5 Things I Learned From Traveling to the Dominican Republic (Punta Cana)

Hey everybody! I know it’s been a while since the last time I posted on here but life has been throwing me some twists and turns, that’s for sure. I feel like I’m at a place in life where as soon as I get used to a routine, something shifts and I have to adjust to a NEW routine. I’m a big routine person so this has made keeping my intended posting schedule a little difficult. However, now that I’ve explained myself…I will get to the point of why you sat down to read, my trip to the DR. Now just some background information, I haven’t traveled outside of the US (excluding a handful of drunken nights in Tijuana during my undergrad years) since I was 18 and I went on a Eurotrip. When we landed in Punta Cana it was probably 9:30pm and by the time we got our luggage and went through customs, it was 10:30ish. That being said, we couldn’t really see outside of the van that picked us up to go to our resort because it was late and dark. There were only a few times we left the resort so this will not be some blog post on the all the cultural richness the DR has to offer because I unfortunately did not get to see that (this time). With all of that out of the way, I will be sharing 5 things I learned from traveling to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

1. How Important it is to Know More Than One Language

Don’t get me wrong, I definitely could have gotten along fine at the resort without speaking Spanish but watching how comfortable people got around my sorority sister Lizeth when she spoke to them in their language made me wish I had actually practiced SPEAKING the five-ish years I studied Spanish in high school and in college. I’m just all about communicating with people and I think I would have probably enjoyed my trip a little more if I was able to speak more than one or two sentences. I think this applies to anywhere I want to travel in the future as well. I want to be able to communicate with the locals and really at least have a little bit of conversation with them. I actually could pass for Afro-Latina (specifically Dominican) if I spoke Spanish. When I got to the DR and I spoke the little bit of Spanish I did know, many of the locals thought I was Dominican as well. One of the guys selling rum and mamajuana said I looked like his sister. Honestly I have never heard anything like this except one time when I went to New York and lost my ID and had to report it to the police station (don’t ask).

2. Dancing is an Universal Language

Regardless of what language you speak, we can all be connected through dancing. There are many things I’m not good at but dancing is not one of them. I’ve always loved to dance ever since I was a child and even took jazz, ballet, and hip-hop when I was wayyy younger. The thing I loved about the Dominican Republic is my knowledge on how to dance to various Latin and Caribbean genres really made me feel like I had something in common with people from a different country than me. When the music came on and the entertainment team (locals who performed in the dance shows at night, pool parties, and whatever else at the resort) saw Lizeth and me dancing, they gravitated towards us and even complimented us on our dancing. It was fun to just dance with them. Even if you don’t speak a language, learning dances from other cultures and countries is another great way to feel comfortable and share commonality with people no matter what country you find yourself in. Also, most other countries play American music in their spaces so just get down!

3. To Start a Random Vacation Fund

I didn’t decide I wanted to go to the DR until after I got into law school back in March. Then my grandmother passed away in April and I had to take 2 weeks off of work to be in Ohio, which made me miss out on a little over $1,000. While I obviously was still able to pull of my trip, my life would have been way less stressful if I had a “random vacation fund” to dip into for my trip. I’ve decided that I’m going to put away a certain amount of money every payday for the rest of my life strictly dedicated to traveling. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this sooner. If you haven’t thought of it yet either, do it! Even if you only put aside $35 a paycheck (biweekly pay) that’s almost $1,000 dollars by the end of the year. I’m sure there is somewhere you could getaway to with that.

4. Leaving The Resort is a Major Key

While earlier I mentioned we didn’t really leave the resort too much, we did leave it once or twice and those were a lot more fun for me than the resort life. While I loved the all-inclusive resort and becoming friends with the bartenders, I’m someone who gets bored of too much of the same stuff. We were there for 8 days and our excursion to Isle Saona saved me from going crazy of being in the pool majority of our trip. If I could re-do one thing, I would have ventured off the resort maybe few other times. I had really wanted to go to Santo Domingo. My tip is to book two excursions BEFORE you get to Punta Cana that way you have to follow through with them. I recommend doing one in the beginning and one towards the end of your stay for the best experience. That’s what I’ll be doing next time.

