So, I have some exciting news to share with you all. Can you guess it? Hmmm…
I am finally twenty-one!! It’s my 21st birthday, ya’ll!
I have waited for this day for what seems like forever and now that the day has finally arrived, I couldn’t be happier! Seriously. Not only am I super blessed to have been able to live twenty-one fabulous, eventful, and healthy years, I am also grateful for all of the memories I have made so far and the lessons I have learned.
Oh, and of course I am happy to officially be legal now, too! 😉
Like I said, throughout my twenty-one years of life, I have learned so much about myself, the world, and others. Looking at who I was even a year ago is a simple reminder of how much I have grown and changed as a young woman. I am fortunate enough to have this platform, my blog, to share my experiences with you all. And, you get to spend my twenty-first birthday with me!
So, here are 21 things I have learned in 21 years —
1 | i am not a failure for not doing what everybody else is doing
This has been a huge life lesson of mine, which is probably why it’s number one. All my life, I have always known that I am destined to do amazing things. I have always wanted to inspire, teach, and empower people and that dream and goal of mine is finally coming true in the form of me being a blogger and a content creator. I launched Sincerely Shirley in February of 2019 and when I launched it, I was not enrolled in college. I had completed my freshman year at a university but knew that I wasn’t happy and that I needed a break. So, I did just that — I took a year off. And at first I was super proud of myself but then I started noticing myself comparing my journey to the journies of my friends, causing me to think less of myself because I had taken a different path by taking a year off. I eventually came to terms with my decisions and came to value the choices I made (and continue to make), but learning to accept that I am not a failure just because I am not doing what everybody else is doing was a lesson I am so grateful to have learned! This lesson has also helped me to stop comparing my blog and my success with the successes of everybody else.
2 | actions really do speak louder than words
I used to think that this saying was such a cliché. Well, that is, until I found myself in relationships with people who were all talk and no action. And, quite honestly, I allowed myself to be fooled so many times by the sweet and reassuring words I was being told. However, as I started to become more confident in who I am as an individual, I slowly started setting healthier boundaries, which was necessary for growing and learning how to only foster healthy and loving relationships. That said, I have learned to believe people’s actions, not JUST their words.
3 | walking is better than running
Disclaimer: I do not mean this in terms of physical exercise, no. I mean this in terms of not rushing to the finish line of life. I say this because I am always one to want to know what’s to come and I love planning ahead and rushing thins. Simply put, I am impatient. So much so, that I used to be so hard on myself so that I could reach all of my goals instead of enjoying the process and learning about myself along the way. And while pushing yourself is good and having discipline is great, too. However, I would put so much stress on myself and in doing so, I would miss out on enjoying watching my life unfold and goals being met. Because as I would accomplish things, I wouldn’t even be excited for myself. Instead, I would just busy myself with the next batch of goals I had set for myself. Make sense? So, that is why I have learned to walk instead of run. Because when walking, you can enjoy all of what is happening around you instead of going so fast that you miss out on the small things in life.
4 | there is no such thing as overeducated or overdressed
I used to be afraid of raising my hand in class when I knew the answer to a question because I didn’t want to come across as a know-it-all. I also used to talk myself out of wearing my nice Gucci belt, accessorizing with a fancy piece of jewelry or a nice designer bag, or dressing up when it was not a requirement because I didn’t want people to look at me and think that I thought I was better than them. Of course, this stems from the insecurities I formed due to the bullying I encountered throughout highschool. But, this way of thinking really put a stint in my growth and ultimately hindered the process. That is, until I started blogging. Seriously. Blogging has not only opened up so many doors for me, as well as put me in contact with so many awesome people and brands, but blogging has also helped me become so much more confident in who I am!
5 | if I can’t be in a healthy relationship with myself, I have no business dating
Major, major lesson I have (finally) accepted and come to terms with. I am finally learning to put myself first and to finally take a break from dating. Up until recently, I had never taken adequate time to learn about myself, much less love myself, so I am excited to finally be in a good spot, mentally, in that I am learning to be comfortable single. It’s very liberating, rewarding, and necessary! I have finally put an end to chasing meaningless and toxic relationships and have instead taken all of that energy and put it into myself, my goals, my education, and my friends and family. Life is good, friends. Life is good.
