The Most Important Lessons I've learned Since I was 20!

Life lessons come in stages, here are the one I've learned since I was 20 that I've found most helpful!!

There are so many birthday posts about "Things I've learned in 20-something years". I am obsessed with those posts!! Recently, however, I've started thinking about things that I haven't learned from my entire time on earth, but what are things that I've learned in the past years between "YAY I'm 20!" and "I can't believe I'm almost 30!"

Not all of these are finalized, close the chapter, and turn the page, but they are lessons that I didn't start to learn until after I was 20. If you are in your 20s, or pre-20s, or post 20s we all have stages of life that we learn lessons in. I hope these help you start to learn these lessons, or solidify that "yes these are important lessons for me to learn."

1// While in College any scholarship money that you can get is so helpful!! I remember both sides of this coin. I remember spending hours looking for scholarships to get none of them, and feeling like I was wasting my time. I also remember seeing a scholarship at my school that I was pretty sure I qualified for, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to apply for! I'm so glad that I decided to apply because I did get that scholarship. If I hadn't applied I would have left about $3,000 on the table! Crazy! College is basically the only time in your life that people are like "You're young and want to learn, here's some free money to help because we know you're struggling." I wish there were more things like that after college like, "We see that you're paying for rent all by yourself and you want to travel, here is some money!" 

Paris - AVintageJoy

2// Trends in clothing change so much, purchase quality items as opposed to the ones that are cool right now. This is both about clothes and furniture. Remember when shirts that were high in the front and really long in the back were a thing?! Where are they all now! On the other hand, my combat boots that I found and love I still wear years and years later.

3// Travel during your summers in College! On a similar note to number one, there are not as many times in life after college that you get as long of a break as summer break in college is. Yes, I worked during the summer in college, but it's so much easier to say "I'm working a part time job, I can take 3 weeks off to go explore." as opposed to "I have a staff of 30, I would like to go travel for three weeks."

-Subnote: Have some of those trips be road trips in there with friends. It will be worth it! Trust me, and so much cheeper, because you're also still in college and have to check on finances so carefully.

4// Status/a title will not make you happy! We all fall into moments where we think "If only I had ____ I would be happy." But it really doesn't. Things and status will not bring fulfillment to your life, only God can do that. Trying to fill your life with things other than Jesus in the hopes of feeling fulfilled will just not work! That's one of the reasons why, when you do get that promotion or that item, the excitement of that fades and then you're looking for something else to feel fulfilled in a few days or weeks. Their beauty will always fade. I first hand know about this. For a few years I felt like I was chasing the "white rabbit" of being a manager, but once I got it I realized that it, just like everything else in life other than Jesus, does not fulfill!

5// The unique aspects of you that maybe you were made fun of as a kid, are the aspects of your personality that set you apart from others. On a physical/looks level one thing that I use to get made fun of as a kid that I felt hopeless about was my eyebrows. Back in my day (sarcasm on purpose), small skinny eyebrows were "in", I never had eyebrows like that. But now, being an adult and not having plucked to death my eyebrows, they are something that I get comments on. It's part of my face and something that I actually really like. Your beauty marks can lead to a career like Cindy Crawford. It's a big sentence to say but, be learn to be comfortable in your own skin. It's always something to keep learning but, just because one person looks at you funny, it doesn't matter!

6// Learn to share! This is a little more of a humorous lesson I've learned, but there are so many times that I use to go out to eat with friends that I would purchase all of this food and then leave half of it uneaten. Learn to share your fries with your friends. You'll save money and waste less. Also, make sure if you're going to get a medium or a large that you're hungry enough to eat/drink it! I was notoriously bad for getting the wrong size drink and wasting half of it. Not any more, I like to spend my money where it counts!! 

london subway - AVintageJoy

7// The world is so much bigger than you realize! No matter how "cultured" you are, the world is so much bigger than you can imagine! The more you travel and get to know people the more you realize how little you really know. Never stop learning and helping others. I pray that we do not get so comfortable in our little worlds that we have the naivety to think that everyone is as blessed as we are! Helping others is really the main message behind this lesson. 

8// Comparison is a thief of Joy. Get inspiration from people of course, learn from them, get inspired by what they're doing, but don't compare where they're at in life to where you're at. You are a different person, with different lessons to learn. Comparing and feeling behind will only lead you to feeling unsettled, not motivated.

9// Don't have a fear of investing in friendships or being yourself in a group of people. I'm definitely an extrovert, but there are times that in a large group of people where the girls are all talking about makeup or all playing with each other's hair, that I don't know what to do! I have a fear of talking about how I love the Star Wars movies because maybe the girls won't like me. But WHO CARES!! I'm looking for friends who appreciate who I am and I appreciate them for who they are. You don't have to love everything your friends do, but you do have to respect each other. And how can they respect that you really love this nerdy aspect of something if you never give them the chance to. Be your weird self! (they're nerdy about something too!)

