24 Lessons I Learned In 24 Years

Hey y’all!

Soooooo, today I decided to take a little break from our regularly scheduled Thursday posts, as after all — today is a VERY special day. It’s my 24th birthday!

This year, 2020’s craziness aside — my birthday’s feeling a little extra special. It’s finally my champagne birthday! After 24 whole years, I’m finally the age of the day my birthday falls on. So even though this whole year has been a little weird and different, I’m still pretty excited about what 24 will have to offer.

All things being equal, it’s been a great birthday so far as well. Not only did my best friend book an Air BnB for a small group of my friends to get dressed up at, stay overnight, have some drinks and watch Spirited Away — but my parents drove out here to be able to celebrate my birthday with me! As in, yes, they really drove all the way out from Toronto to Vancouver. So, all in all, even with COVID, 2020 and the general state of the world, I’m actually having a pretty great time.

So, now that I’m a year older (and apparently a year wiser), I wanted to share with you a little wisdom I’ve learned from my experiences in life that will hopefully resonate with you all. I did learn all these the hard way, so hopefully by sharing them I can help at least one of you through a tricky situation in life a little easier than I made it through myself.

  1. It’s great to have a plan, but inevitably things will go wrong — but if you embrace it, your new path may be better than anything you had ever planned out. Nothing in life works out — no matter how much you prepare and plot and try. If my life had worked out exactly as I had planned after high school, it would be completely different now — my big dreams were to move to Los Angeles, attend USC and become a filmmaker. But if that had worked out, I never would have met the friends I did, joined my sorority, or discovered how much I love Vancouver. Nothing worked out the way I thought it would, but honestly?I believe it worked out for the best.
  2. Hard work is important, but so is taking a break. Everyone needs a work/life balance, and everyone needs some time to themselves. You may be functioning just fine now throwing yourself 100% into your work, but it can’t be maintained forever. One day, whether it’s tomorrow or 20 years from now, you’ll burn out and crash. Life is a marathon, not a race — pace yourself.
  3. Show your loved ones how important they are to you as often as you can. Life is unpredictable. You never know when it may be the last time. Telling people you love and care for them is great, but putting in time and effort to show them how much you care goes a much longer way.
  4. Sometimes hobbies are just hobbies. They say if you love something, do it for work and you’ll never work a day in your life. I’ve learned with time, however, that what is more important is rather to choose a JOB you love and let the things you love exist in your life without turning them into work. There are many hobbies in my life that I could perhaps turn into a job if I was so inclined — such as drawing, visual art, or makeup — but having to complete them for work day in and day out would eventually suck the joy out of them for me. I’d much rather choose a job that I love, and maintain my hobbies as just that and return to them AFTER a long day’s work to enjoy them at my leisure.
  5. Everything works best in moderation. Even the best things in life become tiresome or negative without switching things up. Whether it’s hard work, relaxing, socializing, healthy eating, anything really — it’s important to have balance.
  6. People will judge you no matter what — might as well do whatever it is you want. Seriously — it’s a sad truth about life, but others are always going to judge. It really doesn’t matter if you pick a path that conforms to societal norms or not, since people will always have their opinions. If you learn to ignore other’s judgement and let them be, you’ll be able to follow whatever path you want. Might as well go for the one that makes you happy, rather than the one you believe will make others happy.
  7. Be patient with yourself. You’ll get there eventually. Hang in there.
  8. Take time to do things for others. I mean, why not? You would want others to be there for you, so why not show them you’ll be there for them? If nothing else, it’ll help build relationships you can rely on in hard times — but really, isn’t it enough to simply brighten someone else’s day?
  9. Don’t waste time on people who negatively impact your life. This has been a really important lesson for me. Whenever I used to feel wronged by someone, I would dwell on it for ages — it would consume so much of my mental energy, drive me to overthink, cause me stress and damage my mental health. But why? It didn’t do anything to help these situations. Obviously, you can’t rely on this tactic 100% of the time — not everything in life works this way — but if someone in your life only impacts you negatively, just let them go. Remove them from your social media and real-life interactions. It’ll make it a lot easier to move on and not obsess if you no longer see them pop up on your phone every day. It’s hard at first, but try to let go and move on — a few weeks, or perhaps months later, and you won’t even think about them anymore. It’ll only benefit you.
  10. It’s okay to say no. I guess I’m still learning this one myself, but it’s okay to have your boundaries. It isn’t mean or unfair — everyone has them. Learn to enforce yours.
