25 Things I’ve Learned In My 25 Years

  1. When your pee is yellow, that means you’re dehydrated. Likewise, if your lips are dry and chapped then you’re not drinking enough water. You should drink about your body weight in ounces, especially if you exercise.
  2. No brownie recipe will ever beat the Triple Chocolate Brownie mix from Ghirardelli. Believe me, I’ve tried at least a dozen homemade recipes and failed every time.
  3. When making shaped cookies, especially ones that are cut out, put them back in the fridge to chill for a little while, just before baking. It helps them keep their shape and prevents spreading in the oven.
  4. Being sick when you live alone is awful. So focus on preventative care and treat your body like the fragile temple it is. It’s also great live near friends who might be willing to help you out when you unexpectedly end up on crutches or catch norovirus and need them on standby for a potential ride to the hospital.
  5. Be nice to tourists, even if they aren’t kind to you. You are a reflection of your city and tourism is good for the economy. Give them directions when they ask and offer insider tips on where to buy the best cupcakes in the city.
  6. Tip your movers. It’s not an option.
  7. Buy a set of tools when you move out of your parent’s house. Most apartments aren’t fond of Command hooks and you’ll probably need to fix, hang, or build something at some point.
  8. It’s totally ok not to go out on weeknights, including Fridays. This is especially true if you go to work before the sun comes up.
  9. I will always have the kind of face that makes people stop and ask me for directions or sit next to me on a crowded train. I’m just not intimidating enough to keep the extra seat for myself.
  10. Invest in bedding that you love, even if it’s a more expensive option. You’ll hopefully spend eight hours a night in your bed; it’s a waste if you don’t love it.
  11. Don’t suffer the company of people who don’t treat you well. It’s not worth the aggravation and stress if you’re not happy and no one deserves to be disrespected.
  12. Life comes at you sideways sometimes. You don’t always know where you’re going and it might not be a directly forward path, but that doesn’t mean you’re standing still either. Make the steps that feel right at the time and you’ll end up where you’re supposed to be.
  13. You can’t be a geek for everything; there’s only so much time in the day. Old interests will have to give way to new ones eventually because you just can’t juggle everything at once no matter how much you might want to.
  14. After 18, you shouldn’t expect anyone to plan a birthday party for you until you get married. You might get lucky and have friends who take initiative, but for the most part you should expect to plan your own. And that’s really ok because then you can use the opportunity to do something that really makes you happy.
  15. If you believe in something strongly enough, you’ll find a way to make your voice heard. Fight for what matters most to you and don’t back down.
  16. Don’t take a backseat in your own life; reach out and ask for what you want. Sometimes it’s the only way to get it. Life won’t always hand it to you and waiting for “fate” to intervene is just an excuse not to empower yourself.
  17. Pride can cost you friendships faster than betrayal. Your ego can be your own worst enemy. Don’t let it get the best of you.
  18. Cherish your traditions, find comfort in your routines, but never stop trying new things and pursuing what interests you.
  19. It’s never too late. There’s always time to make up, move forward, try again, start over, etc. Don’t hold back because you think you’ve missed your window; make a new one if you have to.
  20. Don’t be ashamed of what brings you joy. Just because it isn’t mainstream or “cool” doesn’t mean you’re the only one who likes it! You just have to find your niche.
  21. You’ll never know all there is to know, but you should never let that stop you from listening and learning. Cultivate your curiosity and let it feed you. Especially once you’ve left the familiar comfort of a classroom and begin to encounter new people, you’ll find there’s a lot more out in the world that you’ve yet to learn.
  22. It’s ok to want to have things your way, but don’t make decisions out of anger or annoyance. Give yourself time to think and drill down to what it is you really want and why.
  23. Try something on your own once in a while. Take a solo walk in the park, see a movie, maybe even do some traveling away from home. Being with others is wonderful, but it’s important to remember that you are your own person, fully capable of enjoying your own company from time to time.
  24. Cherish your family. However it’s made up – friends, blood relatives, step-relations, in-laws – family should be the one thing you can absolutely count on. Friendships and relationships sometimes fade, but unconditional love is hard to come by; don’t take that gift for granted.
  25. Always be unapologetically who you are. Embrace all the weird and wonderful qualities about yourself; take in the good with bad. Never apologize for or be ashamed of being yourself because of what other people or society think that you should be instead; your only obligation is to yourself and to those you love.
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