6| my childhood wounds can be healed
From insecurities to abandonment issues, these childhood wounds have followed me into my adulthood. And, up until recently, I allowed these wounds to control me and talk me out of meaningful relationships and experiences with myself and others. However, in October of 2o18, I started seeing my therapist (who I have briefly mentioned before) and she has changed my life for the better. She has also helped me dig deep into my core and uncover all of the wounds I’ve attempted to ignore or abandon and, in doing so, she has helped me overcome all of my past issues. Because of her and her help, I have *finally* come to realize just how important it is to be honest with myself and to take my past wounds seriously so that I can be the best version of myself. It’s hard work and is uncomfortable at times, but it’s so worth it!
7| self-care is the most selfless act
For real, ya’ll! This year has taught me the importance of self-care and how crucial it is to prioritize yourself; your mind, your body, and your spirit. With that being said, I firmly believe that my life has changed for the better due to my taking time to better understand myself, as well as love myself. I have taken time to find new hobbies, meet new people, attend cool events, read more books like I used to, listen to new music, and try new foods. Doing all of this has strengthened my relationship with myself which has ultimately enabled me to have better and healthier relationships with others. So, if you’re wanting to start practicing self-care, which I HIGHLY recommend, here is a great article/post that provides readers with a long list of ways that one can practice self-care. Oh, and always remember that self-care and self-love are not selfish, they are selfless!
8| not everything is about me and not everybody is against me
Of course this stems from my insecurities and whatnot, but I used to (and still do from time to time) think that everybody was always talking about me, judging me, or laughing at me. I could be doing something as simple as walking to and from classes and come across a group of girls talking and automatically assume they were talking about me. Super toxic and draining, I know! So, now what I do is tell myself a handful of positive affirmations whenever I start telling myself that other people are talking about me or judging me —
- “i am confident”
- “i am secure”
- “i am safe”
- “i am friendly”
- “i am cared about”
- “i am a good friend”
- “i am inspiring”
9| online dating is not the only way to date
Ah, yes — online dating. You know that saying, “insanity is doing something over and over and expecting a different result?” Yeah. Well, as of right now, online dating has been my source of insanity. I guess I found online dating and dating apps to be a source of comfort for me whenever I was lazy. So much so that my sense of self and my confidence started to depend on the number of swipes, likes, and connections I made. So, with the ending of my latest relationship, I decided to stay single and that when I am ready to seriously date again, to not just rely on dating apps to connect me with awesome men. That said, I have chosen to connect with others through school, networking events, and more!
10 | in the end, everything will always be ok
And when I say everything, I mean everything. Through the years, I have encountered my fair share of obstacles and misfortunes. However, I didn’t let them get me down. Time and time again, I have been shown that in the end, everything turns out ok and that I am always ok. I used to let life get me down and I would never know how to properly and healthily deal with life’s obstacles. In other words, I convinced myself that every disappointment and tragedy was the end of the world. But, as time has gone on, I have realized that, through everything, I have not only survived, but I have gotten stronger.
11 | family is super impirtant and I have the best family ever (not a biased opion )
Seriously. No doubt. My family means the world to me. I have talked about my adoption on this blog before, so I know you all are aware of my family’s dynamic. Anyways, my family truly is the best. Because of them, I have been unconditionally loved and support my whole entire life. Simply put, I am who I am today because of my family and for that, I am very grateful. Through the years, I have also come to learn just hiw important it is to spend time with our loved ones and to make it a protitigy to alwats tell one another that you love them.
my lovely family!
12 | growing up is not an excuse to no longer see your friends
It’s no secret that as we grow up and adult, life requires more of our time and effort and seeing friends as frequently as we used to can be hard. Impossible, of course not. But, still hard. With my friends attending colleges in various states, getting engaged or married, or even starting families, it’s more difficult to make plans. But, like I said — it’s not impossible. This year, I made a promise to myself that I would reconnect with the peoole who are important to me. And, I did just that! Reconnecting with my friends and prioritizing them made me realize just how valuable healthy and strong friendships are and just how grateful I am to habe such awesome friends in my life.
13 | time management and self-discipline are keys to success
For real, ya’ll! Being a blogger, full-time college student, daughter, sister, and friend have shown me just how crucial it is to be able to manage time, as well as be self-disciplined. In one of my recent posts, I talked about how time-blocking has changed my life for the better and it’s so true — I am able to plan out everything and still find time for myself which is key to maintaining my mental health.
