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26 LESSONS I’VE LEARNED AFTER 26 YEARS

Sometimes we hear things, we see them, and we may even repeat them but yet, the lesson hasn’t been truly absorbed. I’ve been guilty of an aesthetic Pinterest poster grabbing my attention and resonating while my day to day actions aren’t reflective. But my 26th year / 2023 was a really big one for me. I’ve put pillars that I was preaching, but not using, into practice. I'm like Kylie Jenner circa 2016 because it was the year of "realizing stuff". But like all things I do, it’s not always THAT serious..


1. It's rarely a bad idea to keep your head down. But your chin up.

You can’t take back the words you say, or write, so be careful. But also be precise in language and verbiage if you’re choosing to open the flood gates. You have every right to express how you feel but actions have consequences so be prepared. And don’t let anyone else’s words get YOU down. Shockingly, this “head down, chin up” can also relate to being called a dirty whore by street walkers at 2 AM leaving the subway. Oh anyone else? Just me?


2. You should seldom sleep past 9 AM.

Like sure, once in awhile but there is a whole word already up at 5 AM. You’re giving them a head start…don’t let them lap you.


3. Girls won’t lie, even to spare your ego and men will lie, only to spare theirs.

Girls will have no problem telling you that the person you’re crushing on actually looks like Human Shrek (which is not good according to them) because they're not willing to lie to your face. They have no issue telling you that yes, you are getting fat from all the Burger King. But men? They’ll lie that they’re interested in so many different ways because they just want someone interested in / giving attention to them.


4. It’s not lame to say your mom is one of your best friends.

Birds of a feather…you know the gist.


5. There is never a "right" time for anything. 

There is no such thing as being ready for life. You can study, you can prepare, you can practice for whatever you think is coming, or the next new beginning but the truth is that yesterday was the right time and any day after that is just stalling. And this ALSO applies to flights, just book the damn trip and don't hesitate.


6. Celebrating achievements can be done alone, and there is nothing wrong with that.

You don’t always need a dinner and a cheers for your victories. Sometimes a good everything shower, take out from the new place on the corner, and a new Tobacco Lounge Chesapeake Bay candle is and should be enough. You’ve earned it. But hey, if you want a dinner and a cheers...there is nothing wrong with parking up solo at a table for two and doing just that.


7. Being single is a gift, because you may only be lucky enough to have a few years left in this phase.

You have freedom and bravery to make any and all choices. It may not be like that forever; enjoy the selfishness.


8. It's not the WORST thing to be a renter, for now.

Renting may not be the smartest choice in the financial game but you have the excitement of what’s next and that again, is a freedom not to be taken for granted. You have a whole life to build roots. You only have a short time to be a tumbleweed.


9. A RAINY DAY FUND IS A NECESSITY.

Chase Bank lets you set deposit rules. You can’t NOT take advantage. Personally, I have any deposit over $100, take 26% out and put into savings. I'm contributing to a growing savings without giving a second thought.


10. Trying food will not kill you, and if does, you went out on an adventure.

I've been putting weird things in my mouth like a troublesome toddler, well, since I was a toddler. I don't shy away from bull tongue, or frog legs, or liver on a first try. I might never eat it again, but a taste isn't going to kill me. I think it's crazy to travel, or even be local, and not try the out of the box menu items.


11. Watch the yellow light when crossing the street (and the bike lane).

I'm super proud to be a New Yorker. And part of that is being the first in the crowd to cross the street. It's an unspoken competition. I don't watch the cars, or for the walk sign. I watch the light turn yellow and I make my move. But beware for the bikers because one will take your down and you will never get over that embarrassment.


12. Friends will come and go, and you have to let them.

I used to be in the business of begging and changing to keep my relationships. However, I've retired. Maisie Peters' There It Goes sings :

"I sleep through the night

And I go where I'm wanted

And I don't need your light to be lit

But oh, the way I loved you

I will not be embarrassed of that

Just should've known when to quit"

Without giving up ALL my cards, I scream this stanza. I'm not embarrassed of the romantic and platonic love that I've given, but I should not have let myself look a fool when the relationships had run its course. Now...I'm going where I'm wanted.


