July 21, 2015

21 Things I Learned in 21 Years

You may have seen on Instagram, but Saturday was my 21st birthday.. and I wasn't even in the US to celebrate it! That's the weirdest thing about living in Trinidad half the year: all the big America-important moments are usually spent at home, where they don't even matter. I mean, yes, my birthday mattered. But 21 in Trinidad is just another birthday - I've been legal since 18 here, so it wasn't really that big of a deal. I still celebrated like it was though, because come August I'm officially a free woman who gets to hit up all the local bars and clubs (legally), and I couldn't be more excited!

I was thinking about my 21 years, and realized I've learned a lot more lessons than I even realized, so I started writing a list of things I learned throughout the years. I didn't mean to share this at all, just started scribbling in a notebook one night, and next thing you know, I'm here typing it all up. Funny how life works sometimes.

1 // it's okay to make mistakes. I think that's the biggest misconception of our generation: we strive to be perfect and we think of mistakes as failures. Mistakes are only failures if you don't learn anything from them.

2 // being lonely might terrify you, but it might also make you so much stronger, make you leave your comfort zone, and make you fall completely in love with the experience around you.  

3 // take risks - i can't say this one enough, but what's the point of living life if you don't actually live it.

4 // not every job you take is going to be "the job", sometimes the best thing you can take away from a job is that it's just not for you - there's no greater gift than that.

5 // don't just discover your strengths, learn your weaknesses too - and try to find a way to fix them.

6 // it's okay to be single. Quite frankly, it's when you're single that you learn the most about yourself. You should never depend on someone else to be your happiness.. find that happiness yourself. And hold onto good friends who will never make you feel lonely a day in your life.

7 // know when to ask for help, and more importantly, know when to accept help. Accepting help isn't defeat, it's just smart.

8 // if you're mad at somebody, tell them. Any friendship worth saving deserves open and honest communication. Passive-aggressive texts and sub-tweets aren't going to get you anywhere.

9 // time heals all: you're not going to be crying about that heartbreak or that one friend you lost a year from now. It gets better!

10 // (on that note) it's okay to cry! Anytime, anywhere, everywhere. On a train, on a plane, all alone or with your friends. (I've done them all, whoops!)

11 // always make time for family - and cherish every moment with them while you can. And family doesn't always refer to blood, friends can become family in an instant - never take them for granted just because you don't share the same last name.

12 // don't under-estimate the power of a little black dress and a big smile. Even in your worst of days, fake it til you make it!

13 // if you have to lie about it, then it's probably not a good idea. Listen to your gut.. it knows you better than you do!

14 // going through a tough time will show you who's really there for you - take note. Don't ignore this or make excuses for them. Find those that are there for you and hold onto them.

15 // if you use it regularly, it's not a waste of money. No matter the price, if you're going to use it at least once a week, it's worth the investment. I say this about a $50 scarf, a $200 pair of shoes or splurging on a fancy camera. Know yourself. If you won't use it more than once, you just spent $200 on a pair of shoes. If you use it 200 times, you spent $1.

16 // learn how to say thank you and keep saying it. Nothing is more important than showing your gratitude - to your family, friends, and to the stranger who held the door for you.

17 // never regret anything if it once made you happy, no matter how bad the break up or how terrible the outcome turned out to be.

18 // a great idea is just an idea until you follow through with it. It's the implementation that makes it great, not the idea.

19 // never apologize unless you mean it: there's nothing worse than an insincere apology.

20 // how someone treats you says a lot about that person, how you react says even more about you.

21 // never be afraid to laugh at yourself. Or with some friends. Laughter truly is the best medicine.. #cliche but true!

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  1. The best thing I learned was actually telling people when I'm mad/upset rather than being passive aggressive about it. I was the queen at snide comments and hinting texts, but I've learned how much easier it is to just say you're mad + explain why, accept the other person's apology then move on. Fights are bound to happen as we continue to grow through our 20s - best to learn how to deal with all of it now! x Nicole | www.changeanddress.com

  2. Love this post! Happy belated birthday

  3. Happy belated birthday! I love what you said about finding comfort in loneliness. That's something I really came to terms with once I graduated. It has helped me to be much more independent and introspective, which is what I need right now. Love your insightful life lessons!

