22. It is up to you to decide what your beliefs are – From the second we are born, we’re born into someone else’s ideas about life. Some of us are lucky enough to be born into families that allow us the space to figure out who we are with full acceptance, some are not. We are conditioned not only by our parents and other family members, but also have society’s dictations thrust upon us. With time, we develop the confidence AND curiosity to strike out on our own in search of what we really believe to be true. For me, that didn’t happen until my middle 20s. Then it really gained momentum and I really started figuring out who I was at age 27. Don’t ever let someone else tell you how you should believe. Whether it’s your faith, your views on politics, your sexual orientation/desires, your career, your hobbies…anything. You never know if you never try; it’s a lonely world when you’ve only adopted what others would have you believe. Always be searching. Find what works…you’ll know. There will be no doubt in your mind. And when you do find it, don’t let anyone ever tell you “You’re wrong”.

23. The more you are yourself, the more others will accept you – Subconsciously, I think all of us can sniff out a bullshitter. Even when we are trying to bullshit ourselves. Ever run across someone who just feels so fake and inauthentic that it almost makes your stomach hurt? Others feel that way about you too if you’re not being who you really are. I’m sure we have all been guilty of following the crowd or masking our insecurities by doing what everyone else is doing and it will only bring you those same type of experiences. Before you know it, you will be surrounded by fake friends, in a job that you absolutely hate wondering what the fuck happened to your life. Make different choices. Be yourself. Say what’s on your fucking mind. If you couldn’t dream of telling your friends what you really like to do in your free time or the things that you are really interested in, get new fucking friends. I study astrology, I practice energy healing, I’m an essential oil whore, I light candles and meditate, I can see auras and know how to clear chakras. I also really enjoy talking about sex and how people behave in relationships. I life-coach some of my friends and have my feet in so many creative cookie jars that I make my own head spin. (Yes, my feet. I’m different, yeah I’m different) But my friends, the ones that I invest time in, may not understand any of it, but they love me and ACCEPT me regardless. Find the people who make you feel good for being you. The ones that celebrate the things you can bring to the table, instead of crucifying you for them.

24. Read – Go ahead, grab your 50 Shades of Gray or pull up your favorite gossip column or scan your ESPN app one more time to read about the latest player fined for driving drunk. It will help you pass the time and probably give you something to add to another one of your mindless conversations with those friends of yours that would rather discuss what Mileys up to now instead of anything of remote significance. I get it. I know how enticing that shit can be. I have my own smut guilty pleasures. Not that The Chive is considered smut, but I digress. Read something incredible. Read something inspiring. Don’t think books have any shit like that in them? Bullshit. I can give you links to 100 really amazing online magazines or websites that will bust open your brain and give you something to think about and then want to talk about. I can give you a list of the 100+ books in my kindle that have changed the way I think. Don’t be the boring the person that has nothing to say. And hey, men that read are crazy attractive, especially when they can tell you what book they just got done reading and why they liked it/hated it. Woman are crazy attractive when they have something intelligent to say…read!

25. Have an adult conversation with a kid – It will literally blow your mind. And you’ll probably always remember it. Treat them like the midget geniuses they are. However, some may also be midget assholes because of their asshole parents, you’ll have to judge accordingly.

26. Smile – Right fucking now. Stop reading this and smile….I’m waiting. Feel kinda retarded, huh? You didn’t look retarded. Someone somewhere probably got a boner. Did you chuckle a little? Do it again. Hold it 5 seconds. Do you feel different from  5 seconds ago? No? You’re a liar. I have learned the best way to combat a shitty attitude or anything less than an amazing feeling is to just smile. Smile at strangers, smile at your dog, smile at anything. Especially smile at yourself in the mirror and say, “Well hey there you fine lookin’ motherfucker. How’s about we saddle up this bitch and wrangle in some feel good shit.” Or however your confident voice speaks to you. Mine’s actually an Asian dude and I won’t tell you what I say to myself in the mirror. Smiling when you don’t want to or for no reason at all places you in the “now”. You forget about all the other shit rolling around in your head and your grounded right where you are. Suddenly you feel better and other people start feeling better too. In Guam, I would smile and then do a little hip thrust or I would sing hello to people as I smiled like a fool. I may have look like a fucking idiot, but you know what, I always had good days. Modern day Mary Poppins ya’ll…don’t hate.

27. Nothing is perfect – No relationship, no job, nothing. You will have your really incredibly fantastic days where you re-enact the dance numbers from “Newsies” in your living room and then there will be days you will want to go all Heath Ledger as The Joker on a situation. This is all normal. Life sucks sometimes. However, don’t have the expectation is has to be all honey butter and chocolate chip pancakes all the time or a scene from 300 on repeat either. Just because something is going awry in life doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. And just because things are shitastic doesn’t mean they aren’t ever going to be fantastic. Embrace the ebb and flow of life. When you are faced with the bad, lean on your friends. Don’t curl up inside your hole and self-loathe. Start to find your courage and the belief that no matter what, things won’t always be this way. Know that everything that comes to you in life comes with a lesson. Vent your little heart out. Scream, cry, masturbate til you pass out, whatever you have to do. Just don’t stuff. Don’t bottle it all up inside, reach out and touch somebody. Yeah, that.

28. You will change – What you liked at age 19 will change by the time you are 21. Who you are at 22 will be vastly different from who you are 25. And by the time you are closing in on 30…holy fuck. AND IT’S A GOOD THING! Never stay the same. And the more you change, the better it is for you. Experience everything you can, become firm in your ideals, let those ideals be tested, allow them to change. Always be open. To be a better version of yourself, you have to do the work. Doing the work constitutes seeking out things that will change you. Don’t be afraid of it. Be excited for it. I can’t wait to see where I am at 32. Who knows the craziness I’m going to be getting myself into but I welcome it. Allow it to happen as it happens and revel in where it’s brought you from where you came from. Face that you are born into this world immature. You will slough that off year by year and in my opinion, if you’re a dude, it’s gonna take you a hell of a lot longer to be someone us woman don’t want to strangle as often as we do now. Sorry, I couldn’t help it.

So there you have it. 28 lessons I’ve learned in 28 years. None of them were really that shocking…but important regardless. When I started this piece on Tuesday my boyfriend asked, “Do you even have 28 things to write about?” I gave him the “give me  break” look and said, “Dude, I could write like 150 things”. But I wouldn’t want to go spoiling the contents of my book now 😉

Thanks for reading!