HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

Happy Monday, guys! My birthday was actually yesterday but I try not to post on the weekends, so here we are. I turned 24 this weekend, and like most of my life, things didn’t go according to plan. Kyle and I had reserved a room at the beach for Saturday night but it ended up raining all day Saturday so we cancelled. Then we were going to make it a Sunday day-trip but I woke up so sick Sunday morning, so I didn’t actually leave the house until 2 or 3 pm. No beach. No downtown drankin’. But it’s okay. Kyle went to the store and brought back Italian bread and Nutella, chocolate, and flowers, and I got to catch up on Jane the Virgin all day. (If you watch it, THE MICHAEL EPISODE RIPPED MY LITTLE HEART OUT.) Then we ended up leaving to do some shopping and get dinner. All in all, it was a nice day.

A few months shy of yesterday, I had started pondering on what I’ve learned in the last year, and the last 24 years as a whole, and I decided to make a whole list for you guys. I’ve grown a lot as a person and I can quite literally feel myself accepting things for what they are, and growing content with who I am becoming, and where my life seems to be headed. If you’re in the same boat, I think you’ll be able to relate.

1. As a teenager or young adult, I felt like I allowed myself to be pushed around a lot. I settled for mistreatment because the relationship that was attached to that was worth more than my feelings and self-esteem. I’ve come to  realize that I’d rather be alone and have no friends at all than to sit around feeling like garbage because I’m surrounding myself with bad people who don’t understand the package deal that I am. (In a relationship, chronic illness, anxiety, etc.) I might be a little more high maintenance than most because of these things, but that doesn’t mean I have to settle for shit when it comes to who I am “friends” with.

2.  Balance is my key to happiness. A lot of people see happiness as an end goal, but really, I think it’s a decision we make every day. To let negativity roll off our shoulders, to find the silver linings, to get out of bed even when we don’t want to. I’ve found that I’m most depressed after spending days indoors, or eating nothing but junk food, or spending way too much time away from home, running around like a crazy person. I need to  balance my chocolate with celery. Travel with binge watching Netflix, indoors with outdoors, having a stable home and career that I get to leave for travel and freelance work whenever I have the opportunity, you get it. That’s what makes me feel whole. Balance is my key. That’s my happiness.

3. I am investing in myself.  I am my greatest tool in this world, and I want to always be increasing my value. I want to learn more, do more, see more, put more out into the world so I can gain more opportunities in return.

4. THE THREE DAY RULLLLLLLE! This saved my life. I am 100% a impulse shopper. It is THE main reason there are so many “donation” bags full of things in my house at the moment. But I saw something online where they talked about a 3-day rule: if you still want it (or even remember it) after 3 days, then you can buy it. It’s cut my shopping down by a lot, and I’m purchasing things I’ll actually wear and actually like.

5. Buy secondhand. If you’re 24, chances are you aren’t a homeowner yet. Or you’re not where you’ll be for the rest of your life, anyways. Buy your furniture secondhand! It can make your space so much more charming if you do, and you can save so much more money. This goes for clothes too – a lot of people write off secondhand shopping because “wearing other people’s clothes is weird” but it’s really not. And you can find really cool shit at your local thrift shop or Plato’s Closet.

6. PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE. If you’re a creative type and want to make something out of yourself in that way, you have got to put yourself out there! The people you want to see you won’t always be able to just find you, sometimes they need a shove in the right direction. Send e-mails, make connections with the right people, don’t be afraid of the word “no”, and gain some real world experience. There are so many people building their own empires, you can find your in anywhere.

7. For God’s sake, find a foundation that matches your skin tone. This year I did that, and it’s been life changing, ok? I can contour without looking dirty, I can build on top of it without looking like I’m wearing “so much makeup” and it’s just better for everyone. Who cares if it the container of foundation looks actually white? Acceptance, people. Just accept your pale face for what it is.

8. Your family is important. Yes you’re young,  you’re on your own, it’s exciting. But family will always be there and you can’t take it for granted! call your parents, see your grandparents, and keep in touch with your cousins.

9. Don’t wear a bra if you don’t want to. Regardless of my sometimes conservative values regarding the feminism thing since Trumps election into office, I have been incredibly inspired by it. And by inspired, I mean, I still feel sexy even if I haven’t shaved my legs in a few days(ahem,  weeks)and I am looking for ways to not wear a bra left and RIGHT, people. I’m not looking to walk around with x’s over my nipples in black electrical tape, but like, I’m just not that worried about bras anymore. For some reason, wearing a bra was always linked to being appropriate in my brain. Like if I was going to work, I had to wear a bra. Why are my boobs inappropriate? Why do they have to look a certain way in my shirts? Now, I still wear bralettes and regular bras for support because lettin’ em hang sometimes isn’t the most comfortable.. but ugh.  Let’s move to Europe and kiss everyone on the cheeks and go to nude beaches.