College - AVintageJoy

10. It's ok to be Mulan. Let me explain!...When I grew up I always wanted to Belle and I still love Belle, but I'm much more of a Mulan in real life. I have goal after goal of reading books, and part of me is an introvert, but I'm much more likely to push boundaries of what a female "can and should" do. I feel you, don't message me about how powerful a woman Belle is, I know! That's why I love her too. But the "I'm just going to do this to fight for my family and so that my loved ones don't have to worry about this." Is much more my personality! I say that all to say, learn to see yourself in true eyes! Learn what your blindspots are and what your strengths are. We all have them, it's ok.

11. What God thinks of me is more important than what anyone else thinks. On that same note, if I truly want to fill fulfilled, I have to be following my God given calling, not worrying about what anyone else thinks. This one is the hardest for me to write, because I'll be working on this for years, and this is the one sometimes I feel the most out of line with. But, I remember the times in my 20's that I felt most alive, it was when I was more focused on what He thinks about me than worrying about what others think. 

This wonderful picture to the right is me from college, having a wonderful time learning how to solder. Yes, it's not the best picture, but I really love it because I was having so much fun! You can also definitely tell that a bunch of guys lived in this house from all of the lovely background accoutrements. 

There's one more lesson I've learned more about this year than ever before. But I feel like that one is a more detailed posts. So I'm going to write another post about that lesson. Read it here!


Live A Life of Generosity

Life a life of Generosity - AVintageJoy

Want to have the best year to date?! We all do right? I firmly believe that there is one action that is missing from so many of our lives in general. That, as you can see below, is..


We definitely don't want to be stingy and known as someone who doesn't have a "giving spirit", but how many of us live a truly generous life? Living a generous life does not mean just being generous with money, although that is part of it. Being someone who lives a generous life means taking the steps to be open when an opportunity arrises. 

To start off your "generous journey" it is a good idea to look at what you spend your money on. No seriously, take inventory in your mind for a moment of what you tend to spend the most of your money on? Write it down, make a note in your phone and keep that in mind throughout the rest of this because it's very true that what we spend out money on is where our heart is.

By that I mean that what we spend the most on is what we value the most. It is similar to the fact that what we really want to accomplish during the week we will. We will make time for things that we think are valuable. We may not be consciously saying that in the moment but, what we feel is best to spend our time on we will. What you take the most seriously is what you will spend your days doing. 

That's a hard reality to let sink in, because so many of us, myself included, spend so much of, not only our money, but our time on things that don't really matter in the end. Things that are more of time wasters than fulfillers. I don't think that's a word, but just stick with me.

We spend time not on building each other up and building a better life for those around us, but we do spend time on so many meaningless things. I say this not to make you, or me, feel bad but to put it back in focus. 

Do you really believe that what you believe is really real? - From The Truth Project

This is my favorite quote because if we truly believed what we believe, it would radically change our lives. We would have to be more generous people because we would realize that life isn't about status. When older people are interviewed and they look back over their lives they never talk about the things that we think are important. 

They don't say, if only I had "x" amount more money I would have really wanted that, or if I had only been the CEO of the company. They talk about quality of life. They talk about wishing they had spent more time with their children, that they wish they had connected with long lost loved ones. They wish they had been more generous with their time and their money. 

I talked about how I don't set New Year's Resolutions, but being more generous than I've ever been is my "goal" for this year. I want to take a more serious look at my goals and keep at the front of my mind what's truly important. Also, If I had to choose one word for this year it would be Generous! 

Do you have a word for this year? How have you been doing on your 2018 resolution? Do you have goals for this month? How are they going? Did you actually write them down?


Why I Never Make a New Year's Resolution

Don't Make a New Year's Resolution - AVintageJoy

At the beginning of last year I did a post called "My Not Goals for 2017" and I still fully believe what I wrote. I personally don't make New Years resolutions. With the way my brain works, as soon as I forget a day of "no gluten January" or "I'll workout every Monday/Wednesday/Friday" then I get discouraged and end up not doing the resolution in its entirety. 

I find that if I have goals based upon the month where I can accomplish the goal at any time during that month I'm much more successful with my goals. It allows me that freedom to do them when I can.

In 2018 there is something I want to do though. I want to be more generous this year than I have ever been before. More generous with my belongings, with my time, and with my talents. Here's why I think you should do that this year too.

I remember a time last year that I was so stressed out. I was working all of the time, I felt like I was bairly sleeping due to the stress, and the sleep I was getting was spent dreaming about work. Yeah I know right! Why is working following me into my sleep?! During that time I had the opportunity to volunteer. Although I felt that I had no time, I for some reason said yes. What I wasn't expecting to happen was those tow-three hours that I spend volunteering with those kids cleared my mind in a way that hadn't happened for months. I wasn't focused on myself, I got out of my head and focused on someone elses needs. 

The next day I went back to work more relaxed than I would have been had I not spend the previous day with those kids. I felt rejuvenated. I will give you a quick warning though... don't volunteer to feel better about yourself, because honestly if that's why you're being generous, you're not really being generous, you're being selfish.