  11. Learn how to stand up for yourself. It can be tough. I’m still learning this one as well, but don’t let people walk all over you. There’s no need to be harsh, but learn to stand your ground and know your worth.
  12. Decide what exactly you want in life, and what you’re willing to sacrifice for it. Nowadays, it often feels like your job is the most important thing in life — like we have to give up everything else in pursuit of our career. But is that really what you want? If it is — more power to you. But what do you really want in life? Is it endless luxury items, or just a few nice things and to be comfortable? I’ve started to realize there’s no way I could ever be happy in a job that requires absolutely all of my time and energy — I’d rather have time for family and friends, hobbies and leisure than to have more money for material items. Of course, everyone is different — but consider what you want and if it is worth the sacrifices you’re currently making.
  13. Being kind is powerful. Kindness is often seen as weakness, but I disagree — I believe it’s a strength. It isn’t always easy to be kind. It’s a lot easier to lash out when you’ve been wronged, or be cruel when experiencing jealousy (and more, I could go on and on and on). However, reacting with kindness — however hard it may be — will make the situation easier for you, benefit you in the long term, and hopefully will inspire others to do the same. It’s not always easy, but if we were all a little kinder to each other the world would be better for it.
  14. Take time to appreciate beauty in the world. Romanticize your life — there is beauty in the little things. The sunsets, the walk between your house and work, in nature, the city streets, wherever it is you find it. Enjoy it.
  15. Be proud of your accomplishments. Even if they don’t feel big, it’s still an accomplishment. Maybe you don’t have to show it off to the world, maybe you simply accomplished getting out of bed, eating a meal and having a shower — you still did it. Be proud of that.
  16. Your mental health comes first. Sometimes it feels wrong to prioritize your mental well-being — in our culture of constant productivity taking time for yourself and creating boundaries counterproductive to our goals. However, you can’t function at your best if you aren’t feeling your best. It’s better to give it your all and take breaks appropriately, rather than to give it 50% all the time. Take care of yourself.
  17. No relationship is worth sacrificing your happiness. While no friendship, family bond or romantic relationship is smooth sailing 24/7, in general, your relationships should benefit your life positively. It can be hard to accept, but if you have people in your life who bring you down, whether intentionally or not, it’s for the best to loosen ties with them and let them go if they are not capable of change. It’s important to give second chances, but do not let that go on forever and let others walk all over you — it will only cause you harm.
  18. Good things don’t just fall into your lap — you have to work for them. While success in life is based upon a certain amount of luck, if you sit around constantly waiting for a sign, or an opportunity, or whatever it is you’re hoping for, you’re pretty unlikely to find it. You have a much better chance if you put yourself out there and go looking for what you want — or better yet, create it for yourself.
  19. Being uncomfortable is a key part of growth. One thing that’s always been tough for me to accept in life is that you won’t grow if you don’t put yourself through some uncomfortable stuff. It can be tough putting yourself out there and taking risks, but ultimately all the greatest things in my life can from times that I put myself through some discomfort and tried something new. Just because you’re nervous to try something doesn’t mean you should shy away from it — in fact, it probably means you should go for it.
  20. Learning doesn’t stop when you finish with school — be curious about the world around you. We are always growing. If you decide one day to stop learning and taking in information about the world around you, you’ll only limit your worldview and become stuck in the past.
  21. Be a force for positivity. Everyone always says how the world is a cruel and unkind place — but if you act as a force for positivity and inspire others to do the same, eventually the world will be a better place.
  22. Take time to find things you appreciate and love about yourself. Take time to take stock of your accomplishments, talents, skills and personality traits and aspects of your appearance that you love. Think about them often. Learn to see the positive in yourself, rather than focusing on your flaws.
  23. There’s no need to conform or fit a certain mold. I know everyone has told us all it’s okay to “be different” ever since we were young, and I’m sure many of you have taken that to heart by now. But I find with social media nowadays, there’s a huge trend with finding your niche and following it’s particular rules — ie. minimalist, e-girl, grunge, VSCO girl, etc. — it’s okay to choose one of these vibes and go for it, but don’t forget you can do your own thing! It’s okay to take inspiration from others, but by all means branch and do whatever you want with your life, style, and platform.
  24. Find what makes you happy in life — in values, friends, work and hobbies — and just go for it. I think this one says it all.

