Last year around this time, I wrote down 23 lessons I learned while I was 23. In the spirit of tradition (and the spirit of growing older AND wiser), here are 24 lessons I learned about myself and life in general while I was 24:
1. When I pray for patience, God gives me opportunities to be patient, not actual patience. I suppose this supports the give a man a fish vs. teach a man to fish proverb.
2. Sometimes, it’s okay to go to bed with dishes in the sink. They will be harder to clean the next day, but the world will not come to an end.
3. Likewise, sometimes it’s okay to go to bed angry. Most people will tell you the opposite, but I beg to differ. It’s rare, but sometimes you need a full eight hours of sleep to get over your stubbornness and wake up with a fresh perspective and a forgiving heart. I actually learned this a few times while I was 24 (sorry Brett).
4. It’s never too early to plan for the future, because there is often significant joy to be found in that.
5. Sometimes God brings people into my life for a short season. Not every friendship is meant to last forever, and the quicker I accept that, the better.
6. Most friendships won’t last forever. And, that’s life.
7. My grandparents are a wealth of knowledge. Why it took me 24 years to figure this out is beyond me.
8. First world problems are not real problems, and I should not treat them as such.
9. When you give to God, he gives back (Malachi 3:10).
10. Photography is art. I’m sure there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it, but if you like your work at the end of the day, that’s what matters. If other people do too, that’s even better.
11. Saving money for two years to spend it over 12 days is totally worth it when you’re going to Greece.
12. Date nights in > date nights out.
13. I, and only I, am responsible for my attitude. Having said that, I’ve learned that choosing joy is a lot easier when you surround yourself with those who choose joy as well.
14. I believe my life was meant to be shared with others, both offline and online. If God blessed me with a gift for communication, I should use it.
15. You cannot ask or expect other people to apologize for who they are.
16. Sometimes, Facebook is the devil.
17. My life is often too safe and too loud. Goal for 25? More quiet, and more risks.
18. I’m the kind of person who would rather not be your friend than be a bad friend.
19. Sometimes things have to get messy and ugly and absolutely terrible before they get better.
20. No matter how much I plan, and think about planning, and discuss my plan with others, it’s really up to God how that plan unfolds. The peace in that is immeasurable.
21. I believe I was meant to be a lot of things. A storyteller. A dreamer. A writer. An artist of sorts. But nothing compares to how sure I am that I am meant to be a mother some day.
22. Nobody will ever, ever believe in me or support me more than Brett does. Marriage is such a gift in that way, and one that I do not ever want to take for granted.
23. There is no greater feeling than laughing until you cry. Especially in a group where everyone is laughing just as hard.
24. Attaining simplicity is not very simple, but completely worth the effort to make it so.