I love everything about Taylor Swift and I love birthdays, so I’m pretty excited about this next year of life. Last year, I celebrated by getting a few of my favorite people together and volunteered at Feed My Starving Children and then, of course, got half-off apps at Applebee’s. It was the start of a truly great year. In my 21st year of life, I have gotten engaged, graduated from college a semester early, landed my dream internship, got married, and moved into a new apartment. I laughed a lot, cried a lot, and experienced everything fully. I met people I will cherish for the rest of my life and I started the most amazing journey I’ve ever been on. It’s been wonderful.
As I look forward to 22, I hope to continue to live life to the fullest and cherish every moment. I hope to love more deeply and laugh more often. I hope to stay true to myself always and never settle for less than my best. I hope I learn more and find out what I want to do with the rest of my life. I don’t really know where I’m going to end up at the end of the year, but I hope it’s somewhere beautiful (Minneapolis, please?) and with my favorite guy by my side.
Last year, I wrote this blog post about 20 things I learned when I was 20, and I want to do the same this year. Twenty-one was a really good year for me, and I was able to learn a lot, so here we go!
Twenty-one things I learned when I was 21 (in no particular order):
- Satan created wedding planning and the wedding is just one day. Focus more on planning for the marriage than planning for the party.
- Your wedding day will truly be the most joyful day of your life. Cherish every second because it does go by very quickly!
- Distance sucks, whether it is between friends or partners, but if you find someone worth fighting it for – fight like mad and hold onto them with all you’ve got because they are truly special.
- God loves people far deeper than I ever could, and His grace is more than enough for any one of us – so I have no room to judge whatsoever.
- If you work very hard on something, you won’t care what other people think about it as long as it is something you’re proud of in the end.
- Good roommates are hard to find. When you find them, put off working on your senior project to talk about mental health in the Bible, go to Taco Bell at midnight, and laugh about your oh-so-whimsical life. You’re gonna miss them when this season is over.
- Above all else – cherish the people you are with. Goodbyes are hard and they never get easier.
- Leggings aren’t pants, but don’t let that stop you from wearing them when slut-shaming and victim-blaming disguised as articles about modesty flood your newsfeed. You are not responsible for the actions of anyone but yourself.
- Find community in what you are passionate about. Staying up until 4 in the morning talking about feminism and destroying rape culture will bring you some of your greatest friends.
- Sometimes, you don’t have the words to say – but sometimes, you do. Words are powerful and they can make someone hold on for another day. Use them wisely.
- It was worth it.
- Just because you can legally do something doesn’t mean you should.
- Disney World is still the most magical place in the world.
- It is important to learn to say “no,” and it is equally as important to learn to accept that as an answer.
- Depression still sucks, and you will be okay. You can make it to tomorrow.
- There are about 500 stages of grief. It’s okay if you’re not as far along as you think you should be.
- “Home” is sometimes a very complicated and difficult word and that’s okay.
- You are worth celebrating.
- Marriage is the most grand and wonderful adventure out there. It doesn’t mean you’re “settling down” or “giving up your life,” it just means you get to add someone else to your adventures. People will tell you that you’re too young and those people are wrong.
- Money sucks and there’s never enough of it.
- Being a feminist isn’t easy. It means ripping out the internalized misogyny within yourself and un-learning all that rape culture has taught you. It’s still worth it.