This post ended up being way longer than I intended it to be, so I’ll keep the wrap up short and sweet — thank you all so much for sticking with me over the last year. It’s been a crazy rollercoaster and the hardest years of my life, but I’ve learned so much about myself and life through it all. While I haven’t been great (or even kind of terrible) at blogging regularly these past few months, it feels great to still have all of your support. Thank you so much, and here’s to 24 being a better year!

Xo,

Meredith

How To Cope With Writers Block In Lockdown

Hey everyone!

Soooo, I’m back with a little how-to on something I’ve been struggling with a lot lately — something, I’m sure, we’re all familiar with. Writers block has plagued everyone at some point or another. Even if you’re not a writer, you know the exact feeling I’m talking about from being stuck on ideas when you need to come up with something new but just cannot seem to find the inspiration you usually do.

Writers block can hit anywhere, at anytime, but after the first few months of being in lockdown, it has become insidious. For a while, I thought maybe my trouble with creating new blog content was low motivation (which has certainly played a role), but I’m starting to realize that it’s nearly impossible to write blog posts about my life and experiences when all I’m doing my best to spend most of my time at home.

After a certain point in lockdown, I started to feel I had written out almost everything I had to say about the current situation, how I was reacting to it, and how to cope with it all. However, it’s hard to transition back to normal content when I’ve yet to transition back to normal life. I couldn’t figure out why it was so hard to come up with new ideas, until I realized how mundane lockdown life is compared to how life was before — even though my life was already rather repetitive with work and school. I still had other experiences; travelling, going home, balancing a busy schedule, trying new things — all things that are no longer really a part of my life. Back when I had more going on in my life, I had more to share.

Now, I know that none of these tips really do anything to help with the current situation in particular — they’re just my personal tips on dealing with writer’s block. However, hopefully you can use this experience to learn how to deal with feeling stuck creatively in the future, practice your craft, and become a stronger writer for it!

Daily Free Writes

This was a tip suggested to me in many of my classes in university that I always kind of brushed off as useless until I properly gave them a chance. I know this is likely different for everyone, but most of my best writing ideas do not strike me randomly, in fact, most of them come to me WHILE I am writing. Inspiration can come from anywhere, obviously, but when your brain is focused fully on writing it will actively generate ideas more frequently.

I’m sure I can’t be the only person who understands the feeling of getting a wave of inspiration while writing, that leads to another, that leads to a domino effect of ideas that I almost feel I cannot write out quickly enough to keep up with. If you know the feeling, just remember you never get there unless you are writing first. Inspiration is a lot less likely to strike out of nowhere, and you can’t just sit around forever until it does. Take matters into your own hands and just go for it! Whatever you start off with in your free writes will likely be nothing special (or even downright terrible), but as you get into it inspiration will start to flow more freely. Give into it and let it take you wherever it will!

