22 Things I’ve learned before turning 23


Birthdays wake the same feeling in me as New Years Eve. Especially my own birthday. Hello new year – hello melancholy. (At this point, I wanna thank my zodiac sign.)
And how do I cope with my life and feelings? Right, I don’t.
Jk. I write about it. And then I go back to ignoring all of that in the real world, but that’s a different story.

Anyway, today I wanted to talk about some things I’ve learned before turning 23. I’v probably learned a lot more but these are my favorite “life lessons”. And maybe, someone can relatete to what I’m saying. (And with someone I mostly talk about my friends, who I force to read my posts and who are probably the only ones actually reading this. Hi Guys (: .)

I’ve actually done this two (!!) years ago after coming back home from the states, but I thought it would be fun to do it again. Because two years is such a looong time ago.

So, let’s do this.

1. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no./ If you don’t try you’ll never know./ If you never try, you’ve already lost.

Now, I know this is the first item on my list and I just put three things in there. But all of those things kind of got the same meaning. Everybody is always afraid to fail and to lose. A lot of people are so scared that they never even try. But if you never try, you’ll never know if this idea was the one that changed your life. So, try. Ask. Speak up.

2. Change is hard. But it’s f*cking awesome.


Speaking of changing your life and scary things, I was always someone who hated change. Who avoided it as much as I could. But change brought so many good situations and friends in my life (and luckily, kicked out some toxic ones). Change and growth and all that scary stuff is actually quiet fun. Also, nothing ever really changes, that doesn’t has to. Important things will always stay. And if not, they weren’t maybe that important in the first place.

3. Fear is an illusion.

Ok, maybe that’s not 100% true. But often, we fear sitautions that didn’t even happen yet. At least I do that all the time. And that’s stupid, because you put yourself through that a hundred times in your head, before you even have to experience this situation in real life. It’s like torturing yourself before it actually happens. And usually, it’s not even that bad in the end anyway.

4. In the end, it will be ok. Actually, quite amazing.

Enough with the serious stuff – because in the end, it won’t matter. Whatever it is that keeps you up at night (like the 3 hour nap I took today) will be figured out. And maybe it doesn’t feel like it right now. But it will be fine. Maybe the outcome won’t be what you’ve expected. Maybe it will be something even better. Whatever it is, it will be ok. Even great.

5. Do whatever the f*ck you want.

I don’t always do that but it’s SO important. People will judge you anyway. So do whatever you want. It’s so important to live by your own rules and on your own terms. Because whatever makes someone else happy, doesn’t have to make you happy too. There is no certain age when you have to have done a certain thing. You do you, whenever you feel ready.

6. Dream big. Do bigger.

Having dreams is amazing. But doing something to make them come true – that’s a different story. But I don’t believe that there are “Dreamers” amd “Doers”. You have to be both in order to reach for the stars. And you can be both.

7. Don’t judge others. Be kind instead.

Ok, I’ll admit it – I’ve definitely done this before. Because it’s probably our first “instinct”. But since I’m trying to be a better person I’ll stop my thoughts whenever I find myself judging others. Because I don’t know how I would act in that situation or why this person is doing whatever they are doing. And it’s really none of my business. There is a lot of bad things going on in this world. I don’t have to make it worse. Just be kind. Be the good part. (Also, I probably make way worse decisions, so who am I to judge anyone else.)

8. Go anywhere (and everywhere). Educate yourself.

Seriously it doesn’t matter where. But once a year go somewhere you’ve never been. This world is so much bigger than your horizion shows you.
Also, we have all the knowledge one google search away from us. Learn something new. It doesn’t matter how, just do it. Just go.

9. It’s ok to change your opinion. Or a bad habbit. Or anything.

Say it louder for the people in the back. You aren’t perfect. You are influenced by whats happening around you. Like I’ve said before change is pretty awesome. It’s ok to evolve. You aren’t a push-over. You are growing.

10. You will be the bad person in someones story.


This is one of my favorites. It was (/is) always soooooo important to me what other people thought of me. Not because I need everyone to like me but because it’s so important to me to make it clear that I’m not a bad person who is trying to hurt anyone. Well guess what – that’s not happening. You can’t be seen by everybody as the person you are because some people just don’t wanna see it. You can’t be liked by everybody. (I mean there are people out there who don’t like ice cream or Reeses. Or Tequila. How can you expect them to like you?) But you know what – it’s ok. You know who you are and that is really the only thing that matters. Being a good person doesn’t mean you have to be liked by everybody. (If that would be the case you’d probably have 7 billion different personalities.)

11. You don’t need answers. Sometimes, you already know.

After breaking up any kind of relationship I always feel like I need closure. And that’s probably pretty normal. If there was only one last conversation where you could say everything that you’d always wanted to say, you could finally let go. At least that’s what I thought. But that’s not gonna happen. You want answers, but sometimes there aren’t any. You’ll have to answer some things for yourself. And most of the time you can’t find closure in anyone else but yourself.

12. Don’t stress too much. And don’t expect anything.

I’m guilty of always doing the opposite. And I’ll probably always stress too much and expect too much. But I’ve realized that I control what stresses me out or what I expect (especially from myself). And maybe one day I can consciously make the decision to not be stressed out. Because it will work itself out. But without stress and expectations, it won’t wear you out.