10. Real experience > education. Sometimes. Other times, it gives you a seeeerious upper hand. Regardless, experience is necessary and can make or break you when an opportunity comes your way! I am trying to gather all the experience I can before I go back to school, and it’ll make both classes AND getting a job 10x easier.

11. Not everyone likes you, and it’s fine. I don’t know where we get it twisted that we’re on this Earth to please everyone else? Like.. what? Hayell no. I am here for me. I am here to learn, grow, experience shit, and do what I want to. I am not here to make you like me, I am here to make me like me. Because at the end of the day, have to live with me, notchu. If you end up liking me, and vice versa, then we can be friends, cool. But if not, I. ain’t. worried. bout. it.

12. Finding acceptance is sweet. For a long time, I’ve been trying to fight who I am so I can be what I feel like I should be. I’m in my early twenties and “I never go out, I never have fun, I never get drunk” I mean, I don’t have kids. These are my fun years, I should be doing these things, right? Staying up until 4am, drinking and eating whatever I want? It took me a long time to realize that, no, I was not dealt those cards. I was dealt the chronic illness card, the anxious when drunk card, the falls asleep at 10pm card, and that’s fine! Everyone has their bad cards, and mine just affect my life in that way a little more than someone else’s might. It is what it is for me, and I’m enjoying my life, regardless.

13. Learn something new!  It’s always a good time to learn. Even if it’s just how to sew on a button or cook a new meal, or learn self-defense. Take painting classes. Learning these little things helps you to not… run to your mom every time something goes wrong –  and hobbies make you interesting.

14. Get a pet. I know a lot of parents scoff at the idea that a pet is any sort of preparation for children, but in a way, it really is! It’s not nearly what having kids is like,  but you do have to think  of your pet before you think of yourself when it comes to feeding them and traveling. And pets are just awesome. I love my cat, he’s da bomb. He gives me a sense of responsibility and I have to keep him alive, you know? I think every young adult should have one.

15. Don’t hold a grudge. This is something I’ve been working on for a long time, because I strongly believe in grudge-holding. HAHA. To me, I just feel like if you are a bad person, I will always think of you as such. Whether you wronged me personally, or someone I know. And I don’t want to be surrounded by bad people with bad motives and lack of morals. But I’m trying to get away from that, and start thinking of everyone as simply human. We all have good and bad things about us and sometimes the less favorable one shows.  That doesn’t mean we’re bad people. I think we are all innately decent, and life just has its way of molding us into a combination of qualities. In some people that bad ones are more prominent, but that doesn’t mean that deep down, they don’t have feelings or guilt. Unless they’re a sociopath but you get what I’m trying to say.

16. Have more fun! This is part of my anxiety thing, for sure. I used to be so totally fearless, but in a moment where I actually thought I was dying, a lot changed. And now I seem to always talk myself out of doing things I know I really want to do. So now that most of my anxiety has seemed to back off some, I want to focus more on what I was doing 2-3 years ago: having fun. (I mean, along with getting my shit together, but you know, balance.)

17. Know your bra size! I know this totally contradicts my bra point from before, but I say this more in terms of getting your shit together than anything else. Wear clothes that fit you, throw away underwear that are old and holey and dingy, and get sized for a bra that fits, dammit. Even if its just one bra that hides in the back of your underwear drawer that you only wear when you want to throw your cleavage out to the world.

18. Get cultured. You don’t have to spend time in other countries to be cultured, but knowing that your way of life is not the only way on the planet will help. Be educated, learn to speak, learn about art history (it’s just as important than any other kind of history) appreciate the history of other countries (America isn’t THAT old!), learn another language, and be self aware. You’re a grown up.

19. Eat for a reason. As your body gets older, it gets harder to  keep it in shape and we can’t just eat because we feel like it. Feed yourself with intention, not for your taste buds! Also, do what I say, not what I do. I’m still trying to knock this one into my hard skull. #pizzapls

20.  I’m starting to get more and more worried about the prospects of having a baby. Maybe because I’ve known several people to have some kind of trouble with it.. I think that paired with my illness and slew of medications and complications makes me even more nervous. I know it’s something I shouldn’t worry about until I cross that bridge, but it’s something that just sits in the back of my head. I know once I am “in remission” I will likely stay there through a pregnancy, but I don’t know. I’m 24 now, and nowhere closer to being in remission so how much longer do we wait? Obviously until after marriage and starting a career, but what if I’m not at a stable point by then? A lot of “what ifs”, I know.