13. There is no man worth a more than penny if he makes you feel stupid or less than a dime.

I have been openly single, but was dating one person for the better portion of the Summer in 2023. I liked him because he was very smart, and enjoyed the same lifestyle as I did. We enjoyed art / art discussions, we went to a few concerts of smaller artists, he liked to cook, and I liked to eat. However, there was a small percentage of evenings (or mornings) where I'd come home and NOT tell my roommates that "yeah, he made me feel stupid again". He knew he was smart, but would look down if I didn't have the same knowledge. And it's not like his words were philosophical books or peer reviewed journals that he was reading. Honestly, the most hurtful or embarrassing was when he scoffed at me and treated me less than for not being in tune with Marvel movies. So yeah, that just so happened to be the last time we saw each other.


14. Anger can be a motivator, but not your only motivator.

You can run the Marathon on anger. You can lift a car. You CAN do anything when you're angry that you otherwise wouldn't. But anger shouldn't be the driving force in your life. Revenge goes along with that too; let's just leave that as a form of pre-workout and nothing more.


15. Adults read, like a lot.

Humans? Reading? Wow - news to me but this year has been a time where I've really surrounded myself with people who love literature and that excites me. Do I have my NYCPL Card yet? Uh...shut up.


16. You should book the trip the first time you search the flight.

I went to Japan because of a tipsy search and a shockingly low rate. $888 to get across the entire (flat) (that's a joke) Earth. I went to Scandinavia because a friend was aimlessly searching on one Tuesday morning and found $414 round trip tickets. We didn't hesitate. We didn't plan. We just did. And I'll do it again....but I won't be foolish enough to put my planned destination of choice into my keyboard until I'm typing into Google Flights.


17. There will be a handful of people who are rooting for your success, without ulterior motive or personal gain. You have to keep those people around at all costs. They are the lifelong friends.

I've gained a few and lost many more friends, but I can still say that I'm a lucky girl.


18. Your salary is the base of your income, not the amount that you're making.

Salary is the starting line, and the rest of the year is a Marathon to the next tax bracket.


19. There's a difference between texting and getting a reply.

It's quite obvious when you're the one being distant, because you frankly do not care. So sweetie, wake up, you know how they feel about you and no paragraph is ever gonna change that. You're embarrassing yourself. I'm glad to put it into practice / been aware enough to cut my losses where there is no invisible string.


20. It'll never hurt to ask.

Except Auntie Anne's for a student discount....they pitied me so much that they gave me the employee discount. But hey, I still got 10% off.


21. Karma is real when it comes to saying others in a room full of opportunity.

I've learned that my biggest pet peeve isn't slow walkers. Or Taylor Swift haters. But it's people who don't believe that rising tides lift all boats aka those who won't mention a friends' name in a room full of oppurtunity...or even a closet...or to just one other person.


22. Strangers are the best of friends.

I have friends that have lasted a lifetime, I have friends that have lasted a season, but the most special of friends are the ones you meet for a night...or a weekend. You'll party in Canada, or cry in Seattle, or sing karaoke in the heart of Tokyo but it'll be wonderfully cinematic and those nights are the memories you'll have forever.


23. Life may or may not be a performance, but it's certainly a red carpet.

I'm not acting my way through my years but I will always do my best to #serve. Slay.


24. Smiling is a form of currency.

It's not that hard. Smile at strangers. Smile at the bodega man, smile at the little girl and her grandma in Target, smile at the bus driver, and smile at the person you think is cute on the subway. It's the little things and a smile goes a long way.


25. You can and should invest in yourself.

I've been seeing my boi Kenny for my acrylic nails since 2014. I've been seeing Marissa from a little salon for almost half a decade. I've invested in my appearance. But that came naturally to me. I've learned this year that sometimes I need to invest in myself in ways more than just that. I've taken a piece of my savings (and my pride) to get a new and functioning laptop. I upgraded my camera equipment, and got some new software to work with both. I don't know a thing about Lightroom Classic and FinalCut Pro but you'd be wrong if you think I'm not going to do my best to learn.


26. You don't have a good day; you make it a good day.

I've taken this one from my dad, and take solace in it. Because we don't have good days. They don't just happen to us. We make them with little choices, and actions, and the butterfly effects. We choose to make the most of out 24hours, or to give ourselves 24hours to relax. But the choice is and always will be ours for the taking.


So, yes Dad, I'll make it a good day. And a good year; here we go...27.





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