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20 Life Tips from a 20-Year-Old

 Over my past two decades experiencing life, I’ve become quite the expert at pretending I know what I’m doing. Jokes aside, here are 20 philosophies I’ve grown to live by:

  1. Life’s way too short to be anything less than your true self. I had to learn how to stop caring what people thought of me, and my life has been better ever since. In all cases, all places, be wildly, fully, and unapologetically yourself. Color your hair like the rainbow, wear glitter as an outfit staple, layer pattern on pattern on pattern. Do YOU! Say how you feel, do as you please, stand up for what you believe in, do no harm and take no shit. Be who you want to be, just please be anything but boring.
  2. Take risks. Take a lot of them. Nothing great ever started in a comfort zone. No breathtaking tales ever started with “That one time, in my safe place…” Do one thing that scares you every day, I promise you’ll have stories to tell, a widely vibrant life, and memories to keep in your heart. Safety nets are over. Take a leap to the other side of fear; fulfillment.
  3. Question everything! Don’t take things at face value, don’t believe something to be true just because it was told to you. Think freely, don’t be bullied into a certain train of thought. Choose carefully and with a steady mind what you believe in. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll learn and how great of a thinker you’ll become when you navigate truth for yourself.
  4. Zero in on your passions. The time to find your soul path is NOW. No more time to waste. You know the quote, find what you love and let it kill you, DO THAT! Well, don’t die, but completely immerse yourself in what you love. Direct your energy, positivity and soul toward what makes your heart beat a little faster. Follow it. Fight for it.
  5. Always stop and look at the flowers. Appreciate the small stuff (but mainly the flowers). Take your nose out of your phone and appreciate the beauty that surrounds you every day. Even when it’s rainy or in the dead of winter. Stop and look at the sunset. Stop and look at the falling leaves. Make a snow angel. Slow down. Love what is around you, notice its unmistakably miraculous presence. Keep that beauty in your heart.
  6. Always be kinder than you have to be. Compliment others whenever you can, you never know when someone might desperately need that kind word. Life’s hard. Being a human is hard. Help others through your unconditional kindness. (Believe me, the people that are the hardest to be kind to usually need it the most). Hold a door open, volunteer more, pick up litter, flash a smile, genuinely ask people about their days, anything that tells other people that they are not alone. Always go that extra mile. Cross an ocean, cross a puddle, do what it takes.
  7. Pick a signature, practice it, perfect it and always sign your name with flair. Really, pretend like you are famous and signing autographs. It’s your name! It’s basically a profile picture for the special combination of letters that make up who you are. Make it hot.
  8. It’s better an ‘oops’ than a ‘what if’. Living with regret is the absolute worst. At least you’ll know you actually went for it instead of living in fear. “Oops” are essential parts of life to develop character. So what if you don’t succeed right away. It’s all in the effort, all in the guts to put yourself out there. I have many many many oops’ and they all make me who I am.
  9. Curate a kick-ass playlist. Music is truly aqua vitae. It determines moods, makes you feel all the emotions at once (if you’re listening to the right stuff). Take your tunes seriously. Listen until you feel invincible and then share it with those you love.
  10. Pick a style element that is uniquely you. Whether it’s a special lipstick, hairstyle or accessory, perfect it and let it become a part of your essence.
  11. Cherish and cultivate friendships. They are so so important. Make your friends feel loved, make them feel like family, make them feel like they’re the most important people in the world when you’re with them. On that same note, don’t be shy to foster those family relationships too. (Who said your mom can’t be your bestie?)
  12. Treat your body like a temple. Treat yourself like royalty. No one should be your biggest hype man but you. Support yourself, push yourself towards greatness, love yourself, don’t ever think negatively of yourself. Be your own best friend always. Eat right, stay active, practice self-care, rest your mind and do what brings you peace.
  13. Know when it’s time to cross bridges and burn them as you go. Some toxic people cannot be saved. You need to think of yourself when some people become too negative to bear. Let the bridges you burn light the way to your happiness. Drop the people who don’t give you the love you deserve.
  14. …but also know when to turn around, put the fire out and make amends. Forgive when you can. It helps not only them, but also yourself. Admit when you’re wrong, try to put yourself in their shoes and be strong. Really, the best way to kill an enemy is to make them your friend.
  15. Write it all out. Create constantly. Document your life. It’s calming. It’s art. It’s a story of your life told through your own eyes. It is a story worth telling. It is one that can be among the ranks of the Odyssey or the Illiad, if only you get yourself to put pen to paper. Words make you immortal, you can live forever through your writing.  You or your story will never be forgotten.
  16. Say ‘I love you.’ Say it a lot. No, it doesn’t have to be romantic love. It can be the purest, best kind of love, the love that comes from human understanding. We all need to know that we are loved. Say it out loud and manifest it for everyone on your life’s journey.
  17. Laugh at yourself. My God, please laugh. Life is too funny. No one’s perfect. You will mess up an innumerable amount of times (if you’re human), and laughter makes those times better. Find funny in the terribly unfunny. Honestly, we’re all miraculously living on a wet marble floating through space, so why not laugh. Nothing’s ever too serious.
  18. Work your hardest at all you do. Always be a little extra. Doesn’t matter if you’re waiting tables or making a PowerPoint for your throw-away 1 credit class. Work hard. Do your best always, because then your best will become a habit. Work for what you want. Anything that comes easy is not worth having.
  19. Sing and dance more. Even if you can’t sing or dance (yours truly). Be the life of every party. Draw attention to your fabulous self. Be the elephant in every room. Own the spotlight, wear the crown. Have all the fun while you can, steal the show.
  20. Fear no past. Embrace all of the future. Live your life like someone left the gate wide open. Vivaciously, efflorescently live. Forgive yourself for the past, it is a place of reference not residence. Welcome a prosperous future built by your love for life. But always live wholeheartedly in the magnificent ‘now.’


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