21. Meditation can do more for you than you think! I started meditating last year and it’s been so amazing to see what it does for my sleep and stress! It doesn’t have to be the stereotypical sitting cross legged and repeated your ohms, once you have a basic understanding of what it is and the objective, you can do it wherever you need and for however long. I meditate the most before I go to bed, because otherwise, I’ll be up for hours thinking about the millions of things I need to do, am in the middle of doing, or already did and am embarrassed of. It gives me a change to relax, focus on just my breathing, and eventually I am relaxed enough to fall asleep.

22. Expand your visions! There are so many opportunities for us all to be doing something that we love. We just have to find it and put in the work! Don’t settle for being a “weekend warrior” living for the weekends is no way to live! You will spend so much of your adult life at WORK. Make sure it’s something you really enjoy. 

23. Save your money. My job right now is a “contracted” position, so I fill out a 1099, not a w-2. So I have to  set aside money for taxes throughout the year and I don’t get a tax return. Which is fine, but am I disciplined enough to save my money? No. So now I’m in a position where I owe almost a thousand dollars but I AIN’T GOT IT. Don’t be stupid, you’re an adult, save you’re damn money. Don’t you want to buy a house? Have kids? Yeah. Thank God  for tax extensions and side-hustles!

24. Take more pictures. We’re in a place, now, technologically, where most everyone has the ability to take photos. A lot of people will say things along the lines of, “oh, well, I just wanted to take the moment in and not worry about getting the perfect photos because technology gets in the way and no one appreciates what’s in front of them and wah wah wah” but, like, what? It takes three seconds to take a photo, a few minutes maybe if you want to be in it, that’s not a lot of time! You can spend however long wherever you’re at to “take in your moment” TAKE THE DAMN PICTURE. Memories are worth it. Are we’re able to make so many memories, why don’t we? For our kids? for their kids? I’d love to see what kind of life my grandmother had growing up, or her mother, but there aren’t many photos of that. I don’t even think I’ve seen any of her before she was an adult. Even of my own parents, all they have are stories. Which is fine, but what if, one day, I’m not around to tell the stories? I hope my photos will have been passed down and my great grand children and beyond will all know of me and my husband and our pets and our life. Make alllllll the memories, guys.

Thanks for reading, guys! I hope this list inspired you, made you think, or gave you a little perspective.

xo,  k

14 Comments

  1. Happy birthday! You have your head on pretty straight for 24 years old, it took me awhile longer than that to learn some of those lessons. 🙂

    • Kaleigh Reply

      hahaha, thank you! I’ve had to deal with some less-than-amazing things and I think that has definitely matured me beyond my years!

  2. Nice idea for a post! 🙂 I have my 24th tomorrow. Maybe I should start following your three day rule. Haha. I can only imagine how much money that could save! During last couple weeks we’ve been selling old stuff of ours and oh my, when did I bought all those things?

    • Kaleigh Reply

      Thank you! Happy Birthday to you! The three day rule has SAVED ME. I totally recommend it!

  3. Happy birthday, Kaleigh! You’ve learned so much in 24 years. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. xoxo

    • Kaleigh Reply

      Thanks Beth! I feel like I really have learned so much! Thanks for reading & leaving some love! <3

  4. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! This list is wonderful! I would also challenge you to make annual bucket lists. I did that (now mine are more decade specific), but I got to do some pretty glorious things in my 20’s because I focused on them. I broke a world record…went on my first cruise…tried some pretty crazy recipes. I’ve had a wealth of experiences because I didn’t let the impossibilities of it all hold me back. The older you get, the more life goes by in a flash. Before you know it, you’ll be like me…10 years older and wondering where the time went. lol. 24 seems like yesterday and I was so much cooler then! 😀

    • Kaleigh Reply

      Thank youuu!! That sounds AWESOME. I have like.. a “life” bucket list but making it for the year would probably ensure they get done! Good for you, oh my gosh! A world record?! How much fun! I’m sure you’re still cool 😉

  5. Aww I just made a list very similar to this, except it was 25 at 25! I love your writing, not to mention this topic. It’s so fun to reflect on birthdays or on NYE. I LOVE #2- and am going through this still. It’s hard for me to let people go out of my life, but sometimes you have to do what’s right for YOU and put yourself first. Sometimes friends don’t grow with you and that’s okay, but if they are holding me back from doing what I do best, I’m learning to let go. Thanks for sharing! Enjoyed reading this list 😀

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