The 7 Most Important Lessons I’ve Learned Since Graduating College

It’s been just over a year since I left the familiarity of not only college, but of home. And it’s honestly been one of the most rewarding and challenging years of my life. Believe it or not, you keep learning after you graduate. I’ve acquired countless tips and tricks for navigating the real world, but here are the most valuable life lessons I’ve learned beyond textbooks:

  1. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Focus on a bigger goal. There’s something indescribable about feeling so lost but knowing you are headed in exactly the right direction. Feeling overwhelmed by a chaotic schedule, the choices you need to make, and the opportunities you should (or shouldn’t) take is a BEAUTIFUL thing! Focus on your dreams, not your worries.
  2. Spend money on experiences, not things. The determination to follow your dreams doesn’t always come with a consistent paycheck. Be okay with that, do what you need to do, and always remember your end goal. I definitely have a newfound appreciation for couponing. Saving money and budgeting is so essential in these first few years post-grad. With that said, choose the skydiving trip instead of the new pair of shoes.
  3. Keep in touch. Distance reveals who cares and who doesn’t, who is important and who used to be. And that goes both ways. Don’t be lazy when it comes to those you love, especially with your family. Call your mother! Related: snail mail matters! Getting a letter in the mail that isn’t a credit card statement is one of the greatest feelings. Who knew? Also, who needs a pen pal?
  4. Take better care of yourself. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m not as young as I once was! Hangovers are worse, injuries take longer to heal, and sleep is more important than ever. Just when I thought I was invincible. Ladies (& gents, if you’re into that sort of thing), take your makeup off every night before bed. Wear sunscreen and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize – especially if you’re in Southern California.
  5. Be honest. Not only with yourself, but also with others. Frankly, nobody’s got time for BS. Don’t hesitate to express yourself. And as the late, great Maya Angelou said, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” If you think this is about you, it probably is. 😉
  6. Explore. These are the years of discovery! Whether it’s finding your faith, finding yourself, finding others, or even finding your favorite coffee shop – what better time than now? Just because you are in the real world doesn’t mean you have to be boring. Refer back to Tip #2. Travel. See something you’ve never seen before.
  7. Don’t be afraid to take risks. You will be faced with thousands of decisions, some big and some small. Whether it’s your job, relationships, or if you want to dye your hair pink – do what makes you happy. Related: MOVE ON. Stop dwelling and holding on to something that isn’t making you better. You’re too awesome for that.


“Situationships” and The Importance of Letting People Know You Care

Relationships. They can be complicated or they can be magically and wonderfully simple. This can be with anyone – family, friends, romantic interests, your pet hamster, whatever. What it boils down to is a mutual understanding of where you stand with each other, and more importantly, what you mean to each other. In this generation, we see a lot of “situationships,” where the relationship is better described as “a thing,” and no one really knows what page you’re on, and no one takes the initiative to talk about it. What’s usually happening here, and I am guilty of this, is that one person is emotionally available while the other is not. Which makes the idea of the whole (necessary) conversation somewhat terrifying. And for us Capricorns out there, we are gonna be right here waiting for that other person to finally come around. To me, this isn’t what is important. What should override anything that’s “complicated” in relationships, is the importance of being honest and present with yourself and the other person. If you miss someone, tell them. If you love or care about someone, let them know. If you’re not on the same page or even in the same book, it’s a lot less difficult to be upfront about those feelings than to be frustrated by keeping them to yourself (on both parts). It literally can only take 3 seconds out of your entire day to let someone know that you’re thinking about them and that they are appreciated. The beauty of this is that by simply being honest, someone feels [insert: happy, appreciated, loved, cared about, etc.] and you contributed, even if only a small part, to that comfort. And if someone is making you feel the negative version of any of these emotions, it is time to get to movin’ on my friend, because at the end of the day you are the only person who can choose who contributes to your happiness. If you want to be happy, BE. Whatever that means for you.

Going into the New Year, this is an aspect of my life that I am very present with, and am dedicated to making these adjustments in my own relationships. Anyway, g2g, I miss my sister right now, so I’m going to let her know by sending her this picture of a dancing pug.