But take a serious step back and rethink your strategy for this year. Remember, in a not morbid way, that you're only on this earth for so long. What do you want to spend your time and money on? I want to spend this next year remembering that "my things" and "my time" really isn't my time at all. What do I really own? If I'm being honest with myself, everything I have is really just rented and is a gift. I want to "regift" in the best way possible. I want to spend my money helping others and lifting them up, I want to spend my time as wisely as possible. I want to be generous. So many people see themselves as a generous person, but how generous are we really being in our day to day lives? 

That's my "not goal" for 2018. I want to live this year as generous as I can be. It will be hard to start because I'm so use to thinking "my things" are my own, but I'll get there! One step at a time.

Who's with me?! 


Be Kind To Yourself Now

Be Kind To Yourself Now - AVintageJoy

I was recently looking back at old photos and videos of myself and I was so much more kind to my past self. I was noticing how my hair looked better than I thought it did at the time, and how the same photos I had disliked, I now was so grateful that I had. This photo is me trying my very first homemade pop tart. I was on the trip that helped me decide Denver was the right place to move to. It was the first time I had looked at a place other than Florida and thought that it could eventually be home. However, after taking this picture, I hated everything about the picture.  

We do that so often in life. We look at all of the things in life that we "should" be doing better at and we don't appreciate the season of life that we're in. Growing and maturing is so necessary, but at the same time being grateful for where you are at brings such a peace. It's having the faith to know that this isn't forever, but also to be grateful for the now. Give yourself some grace in the now. I know when I'm looking at a picture of myself that I just took, I notice how if I had only worn a different color shirt, or mascara, or smiled like this instead, or whatever it may be at the time that I'm insecure about, the picture would have been so much better. In those moments all I'm doing is tearing myself down. I'm not speaking kindly to myself. How is it that I can be so kind to others in pictures and always love the candids, yet when I see my own all I see are my imperfections?

Let's not wait until years down the road to appreciate the "now." Let's not wait until we're looking back over memories and we finally see how we actually looked vs. what our minds were trying to tell us we looked like. Realize the beauty you have now, no matter your weight or haircut. You are so blessed to be you. You're the only one who will ever be like you. We see so much beauty in others, don't forget to be kind to yourself too!


A Challenge to my Brothers and Sisters in Christ

A Challenge to my Brothers and Sisters in Christ

This is how 10 minutes could change your life. In today's day and age with Twitter, Facebook, Youtube (that's a huge one for me) pulling our attention, it's important to take a purposeful look at what we're doing. 

Over the past few days I've been trying to take ten minutes each day and spend it with God. I know this sounds insignificant, but trust me it's incredibly powerful. Think about it, when was the last time that you spent ten minutes focusing on one thing? When was the last time that you sat in quiet and talked to God for 10 minutes? Really, think about it....

Read More

You Are Not Alone!

Do you have a passion, but aren't sure how to start? Do you have days where you feel alone? Days when you think about the past a little too much? Days when you think about the future a little too much? Have you had people tell you you're too young, or too old to know what you're doing? 

Ya me too! You are not alone! Thats the real secret isn't it. There are times that we get inside of our own heads and start to feel as though we are the only ones who have these and other thoughts. The only ones who wonder if the place we are at now is where we are suppose to be. Should we be doing something else, are we not doing enough in general with our lives? Do all the other apartments really look like Pinterest tell us they look? Absolutely not!! 

Friendship is born in that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’
— C.S. Lewis

The way to get out of this mindset of feeling alone is to realize that the mindset is a lie! If you are feeling this way more days than you aren't, here's the sure fire way to crush it. Talk to other people. Ask them how they’re really feeling, and do an act of service expecting nothing in return. The secret to crush the lie that you are alone in your life is to have a real conversation, because I’m pretty sure in the other person’s mind they are also alone sometimes. Get out of your own head and you’ll start to realized that the “you’re all by yourself” lie is just that, a lie!

There is always an excuse not to, but get involved somewhere. Yes, there will be groups you will try that won't work, but you'll be trying. That's half the battle. No one wants to feel alone, even the other people out there who look intimidating. Open up a dialogue and those same intimidating people you’ll find are also thinking they’re the only ones who feel alone.

These days we spend to much of our time having ourselves in mind. What makes the difference is when we stop thinking about ourselves. Imagine a world where we all stopped thinking about ourselves and thought of those around us. How fulfilled we would be!

We would be so much more inclusive, because there would be no other choice. If we think about how we can help others that is how we stop feeling that we are by ourselves. Eventually you will look around and you will be with a group of people focusing on someone else, and you’ll realize you really never were alone. I challenge you to do something small every day this week that helps another person, or ask someone a real question about themselves. At the end of the week you will feel more connected to people than last week! 

Then at the end of the week thin about how you felt over that week. Did you feel alone? Probably not! We can all learn more about how to support each other, but it only takes one small act to realize how not alone you are!


Do you ever feel like you're the only one going through what you're going through right now? Use this as a reminder of why you're not as alone as it seems!