5. How Much Privilege I Have as an American:

I try not to write too much about my politics on my blog just because I consider a space where I can just…write about my life without any other bullshit out of my control that may influence it. One thing I will say is that different groups of people have certain privileges in this country compared to others (for example: I have privileges as a cisgendered woman compared to a transwoman). Well in the DR, I was introduced to a different privilege that I have, the privilege of just being born in America. While as an African-American woman, shit ain’t always sweet, I have the privilege of pretty much going anywhere I want to in the world (to an extent). I remember I fell in love with Punta Cana and the people and my friend and I declared “we are going to move here for a year in a few years!” and the bartender looked at us like we were crazy. The thing is though, I could probably save up enough to be comfortable in the DR for a year way easier than I could save up to live comfortably in America (well anywhere I would want to live). That’s a privilege of sorts: me deciding that I can just move wherever I please for a year or so. Most people on countries like the DR wouldn’t even think of something like that in regards to moving to America. Also, the workers at the resort worked soooo hard sometimes having 12 hour days only to be paid what converts to $25 a day. Even factoring in different costs of living that’s wild to me. So yeah, I realized how privileged I am to have just been born here. That’s not to say there aren’t people who struggle here as well, but you get what I’m saying.

All in all, my trip to Punta Cana was amazing. I really have never felt like I belonged somewhere as much as I did there. I had this rule about not going to the same place out of the country twice until I go everywhere I want to go but I know the Dominican Republic has changed my mind. I can’t wait to go back! I will be posting a general post about my overall trip later this month so keep an eye out for that. If you can afford to, travel the world. It’s really the best way to see things from a different perspective.

Is there anywhere you want to travel to soon? Let me know in the comments.

Goal Check: End of the 2nd Quarter of the Year (Apr-June)

The month of June end a little bit ago which means that we are now 1/2 way through the year. Just as I checked in with myself and my goals at the end of quarter one, I will be seeing where I’m at now that quarter 2 is over. Now is the perfect time to reflect on what has worked this first half of the year and what needs to change. Y’all know I’m always trying to 100 dif things so I’m just going to focus on the main goals I have.

  • Travel out of the country:

I am officially going out of the country for the first time since after my EuroTrip when I graduated high school (not including Tijuana). I’m going to the Dominican Republic for about a week later this month! I will definitely be writing about this experience once I get back and having time to settle so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for that!

  • Save $2,000 in a savings account

Okay so I’m not ashamed to say I suuuuuck at saving money but that’s mostly because I spend all my money on doing hoodrat shit with friends, and having a trainer! Lmao. Once I start school I want to be more conscious on being financially literate and establishing savings account. I think for the rest of the Summer I’m going to save a little bit of each check. If you have any tips for saving money let me know!

  • Lose fat & gain muscle:

I’ve made some decent progress on this goal since my quarter 1 check-in. Honestly, all things considered with my grandmother passing away back in April, I’m proud of myself for not turning to food for comfort, which I would have done in the past. I have been killing it at the gym and follow my meal plan 80% of the time or so. I’ve only lost about 5ish lbs since April but I feel myself getting stronger and I lost some body fat %. I think I’m on track to hit my first major goal weight for the end of 2018

  • Take my blog to the next level:

My blog has NOT been a priority for me since April and I’m okay with it. I don’t have regrets about putting my blog on the back burner once my life got crazy. The gym became my outlet so all I have been doing is going to work and working out. I’m just getting back in the hang of writing and managing my instagram so we’ll see where I’m at once quarter 2 is over.

  • Read one book every month:

I have read 2 other books since quarter 1 ended, both which I enjoyed a lot. In April I read The Mastery of Love by don Miguel Ruiz and Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. I recommend both to everybody. I want to write a review on both of them but we shall see how that goes.

  • Get my driver’s license and a car:

This hasn’t been a priority this quarter so no progress has been made on it. I’m going to have my license by the end of this summer. However, I’m not really sure about the car. We’ll see.

All things considered for how HARD life came at me in April, I’m proud of myself for at least staying on track with my health + fitness and doing everything I needed to do to go out of the country. I also read 2 out of the 3 books I wanted to read so that’s I’m happy about that to. I do want to get back on track with my blog but I still have 6 months to make it happen. Quarter 3 check-in I will have made some progress on that goal for sure. Overall, I’m happy and that’s what matters.

What are some goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year? What goals have you made progress on? What goals could use improvement? Leave me a comment and let’s talk about it!

My 2018 Bucket List (Update)

In February I posted about my 2018 Bucket List. For those who are new to my blog, every year I make a list of things I want to do before the end of the year. The types of things range from hikes to trying new foods, and everything in between. We are now half way through the year so I decided to write about some of the things I have checked off of my bucket list so far.

