23 Things I’ve Learned in 23 Years

I’ve had almost three weeks to ruminate over what I would write for this post. 19 days to be exact. In these past 19 days, my 23rd birthday has come and gone. It waved hi and bye like a old acquaintance you run into at the grocery store, someone who doesn’t bother to stop and chat.

I think Ilana from Broad City said it best when she stated, “23 is such a nothing birthday.”

broad city st. marks
Ilana in Broad City explaining the lack of significance in turning 23.
Image courtesy of brokelyn.com

I’m officially at that age where there’s no special significance tied to turning another year older. And yet I feel like it’s another year where I’ve learned a great deal. For the past few years, I’ve thought about writing a listicle of sorts where I share what I’ve learned in my relatively short existence. I just never got around to it because if you ask me, coming up with over 20 things that I’ve learned is pretty damn hard.

But, this year I’ve decided that I’m going to do it. I’m going to share what I hope is a mixture of universally-experienced lessons and a collection of tidbits about me that shed some light on who I’ve become.

So, here it is. A list of 21, 22, 23 things I’ve learned in 23 years.

  1. Music tackles the seemingly impossible job of solving all problems.
    • There is rarely a time in my daily life when I’m not listening to music. I’ve always leaned on finding ways to fill the silence. I’ve turned to certain songs to pump myself up before a sporting event, to unwind after a long work day, or to grieve over a loss. 
  2. It’s true when they say that some people are a blessing and others a lesson.
  3. Dish soap is not the same thing as dishwasher detergent.
    • I have a soapy kitchen floor to thank for this lesson. 
  4. Even if you’ve logged countless internship hours or you graduated top of your class, sometimes it’s just who you know that will get your foot in the door. 
  5. Forget the buddy system. Be able to do things on your own.
    • One of the best memories I have is walking along the River Seine in Paris by myself, eating gelato and realizing that I had reached a new level of independence. I didn’t need to have someone with me to have a good time. Enjoying life with just yourself is equally as important. 

      Seine river Paris france
      View of my solo walk along the Seine.
  6. FOMO? More like JOMO.
    • That’s the Joy of Missing Out in case you were wondering. 
  7. Running can serve as the greatest stress reliever if you let it.
  8. Age is just a number.
    • Don’t write off someone as a potential friend just because they’re years older or younger than you are. It’s not your age but your character that impacts who you’ll care about the most. 
  9. The worst losses are the unexpected ones.
    • I still remember where I was, what I was wearing, and who I was with when I found out my friend passed away unexpectedly at the tender age of 18. This was the first loss I experienced that taught me that losing the people you love is an unavoidable fact of life.  
  10. You’re not as invincible as you think you are.
    • Up until the age of 20, I had never sustained a serious injury or illness. That all changed the day I decided to go on birth control. That seemingly harmless pill that almost all my close friends were taking ended up putting me in the hospital  with an unexpected pulmonary embolism, a type of blood clot that is potentially fatal if not caught in time. Remember that you’re not invincible, and listen to your body. 
  11. To quote Mean Girls – “Don’t let the haters stop you from doing your thang.”
  12. Find what you’re passionate about and figure out a way to integrate it into your daily life. 
  13. People change, and it’s okay to grow apart from those whom you thought would never leave. 
  14. It’s better to have faith in something than nothing at all. 
    • I grew up Catholic and found myself leaning on this faith even more when I learned my mom was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer. After months of witnessing the effects of radiation and chemotherapy, occasionally driving my mom to appointments, and the nightly prayers I’d say to myself while tucked into bed, she pulled through. Now, there’s no way to know for certain if these prayers contributed to her going into remission, but it sure was comforting to have had a higher power to turn to. 
  15. Travel as often as you can because I guarantee some of your favorite memories will come out of spontaneous trips, family vacations, and same-day venturings. 
  16. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with a stranger. 
  17. Self-expression in any form is a good thing, whether it’s through playing an instrument, dying your hair, or finally getting that tattoo you’ve been daydreaming about. 
    • My parents may dislike them, but I don’t regret a single one of my tattoos I’ve gotten over the years. In fact, I want more because they highlight who I am, what I’ve gone through, and what matters to me the most. 

      florida atlantic ocean
      Look closely and you’ll see my most recent tattoo of the Prague skyline on my inner arm, a city that serves as the backdrop for some of my favorite memories.
  18. Fear of failure is normal, but it shouldn’t stop you from doing something you love. 
    • I’m still learning to get over this fear, but it’s a slow and steady process. 
  19. Coffee is a necessity. 
  20. If someone offers you a shot when you’re already intoxicated, please for the love of God turn it down. 
  21. Wear sunscreen even when it’s overcast. 
  22. Do not put off going to the doctor.
    • I put off going to the doctor when I went on the pill and although I’ve already said this once before in this post, I’ll say it again. Listen to your body. 
  23. No one makes it in life on their own. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t hesitate to lend a helping hand. 

 

-Morgan

 

 

 

 

 

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