What 24 taught me

About two weeks ago I turned 25, and it was a blessing of a birthday. My parents hosted a party and many of my dearest friends in the whole world were there. It was fantastic.

Before and since my birthday, I’ve worked on a list of things that I think I know right now – lessons that, looking back on the past year, I’ve stumbled over and tried to jump-off from. At first I was going to call them “my rules,” but really they’re more of lessons that I’m operating from now, stepping stones in this process of growing up and in and out.

  1. You don’t know everything, but knowing that is very important.
  2. You’re not the only one with longings. Everyone is yearning for something more.
  3. Give people grace. Especially your husband. If you two, who know and love each other best and most, won’t give the other grace, who else on this earth will?
  4. On your lunch break, do something that’s life-giving to you. Use that time to recharge. Stay at your desk only if something is pressing.
  5. You’re still figuring stuff out, and that is OK.
  6. Don’t compare your failures to everyone else’s highlight reels.
  7. Go to bed.
  8. The internet is not the answer. (#7 and #8 are usually connected.)
  9. If looking at a friend’s pictures of their huge new house, adorable baby, awesome job, etc. gets you down, then STOP it. Discontentment is made of a thousand tiny choices.
  10. Everything goes in seasons – marriage, work, friendships, etc.
  11. When a friend experiences loss or hurt, try to always say or do something. I think acting like nothing happened can hurt so much more than any attempt at empathy can.
  12. Being goofy with Garret is incredibly life-giving for you. Always do that!
  13. Discipline, contentment, relationships, and anything that truly matters, all require work and time. And, progress is always hard-fought.
  14. Keep in touch with your family and your heart-friends. Do the work to stay close. You need them. They need you.
  15. Buy clothes that fit. (And, give away the clothes that you want to fit.)
  16. Do what works.
  17. Do things on purpose.
  18. Do your best to spend more time creating than consuming.
  19. Find your “safe” people. If a friendship becomes toxic, it’s ok to walk away.
  20. Save money. If you don’t, you’ll only get in more debt.
  21. You are going to change your mind throughout your life, sometimes about big issues. This is an asset, not a weakness. Growing is what life is about. You’re not a rock.
  22. BUT, don’t believe every convincing article you read. Use the wisdom and discernment God has given you.
  23. Write what resonates with you, and most likely it will resonate with someone else, too.
  24. If you want to create art, you have to do the work.

Here’s to lessons learned and revised, minds changed and refined.

And, thanks so much for reading here. It’s truly meant a lot to me this past year.

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13 Responses to What 24 taught me

  1. Debie Grace says:

    Thank you for sharing this. And, belated happy birthday! More birthdays to come! 🙂

  2. Tahni says:

    mmmmmmm! preach it!

    • lols. so this is how it goes: I preach something to myself over and over again, and eventually I figure maybe some of my friends might need to hear it, too. so I publish it, and then I screw up, again, and have to preach it to myself, again. oh, life. also, miss you!

  3. Jenn says:

    Good stuff!!! Seriously learning so much of the same things. Contentment and everything has seasons – are huge things. Grateful to get to walk life with you!

  4. Sarah Seidel says:

    Can I follow your blog? I just found it…and I really like it! You are such a good person, Leslie Lee!

  5. I loved all of these, Leslie… I’m still learning so many of them; I think it’s a daily process, this growing-up business. 🙂 #1, 8, 9, and 11… all of these are ringing especially true this year, this season, even now that I have 25 behind me. Thanks for sharing your lessons and reminding me I’m not alone as I try to muddle my way through adulthood.

    (Have you read Shauna Niequist’s article for Relevant magazine on things every person should do in their 20s? I think you’d really like it. Such truth from such a talented writer. And, last but not least… HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY! :))

    • Oh, friend, you are *so* not alone! I feel like this is maybe this first year that I’ve really been able to articulate, succinctly and clearly, what I’m learning. And I still screw up in these so, so much! Especially in comparison and wasting time online.
      And yes, I love that essay by Shauna! So good. Thanks for the birthday wishes 🙂

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