24 Things I’ve learned in 24 Years

24 Things I’ve learned in 24 Years

Well, as you may have guessed, it’s my 24th birthday! (Gasp!) Time for a “24 things I’ve learned” list!

I’m actually super excited about this. I’ve never really been super scared about growing up. Of course, I’ve had my moments where the world just stops and I think to myself, “Holy s#@*! I’m almost 25, which means I’m almost 30, which means I’m almost 50…” But after about an hour of analyzing my life, I realize it’s better to just calm down and enjoy.

Anyway, here are 24 things I have learned in 24 years:

1. It’s okay to not have your life figured out

Everyone is riding the wave at their own pace and there is no reason to freak out.

Growing up, I was really good in school, and the problem with that is that it puts A LOT of pressure on you. You feel like since people see you “on top” (mainly family, teachers, and adults), that you have to stay at the top. It’s great encouragement really, but at the same time, it makes you feel bad for not knowing where you’re going or what your next step is, or what you want to do with your life. BUT, I’ve learned that it’s perfectly ok — in fact, that’s why it’s not too bad to be bad with directions (pun intended).

Check out one of my favorite songs that touches on this point: “Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen” by Baz Luhrmann

2. It’s best to simplify your life as much as possible

Clean up your social media. Get rid of toxic people and relationships. Stop saying yes to things you don’t want to do or go to. Get rid of unnecessary things. Just do what you want to do, and don’t over think!

3. Let loose and have fun

One of my favorite quotes is: Don't take life too seriously; you'll never get out alive. Click To Tweet It is SO true! So obviously be serious about things that matter, but remember to smile, be light-hearted, and enjoy every day.

4. Your mindset is super important!

Ever start your day on the wrong foot and everything seems to go wrong left and right? I believe that has A LOT to do with your mindset. In that scenario, you are already stressed, freaking out, in a hurry, dropping things, forgetting something, hitting your toe, etc. But if you just took a second to breathe and think more positively, then your morning could change.

Laugh at things that seem to be going wrong and embrace the good, and your daily life will feel SO much better. (Also known as the “Law of Attraction” if you want to look into it more!)

5. There is always something to be grateful for

This kind of goes hand-in-hand with #4. Being grateful for things will make you more aware of the beauty in your life and in the world. We often take things for granted, or overlook everything because “there could always be something better.” Being grateful for what I have in my life, the people I have come across, and the experiences I have had, has made a huge difference in my approach to life — in a good way of course!

24 Things Ive Learned in 24 Years - Grateful | Bad with Directions

6. Learning to cook is a must!

I will be completely honest and tell you I had no idea how to make anything besides cereal and bagels until about a year ago. (Don’t judge!) But when I realized all the benefits of cooking: how much money I could save, how much fun it is to cook with roommates and friends, and how it makes you feel like a good adult…I realized it’s time to cook. It also makes you feel healthier!

7. There is nothing wrong with staying at home

Sometimes I feel guilty being at home all day or having a lazy day. But honestly, it is a great way to recharge and prepare yourself for the week. Sometimes we just need alone time and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

8. Keep track of your memories

When I was younger, my mom would always tell me to take pictures. I didn’t listen and now I find myself wishing I did. Now I actually print my pictures and keep them in a box. I keep concert bracelets and little souvenirs from events or nights out. I also write lists in my bullet journal about cool things that happened during the day or the week. It is such a cool way to keep track and look at everything you’ve done.

Have you seen how I keep track of my travels?

9. Writing things down is a great habit to have

This also goes with #8 but I really believe in it. Write things down! We forget so much and it comes in handy to have a recollection of things.

For example: before going to an interview, write down everything you have done in other jobs or by volunteering. Yes, you should have your CV for that, but there is only so much space you can use. AND I guarantee you there are things you will completely forget to mention.

Another thing is to “brain dump.” Writing down everything on your mind will make you feel so much lighter and less stressed.

10. It’s better to spend on experiences than things

Some might disagree with this, but I would rather spend my money on concerts, traveling, food, amusement parks, skydiving (which I still have yet to do), etc. Buying things can make you feel good, but temporarily. Whereas experiences make you feel alive and vibrant, and can be lasting memories.

24 Things Ive Learned in 24 Years - Experiences | Bad with Directions

11. There is no need to justify your decisions to others

Do you, and don’t feel like you have to explain yourself to people. As my dad always says, “they don’t pay your bills.”

12. Don’t follow fashion trends

It is WAY better to have a simpler, neutral closet with limited options that all match. This saves time AND effort instead of having to mix and match random pieces. You also will always look put together. This also means you can invest in better quality pieces instead of buying a ton of cheap items that’ll last you a month or two. Quality over quantity.

13. Showers are the best place to reflect

Or to come up with ideas. To replay memories or play out future scenarios. To sing your heart out and feel free.

