23 Things I Learned When I Was 22

Twenty two was a big year for me; A lot of things happened to say the least. I ended a serious long term relationship and started a new one. I graduated college. I landed a job. I rented an apartment, ended my barista career and sorta became a yogi. I travelled, learned, cried and grew. Ampersand became a legitimate thing while I was 22, as did my love of writing. 22 was a year of change. Despite that–or maybe because of it–22 was one of the best years of my life.

Last year on my birthday, I wrote a post of all the things I wanted to accomplish by the time I turned 23. Having completed most of the things on that list, I only thought it would be fitting to share some life lessons I’ve learned these past 365 days. Cheers to turning 23.

1. Yoga is a wonderful thing. If you don’t believe me, you haven’t done it enough. I first turned to yoga because I wanted to try something new. I turned back to it when I lost my way, and once again when I needed to feel grounded. Words cannot begin to describe the things I learned about myself on my yoga mat.{Shout out to Prana House Yoga for my beautiful birthday practice on Saturday!}

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2. Hang onto good friends. My life wouldn’t be as half as fun, happy or full without my best friends. I’m lucky enough to still be friends with my girls from childhood and to have gone to Villanova with some of the best people I will ever meet. All my favorite memories from this year have been because of the amazing people around me.

3. Brunch is always a good idea. What’s better than good friends, good coffee and french toast? There’s always time for brunch.

+1000 basic points.

4. Sometimes, you have to be spontaneous. Yes, you have to be responsible. But spontaneity makes you feel young. It makes you feel adventurous. It makes memories that you’ll tell you kids someday and then they’ll think you’re cool. Just do it because why not?

5. And other times, you just have to be patient. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not patient. But sometimes there’s nothing you can do but… wait. I learned this the hard way with looking for a job, but I ended up in a position that fits me so well, and I can’t imagine being anywhere else right now. Good things are always worth the wait.

6. Love comes in different forms. And they’re all beautiful. Love changes and grows, that’s why it’s amazing.

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7. Thank your familyThis past year, I won an award based on my leadership and academic achievements at college. My parents attended the ceremony and dinner and it was that night that I realized I couldn’t have achieved anything without them. If they hadn’t supported me, challenged me or encouraged me, I literally wouldn’t be the person I am today. Karen & Joe, I really do owe you everything.

Cheers to Joe & Karen.

8. Dreams change & that’s okay. For the longest time, I dreamt of becoming a magazine editor. I chased my editorial dreams with a fierce determination all year, only to realize that it might not be what I want to do. At first, I was disappointed and upset with myself that I gave up searching for an editorial position for a job in PR, but then I realized that it’s okay to change my mind. It’s part of being human.

9. Don’t get too comfortable. 1. Because things change, quickly and 2. The best things happen at the edge of your comfort zones. If you’re not a little scared or uncomfortable, then you’re not growing. Keep pushing yourself.

10. Joy & sorrow go hand-in-hand. “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain” –Kahil Gibran.

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11. There’s usually a silver lining. Some situations just suck. Sometimes you can’t figure out “the reason.” But sooner or later, you’ll realize the silver lining, no matter how small. Plus, a little positivity never hurt anyone.

12. Hang out with your siblings. Because they’re the best friends you’ll ever have. I’m not only lucky to have Krista, I’m even luckier that I can call her a friend.

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13. Save your money, but not all of it. The end of my 22nd year and beginning of my 23rd has been spent thinking A LOT about money. Adulting is expensive! While it’s good to save for your future, we can’t go around not doing things because we’re so terrified of spending money. Great conversations with friends are worth spending money on dinner. Get a manicure when you have a crappy day at work because it will make you feel better. Money is good for saving, but you make it so you can spend it, too.

14. Be goofy. Ryan is a goof-ball. Sorry for outing you babe, but it’s true. And honestly, it’s probably one of my favorite things about him. He brings out a silly, goofy, giggly side of me that I love. We laugh a lot which makes life more fun. He’s taught me to not take myself too seriously.

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15. Read good booksBecause bad books suck and kill you soul and ain’t nobody got time for them.

16. Networking does help…But so does just being a good friend. I’ve learned valuable professional skills from networking, but I ultimately landed my job because I kept in touch with a friend. Networking is necessary, but ultimately if you’re just a good person and are nice to people, you’ll be fine.

new friends!

17. Find a mentor. Or two. I’m lucky to have multiple intelligent, strong and kind women that I look up to. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have their help and guidance, professionally and personally. Role models can really make a difference (especially when you have no idea what you’re doing with your life).

18.  Throw away your checklists. This is surprising coming from the girl who makes a daily to-do list on a legal pad every day at work. What I mean is, don’t make a check list for everything. It’s probably healthy to have nothing to do some days or not pressuring yourself to get everything done, every single day. Do random stuff you didn’t write down with a box next to it.

19. Be kind. Because there’s no reason not to be.

20. Know your worth. In relationships, at work, in life. You don’t deserve to be disrespected, lead on or treated poorly, ever. It’s not worth it because you’re worth more than that.

