22 Things I’ve Learned in 22 Years

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February 2017, I turned 22. These are 22 things I’ve learned in 22 years.

1. walk

I am a clumsy child growing up. I lost count of how many bandages I used, but I learned the importance of walking. I do not have a car, nor a driver’s license, therefore I walk everywhere. Walking is therapeutic. Taking long walks is calming and thought-provoking, not to mention, it is healthy.

2. listen to music

Can we live without music? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Music is such an essential part of our lives. Music is the greatest companion when you are cooking, studying, partying, talking, reading or drinking coffee. A quick Google search tells me there are over 50 genres of music in the world. I am amazed! My music taste has changed over time, some of my current favorite genres are deep/tropical house, a bit of EDM, folk, soul, acoustic, contemporary R&B, and of course, some pop. What is your favorite genre? On another note, if you have not listened to La La Land’s soundtrack album, you need to listen to it on Spotify right now!

3. family

Learn to appreciate and love your family. Your parents and siblings are the only people that will always have your back and love you unconditionally NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS. Hold their hands. Hug them. And tell them how much you love them.

4. read

I hate reading growing up. I didn’t start to appreciate reading until high school. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky were life changing for me. The next few books I would like to read are The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

5. have fun

No matter what you do, don’t forget to have fun.

6. appreciate art

Go to art museums and galleries. Draw with your hands. Take pictures. Art is everywhere waiting to be discovered.

7. dream big

All dreams are achievable. Why not dream big?

8. have big talks

Have big talks with people. People start conversations by saying, “oh the weather is nice today, what do you do for a living, or did you watch the Oscars last night?” Instead, talk about your dreams, ask questions like “where do you see yourself in five years, what is your next great adventures, or what are you thankful for at this moment?” I was inspired by Kalina Silverman’s TEDx Talk  to have more big talks with people. Try it!

9. watch movies

Watching movies is an awesome and easy way to experience emotions, gain new knowledge, understand different perspectives, and find inspirations. Some of my favorites are About Time, Catch Me If You Can and Up In The Air.

10. cook

Cooking is so fun, but annoying. Going to grocery store, picking supplies, carrying the bags home in busy NYC, putting everything is the fridge and dwelling at how much money I just spent…no just kidding. Although, the process may be complicated and even a bit daunting,  the result is worthy. I love the feeling of seeing bowls and plates of food I spend hours working on. Hard work pays off when I put a fork full of food into my mouth.

11. believe yourself

If you ask my friends or family, they will all tell you I am one of the most insecure and self-conscious person they know. I am still working on building my confidence. A few good ways are surrounding yourself with people that encourage you, setting realistic goals for yourself and learning about yourself through education and experiences.

12. be on your own

I had a life-changing moment when I was 12. I moved from Taiwan to New York without my parents and siblings. The story is for another blog post (please let me know if you would like to read about it). The experience was not short-term, and this year will be my tenth year of moving away from my family. I have not regret it, not even a little bit. This experience led me to become independent, learn my strengths and weaknesses, be more observant and love myself.

13. everything gets better

I want to be completely honest with you and tell you there were moments in my life when I thought things would not get any better, and the world was against me. I WAS SO WRONG. Things got better, in fact, everything would be better if I believed they would. Think positively and start acting!

14. travel

Travel! Travel! Travel! No matter it is a road trip from New York to Maine or a plane ride to Australia, no matter how far or how close, they all count as traveling. I cannot stress the importance of traveling. I am so fortunate to have been able to travel since I was an infant (although, I probably slept for most of it). My point is traveling brought so much joy and great memories (and stress management) to my life. I learned about so many different cultures through their histories, food, architectures and people.

15. everything gets better after high school

Dear high school, please do not get offended. You did not do anything wrong. I will admit, I did not like high school. By the time I was a senior in high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do for my future and became distant with all my friends. Thanks to my amazing teachers and art for getting me through my last year. If I could go back to my 17-year-old self, I would tell her, “stop thinking what others think of you, stop worrying and start focusing on the things you truly love.”

16. some friends will not stay in your life forever

Not every friend you made and became close with will stay in your life forever. It is okay to let some of them go. Friendship is born around trust, love, understanding and common interests. You will make new friends, and they are going to be the most spectacular people you have ever met. Trust them, love them, listen to them and learn from them.

17. less is more

I learned this one the hard way -every time I had to pack up my belongings and move. Those moments were the ones when I just wanted to throw everything away and leave everything behind. I am still trying to live that minimalist life. To start, I need to understand the value in each item I own. In Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, she discusses the importance of understanding the value of each item you own and asking yourself a question, “does it bring you joy?” If an object does not spark joy, let it go. Think about it, this philosophy applies to everything in our lives.

18. mac > windows

Sorry to windows lovers.

19. bake

Baking is FUN! Three things: get your hands dirty, do not care about the amount of sugar and butter you use, and mix all wet ingredients FIRST before you put in the dry ingredients. Most importantly, have fun!

20. tell someone you care about them

Only took me 20 years to realized how important it is to tell people in your life how much you care about them. Your voice is powerful. Use it for the best words you could tell someone.

21. love

Try to love. Do it! You will laugh, tear, learn, fight, reconcile, worry, anticipate so much, that you fall deeply in love. It is worthy. Love is love.

22. if you want something, go get it

I have been telling myself, “if you want something, go get it” (bonus point if you know which movie this quote is from) every single day. The only person that is ever going to stop you is YOU. Do you want that internship, job, girlfriend/boyfriend, acceptance from your dream school, vacation, startup…you get the point. Now, get off your couch, turn off your TV, close Facebook/Instagram/YouTube, and let’s go get it!

Thank you for reading! Please share your thoughts with me 🙂

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