Go To A Shooting Range

Shout out to my best friends to taking me to a shooting range for my birth day! My friends knew I had been wanting to do this for a while so they finally took me. Going to the shooting range was quite the experience. My friends got a groupon that allowed us to shoot all day and like the late people we are we showed up the last hour they were open, haha. We had to watch a safety video, pick out our guns and ammo, and go shoot! It was not how I imagined it would be. Probably because I’ve very uncomfortable doing things that I’m not an expert in. Also, it wasn’t like the rooms you see on TV. This was range was open and the only things separating everyone was the open air. I felt nervous when it was shooting time. Just knowing I had something in my hands that could literally kill someone made me anxious. I guess I’m not as badass as I think I am, lol. I want to go again but perhaps to a different type of shooting facility. We’ll see.

Take a Kickboxing Class

I’m so happy I was finally able to knock this off my bucket list! I had soooo much fun during the class. I bought one of my best friends and myself a groupon (wow I used groupon a lot, I should become a rep haha) for 4 classes and a pair of gloves at ILoveKickboxing and I don’t regret it. My experience was nothing but positive. We went to the sunset location and it was really chill. There weren;t a lot of people on in our first class, which I liked, but we did go on a Monday so that’s probably why. Everyone was really welcoming and nice, employees and class goers alike. You start off with a 15 minute cardio warm-up (this is the hardest part of the class). I considered myself to be in good shape and stamina when it comes to cardio and ILoveKickboxing’s warm-up said “you thought!” But after that it was good! We had someone teach us the basics while the rest of the class was going on for our first time. I underestimated how much of workout it would be. I was sore for dayssss after wards especially in my arms. All in all I had a blast at my first class. They almost got me to sign up for their $150something a month membership but I already pay $168 a month for my trainer so I couldn’t.

Run a 5K EVERY Month

So this item on my bucket list has been a little difficult to stay on track with as we get to the hotter months in Vegas. Luckily for me, I discovered virtual 5Ks which allow me to run 5Ks for a medal by myself. I think virtual 5Ks are the greatest thing ever. I have ran a 5K every month since January. In January I ran Happy Hour 5K, In February my best friend and I ran The Color Run (which I wrote about here *insert url*) In March I ran my first virtual 5K called the “Shamrocked” 5K in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, in April some of my best friends and I ran Super Run 5K, and in May I ran another virtual 5K for mental health awareness called the “Be Kind To Your Mind 5K”, I have included a picture of allll my medals.

I still have quite a few things I need to do on my bucket list but I still have 6 months so I have more than enough time to do them. I’ll be doing another check-in about my bucket list sometime in November for you all. I hope you enjoyed reading about my progress so far!

What are some bucket list items you’ve crossed off of your list so far this year? What’s one thing you want to do before 2018 ends? Let me know in the comments!

4 Tips For Winning The Battle Against Your Post-Grad Blues

CollegeGrads

Post-grad blues are no joke. While everyone is not affected by these feelings of sadness once they walk across that stage, many people do. I know when I graduated I got my degree and said “now what?” while I waited to go back to school. In today’s post I’m suggesting some things that helped me get through the trying times of  battling with post-grad blues with at least a little bit of my sanity left. These tips can also help anyone who may just find themselves feeling down. Whether you are unemployed or not, these tips will certainly change your life.

Wake-Up and Say Those Affirmations!

createherstock-HER-harbor-grace-photography-33

The post-grad blues period after graduating can definitely get you down (they don’t call it post-grad blues for nothin’). One way I battled this overwhelming sense of emptiness and lack of purpose was through repeating affirmations to myself every morning when I woke up. While each person has to determine what they want out of life to come up with their own, I think the ones I used during this rough time are definitely a good place to start. Here are a few of the many affirmations I told myself during my time being unemployed. Some of these I still use now! I found these at this article here.

  1. My body is healthy, my mind is brilliant, my soul is tranquil.
  2. I am at peace with all that has happened, is happening, and will happen.
  3. I deserve to be employed and paid well for my time, efforts, and ideas. Each day, I am closer to finding the perfect job for me.

Start with these and even tweak them to your style if you want. All that matters is you remind yourself that you are deserving and destined for greatness!

