12 things i’ve learned and 12 things i haven’t at 24

Holy moly I’m 24! What?? That’s hard for me to fathom. This is the age a younger me would have dreamed to be engaged. I would not have ever thought I’d be in undergrad still, but hey, I actually like myself these days…which is pretty cool. I’m lucky to go to bed proud of myself instead of mulling over anxieties and regrets like I used to. It’s rad. I don’t propose to be someone who knows anything about anything, but I have done a bunch of therapy and know that I’ve grown immensely in recent years. I’m still a dingus in most ways, but I have learned a lot in my life thus far, and I figured there was no harm in sharing those lil lessons. At 24 years old, I have learned —

  1. not to be a bully
    • If you knew me as a young, angry whippersnapper, you may know that I was not always nice to others. Now, that is not to say that girls shouldn’t feel empowered to stand up for themselves and to speak their mind — don’t get me wrong. When I was younger, though, I was incapable of directing my insecurity and self-loathing through healthy outlets of expression, so a lot of times I resorted to being a rage monster. I could be brutally argumentative and viciously mean, and I hate to think about that. I really, really hate to think about those times. I’m sorry to anyone reading who might have even been targeted by that rage at one point or another, and I mean that. Being rude is never the answer. You can always find a better way to convey your message and effect the results you want than to attempt to do so by being a bully. I try to lead with kindness these days, and I hope that shows.
  2. to go to therapy
    • I think everyone would benefit from having a therapist. Therapy is what has helped me on my journey to being a functional human the most. Plus, if you go repeatedly, once you get past the rough patch of confronting old traumas and demons, it’s actually quite fun to have a paid professional obligated to listen to your problems for an hour. I love my counselor, and she has done more for me than my medication has. Nothing has to be “wrong” with you to give therapy a shot. Just try it! Life is rocky af, so why not take a professional’s hand for stability?
  3. that Rage Against the Machine is good
    • Like really, really good.
  4. that I want to be a minimalist
  5. that I should brush my hair in the shower when it has conditioner in it and leave it after that
    • I didn’t realize that I had curly hair until this year, but apparently I do. Making this tiny change in my routine made my hair look like real people hair instead of a matted, wet mop.
  6. that just shutting up is sometimes necessary
    • I know this is a heck of a thing for me to say, but I really have come to understand the value of silence at some points. Not everyone has to hear what I think about everything. Now, that is not to say that I support being silent in the face of injustice — I don’t. I just know that, unless I really, really know what I’m talking about, it’s better for me to just be quiet.
  7. that the one thing I’ve never regretted purchasing is art
  8. that I probably shouldn’t have been a philosophy major
    • Now this is not to say that I don’t see great value in being a philosophy major. I think it teaches critical thinking skills better than any other subject, and philosophy majors continually perform in the top five on tests like the LSAT, the GMAT, etc. I just think I closed my eyes and pointed at a major when I was 19 and that I probably could have chosen something better suited to me and my skillset. Or maybe I’m just really tired of reading Descartes. I’ve met a lot of great people along the way, so it’s worth it for that reason alone.
  9. the importance of going to class
    • Again, if you knew me when I was younger, this answer may seem laughable coming from me. It’s true, however, that I now get anxious when I can’t make it to class. My old default mode is now the most anxiety-inducing state I can imagine. If you can simply get to class, then you have to worry about studying so much less. You learn so much by just absorbing it through your ear holes. For real. Just go to class.
  10. to adopt my dogs
    • It is entirely possible to find a well-behaved, perfect-for-you dog at a shelter. I’m not sure why rescues are so unpopular in Mississippi, perhaps because hunting dogs are necessary and people just get stuck in their habits of thinking a good dog must have an impressive pedigree. I promise you the dogs I’ve fostered and adopted have been the best I’ve ever had, not to mention that mixes typically have fewer health issues.
  11. how to keep anxiety from crippling me
    • When I feel a panic or anxiety attack rising up, I now have the tools to evade the worst of it most of the time. I’ll do a breathing exercise, go on a walk, or read a chapter of a book. Speaking of…
  12. how important it is to stay in the habit of reading
    • When I get out of that habit, I find that words don’t come as easily to me, that I perceive things with a certain dullness. Reading not only keeps me sharp but also keeps that portal to childlike wonder open. I’ve also learned to read what I genuinely like, not what I think will sound impressive to my professors.

Twelve things I just can’t seem to figure out —

  1. how to edit my instagram photos
    • I am a lot of things, but a successful VSCO girl is not one of them. I’ve started just doing the same thing every time and hoping for the best.
  2. how to fill out basically any contract
    • And I want to be a lawyer, lol…
  3. how to keep myself from listening to Tyga
    • I’ve done some highly embarrassing things in my time, but the fact that my top artist of the decade on Spotify was TYGA is just next level. I mean at least I own that I have a (mostly) trash taste in music. Well, RATM is still really, really good.
  4. how to be a minimalist successfully
  5. how to feel fully confident without makeup
    • Call it internalized misogyny. or just plain low self esteem, but I can’t go to class without makeup and walk in standing fully upright.
  6. how to shut up at times when I probably should
    • Even though I know it’s better to stay quiet sometimes, I just can’t keep myself from speaking up and out when something really grinds my gears. I just can’t stay quiet in those moments.
  7. what it would feel like to have stuck with a hobby as a young child, like ballet or horseback riding
  8. how not to succumb to good marketing, particularly with beauty products I don’t need
    • This does, however, that I’ve tried out heaps of products, so if you need real people recommendations, you know whose DMs to slide into.
  9. how to line my lips
    • I just can’t seem to get it all right.
  10. how not to be a hypocrite sometimes
  11. how not to cry at the end of the Notebook
  12. what my purpose here on this earth
    • This is quite heavy I know, but sometimes I still just feel plain lost. I do have greater direction now that I’ve gone to a lot of therapy, but at the end of the day there are so many answers I just don’t have yet. I’ve said this before, but I find myself experiencing the odd existential growing pain from time to time. More like all the time.

Well, I hope you enjoyed that silly little list! I would like to read other people’s versions of this, so if you feel inclined to start a blog and post something like this please let me know. Wishing you all a holly jolly 2021. May this year bring you love and light.

2 thoughts on “12 things i’ve learned and 12 things i haven’t at 24

  1. Great stuff here Ethylann! I think you are spot on w the things you’ve learned so far. Like keep reading. My wife and now my kids are big readers and all they are some of the smartest people in my life. Keep reading! And writing.

    One thing my 24yr old self realized is never ruin your good reputation. You can be out of work, broke, or whatever but as long as you have that good or great reputation you always have a way out. Build on your now impressive rep. Never sabotage it. I think you are doing great!

    Like

  2. I love all these!! I echo your realization on just knowing when to be quiet sometimes!! It is so hard for me but just listening sometimes has done so much for my interactions with both my loved ones and strangers. It is so hard when you feel you are smart and funny and have something interesting to add to the conversation, but it takes some practice to recognize when is an appropriate time to do so! But also knowing that you gotta say what you need to if you have something on your heart. It is all about balance girl.

    Always rooting for you E ❤ congrats on 24 and happiest of birthdays!

    Like

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