23 Things I’ve Learned by 23

23 things I've learned by 23

Gal Meets Glam dress, Loeffler Randall shoes, J.Crew headband (old)

I’m 23! Doesn’t it seem like only yesterday I was writing last year’s 22 post and yet somehow we’ve crossed another 12 months. This year was a doozy, let me tell you. I thought that 2019 would be the greatest year of my life (thus far) as I finally finished school for at least then next 7+ years and entered the world of adulting after which I always lusted, but that wasn’t the case by a long shot. Graduating from college and trying to figure out the next steps in my life has been excruciating and depressing and I’ve struggled a lot since May. But it’s not always darkness, because I was also published numerous times, became a sports journalist and accepted two different jobs in the legal field. Since I’ve gone through so much over the past year, we may as well get to the 23 things I’ve learned since I turned 23.

  1. Take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself. Since I graduated, I’ve written articles for multiple magazines, worked as a sports reporter for the Star-Advertiser and Hawaii Prep World, became an Outreach Specialist/Pro Bono Coordinator at Legal Aid, and have recently accepted a new opportunity as well as a Sports Clerk position at the Star-Advertiser. Although each opportunity has had its share of challenges, I’m so incredibly thankful for all of them.
  2. Post-college depression hits hard. I’ve been through some pretty ugly episodes with my depression, but the (almost) four months between graduation and my employment at Legal Aid were devastating. A combination of ghosting from every employer + Brandon leaving me for 3 months + leaving my life at Baylor behind was really traumatizing. Seeing my new therapist once a week helped gradually pull me out of my spiral, but it’s still hard and there and I’m still working on it.
  3. Don’t expect to wake up on time after ending an all-nighter with a nap. I wrote my 25 page essay on Shakespeare’s King Lear in 9 hours and then took a “brief” 2 hour nap that went right through my final and paper deadline. Even though I was exhausted, I should have told myself “just don’t do it.”
  4. People aren’t always going to love you the way you want them to. I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.
  5. Long distance friendships are worth the extra effort. After I moved home from Texas, I was worried that all of my friendships would change, but they haven’t! If anything, working harder to stay in touch with my Baylor people (Lo, Jonathan, Stephanie, Leah, Krista, Wilson, Brandon) has only made us closer.
  6. Act confident even when you don’t feel like it. When I was covering high school football, I had to walk into press boxes and on fields where only men and boys resided. I was anxious every time, especially when it came to going up to coaches and players as they were leaving, but acting like it was no big deal ultimately made me feel like I belonged right there with them.
  7. Saving for future goals is much more rewarding than spending. I’ve been saving up my money for New York since the middle of last year and although I’ve wanted to buy numerous clothes or accessories, knowing I’m growing the nest egg for a goal I’m truly excited about is so much more satisfying.
  8. The best nights are the unplanned ones. I spent many a weekend with Parker and my cousin Conor at dinner before going bar hopping and ending up at karaoke together until 4 am and I’ve never had more fun!
  9. Treat yourself once in a while. I know I said that saving is the most fulfilling, but it’s also good to buy yourself something you’ll love every now and then. I bought these gold metallic Loeffler Randall heels after working two weekends and they make me feel like a less psycho Carrie Bradshaw.
  10. Friendships can form in unexpected ways. Over the past year, I’ve made around a dozen of truly wonderful friends who support me and cheer me on from Twitter. I’m so lucky to have found people who are about me and are passionate about the same causes through social media.
  11. Do what’s best for you, even when it’s scary. I’m leaving my job at Legal Aid after only 3 months and while I was (and am!) terrified of what people at my current job think of me, I had to take a chance on the new job I was offered.
  12. Don’t burn bridges. We’re all adults, let’s act like it. And even though you think you’ll never see someone again, the world is much too small to be catty or petty.
  13. Spend as much time as you can with your family. Every day I try to see my grandparents for at least 30 minutes and they recently told me that’s the best part of their days. I know I’ll cherish those moments forever.
  14. Poetry is therapeutic. When I was in the absolute pits the past several months, I was scared that I had completely forgotten how to write poems, but I just started working through my shit by writing again and let me tell you, I did not forget.
  15. People who don’t want to be in your life aren’t worth your time and/or energy. I’m still working on accepting this one.
  16. Cut your damn hair, girl! I allowed my curls to gather an ungodly amount of frizz and damage because I was too lazy to cut it. Now that I’m three inches lighter and snipped some layers in, I’m back to where I wanted my hair to be!
  17. Always say how you feel no matter what. We’re not getting any younger and the Earth is quite literally burning up, so why not be honest with everyone you love?
  18. Hope is a discipline. Mariame Kaba repeats this mantra every time the world appears shittier and more doomed than ever and I’ve started doing the same. There’s no use in giving up or sitting back and watching people suffer as though there’s nothing we can do to help. We could all use a bit of hope, especially now.
  19. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to share your passions. Being an abolitionist who truly cares about incarcerated people isn’t the norm and often gets me into arguments, but their wellbeing and freedom is too important for me to avoid discussions because I’m afraid of people’s reactions.
  20. Never forget about the people who are there for you in the worst times. During one of the darkest parts of my depression, Zach (Reggi’s dad) sent me pictures and videos of Reggi to cheer me up. Even though we don’t talk all the time, those messages and images of my puppy meant the world to me.
  21. Just say yes (when it’s appropriate and consensual, of course). Tonight, my cousin and his partner invited me and my friends to go dancing and to a show with them and although large crowds are usually anxiety-inducing for me, I said yes and we danced and drank and had the most fun ever!
  22. It’s never too late to reconnect with old friends or family. My middle school best friend Alli and I recently started talking and hanging out again and getting to share old memories and gossip and support each other as adults who don’t know what the hell we’re doing has brought me so much joy.
  23. Men ain’t shit. Always and forever the absolute truth.
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