Journal About Your Feelings Towards Being Graduated (and your feelings in general)

Createherstock A Summer Day Neosha Gardner 3

For people like myself, it is easy to start feeling down when you are trying to find employment or have too much free time on your hands after graduating. One thing I have made more of a consistent habit is journaling. I try* process all my feelings by journaling at least 3 times a week. When I was unemployed I wrote about how being unemployed made me feel (leave out nothing…even the feelings of worthlessness and sadness). I’ve vented my frustrations and promised myself that I will never take being employed for granted again. While it is usual to complain about one’s job (unless it’s your dream job, which mine is being an attorney so I’m a long ways off), to be ungrateful for one’s job is not good for the soul. In cases where your boss is a jerk it’s different but at the same time, I have always hated being unemployed more than having a job I hate (blame my materialistic desires and FOMO). I hope to look back on my unemployment entries of journal should I ever start hating my jobs (hopefully I won’t).

Find a New Hobby or Invest Time in an Old One

Chs Isha Gaines Writers 2

Whether you’ve always loved painting but college got in the way, or you want to learn how to dance salsa, or anything in between you have plenty of time to do it in your down time on the post-grad job search. One thing I started doing again while I was unemployed is reading. One of my goals this year is to read two books a month and it hasn’t been hard thus far considering I didn’t have really anything better to do. Another hobby I dedicated more time to while I was unemployed was blogging. It felt good to be doing things I wanted to do in undergrad that I simply didn’t have the time to do.

Get Off Your Ass and Get Active

Createherstock Simple Fitness Isha Gaines 20

Seriously! This one is a good morale booster. Whether I was dancing, working out, going for a walk, jog, or run, dedicating time to working out wasn’t something I did until towards the end of my unemployment and I wish I had a started sooner. Not only do you have time to figure out what kind of workouts you love, you can find a purpose in setting non-work related goals. One of my goals when I was employed was to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. This doesn’t sound like a lot but there would be days when I was unemployed where I sat around ALL day and barely clocked in 2,000 steps, YIKES! If you’re currently unemployed it doesn’t mean you have to sit around all day and become a sloth (I was guilty of this for a while).

TipsForBeatingPostGradBlues

The post-grad “Damn I don’t have a job” depression is real and it can take over your mind, body, and spirit if you let it. Even if you are employed, being out of school after being in school your whole life is a rough transition for me. I have suffered from the deepest of post-grad blues and it is not pretty. Even if you are employed there are times where you can find yourself missing being in undergrad and carefree. The key to surviving this turbulent transition in life is to happen to it instead of allowing it to happen to you. If you already have a job it can be even easier to get caught up in the motions and find yourself still battling those post-grad blues. Find balance between keeping yourself busy and doing things you love. When you’re unemployed, finding things to occupy your time during your job search (and make sure you are ACTIVELY searching) will make the time in between graduation and being unemployed fly by.  You may even walk away from it being more enlightened, educated, and experienced person than the day you got your degree. If you don’t have a job or haven’t taken steps towards career yet, don’t beat yourself up about it. These things take time and there is always a lesson in the struggle! ALWAYS.

(Author’s Note: If you think you suffer from depression or any other mental illness, contact a professional for help. These tips will not cure depression.)

In Memory of My Nana

On April 28th at 9am Est, my Nana passed away. It’s been a month and it still doesn’t seem real. There is nothing I want more than to get a phone call from her. “How’s my pretty girl doing?” This past Mother’s Day was our first Mother’s Day without her. Man, I don’t think I’ve ever felt a pain this strong in my life. My Nana, Lydia Wright, is my maternal grandmother and the grandparent I’ve been the closest to my entire life. We talked AT LEAST once a week, sometimes more. She offered me life advice (even if it was a little old-fashioned for my taste), and was always there for me, cheering me on and bragging about me to anybody who would listen. You know, the last few weeks of her life I was in such DENIAL. She had been sick before but she always bounced back. She was tired of fighting. I can’t say I blame her. She had been through SO MUCH in her life! From an eating disorder to breast cancer to kidney failure, emphysema, to much more. She was a fucking fighter and the strongest woman I know. I can’t put into words what she meant to me and I really honestly never thought about the day I’d have to live without her but those days are here now and now I have to figure it out. I have to figure out how to go on when all I really want to do is crawl into bed and cry.