21. Trust what got you here. This is one of my favorite things that I heard this year. We may not know where exactly what we’re doing or where we’re going, but you have a whole life of experience behind you and you’ve made it this far, right? Trust the same will help you in the future.

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22. Soak it all in. Aka be present. It’s probably one of the most challenging things to accomplish, but I’m determined to make a habit out of it.

23. All you have is time. Hearing this as a freshman at Villanova’s Orientation, my mind was blown. I don’t think I fully understood it until I became a senior when I felt like I was constantly running out of time. No time for relaxing, vacations, long conversations, family dinners, errands, coffee dates or catching up. But in reality, all we have is time. And we have the control of how we spend it.

Here’s to 22 being great & 23 being an adventure.

{Thank you to all the people who made 22 amazing!}

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Likes & Favorites: Adulting (part 2)

Last week I defined adulting. This week I have a few thoughts on the subject:

1.  Going grocery shopping on a Sunday is like the Hunger Games. With everything being restocked, you have a slim chance of beating that suburban mom to that last container of hummus.

2. You don’t know the true meaning of “being broke” until you experience that pure joy of seeing your paycheck hit your bank account… only to see it quickly vanish because it’s time to pay rent.

3. Saturdays are for adventures. Sundays are for napping.

4. You’ll miss college in some regards but not having homework= heaven.

5. Post grad, you dread Monday’s more, but Friday’s are even sweeter.

6. You still save extra money to buy alcohol.

I’m sure I’ll have additional thoughts on the adulting matter, but for right now, here are the likes & favorites of the week.

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12 Tips to Survive Your First Day at Work

It’s official: I’m a real adult now. 

Aka I survived my first day at my big girl job.

It was stressful for sure. But also super exciting and kind of exhilarating. Of course I hit some bumps along the way (as I’m sure everyone does…right?), so I thought of some tips I learned on my first day to help you on yours! Welcome to the real world.

Pack a lunch

Sure there’s a Chipotle only 0.67 miles from your office (not like you checked…) but that first day, you don’t know how long you’ll have for lunch or what your company’s policy is about eating out. So be safe, make a PB&J and proudly rock that brown paper bag.

Wear comfortable shoes commuting & change at the office

I learned this the hard way… I don’t care how cute those flats are, they’re going to give you blisters in the 10 minute walk between getting off the train and into your office. Then you’ll be cringing in pain/begging any of your new co workers for band aids. Instead, wear flip flops or comfy shoes while you commute/walk to the office and the change into your flats/heels once you get there. That way you also have another option when your feet are absolutely killing you at the end of the day.

Ask where the bathroom is

And the supply closet. And the kitchen. And your desk. Better to ask the secretary/office manager than wander around like an idiot.

Bring a notebook

Sure you can scribble down every detail about how to set up your phone on a tiny post-it note OR you can look professional AF and show up with a notebook, ready to work.

Make friends with the IT department

More likely than not, you’re going to meet with IT to get your email, phone, etc. set up on the first day. Ask them how they’re doing. How long have they been there? Do they have kids? Make small talk because they’ll be the people who will save your life when your computer crashes at 4:49 pm and your report is due at 5.

Keep your morning routine

If you usually have coffee in the morning, see if they have a coffee maker in the office or grab some Starbucks before you get in. Usually have a snack around 11 am? Grab something small from your packed lunch and munch on it at your desk. Of course you’ll develop a new work morning routine, but incorporating little things you usually do can help you feel more at home.

Do some research & read up

On my first day, one of my supervisors told me where the shared drive was on my computer and suggested I look through it. There were A LOT of folders. However, actually reading the majority of them gave me an idea of the projects my team was working on, the company’s organization system and the format of its files/reports. Ask if you have access to what your team is working on. Or start Googling your company & stalk it on LinkedIn. You’ll feel a little more in the loop of what’s actually going on.

Change your computer’s background

If you’re allowed to, change your computer’s background from the boring default screen to tasteful and office appropriate picture. Start making it feel like YOUR desk instead of just a random place you sit for 8 hours.

Walk around

Seriously. Don’t just be chained to your desk all day. You’re going to get antsy and stiff and no one expects you to stay stationary the whole day. Go take a walk. Say hi to people. You’ll feel better after you take a stroll.

Start organizing your inbox

The real world comes with a lot of emails. Like more than you can ever fathom. You look away for 2 minutes and suddenly your inbox is full again. That being said, start organizing your inbox so in three weeks you don’t have 467 unread messages that you should have read, well, yesterday. Even if you don’t really know how to organize your folders or what to delete, just do something. You can always reorganize or categorize once you have more of an idea what you’re doing but at least you’ll feel somewhat productive.

Stay until at least 5:15pm

Or just watch to see what people do at the end of the day. Does everyone shut down exactly at 5pm? Or do most people linger until 5:30/6? You don’t want to be that newbie that peaces out at 4:59 when people stay for another hour.

Be patient

The first day may be weird, exciting, scary, stressful, overwhelming and awesome all at the same time. But you’ll get it. Just hang in there and know that everyone started where you are. And one day you’ll look back and remember how clueless you were and be thankful because you finally figured it out.

You’ve got this. Go rock the real world.