26 Things I’ve Learned So Far

I recently turned 26. Goodbye, quarter life crisis! Hello, glorious new year of awkward transitional 20s. (Don’t listen to me. I love my 20s.)

Taken on my bday. I am not 22.

Taken on my bday. I am not 22.

I don’t feel older, but I do feel more adult. There are still many regards in which I do not, but some things (liking chocolate doughnuts with rainbow sprinkles and YA books, for instance) will never change. I look forward to the next year of growth and experiment, and in the meantime present a handdrawn list of 26 things I have learned in recent years (inspired in equal parts by Laekan Zea Kemp’s traditional bday blog post and the 7 Things I’ve Learned So Far column in Writer’s Digest). Typed list follows for ease of reading.

26 things ive learned so far - 2 doc size

26 Things I’ve Learned So Far

1. Beauty, like humor, is subjective.
2. It’s better to buy one thing you need than two you don’t (even if the two things are cheaper).
3. True motivation can only come from within. You have to want something for yourself.
4. Everything you don’t absolutely need in order to exist is a luxury. Notice it. Appreciate it.
5. No two people, living or deceased, experience the world exactly the same way.
6. Life is a series of choices. You will have to make them.
7. No effort is wasted if we learn from it.
8. Love is free. Give it openly and make the world a better place—one smile, one affirmation, one kindness at a time.
9. People are sponges. You are what you eat, read, watch, do, listen to, associate with.
10. Don’t rely on other people to make your life meaningful. Make your own meaning. (But do let others add to it.)
11. Choose commitments with care.
12. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can anybody else?
13. Stress is a sign of growth. It means you are out of your comfort zone.
14. It is better to fail than to not even try.
15. Kindness can move mountains.
16. A person who shames others for loving something is arrogant and narrow-minded.
17. Confidence is everything.
18. Don’t judge a shirt by the way it looks on the hanger.
19. Small luxuries bring great joy.
20. Surround yourself with people you admire.
21. Remove yourself from negative/draining influences.
22. Pursue the things that energize you.
23. Keep electronics higher than liquids.
24. If you want more time, change how you spend it.
25. The longer you look, the more you see.
26. ENK (Everyone Needs Kindness).

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19 thoughts on “26 Things I’ve Learned So Far

  1. Julie – that is absolutely beautiful! I have no doubt the rest of your 20’s will be awesome with that wonderful outlook you have! Happy 26th Year! ❤️

    • In the way of artworks of one’s own one could frame, a set of life lessons does feel on the less self-important side 😉 But rather than do that, I will probably start a new list for 27.

      Thank you for your kind words!

  2. Never mind frame it Julie, sell it – beautifully worked. I’d certainly buy a framed print and I’m sure many others would. I looked for something to argue with but couldn’t disagree with your 26 so I’ll just add ‘Never eat berries from low branches.’

    • Really?? You might be inflating my ego a bit, Roy 😉 But I suppose one never knows until one creates a Deviant Art account or something like it… At any rate thank you for your very flattering words!

      And wise observation re: the berries.

  3. I turned 26 recently too! I kind of had a crisis of the I’m-nearing-thirty-and-haven’t-accomplished-anything variety. For some reason, I’ve set 30 as a goal for when I want to be published. Four years to go…

    • Summer baby? Happy belated! 🙂

      There’s just something about 30. That number is floating around in the back of my mind too, though I try to reason with myself that there is a limit to what’s in my hands to accomplish. Publishing takes a long time and there are many legs to it!

      All said though, I do think it’s good to have goals like that to work toward. Pressure is my favorite frenemy.

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