30 Life Lessons I’ve learned at age 24

I always want to know more details.  See more things.  Meet more people.  When will this run around get old?  I’m not sure yet, my Loyal Reader.

I have a serious fear of age and holding onto my youth.  I think it was part of my escape of reality was to move to San Diego to keep me young.  I still shop at Forever 21 despite being 24 and I am still wearing underwear I’ve had since high school.  When I turned 23, the Facebook event was called “Celebrate the 2nd anniversary of Jessica’s 21st!”  I wanted the lazy people to not do the math, so I appeared younger.

But success is failure turned inside out. You aren’t living unless you are making mistakes and learning from them.  Reflection is powerful and shows your maturity despite your ability to make mistakes.  So, in retrospect, I’ve learned a lot from my errors in my 24 years of existence. My Grandma while on vacation in Myrtle Beach once told me that mothers are never done teaching (she gave one her 40-year-old son a lesson that week herself).  On the other side, daughters and sons therefore are never done learning.

And your series of trials and errors become hysterical because God (or whatever faith you have) has a sense of humor (i.e. passing gas is one of the Lord’s greatest reoccurring jokes).  One of my favorite guy friends, Matt Antol, once told me, “I like how you live life” after I had been to hell and back, but with stars in my eyes the entire time during my  University of Maryland Homecoming experience as a first year Alumni.  Compliments like that make your social suffrage worth it.

On a famous celebrity scale quote, Tucker Max once said, “bad decisions make good stories.”  I am not telling everyone to go sin left and right and to not go with your gut feeling, but at least to take the lesson in stride and to laugh about it.  I’m sure everyone’s Dad would say the same thing of when he clocked his brother in the ribs, breaking two of them, just because his brother took his spot on the sofa during a new episode of Mash.  Sure Dad was grounded for weeks, but at least he felt macho for those weeks and I bet his brother thought twice about not getting up from the couch when directed the next time.

I’ve composed a list of lessons I’ve personally learned firsthand and some I’ve deprived inspiration from some of the greats.  So here are my two cents on my 6th sense, reflection:

1. “Time heals all wounds. “

I’m not sure if this is true yet.  So in the mean time, I think this is better/will suffice, “Time doesn’t heal anything- it’s what you do with that time.”

2. You should always express gratitude because there is always something to be grateful for.  My friend Kristen said she knows a bartender in Arlington, VA, that gives out a free drink to the first person of the night who says “Thank you” after he or she orders.  The bartender has many a night where that does not happen till HOURS after he started working. Can you believe that?  Please always use your manners, friends.

3. “Smile.  It gives you more face value.” –Steel Magnolias

4. “I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot.  I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.” — Audrey Hepburn

Got to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your Prince right?  And seriously, happiest girls are the prettiest girls and this reverts back to smiling giving you more face value (see # 3).

5. Tears are diamonds of the eye.  I know, yee who now never cries saying these sounds bogus, but showing emotion is not always a sign of weakness. Knowing when it is appropriate is an acquired skill.

Typical work out attire

6. If you’re not weird, you need to be.

7. “Life is like a rocking chair.  It gives you something to do, but doesn’t get you anywhere.” -Van Wilder

8. “Be your best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you

Go to work, do your best, don’t outsmart your common sense

Never let your praying knees get lazy

And love like crazy.” – Lee Brice

9. You can sleep when you’re dead.

10. “A stranger is a friend I just have met yet.” –Myself.

So, go on first dates even if you have doubts.  Even if it doesn’t work out, which it probably won’t (Side note: Remember how you felt when things ended for you to your dismay and let him down gently), it’s just interesting to her another person’s story and you will probably learn something about yourself during the date.  Potential lessons you could pull away with include:  “Man, I’m so much better than him,”  “Damn, I am in no condition to date anyone right now,”  “Wow, he is inspirational- I should book a trip to Amsterdam in 2012 with my tax refund.”  “I am going to start playing fantasy stock market because my retirement comes from the market.”

11. Everyone needs to watch When Harry Met Sally by themselves with their phone turned off in a well-light room.  And everyone should experience the love that Harry and Sally finally realize they have for each other.

Harry Burns: “I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”

When Harry Met Sally

12. There is more to life than working out all the time.

13. Everyone has low points when they aren’t in a good place.  It’s how you bounce back that’s worth sharing.

14. Always put your kids first and yourself last.

On a similar note: Don’t get a dog until you are responsible enough.

15. “I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go. Things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right. You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”-M. Monroe

My dad said something similar a few years ago.  “You didn’t do anything wrong, Jess.  This happened to you because God knew this was holding you back from something bigger and better.  You may not know what that something is today or in 6 months from now, but you will see how your life pans out and be grateful for this pain one day.”

Damn, he is good.  So was Marilyn’s take.

16. “You have no idea how high I can fly.” -Michael Scott on The Office after he drove to New York to quit Dunder Mifflin

Message here: Prove everyone wrong.  Changing  perception is hard, but actions can do it.

17. Don’t be a jerk.  Give back.  Just because the public school system does not demand you to do 150 hours of community service anymore because you graduated high school, doesn’t mean your service to enriching your community should end.  You may have it bad, but someone always has it worse than you.

September 1992, Audrey Hepburn in Somalia. Photo by Robert Wolders”Often the kids would have flies all over them, but she would just go hug them. I had never seen that. Other people had a certain amount of hesitation, but she would just grab them. Children would just come up to hold her hand, touch her,” John Isaac, UN Photographer.

“For Attractive lips, speak words of kindness, For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people, For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry, For Beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day, For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone. People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.”
— Audrey Hepburn

18. Don’t cheat on your lover.  Learn from Tiger, Diana and Charles, Arnold on my Bethesda, Md. “friend” (I wish) Maria Shriver.

