparison is just so accessible and it's kindof instilled in us early on! but we've got to remember that comparison robs us of our joy!

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  16. #21 has been a tough lesson to learn! thanks Shannon :)

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  17. thanks Amy! i so agree! #1 is hard, especially when i first started working in corporate business - so learning this has been very freeing for me as well! #4 has been the toughest one for me lately, but it's good to "be here now"! :)

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  18. thank you! haha someone told me that a few years ago & it's stuck with me because it's a cute saying but also SO true! thanks for stopping by & peeking around! :)

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  19. thanks Kim! i agree! #1 is hard, but can be freeing when we realize it! :) #2 has been learned the hard way!

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  20. thank you Rachel! :) some were taught the easy way, but most the hard way! isn't that how life goes! hahaha i do not blame you at all! you are already craving USA treats! addictive sugar!! :)

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  21. haha! :) oh, no doubt! i mainly compiled these because i know i will have to learn them over & over before they completely stick! nice to meet you fellow control freak! :) i am the worst sometimes! but God continually gives me grace & gently shows that He knows best! :)


    thank you Janet!!

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  22. thank you! :) that one is first because it was one of the hardest to learn! :)

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  23. I love all of these but #6 is SOOO good! I need to remind myself of that more!

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  24. it is so hard to remember & not get caught up in the comparison game! :)

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  25. Some great truths & tips on this list! #8 & #14 are my favorites :) I'm your neighbor at the coffee blog link up. Blessings!

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  26. Gods plans are better than your own--YES! Love this post, girl!

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  27. thank you so much Renee! :) hi neighbor!!!

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  28. thank you Jenna! that one has been a tough lesson to learn! :)

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  29. This is awesome! "It is more than okay to say no." Amen to that! I had to learn this lesson the hard way....but over-committing yourself doesn't do anyone any good.

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  30. As a 26 year old, I wholeheartedly agree with all of these statements!

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  31. I love these (: They're all true and things that everyone can apply to their lives!

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  32. yes! it was a hard lesson learned but a great & freeing one! :)

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  33. thanks Jessica! :) it was fun to compile all of this together & i know i will need to learn some of these over & over again!

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  34. thank you Mika! :) i am glad to know that others are learning the same things i am!

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  35. I think one of the best pieces of advice you offered is to leave wiggle room for life's unexpected turns. That is one truth that is relevant to any age.

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  36. thanks Leelee! that has been one of the most important to learn, definitely! :)

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  37. Love this! #2! - Yes!! I believe so much in the power of words, and I try so hard to be careful with what I say and also how I say it! #4 - I love this, but I am still working on this! It's so hard to not capture a moment sometimes! But sometimes it's important not to... #8 - AMEN! Trying to remind myself of this everyday!

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  38. words really are SO powerful! :) i feel ya on #4! i pretty much document my life in photos but i'm learning that at times it's okay to put the camera down :)

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