Make A Cute Writing Set-Up

Next up, create a space for you to practice writing in that you love. Ideally, wherever you’re going to work should be comfortable, well-lit, and quiet. Past that, your workspace should be somewhere you love spending time in and should inspire you to spend more time there — because the more time you spend there, the more time you spend writing! Finally, your writing set up should be decorated in a way that makes you happy — whatever it is that helps to create the right vibes for you. So hit up Pinterest, save a bunch of workspace ideas that you just can’t get enough of, and work some of that inspo into a space of your very own!

Take Breaks

This piece of advice kind of goes against most of what I’ve already said, however, if you’re feeling burnt out, there’s no point in trying to force yourself to write when you really just can’t. Take some time off, whether its half an hour, or a night, or a whole week — it’s really up to you. Whatever you need to feel refreshed and ready to tackle your latest project with everything you’ve got.

Write More, Cut More

If you’re feeling stuck, you’re better off putting down absolutely idea you have than trying to edit yourself as you go. This is kind of the same idea as practicing with free writes, but if you’re too worried in the moment about whether or not what you’re writing is engaging, exciting, or even making sense, you’ll only be holding yourself back. Instead, just write it all out and refine it down to the best bits later — you’ll be able to tailor it into a great piece with enough editing. However, there’ll be nothing to edit if you never start — so just go for it and figure the rest out later.

Keep An Idea List

While most of my inspiration does hit me either while I’m actively writing or thinking about what I want to blog about, we all know that feeling where inspiration hits you out of absolutely nowhere. For when moments like these strike me, I like to keep a little list at the ready in my iPhone Notes app to jot it down as quickly as possible, before the idea gets away from me. My worst habit is coming up with ideas and just believing that I’ll remember them — because how could I ever forget such a great idea? And yet, time and time again, if I don’t write it down I don’t remember it when it comes time to write out a new post. It’s frustrating, but if I have my list at the ready in my phone I’m much more likely to write it down and remember it. And don’t just write down the good ideas — try to write down EVERY idea. Just like I said above, just because your idea isn’t quite there yet doesn’t mean it can’t be workshopped into an amazing post idea.

Read More & Get Inspired!

Finally, one of the biggest ways to get inspired as a writer is to actively be keeping up with what others in your niche are writing. (Or, honestly, even those not in your niche. It’s important to be taking in inspiration from all kinds of sources to help broaden your perspective and scope!). Reading other’s blogs should bring you excitement and shouldn’t be solely for reaping ideas — the point of this isn’t to simply plagiarize other’s blog posts. However, reading what others have to say will help to give you ideas for similar posts, get your creative juices flowing, and inform your opinion of what’s currently being discussed in your blog niche to help you stay up-to-date on the latest trends. Not that you need to be — your blog is all about what YOU have to say, after all. However, it’s always important to know what’s popular amongst what people are creating, reading and sharing. Plus, it might just inspire your new greatest post! Always try to keep an open mind and take in as much as possible, so that your craft as a writer is always growing and moving forward.

Hopefully, after reading through this list, you’re all feeling a little more inspired than you were before. The takeaway of this post, I hope, is that there’s really no way around writer’s block — the only way is through. While pushing yourself too much will leave you tired and frustrated, you won’t get anything done if you don’t try. Inspiration always hits us when we least expect it — and often, it comes randomly while we are actively writing. With a little effort, time, and luck, even with life’s current circumstances, you should be back on track before you know it.

If you’ve been feeling frustrated with writing lately, or have some other personal tips for getting past writers block, drop a comment below! I’d love to hear any advice you guys have. While I’m working on it, I’m still struggling a lot with new ideas for content and I’d be more than happy to try anything you guys have to suggest.

Happy Sunday everyone, hopefully you all have a great week planned out! And just remember — while it feels like our current reality will last forever, it won’t. One day in the future, things will be different and right now will be nothing but a memory. Keep going.

Much love,

Meredith