+ Life Lessons: What I Learned In The First 22 Years +

Remember when we were little kids that had bad days? As we get older, we seem to have bad years. Off years. This has been a hell of an off year for me, and I have absolutely had it. So, after spending a week in Los Angeles and Phoenix, giving myself time off, time to think, write, and have some incredible conversations with darling Annie, I am renewed and motivated again. I’m in the airport writing this, in hopes of solidifying everything before “getting home” brings me back to earth.

Every year we get older, rules change a little for living. I’ve changed a lot, and have been in desperate need of repairing and creating a whole array of new little synapses between the updated me, and you – the world.

In a sense, this is a list of changes I’m consciously making, based off the most important lessons I’ve learned in the last 22 years, in order to develop my life into one I’m happy to live:

+ Keep a “thankful for” journal. Hot damn, I’m ready to focus on the overwhelming amount of good in my life.

+ Business hours for my social life.

+ Understand that sleep is my most valuable asset.

+ Surround myself with inspiring visuals and sound. Environment is everything.

+ Limit the number of close friends I have. Write them down, and invest in them. Commit.

+ Create what I love, not what I think other people will.

+ View my life holistically, not in terms of times, places, or periods.

+ Never underestimate the power of beauty.

+ KNOW it’s the journey, and not the destination. (I’m sorry, but for all you perfectionist, goal-oriented, big-picture people, this is one oozing cliché you’re just going to have to accept as truth, and learn to ignore the elephant of how-to, self-help, 10-ways-to-happiness shit factor that it is. )

+ Realize that I have control of my life as a whole. Truly. I control what I do. For the parts that are outside of my control, I have control of my perception.

+ Keep a list of things I wish I knew. Block off time to learn those things.

+ Don’t ever turn an opportunity down because I fear the result.

+ With every choice, ask if it simplifies or complicates. Be honest with myself.

+ Most limitations are illusions. Almost any obstacle can be overcome if I genuinely work at it.

+ What I focus on, expands. Ask myself every morning what I will focus on today. Write it down EVERYWHERE.

+ Take myself on dates. Regularly. Pretend I am in a relationship with myself. Take myself places I wish someone would take me, sit down and talk to myself. I can’t have quality relationships with others until I know the person having a relationship with them. So get to know that person – me.

+ Take care of myself. Treat myself like I would my daughter.

+ Carry around a pad or tablet for a week and mark down the moments I am happiest or excited ( + column ) and the moments I am drained, stressed, or unhappy ( – column ) . Take myself on a date, and work on arranging my life in a way that increases my +’s and decreases my –‘s.

+ Scrapbook. Not craft mom scrapbook. Keep a booklet (small enough I can throw in my purse or bag or backpack) around with a pen and some tape so I can throw every fleeting though, inspirational-anything, great ad, idea, photo, or pretty thing in it. Start documenting my life OFF the computer.

+ Give, not take. Give to myself, and give to others. Don’t let anyone take from me and don’t take from anyone else. Don’t let a day go by that I don’t consciously give to myself AND to someone else.

+ Compartmentalize only the bad, and none of the good.

+ Ten minutes every morning. Work it into EVERY morning before I go anywhere or do anything. Think about nothing other than myself. Get to know the person that’s getting ready to live my day.

+ Learn to believe that I am unique and can honestly give in ways that no one else can. I may not know right now what I can give, but when I believe it, I’ll see it.

+ Learn to need others and be needed. Do group projects and collaborations.

+ Everyday, stop and use my eyes’ macro lens. I may forget it often, but I’m a badass camera. Watch a bug, study a snowflake or blade of grass. Come to a dead stop and change my view for a couple of seconds, and I’ll see the world differently.

+ Do things I’m afraid of doing. Failure is better than not attempting.

+ Don’t be afraid of pain. Don’t run from it, don’t smother it, and don’t let decisions be influenced by it. There is a healthy outlet for pain, unique to me. Find it, use it, and create with it.

+ Love people. If you don’t have it already, make a conscious effort to develop a deep love for people and humanity as a whole. People are the key to life. Love them, know them, meet them, listen to them, learn from them. View everyone as an encyclopedia with a beating heart.

+ Don’t let weaknesses affect strengths. Use strengths regardless of weaknesses, and focus in on weaknesses one at a time. Work on them in environments where it’s already acknowledged that you can’t, and you’re there to get better.

+ Exchange my “I can’t” to “can you teach me?”


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  1. Amanda says:

    Hi Lauren, this post is so inspiring! Reading down the list, I feel the same way too. You know how we set resolutions at the start of the year and as months go by, we forget about them, and we don't stick by them anymore? I hope it doesn't happen to you for this one, keep yourself motivated! You can fulfil these. xx

  2. frankenstein says:

    i love you i love you i love you

  3. ...::Mrs. Southern Bride::... says:

    Gorgeous photo!

    I love the thankful for journal, I need to do this!

  4. Paige Baker says:

    You are an inspiration.

  5. missy. says:

    what a great list!! love the inspiration you have.

  6. Constructive Attitude says:

    i LOVEDDDDDDDDdd this post. totally inspiring me to focus on positives!

  7. your wishcake. says:

    Okay, so, I almost want to print out this post and keep it with me always. 🙂 You are incredibly and thoughtfully connected to yourself – and everything you wrote down are things I hope to remind myself of more often.

    Thank you for sharing! You are a gem.

  8. Paige Baker says:

    Hopefully it's okay but I (sort of) reblogged this. You are given full credit but I just loved/needed a few of these.

  9. Cheryl says:

    +Realize that I am amazing and worth a lot, and find a man who sees that in me.

  10. ForLoveAndEvil says:

    Wow, what a list…what an inspiration…thanks for sharing… 🙂

  11. Constructive Attitude says:

    you havent posted in a while!

  12. boltandfrolic (Ellen Brynn Eder) says:

    You're very wise at such a young age. Thanks for sharing your self— I pray I can soon develop the courage to blog with an open heart too.

  13. Cara says:

    INCREDIBLE and incredibly inspiring. Stealing a few of these ideas, and so I'm really excited to take myself out on a nice date soon. SO excited. AH Lauren I love you.

    Thank you again.


  14. Haley says:


    Dude. Yes. And thank you.

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