14. Trusting your gut can save you time and stress

Ever go to a restaurant wanting one thing, then order something else and feel disappointed after? Your gut knows what you want, what you feel, what you think… more than you do. So make things less complicated by just listening to yourself in the first place.

15. Pick your battles

Some things are just not worth it. So think before you speak or act irrationally, and let things go.

24 Things Ive Learned in 24 Years - Imagine | Bad with Directions

16. Give yourself more credit because you’re worth it

Each of us are super amazing in one way or another and we tend to forget it. We all have cool skills, experiences, and stories we can share with other people. Being your worst critic is only going to push you down. So listen to others when they tell you you’re good at something and believe in yourself.

17. Save for a rainy day

Having a safety net of cash and feeling a sense of stability is one of the best feelings in the world. So start saving sooner than later.

18. Invest in those who invest in you

Don’t waste your time or thoughts on people who couldn’t care less about you. Use that time on others who love you, who make you feel good, and who reciprocate.

19. Speak to strangers and hear their stories

I find it so cool to learn about people from different walks of life and find out where they’ve come from. It gives you some inspiration and makes you more open to others and life. If speaking to strangers isn’t your thing, start by people-watching!

Do you know where you are from?? Test it out to see!

20. Don’t get too comfortable

Continuously push yourself to grow, to learn, to try new hobbies, etc. Be dynamic. Being too comfortable leaves you no room to grow and to be a better you. Do things that scare you and get out there. Especially because if you get too comfortable and something changes, you might not know what to do.

24 Things Ive Learned in 24 Years - Explore | Bad with Directions

Related: Top Five Places to get Lost Around the World

21. Know your drinking limits

There is nothing worse than waking up the next morning feeling like crap and puking your insides out. You can have a good night and still feel good the next morning — by being smart. Know your limits, drink water, and snack on things. Having more drinks than you can handle isn’t “cool.”

22. Minimalize and “Spring Clean” every season

There is no better feeling than deep cleaning everything and getting rid of a ton of stuff that was just taking up space. If something doesn’t make you happy, doesn’t serve a purpose, or doesn’t get used…get rid of it! You’ll feel SO much better. I promise.

23. Be comfortable being solo

Learn to eat at restaurants by yourself. Take walks and explore by yourself. Be comfortable with your own company in public.

Also read: 24 Things I’ve Learned in 24 Years: TRAVEL EDITION

24. Relax; take it easy

The theme of my 23-year-old self was my quarter-life crisis because I didn’t know what the next step was. And I still don’t. But I am learning to take things step by step. To go with the flow and see where life takes me.

24 Things Ive Learned in 24 Years - RELAX | Bad with Directions

I hope you enjoyed reading the 24 things I learned throughout my years. Did any one stick out to you? What have you learned throughout your years?

24 Things I've Learned in 24 Years | Need life advice or a little inspiration? Life isn't as difficult as it seems -- take it from someone who is going through the motions just like you! I have lived 24 wonderful (and not so wonderful) years and have learned A LOT. Check out the 24 things I've learned in 24 years about life and how to be the best version of yourself you can be!


  1. November 19, 2017 / 2:24 am

    OMG, I agree with all your list! I even can’t choose one to comment about, haha. Some I already apply to my life, some I’m still working on, like not getting too comfortable where I am.

    I’m already 27 :O and I can totally relate to you life crisis haha…

    I hope you had a lovely birthday! 🙂


    • November 20, 2017 / 12:11 am

      Haha thank you so much! But yes I think they’re things we all can relate to and come to learn at some point in time. 27?! I wouldn’t have guessed! Que bom linda! 🙂

  2. October 25, 2017 / 3:37 pm

    I was trying to write down my favorite advice. I told my boyfriend “remember numbers 2,3,4,5…dammit never mind” Basically all of these are things I am learning now as I’m clinging to the 8 months I have left of my 23rd year. This was an amazing post and I’m proud you learned all of this. Great advice!! Happy birthday??

    • October 25, 2017 / 7:07 pm

      Thank you sooo much Tyra! ? Haha you still have some time left. 24 isn’t bad so far ? but definitely enjoy being 23! Glad you could relate to most of these! ?

  3. October 25, 2017 / 12:21 pm

    Nicole, this is a BEAUTIFUL post. As a reader, I can see how much thought and time you put into it. It is such great advice! My favorite ones are number 7 and number 12. <3 HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    Madison http://breakfastatmadisons.com

    • October 25, 2017 / 7:03 pm

      Aww thank you SO much Madison! Makes me super happy that you enjoyed reading it ☺️ Oh! Btw! I’m going to Copenhagen this weekend as a birthday present! I can’t wait to see the beautiful country you live in! ?

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