Cupid Shuffling with Kristen in Bethesda Winter 2009.

19. When sad, dance it out.  Take Dance Cook’s advice.  “Screw guys.  I just wanna dance!”

Hug loved ones for long times to release soothing chemicals.

Similarly, hug a lot and for long periods of time.  You will feel refreshed.

According to Fox News  (2007), “When the researchers tested the levels of oxytocin after the hug, both men and women showed an increase. However, the researchers also discovered that all of the women had reduced levels of cortisol following the hug. Cortisol is another hormone produced by the adrenal glands as part of the body’s response to stress. The fact that the women participants’ cortisol levels were significantly lower means that females are especially responsive to the calming effects of a hug– proving that a hug a day can go a long way to keeping a woman you love heart healthy.”

To read the entire article, check out http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,249138,00.html

20. Listen to Michael Scott’s words of wisdom.  I wish I had the cash flow to be a home owner as he directs us (sigh on California’s disgusting real estate problems)… 

21. One of my favorite poems since high school by Veronica A. Shoffstall

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security,
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
And you learn to build all your roads on today,
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans,
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure…
That you really are strong,
And you really do have worth.
And you learn and learn…
With every goodbye you learn.

Morning pillow talk with Kait in Cape Charles while Aly pretends she isn't going to wake up to us making fun of her.

22. Take pictures-lots of them, especially candid’s.  You’ll be thankful you captured those vivid memories one day.

Praying for good luck as we throw our coins into the Fontana de Trevi in Roma, January 2008

23.    Travel young.

24.   Learn a 2nd language.  Being bilingual is cool (I teem with envy if you are).  I hope to be there one day.  I bring my college Spanish textbook to the beach to brush up, but I am going to get Spanish language tapes from the library and listen in the car.  You will always be a greater asset for your company, not to mention your might get a free burrito hookup at Chipolte once a relationship is established.

25.  Say you’re sorry when you should and even when you shouldn’t.  At least you will look more polite and courteous when it is not necessary.  People do not say it enough and it is the simplest way to decrease the anger in this world.

Modern Art.  Inexpensive and resourceful.  Post its in urban decor reminding you of things to do.26.  Keep lists.  You will start to forget names and numbers and things you should do/buy even if you are overdosing on Ginkoba pills to improve your memory loss.  Visual reminders will come in handy.

27. “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” –Moulin Rouge

Love your friends and family eternally.  Afterall, they made you who you are today.

28.  Be spontaneous every once and awhile.  Conquer a fear.  Challenge yourself.  I recently surfed the wave at Wavehouse in front of a crowd of strangers when I had only surfed 3 times before in my life (and had never gotten up on the board) and had never snowboarded or wake boarded before.  

Kait comes to visit last-minute (day after booking). Us girls on Coronado Island's private vast beach with guys I knew from MD, Josh (high school friend) and Flo (Naval Academy friend I knew in undergrad).

One of my best friends got a job that started on the Monday, Nov. 22 in DC and moved from New Orleans to MD on Friday Nov. 12.   She realized she would have 2 weeks off for the rest of her life, so she booked a flight to visit San Diego newbie me on Tuesday Nov. 16.  She arrived the next day on Wednesday, Nov.17 and flew home on Sunday, Nov. 21, the night before her first day of work.  Take notes from jetsetter Kait.  This ties into No. 23-Travel young.

29. Until this song came out, I never really thought about my death. This song hit me because the lyrics are amazing, the sound is serene and The Band Perry is composed of two brothers and a younger sister, aka my family (though we aren’t musically inclined unfortunately).  My version includes strapping Slick and Steve playing Rock Band guitars while I sport a blonde wig, pearls and my Craig’s list cowboy boots as we strum out this song down fabulous Kelly Witte’s property on the Shenandoah River.

No one knows when it will come, but I do know that if I die young, I would die happy.  Thank you friends and family for making that a true statement.  If it isn’t a true statement for you, Loyal Reader, make moves to change it.  It’s never too late.

30.  Concluding thought…This one sums up all of the others.

“As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn’t supposed to ever let you down probably will. You will have your heart-broken probably more than once and it’s harder every time. You’ll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken. You’ll fight with your best friend. You’ll blame a new love for things an old one did. You’ll cry because time is passing too fast, and you’ll eventually lose someone you love. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, and love like you’ve never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you’ll never get back. Don’t be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin.”

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About jroenick

I was born and raised in Westminster, Md. I attended the University of Maryland and met some of the greatest people to hit this Earth. Last fall 2010, I moved to city to be reunited with my lover, the city of San Diego. This blog is centered around my San Diegan life with strong hues of my Maryland roots, along with written trapses of past experiences, current perspectives, and my anything but opaque future. It's plethora of my travels, takes, triala and tribulations including social media resources, real life adventures I've had with family and friends, and thought provoking reflections will be written my moi and read by my loved. Thanks for delving into my appreciative life.
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4 Responses to 30 Life Lessons I’ve learned at age 24

  1. slick says:

    That’s 31. You have two 26’s

  2. Natalie says:

    I just stumbled upon this post cause I was looking for pics of Audrey and I am so glad I did. It was most wonderful to read. You are an inspiration for sure!!! Thanks for pouring your heart out… Indeed, pouring it out.

    Keep being passionate, wonderful and a Light to this world!!!

    • jroenick says:

      Wow, Natalie. What kind words. Thank you so much. I am so high on life from your comment. Feel free to subscribe to keep up with further inspirations if you want : ) Thank you again! ❤

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