1. Always Make Your Own Money

Growing up my mom told me I’d better get a job as she wasn’t going to keep paying for me to do things. So just before I turned 15 I got my first real (and awful) job.

While it was annoying at times watching my friends spend their parent’s cash freely, I will forever be grateful to my parents for teaching me the value of making my own money. When I turned 16, I bought my first car and truly felt free. The envious twang I sometimes felt over my friends who didn’t have jobs disappeared. They had to ask for money, for permission, while I just did.

Money is freedom. Whether you’re 16 or 28, having financial freedom is priceless. It’s amazing to have parents or a spouse that will support you, but regardless it’s vital that you support yourself.

2. Travel By Yourself

Have you heard the saying about how traveling is the best test of a relationship? Well booboo, sometimes you have to test things with yourself.

Traveling alone forces you to take all the responsibility. You have to plan the trip, follow through with it, and learn to be comfortable spending time alone with yourself. I’m not saying every trip needs to happen alone or you need to take a major 3-week hiatus, but even a weekend trip can teach you a lot about yourself.

3. Look Forward, Not Backward

Sometimes I think to myself “if I stayed in Michigan XYZ could have happened…” or “if I’d gone to a different school I would have…” But you (and by you I mean me) gotta let go of all that sh*t.

As we move forward in life, doors are going to close. But hindsight is 20/20. Sometimes you’re going to screw up or miss an opportunity, that’s life! Learn to grieve the things you didn’t do, see what you can learn and apply that to your future.

4. Know Your Worth

Women especially seem to find this difficult. We price ourselves too low and keep our heads down. We’re taught to be humble, which is important, but so is knowing you worked for what you got.

Don’t take crap from a partner that doesn’t treat you as well as you treat them. Don’t let an employer take your talent for granted. Don’t settle or let people bring you down when you’re making moves.

5. Learn How to Make Friends

Some of us learn this in elementary school. Some of us think we learned this in elementary school, and some of us never learn this at all.

Making friends only gets harder as you get older.  Learn how to communicate and find your group. It takes a lot of work, a lot of uncomfortable feelings, and weird conversations, but I promise you once it’s said and done it’s worth it.

6. Be OK Without Your Phone

One of my dearest friends recently tried to quit social media for her mental health. She lasted about 3 hours.

Social media can be great (I’m out here trying to make a living off it) but it can also be a giant crutch. We use it to fill the silence of our own thoughts or end up giving ourselves unrealistic standards for life. Learning to limit the time spent on your phone can relieve you from this and give you a fresh perspective.

7. Push through Setbacks

Do you know how many people I know who start a blog but stop after two months? Or date 6 trash guys and end up settling with an average one because they want to be married? TOO MANY.

Good things are hard to come by. They take work and effort. If they were easy to get, everyone would have them. Quit giving up on your dreams when they don’t happen right away or settling because things get hard. Ask anyone who’s at the top for legitimate reasons how many times they’ve failed and you’re guaranteed to hear countless stories.

8. Know You Can Choose Your Family

While Google will try and tell you otherwise, to me a family is a group of people who love you unconditionally. But frankly, some of us are born into trash families. Remember that you can build your own. Find those people who will genuinely support you and be there for you no matter who’s blood you share.

9. Learn How to Cook a Delicious Meal

This one is less motivational speakery, but I think is vital. Even if you can’t cook for crap, learn how to make one meal well. For me, it’s enchiladas. It doesn’t matter if I’m having my own family over, meeting in-laws, trying to impress randos, I know I can make enchiladas and people will like them.

10. Realize the World Doesn’t Owe You Anything

Keep in mind, I don’t feel like this statement is appropriate to say to everyone, particularly those who have experienced abuse. But, there’s a solid chunk of folk who certainly need to hear it.

In our society we’re taught if we want something bad enough, we’ll get it. We turn ourselves into victims of life’s unfairness. But life is unfair, that doesn’t make you a victim, and it doesn’t owe you anything. The fact that I have internet, a warm home, a happy family, and many other joys isn’t something I deserve, they’re blessings.

Once you start realizing this, it’s easier to see just how many blessings you have. How you can learn from the times life didn’t hand you something, even if you did all the right steps. Use this to open your eyes to how you can start helping other people who haven’t had as many blessings as you and be the cushion in the hardship that is life.