While my Nana isn’t my first family member to pass away (I just lost my maternal grandfather last July), this pain is something different. The grief is almost unbearable at times. However, I know that she is always with me. She was always blunt and said whatever she wanted to say and did whatever she wanted to do and I hope to be as courageous as her. A few years ago she got me a bear that sang the song “I Hope You Dance” and dedicated that song to me. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with it (who are you? And WHY?), here are some of the lyrics:

“I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance

Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’

Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth makin’

Don’t let some hell-bent heart leave you bitter

When you come close to sellin’ out reconsider

Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance, I hope you dance.”

I loved the song when she dedicated it to me but now that she’s passed it means even more. I now can’t listen to it without crying but I will make sure I listen to my Nana’s song of wisdom and never let her down. I have to make sure to be there for my mom and not be too sad. While I miss her, it is for selfish reasons because she is no longer in pain and has finally found peace. I’m learning a lot about grief and it’s come and go as it pleases attitude. Grief really doesn’t give a fuck. 

Nana, All I know is when I wear purple (your favorite color), I’ll think of you. When someone mentions the Steelers (your favorite team and half of your wardrobe haha) I’ll think of you. Whenever I melt a scentsy (why did you have over 100 of them?), I’ll think of you. Whenever I eat something pumpkin (your nickname for me since before I even ate it) I’ll think of you. Nana, there will not be a day that goes by that I don’t think of you and I’m happy you were able to see me get into law school, even if I don’t know how I’ma survive without your weekly phone calls. I guess I’ll have to find a different way to talk to you. I love you and miss you! Say hi to Grandpa for me.

Love,

Mara.

4 Podcasts You Need to Listen to Right Now

Long ago the only option for a commute to work or listening to something on your down time was the radio. Now, we live in a world where there are many different things you can listen to on your drive. One thing that has been gaining popularity is podcasts! In case you don’t know what a podcast is, a podcast Is basically a radio show mixed with a television series (only without the visual aspect, so maybe not a television series haha). Anyways, listeners can subscribe to them and download them on their devices. In this post I will be talking about some of my most favorite podcasts, why I listen to them, and what is my favorite episode.

1. Behind The Brilliance—Lisa Nicole Bell

image3

I love this podcast very much! I believe it might have been the second or third podcast I ever listened to in my life. I’m not going to lie and tell you I have listened to EVERY episode (I mean, she has over a 100!) but EVERY episode I have listened to I have learned something new and informational. One thing I admire about this podcast is the Lisa (who is a well accomplished genius in her own right) also interviews other amazing and accomplished professionals in various fields for many of her episodes. She describes Behind The Brilliance as “a weekly podcast featuring funny and smart conversations with accomplished innovators, fascinating creative, and mission-driven entrepreneurs.” Her solo episodes are always a great listen as she talks about new things she’s tried, books she’s read, and sometimes even gives advice in Q+A’s. While the reason I was drawn to this podcast is because Lisa is a fellow Black Woman, her guests range in ages, races, professions, and everything else! There is literally many episodes that everyone can learn from. My current favorite episode is Episode: 8 for 2018. This really helped me get myself ready to go into 2018  working towards my goals. However, I must note it was really hard for me to choose a favorite episode because all of the ones I have listened to are great. Give Behind The Brilliance a listen now on iTunes!

2. ANGCODE

image1

While I do love a good motivational podcast, sometimes I like to listen to podcasts that will have me cracking up. ANGCODE is that podcast. It does not matter what episode I tune into  guarantee Ang and her guests will have me damn near crying laughing. On ANGCODE she addresses various topics in pop culture, as well as women and their sexualities, double standards in society, self-confidence, and more while also never forgetting incorporate her naturally hilarious opinions on these topics. Ang holds no punches and isn’t afraid to get real with her guests or her listeners. She has a segment where she takes questions from her listeners via an anonymous curiouscat (sometimes, some very WILD questions) and her and her guests answer them, no matter HOW crazy the question is. If you need a good laugh go check out ANGCODE like RIGHT NOW. My favorite episode is: Episode 21: Ladies Night- Sliding into DMs, Body Shaming & Spirituality. P.S. Did I mention Ang is my sorority sister? Make sure you listen and rate the podcast on iTunes, like right this minute!

