22 Things I've Learned By 22

As my birthday approaches, I felt inspired to put together a list of the things I've learned at 22. It's crazy to me to even say that number, and even crazier to think that I'm getting older and there's really no turning back. It hasn't always been a smooth-sailing ride, and notably life will continue to have its ups and down. But hey, there's nothing wrong with that. Growing up, I think I've always imagined a different life than the one I have right now. As I get older every year and encounter different experiences and situations, a part of that life I fantasized about as a kid fades away bit by bit. Reality sets in, and sometimes it's harsh. There's no such thing as having an easy life. You pick and choose your battles. You have the power to decide who and what hurts you. Just remember to never stop being grateful. Here are 22 things I've learned at 22:

1. Always check on your parents, and remind them that you love them. Time does fly faster when you’re older, so it’s important to cherish every moment with them.

2. Experiences are worth more than material goods.

3. Learning to love yourself should always be a priority no matter what.

4. Always be the bigger person, whenever possible.

5. But also know when to be selfish—pursue what you truly deserve.

6. If you’re thinking of reconnecting with old friends, just do it even if you think it’s going to be awkward. Life is too short and you have nothing to lose—you have good intentions.

7. Allow yourself to step away from toxic situations, places and people that undermine your potential, morals and character.

8. Friends will come and go. It’s a part of life, and it’s totally okay.

9. Health is not something you should take for granted just because you’re “young.” There is no better time to take care of your health than now.

10. That includes mental health. Allocate mental health days!

11. Some things will go south even if you’ve put in your all. It just simply means it’s not meant to be, and isn’t a result of you not being good enough.

12. Don’t allow others to validate you and definitely not through social media.

13. Failures are sometimes blessings in disguise.

14. How someone decides to treat you directly represents how they feel about themselves. Not you.

15. Always be nice to everyone you meet.

16. Check on your friends occasionally to ensure that they’re doing fine, even if they seem like they are.

17. You don’t have to save everyone. But you should always save yourself.

18. The grass will always be greener on the other side, wherever you are. It’s important to be present and treasure the moment.

19. Never harbor or hang onto hate. Even if it hurts your ego, seek to repair the situation.

20. Everyone has their own path in life (and will get there in their own time). Comparison and overthinking is often the root of one’s misery and resentment.

21. Maturity, drive and loyalty are important traits to look out for in a partner.

22. You can’t grow in comfort.