14 | expectations really are the root of all heartache
Ugh, this could not be any truer! And while it’s been a tough lesson to learn, I have learned it. I have learned that by expecting things from other people, I have opened myself up to be disappointed and let down. Having a big heart, I always wanted others to care for me the same ways that I have cared for them. However, in expecting the same treatment and whatnot from others, I was only hurting myself in the end. And up until recently, I had continued to keep letting myself expect the best from others only to be let down time and time again. So, while this lesson was uncomfortable and tough to learn and accept, I am glad that I did, because its allowed me to set healthier boundaries for myself, as well as better protect myself from putting myself in situations that will leave me feeling unimportant, let down, and disappointed!
15 | if I don’t like something about myself or my life, it’s up to me to change it
YES! It is so easy to make excuses and to blame others for the things we don’t like about ourselves. Trust me — I get it; I used to do the same thing. It’s so much easier to blame others and to make excuses ad to why we can and cannot do something versus putting in the time, work, and effort to better ourselves in the ways we want to. With that being said, I found myself falling into this counterproductive and toxic habit of putting off whatever it was that I knew I needed to do in order to be the best version of myself. Why? Because, as I said, I had become comfortable making excuses. But, I quickly came to realize that the excuses weren’t helping me, whatsoever. So, what did I do? I started to —
- work on and (finally) launch my blog
- take the steps needed to reach all of my goals
- eat healthier
- reconnect with good friends
- enroll in college (again)
- set healthy boundaries | read more about that here!
- and so much more!
I am super proud of myself for finally taking the initiative in bettering myself and my life. I am noticing so many positive changes and I cannot wait for what the future holds for me!
16 | dogs really are a (wo)man’s best friend
Need I say more? Like, have you all seen my pup, Cody? If not, here is a picture of my beloved fur baby/best friend —
The bottom line is this — Cody has been there for all of my crying fits, heartbreaks, venting sessions, etc. And he STILL loves me unconditionally. He truly is the most loving and loyal pup a girl could ask for. Simply put, he is my best friend.
17 | being a blogger has changed my life and has made me realize what i want to do
It really, really has! Not only have I gotten to meet some awesome people, work with cool brands, attend cool events, and write all while inspiring and helping others out, but I have leanred a lot about myself, too. Since I launched my blog, I have come to realize that blogging is what I am so darn passionate about and couldn’t imagine my life without. Seriously. I love blogging and it has helped me become more comnfident and sure of myself. And, on top of that, I have helped so many people and for that, I am truly and forever grateful. And let me tell ya — when you find your passion and your purpose, you will know it and it will feel amazng.
19 | I was created exactly in His image
Whether or not you’re a believer, I personally believe that we are all created with a purpose. I beloieve that we are all here for a reason and that rthroighout life, the reasons will become more and more obvious to us. And while this had taken me a couple of years to come to terms with and accept. I am glad I have. Because in understanding and accepting that I was created for a reason and that I am needed here on earth, has changed my life forever. My bad days are not as they used to be simply because I know that I am who I am and where I am for a reason.
19 | social media sucks
Yup, it really does. 🤷🏾♀️ While I love blogging and wouldn’t ever want to not be blogging, being a blogger has made me have to do the very thing that I dislike the most: be active on social media. Prior to blogging, I had deleted my Snapchat (years ago, in fact) and hardly ever used my Facebook and Instagram. I didn’t have a Twitter or even a Linkedin. The only social media account that I have loved is Pinterest because I never needed to interact with anybody on there, ya know? But, being a blogger means interacting with others, networking, and promoting yourself and your brand. And, to do this, you have to be (super) active on social media, especially Instagram. I know I have mentioned on here that I have intentionally put off being active o Instagram until recnetly becausee I didn’t want to deal with it/I didn’t want to not be good enough and whatnot. And, that is still true. I am finally working towards re-launching my Instagram account (follow me, ya’ll!), but — social media sucks!
20 | not everybody is going to like me and that is okay
21 | i am so, grateful blessed and fortunate for the life I have
This post is getting longer and longer, so I will keep this last one short and sweet! I want to thank my family, my friends, my subscribers and followers, my teachers, and peers for helping me become the person I am today. Without you all, I wouldn’t be the Shirley that you know (and love so dearly 😉).
what is your favorite drink? let me know in the comment section below (and leave the recipe, too, of course)!
shaing is caring! share this post on pinterest using the two pinnable images above so others can read this post, too
So, with that — happy twenty first birthday to me and cheers to 21 years, my friends! Thanks for reading