3. Think N Grow Chick Podcast—Courtney Sanders

image2

The Think N Grow Chick podcast was the first podcast I ever listened to. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was cleaning dorm rooms at my old job one summer when I got tired of listening to music. Now don’t get me wrong, ya girl loves music but this was before I had any streaming service and was rockin’ with Pandora and I ran out of skips and I was like, hmmm let’s give the podcast thing a listen. I googled “black women podcasts” (representation is important for me sometimes, y’all) and she appeared on a few lists of must listens for Black Women). I played one episode and I was hooked! Courtney has an amazing story about how she went from being kicked out of college and in debt to being a successful entrepreneur (she was also recently featured in Forbes: check it out here!) She shares her own personal life tips as well as tips for being an entrepreneur and she is always dropping gems. My favorite episode is: Are You REALLY About This Life? The 3 Keys to Programming Your Mind for Success

4. The PlotTwist Podcast

FinalPlotTwistLogo.png

I can admit I have a preference to listen to podcasts hosted by women; The PlotTwist Podcast is an exception to the rule. Hosted by Daniel Coronado, PlotTwist is a podcast that has a little bit of everything! The topics range from serious topics like the Rescinding of DACA and Self-Care to more light hearted things like the worst date Daniel and his fraternity brothers have ever been on. I like PlotTwist because I never know what to expect when I press play, which I’m sure is one of the reasons the title makes so much sense. While many of the topics are serious, Daniel has a naturally funny and rambunctious personality that gives and interesting spin to the discussions of the show. Daniel and I have been friends for 7 years now and each year he gets more and more hilarious. Go check out PlotTwist! My favorite episode is: S. 1 Episode 5: Toothbrushing, Our Daily Purpose, Staying In Your Lane, & THE SEX TALK. Hurry and give PlotTwist a listen on iTunes.

These are 4 podcasts that I love to listen to right now! If you are in need of a new podcast, check these out. You will discover some major life tips, good books to read for self-development, catch up on pop culture, hear about social justice topics, and much more.

I’m always looking for new podcasts to check out. Are there any that you love to listen to? Drop the names of them in the comments!

25 Things I’ve Learned in 25 Years

This weekend I turned 21, I mean 25 years old. Wow. If you had told me this is where I’d be at in life at 25 I wouldn’t have believed you but HERE I AM. While my life has been pretty good so far, I have had a lot of low moments too. I decided that for my 25th birthday I was going to share 25 things I’ve learned in these 25 years of life. Most of these lessons came from my earlier 20s. Some of them you may have read on lists similar to this but I’m going to give a little insight on to why these lessons are important to me.

Me at 107 SkyLounge for my 25th birthday

1. Focus on who shows up for you, not who doesn’t: It’s so easy to focus on who didn’t go to your birthday party, or that really cool speaking event you told your friends about 10 times, or whatever else but honestly the quality of my life improved so much when I just focused on being thankful towards those who did show up instead of pissed at those who didn’t. You never know what people have going on.

 

2. You aren’t the center of the universe: Yes, I know this seems so painfully obvious but I will be the first to admit that I am guilty of thinking things that important to me are important to everybody. This isn’t true. Honestly with the exception of your parents (not even always), your close friends, your lover(s), and a few others, most people don’t give a fuck about you. Once you realize this, life is a little easier.

 

3. Do whatever the fuck you want to do while you’re young (safely): One thing I wish I had did before I had to come to the “REAL” world is have more fun. Granted, I had a lot of fun in undergrad but I know I would have had more if I told myself yes for more things than parties. I should have taken a two week trip backpacking through some random place haha. Not to say I can’t do these things now but it’s harder when you have loans to pay off and stuff. So yeah, if there is something you really want to do, DO IT. (except smoke crack, pls don’t do that.)

 

4. Don’t doubt your greatness: If I had a dollar for every thing I didn’t do/apply for because I didn’t think I was capable of doing it, I could retire and live a lavish life full of travel and mojitos. Okay I might be exaggerating but I could buy something nice. Honestly, I’m still learning to embrace rejection and not feeling inadequate.

 

5. Therapy is not just for “crazy people”, it’s for everyone: One thing I want to do this year is find a therapist. Now that I know I will be living in Vegas permanently, I want to get a therapist who meets my qualifications here. Often in minorities communities seeing a therapist is for “crazy people” but there is only so much “venting” your friends can take from you. Sometimes, you need to see a professional.

 

6. Avoiding being vulnerable will do more harm to you than it will protect you: This kind of ties into my fear of rejection as well. While I don’t believe I missed out on anyone I was destined to spend my life with, I know many of my past relationships were damaged by me being afraid to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness.