13. It’s ok not to be ok.

Life is beautiful. And sometimes it’s not. We all feel that way. And that’s ok. But it’s important to talk about it out. (Keeping this short, but you can find a longer version about this here.)

14. Sushi sucks.

Not gonna discuss this one any further.

15. Be you. Be real. Be confident.

You are great. And maybe sometimes you are an asshole. We all are. And it’s important to reflect on yourself and admit when you messed up. But we aren’t perfect. And there are so many good things about all of us, that we often hide because we are scared of what other people think of us.
Well, fuck that.

16. Master your thoughts and your reactions.

I know that it’s true because I constantly fail at this. (Mostly because I react like a mentos dropped in a bottle of Coke.) Obviously nobody is able to control every part of their mind and reactions.
But just sorting out negative thoughts and reaplacing them with good ones.
Just knowing that not every single action needs a reaction. To me, that’s enough.

17. What others think of you, DOESN’T MATTER. – Start saying no.

I am someone who should definitely say “Yes” more. To situations. Moments. Experiences. Fear. But sometimes it’s ok to say no. Especially when you want to say no but you’ll say yes for someone else. “No I can’t do that today.” “No I’m busy.” “No I don’t agree.” No. No. No. And if people don’t understand, say no to them too.

18. You don’t have to be “normal”.

What even is normal? And why would you want to be like everybody else? We always try to be different soooo hard. But when it really matters, we wanna be like everybody else (me too btw).
But don’t try to be normal. Be extraordinary.

19. Screaming in the car helps a lot.

Sreaming. Singing. It’s like therapy sometimes. Just keep your eyes on the road pleeeease.

20. Say what you’re feeling. Talk to each other.


They say our generation is troubled because we can’t communicate anymore. And I think they are right. Because we always text each other. And we never look at each other while talking. We don’t listen to understand, we listen to reply.
But the one thing I really learned is, if you want to make any kind of relationship work, you have to talk. Say what’s bothering you.
Honestly I personally think that not everything has to be said. Some things just sort themselves out. But if you are really annoyed by something, that influences your behaviour towards someone, like distancing yourself, TALK ABOUT IT. Give that person the chance to work on whatever it is or to walk away. Either way you’ve tried. And sometimes that’s all we can do. And most of the times it works out quite wonderful.
Also, tell people who you love, that you love them. It’s not only the things that bother us that we never talk about, but also the good things. That we take for granted because we think the other person knows it already. Tell them anyway.

21. You are not responsible for the mood of other people.

I alwaaaays feel responsible for someone elses mood. If somebody is pissed I always think it’s because of me or something I did or said. When 95% of the time, it’s not. Whenever I’m pissed, most of the time it’s not really because of someone (and if it is, it’s almost never about the person who receives my bad mood.) Anway, don’t make everything about you, because it’s not.
At them same time, if you make someone feel bad you don’t get to tell them that you didn’t. We don’t get to tell someone how we make them feel. I overreact a loooot. But whatever I feel I get to feel – even tho it may not be the other persons intention to hurt me and maybe I am just dramatic. But you can just talk it out. *Refers to number 20*

22. Life is all about attitude.

Well that’s the one thing that will always be stuck with me and this post (because I couldn’t decide and changed every other point like two times).
Happiness is always a choice. You can be sad at the most beautiful beach or happy in the smallest room. (Been there, done that.) You can be sad with a millon people around you or happy with two. Obviously what surrounds us influences us. Things, situations and people make us happy or mad or sad. But the start of really being satisfied lies in yourself. And it’s your decision. Maybe some people think that’s scary. But honestly I think it’s amazing. We have a choice. And it’s our own.
If you can be happy with yourself it doesn’t mean you’ll be running around smiling 24/7 for the rest of your life. (Who does that anyway?) And it doesn’t mean that some situations won’t suck. Some things hurt like hell. But you’ll know that whatever wave life throws at you will be something you can handle. And you can be happy with just yourself. And then with others. Be happy. And be grateful.

There is soooo much more I want to say, but that would ruin the moment (and the title), wouldn’t it?
Now, you might ask yourself “Lea, you’ve got OCD. Doesn’t it bother you, that you’ve listed 22 things, when it’s your 23rd birthday?”
And yes, you are absolutely right. But first of all, the best way to deal with OCD is to do the exact opposite of what your mind tells you to do.
Besides that, whatever will be my 23rd lesson on this list, will be something I’ll learn this year. And maybe 24994 other things.
There is always room for more. (More cake, more love, more pizza and more lessons.)

I’m so grateful for everything and everyone I’ve got in my life. Who is always with me, even on my worst days. For creating all those memories and for teaching me all the things I know today.

And thanks to myself. Just for being who I am, for knowing all the things I know today and because I’ll always keep going. Nobody ever says that out loud, (Writing this, I kind of understand why, because it feels really weird) but it’s important to say.

Cheers to a new year, new lessons, no sushi, more love, more memories and more cake.

Because there is always room for more.

Love, Lea. ♡

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