My 25 Most Valuable Lessons in 25 Years: Reflections on My 26th Birthday

Hey guys…last Saturday I turned 26, and I can’t believe it! As I look back on the years I think of all the growing pains, heartbreak, disappointment, and challenges that have molded me into the woman I am today. Today, I’m the strongest I have ever been. I’ve overcame trials and tribulations that I once thought were unbearable. In the midst of struggle it seems as if you will never get through, but we prevail. Here’s to another chapter… Chapter 26. I’m sharing My 25 Most Valuable Lessons in 25 Years to encourage, and to personally reflect.

Here goes nothing!

  1. God will tell you the steps you should take in your life. When you trust him everything starts to make since. Do everything in FAITH and not FEAR. Don’t let doubt, and procrastination stop you from fulfilling your purpose. That business, blog, podcast, book, or new project that you feel like you are being pushed to launch…DO IT. We’re here to serve and share our gifts.
  2. You have to work hard for the things you want. Some people have things handed to them, but for most of us it’ll take hard work and perseverance. I worked my butt off in college, just to graduate and not be able to land a job. Landing my first job after college didn’t come easy; I actually ended up taking an internship opportunity instead of a full-time role. I started interviewing for full-time jobs again after my internship ended, and I had the luxury of choosing which job was the best fit for me. I had 3 job offers at once. Who would’ve thought?! Hard work will never go unnoticed or unrewarded. It may take patience, but eventually all things come into fruition.
  3. Taking time to think about your long term career goals and true passions will be one of the best decisions you can make. I made a career change because I knew deep down inside I wouldn’t be fulfilled in the Meeting Planning field. I decided to get into Human Resources/Recruiting because I took the time and energy to think about work that truly brings me joy (something I should’ve been thinking about more in college), but nonetheless I’m glad I took time to think on this. Some people go a whole lifetime doing unfulfilling work; I know I love helping people and I’m glad that I made the change.
  4. Embracing your natural beauty is super empowering and freeing. I decided to start transitioning from “relaxed” to “natural” hair in 2012, and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. There is so much versatility with being natural, and I love knowing that my hair is healthy and chemical-free.
  5. Eat healthy not just because that’s what they say to do, but because your body depends on those nutrients and it can make or break you. My diet has definitely changed over the years for many reasons including health issues. I’m glad that I’ve started eating healthier and want to continue to increase my daily intake of fruits and vegetables.
  6. Be comfortable with staying true to yourself. If you’re doing something, listening to something, or partaking in activities that don’t feel true to you or your beliefs then separate yourself. Don’t fear being looked at differently by others.
  7. Creating a budget is a life-saver. Even though I still struggle with following it 100%, it is nice to have a blueprint for expenses and income.
  8. “Mr. Perfect” may not be your “Mr. Perfect”. Just because you meet someone and their credentials are A1, doesn’t mean they are the person for you. Compatibility and connection are two things that shouldn’t be ignored.
  9. Your biggest critic will often be yourself, learn to appreciate your flaws and acknowledge your accomplishments.
  10. Pray for your relationships that you want strengthened. I prayed asking for a lot of my relationships to be strengthened, or for clarity on what relationships were no longer beneficial to me. This has helped me so much as navigating through my 20s.
  11. It’s better to be vulnerable and share your feelings than to be bitter and resentful. I’ve had to have those gut wrenching conversations with people about my “feelings” and how something may have hurt or upset me. Although these conversations are uncomfortable they’re necessary to mend relationships, or get closure. I’ve learned that when you don’t express yourself your true feelings will most likely come out down the line in a blown up argument, and/or the relationship will continue to suffer. This can all be avoided by having those heart to heart talks in advance.
  12. There is nothing that you can’t accomplish without a plan, faith, and dedication.
  13. Co-workers make for some of the best lifelong friends. Don’t diminish the ability to make meaningful connections in the workplace.
  14. Finding a work-life balance is important. Spend your time wisely, doing only the things with the people that are worthwhile and beneficial to you. You don’t want to regret how you spent your hours in the day.
  15. God’s timing is the best timing.
  16. Life will throw you some curve balls, but don’t panic and pray through everything. After the storm comes the rainbow.
  17. As you grow older, you will grow apart from some people, but you will also be blessed with more like-minded friends as well.
  18. Protect your energy. There will be people who talk about you or treat you in a way that you would never treat them. Recognize when you are being mistreated and move on from the situation or relationship. Don’t allow yourself to be treated any way less than what you deserve.
  19. Self-Care is extremely important. These last couple of years I’ve taken this self-care trend to a whole new level. lol. My friends’ used to laugh at me because I was always talking about a new self-help book I was reading. lol. But let me tell you, anything self-care related I’m alllllllll for it. I listen to podcasts, read other blogs, journal, light my candles at night. & YEA. I can say it has helped me tremendously, and I’m glad I realized the importance of putting myself first.
  20. Set boundaries with people. If you notice you can only be around someone for 2 days until you feel uncomfortable, then only be around them for that time frame. If you know that that person only calls you with drama and negativity then don’t be so quick to answer the phone every time they call. It’s simple, but important to protect our space.
  21. Stay in contact with family and friends as much as possible; tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.
  22. If God is telling you to let that person go, let them go. I’m more specifically talking about romantic relationships. How can you find the right person for you if you’re holding on to something that’s not meant to be?
  23. Recognize when you’re being mistreated/bullied in the workplace. Address it before it escalates and becomes an unhealthy work environment. I’ve been in situations where someone wrote me in ALL CAPS asking me, or pretty much yelling at me to do something. I didn’t recognize at the time how toxic my work environment was, or how much I could’ve did to prevent that situation from escalating.
  24. Seek mental therapy, or other practices to stay mentally well. I’m doing “the work” on myself constantly. Mental health is so important to tend to. There’s so many life changes that happen and it’s important that we are taking care of ourselves all around. Therapy is a great way to help with this, and shows a sign of strength.
  25. Live in the moment, and travel as much as you can. Memories are what last a lifetime.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my 25 most valuable lessons in the comments below! Can you relate?




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Ashlei Scott is the Creative Director of A Piece of Sunshinee. She hopes to inspire others by writing about her life experiences and everyday challenges...

8 thoughts on “My 25 Most Valuable Lessons in 25 Years: Reflections on My 26th Birthday

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