    Alessandra | blog.pumpup.com

  4. I love this! Number 2, 7, and 11 are my favorites but all of these are spot on! Family becomes even more important with age and that doesnt ever go away!

    x Sarah

  5. I agree with pretty much all of these.
    Number 17 has to be one of my favorites.
    We tend to regret things because they didn't end well even if they once made us feel extremely fulfilled.

    xoxo, Jenny || Breakfast at Lillys

  6. I live by two of your rules haha if you use it regulary, it's totally not a waste of money! I always look at things that way. Also, I'm a huge cryer! A good cry always feels great. :)

    xo // www.thematerialgirl.co

  7. Definitely feeling lesson 2 right now. The loneliness has been so real, but I know that when I get to the other end of everything I'm going through right now, I'll definitely be a stronger person. Also feeling #6. I haven't been single for almost 5 years, and I'm trying to figure out what that even means now. 8 is a great one. Bottling things up is the absolute worst, and it's so much easier to just put everything out there on the table. So many great lessons here. I hope you had an incredible 21st birthday!

  8. Love your 21 things...I am going to try that on my next birthday

  9. I agree with every single one of these lessons, seriously every single one! I have learned so much from the times I have been lonely and single and sad (not that being single makes you sad, I mean all three of those attributes separately). I also embrace crying (as long as I'm not at work), I really think that crying is healthy and stigmatizing it is silly. Happy Birthday Beautiful girl! I hope it was fabulous <3

  10. I hope you had an amazing birthday, pretty girl! Finally 21... it's the best feeling ever! I was trying to pick my few favorites but I actually love all 21 of the lessons you've learned and I feel like I've learned those too. It's definitely okay to cry (I'm a huge crybaby) and .. well, I can't pick just one lesson that I love!

    The Fashionista's Diary

  11. Congrats on turning 21!!! That is such a milestone if every American's life! I turn 21 in September and its kind of scaring me how close that is. I loved all of these lessons but I think #15 is my favorite. I have to remind myself that constantly. Oh and 18 is great too!! They are all just perfect :)

    Annie // Annie N Belle

  12. You are so wise! And happy belated birthday! What an amazing list! I have to agree with them all! Honestly, I thought you were already 21, my bad! But it looks like you had a fabulous time (minus the Taylor Swift incident)!

    xx. Brittany | Southern Soul

  13. I love the idea of this post and I am thinking about doing something sort of similar before my 21st in September (two months away... what?!). And loved seeing all the fun pictures from your birthday party!!

    There are so many good life lessons here, I'm sure that you will only continue to learn even more in your 20s (and share them here on the Caro Diaries of course! :-) )

    Love you!

    xoxo A

  14. Happy belated birthday and hope you have enjoyed your day!

  15. You are so wise, Caro! I really enjoyed your tips, especially #15. I'm alllll about the cost per wear ratio ;) Ask your mom/sister if they want to adopt me, because they did an amazing job with that cake!

    XX, SS || A Little Seersucker Sass

  16. I love the cost per wear ratio! SO true. This list was amazing. I have seen several others along this concept but yours by FAR resonated the most with me. I love it!

    Marie H.
    Progression By Design

  17. Love this post and happy belated birthday! I'm only 18 but I can definitely relate to a lot of the things you learned!

  18. Happy belated birthday girlfriend! Welcome to the 21 club, wooo! Love this post, and these are some important lessons. Especially knowing when to ask for help and feeling lonely -- those took me a while to learn!!

    xo, Alicia | Alicia Tenise

  19. Happy late birthday! These are great lessons! I am turning 20 in August and I feel like I've learned so much. I definitely agree with a lot of these!

  20. These are all so true. And you just keep learning more the longer you live.

  21. I absolutely love this post! <3 You are clearly so wise and seem so down-to-earth, which is definitely a rare thing nowadays! *sigh* ahaha! Such great points!!

    xoxo, Brooke ( http://www.ThePinkLyme.com )

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