 

7. Being judgmental of others doesn’t make you any better than them: This is a straight-forward lesson. Don’t judge others.

 8. Sometimes the way people act towards you is usually about them, not you: This is a relatively new lesson I’ve learned about others and about myself. This simply put in the quote “Hurt people hurt people.” Usually if somebody is unwarrantedly rude towards you, they have some other shit going on.

9. Letting yourself feel your emotions is important: There is a growing culture of “good vibes only” and while I do believe it is important to focus on the positive, you still have to let yourself feel the not so good feelings when they arise. They key is to not dwell on them.

10. Tell people how you feel about them: If you’ve ever had somebody randomly acknowledge you and all you do out of nowhere then you know how good that makes you feel. Do that for others. Also, if someone did something to upset you, let them know. Harboring those feelings will just lead to resentment and frustration.

11. Don’t loan people money you can’t afford to never get back: No matter HOW much you trust someone or how little bit of the amount, DO NOT lend people money if you NEED them to pay you back for your finances to be okay. You never know if people will be able to pay you back so just don’t lend it if you can’t afford to never see it again.

12. Find a workout you love to do and never stop doing it: In our younger years it is really important we focus on living a healthy lifestyle to try and avoid consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle in our older years. Exercising releases endorphins and those make you feel good. You will be more motivated to consistently workout if you love the workout you’re doing.

13. Call your grandparents often: When my grandfather passed away last year one thing I could be at peace with was that I talked to him regularly. I can’t say I called him every day and sometimes a week or so would go by but I can say when he died I didn’t have a guilty conscience about not talking to him enough. I was the last person who spoke to him on the phone the night he passed.

14. Make sure you call your friends just to see how they are doing not to talk about yourself: Don’t be the self-centered friend who only calls people to vent about their problems. It’s annoying and people will eventually get over your one-sided friendships. Call (not text because sometimes that shit takes too long) your friends and see how they are. Check in with them. You’d be surprised what people are holding in until somebody asks “how are you?”

15. Always return phone calls and reply to your e-mails: It’s the professional thing to do. You want to build these habits before you enter the actual work force where an e-mail that isn’t responded to can lead to being reprimanded.

16. Sometimes all you need for a better mood is a good night’s sleep: “I’ll sleep when I die” is tired (no pun intended.) Get some damn rest. You would be surprised how much more pleasant your days are when you getting enough sleep. If only somebody had told me this in undergrad (or if I had listened).

17. Unless people ask you for your advice don’t give it to them: Honestly, save your breath. People are going to do what they want to and sometimes unsolicited advice can be annoying. If people don’t ask, don’t tell them what you think they should do. I still struggle with this one.

18. It’s okay to remove yourself from one-sided relationships: I used to be the person that felt I needed to be there for everybody but when I evaluated tough times in my life I could count on two hands who was there for me. Focus your energy on those relationships, not people who always take.

19. Go to the doctor at least once a year for a check-up: DO THIS, no explanation needed. You gotta stay on top of your health, even if you hate the doctor’s office like me.

20. Be mindful of what you say and do in front of children, they are always watching: I hear the craziest things when at work (as a substitute teacher and day camp counselor). You would be surprised how much kids soak up from adults and repeat.

21. Perfection doesn’t exist, just try your best: Don’t beat yourself up about not being perfect, literally NOBODY is. It’s okay. (Mostly a note to self).
22. Don’t get caught up on planning something and the small insignificant details, make a choice and focus on execution: As a creative this is one of the most important things I’ve learned. Nobody gives a shit if you use font one or font two, just pick one and move along.

23. Procrastination is self-sabotage, cut the shit and get it done: Calling all undergrads, grad students, and creatives: Don’t procrastinate. If you “work well under pressure” think how great something could have been if you gave it the time it deserved.

24. People can love you even if you don’t love yourself but you won’t be able to accept their love: I’m sure I’ve had many people who loved me or at least cared about me deeply that I couldn’t handle at the time because I hadn’t learned how to love myself and think I was worthy of it, thus pushing them away and making it a self-fulfilling prophecy.
25. Love yourself: Self-love is important. Love yourself, flaws and all and forgive yourself for anything you need forgiveness for.
I hope you enjoyed reading the things I’ve learned about myself and others in my 25 years on planet Earth. If you related to any of these or found it helpful, please share it on your social media!

Is there a lesson you think every twentysomething should know that I left out? I’m always open to learning more. Share it in the comments!