23 Lessons for 23 Years

I have been on this earth for 23 years.

That’s 23 trips around the sun. That’s 1,199 weeks of laughter, life, love, heartbreak, devastation, healing, hope. That’s hundreds of strangers and friends and people who have loved me thoroughly and loyally. That’s villages and towns who have exposed me to who I am and how I can live.

It’s hard to realize I am 23. It seems so much older, wiser than 22. 22 is Taylor Swift’s age, we are “feelin’ 22.” But come 23, I  need to be more mature and have my shit together — or so I think.

In honor of 23 years, here are 23 life lessons I’ve jotted down:

  1. We almost never get what we want, but certainly what we need.
  2. Taco Tuesday is good for the soul.
  3. Sometimes it’s OK to go to bed at 9 p.m.
  4. Make new friends and keep the old (shoutout to Girl Scouts).
  5. I must acknowledge and respect I will never be a good dancer.
  6. We make time for the plans, people and places we choose to. There’s simply always enough time if we prioritize.
  7. Jesus will always be good to us.
  8. Pets are therapeutic and I highly recommend dwarf hedgehogs (shoutout to Marcy Jo).
  9. Stay alert on Central/75 because if you don’t, you might rear end someone. He may be the nicest man ever, but sometimes you don’t get so lucky.
  10. It is possible to turn complete strangers into good friends (shoutout to Summit & Fourteen Eighteen friends).
  11. Every now and then, it’s good to wake up to the sunrise and give thanks for this day.
  12. Escape your home from time to time, it’s simply nice to get away and re-set.
  13. It’s good to be aware of mental illness and how to help those who struggle with it.
  14. Never doubt yourself. You can and will do good things, I just know it.
  15. Even though it’s not good for you, midnight snacks can be so satisfactory.
  16. School is important — not more important than sleep and Christ, but be devoted.
  17. Turn off the phone and laptop now and then. Recharge your mind, body and spirit.
  18. Eating healthy will almost always make you feel better, even if you’re a little hangry.
  19. Forgive and forget. Or fake it until you make it.
  20. Likewise, reconciliation is so very important for your mental and emotional health. See #4, keep the old.
  21. Therapy is good for everyone.
  22. Jesus saves. Give into that grace and pass it onto others.
  23. Birthdays are important, we get a chance to recognize the closing of a whole year and welcome the hope of a new one.

I will still learn and grow.

Odds are, if Jesus lets me, I’ll be around for 23+ more years. That many years to make mistakes and have fun. That many years to be a bit naive and a bit risky. That many years to receive grace and give it, even though that’s not my innate reaction.

23+ more years to find myself and lose myself at the same time. 23+ more years to show kindness to strangers, colleagues and friends. 23+ more years to know good things can happen through me and to me.

Let’s celebrate each trip around the sun. Let’s celebrate each moment that’s led up to this very second of you reading this post. Let’s celebrate life!

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