Someone told me that 24 is the year that women start aging these days.  It’s up, up, up until you hit your 24th birthday.  I don’t know if that’s true, but I’m going to skip doing the verification research because I don’t necessarily need or want to know anything more about the aging process now that I’ve actually turned 24.

Whether or not it’s true, I do feel incredibly different and wiser than I was a year ago.  This year was momentous for me… I’ve changed a lot.  I want to share 9 things that I’ve learned because these important realizations have brought a great deal of happiness into my life, and maybe they can trigger some beneficial contemplation for you, too.  #BlessUp

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1.  I began to wholeheartedly trust my instincts, and I made changes to my life based on what they told me.

For more on this note, please see my first blog post HERE.

2.  I started seeing the ‘human’ in other people.

I think people jump to conclusions/judgments too quickly these days.  Someone can instantly be labeled a bad person, in entirety, due to one bad decision or personal issue.  Humans aren’t perfect.  We all make mistakes, some much worse than others, but it’s important to acknowledge that and be open to forgiveness and aid.

If humans could acknowledge and fix all of our own issues on our own, don’t you think the world would be much better place than it is now?  Constructive criticism is a beautiful thing when it’s given and taken respectfully!

If you look for the good in a person, you will find it; don’t focus on the bad.

I want to be clear that I’m not condoning rape, murder, cheating, lying, or anything of those sorts.  Horrible people do exist in this world and a lot of horrible things happen; however, it’s ignorant to label ‘good’ and ‘bad’ people without reviewing the depth of their decisions, what made them who they are, and what led them to the decisions they’ve made.  If you haven’t taken the time to understand any or all of that, you have no right to judge them as a person.  Decisions always stem from something and tend to build up in thematic momentum, hence the depth.

More often than not, it’s the imperfections of society rather than specific individuals that serve as the root problem.  It’s more beneficial to look at the big picture than the tiny details when trying to bring about proactive change.

No one chooses the cards they’re dealt in life, which is why we need to learn how to empathize with others.

If you believe in evolution, you have to believe that the human race never stops changing.  The more opportunity a person is given to change through environmental factors and choice, whether that’s good or bad, the faster that change can happen from the small-scale to the large-scale.

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3.  I learned how to hold myself and others accountable but avoided resorting to the use of blame.

The difference between accountability and blame is the effectiveness of how a problem is acknowledged.  Blame is just a label.  Accountability provides opportunities to learn from one’s mistakes, forgive, let go, and move on.

4.  I’ve acknowledged how I’ve grown and/or how my life has progressed through every rough situation, and because of that, my outlook on life has become more positive.

I’m no longer bitter about anything that happens to me because I continually remind myself that everything happens for a reason, and I search for those reasons.  Once I stopped dwelling on negative circumstances and I started looking for positive outcomes in every situation, I felt my attitude and everyday life drastically improve.  I became more calm and grateful.

Every second in life is another opportunity to grow and improve yourself and your surroundings for the following second.  Maximize the blessing of another breath and the utilization of your time here.

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5.  I stopped forgetting to pause and ‘smell the flowers,’ but I didn’t stop to smell every damn flower.

By staying aware of my surroundings, it became more obvious what is worth more of my time and what is worth even less of it, and my time started to feel more valuable.

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6.  I stimulated, challenged, and opened up my mind to consider new information and new perspectives in an unbiased manner.

I found that when I wasn’t being challenged, the lack of stimulation caused me to mediocrely coast through time.   I can’t believe how fast a year can feel.

I actually understood this point to a much greater degree due to the heated 2016 US election.  I, very passionately, despise Trump.   I’m competitive, and I wanted to win every debate during the heated 2016 US election; but, most importantly… I didn’t want to look stupid.   I realized that the more information I consumed and the fewer assumptions I jumped to right away, the stronger my arguments became, and the more confidence I held in them and in myself for my decisions.  I realized that in any situation, this solution holds true.

7.  I learned how to love and how not to love.

When you’re truly in love with someone (romantically,) respect and passion are unfading through thick and thin.  No one is perfect, and being in love with someone inside and out means that you’ve accepted all of those imperfections.  You love their quirks and weaknesses because those things define who they are as a person.

How not to love (romantically): don’t settle.  It sounds simple, but I’ve found myself giving and taking too many things in too many relationships up until now.

8.  I realized that everything is a miracle rather than nothing.

The existence of human beings is a scientific miracle, which is what modern physics has shown us through dark and light particle research.

If one minuscule thing changed within any second, the domino effect of that change would result in a dramatically different world.  Who, where, when, and why your life is what it is right now truly is a miracle.  Be grateful for that, and don’t let the world cease to amaze you at any moment.  Life is a lot more marvelous when you let it be.

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9.  I kept smiling.

“So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.” – Marilyn Monroe

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