26 Lessons I've Learned in 26 Years

Happy Hump Day!

Last Wednesday was my 26th birthday and I spent all of last week and weekend celebrating with good food and company (high-waisted leggings are giving me all of the forgiveness I need on this evening).

My Birthday Dinner Attire. This Express blazer is on sale now!

I thought to commemorate my 26th birthday I would share 26 lessons I've learned that have served me well!
  1. Always go with your gut. I have found that your gut instincts get stronger as you get older, so listen to it when making decisions in your life.
  2. Don't be afraid of bold lipstick. Even when i'm having a blah day, popping on a berry lipstick or stain can wake up your whole look.
  3. Always try and step into other people's shoes. In both my professional and personal life, I always try to remember that you don't know what is going on in other people's lives behind closed doors. Give people grace and try to see things from their perspective.
  4. Along with rule #3, pause before reacting. Get a negative email from a co-worker? Spouse do something that irks you? Take a few deep breaths and give yourself a few minutes to cool down. It will give you that extra time to let your emotions simmer down and let your rational mind kick back in to respond.
  5. The more cats, the better. (this probably doesn't apply to everyone...)

             Is this Instagram versus Reality or what? This is always my reality.
  6. Wear sun protection always. Your skin will stay youthful for longer! Find products that have SPF built in for multi-tasking.
  7. Cliche, but don't hold grudges, go to bed angry, etc. It always feel better to get things out on the table, apologize, or compromise. You don't have to agree (or even be sorry sometimes) but dwelling on negative energy never feels good.
  8. Be nice to your parents. You are probably becoming them slowly but surely (I know I am...)
  9. Invest in classic pieces of clothing. A crisp, white button up shirt, a black blazer, a great pair of pumps. All clothes that are timeless and will make you feel amazing.
  10. Develop small daily routines that give you a few moments to yourself every single day.
  11. Mine is my skincare routine. My favorite part of my day is moisturizing my face with oils, lotions, etc. I feel like I'm at a spa! I highly recommend developing a skin care routine that you enjoy.
  12. Find mentors in different phases of life to advise on the various aspects of your life. I have a mentor/friend that is a few steps ahead of me in life personally and professionally, a mentor in the middle of her career and someone who is a top leader in their respective field. All provide very valuable, but unique insight.
  13. Don't bite your nails. You must kick this habit as a professional. I didn't follow this rule for about 25 years. It's still a struggle for me, but as long as I paint my nails I'm good. Side note: If you work in a hospital and bite your nails you will get the flu at some point. And that's when I stopped the habit cold-turkey.
  14. Splurge on the things you truly enjoy. If it's your daily Starbucks and it makes your day-- awesome. If you would rather pop in a Keurig and save up for a quarterly facial (like me) than treat yourself to that instead.
  15. Yes, you can wear silver and gold jewelry together always. You'll realize this fashion rule doesn't matter when you get a wedding ring in gold or silver and can't switch this one out!
  16. Be vulnerable with people. Some of my closest friendships have come from taking down the "Instagram-worthy" facade and being real with each other. This solidifies friendships fast.
  17. Be trustworthy always. I have learned that it is very easy to break someone's trust through one's actions and words. Especially in the workplace where what you say gets around very quickly. You must always keep your word. Especially if someone confides in you (barring they aren't telling you something unethical or illegal, of course), it always pays to be a confidant that people know they can trust.
  18. Own up when you make mistakes. Especially if you are new in your job (or at any point in your career), it is totally fine to make mistakes. People expect this, but they will respect you so much more if you own this mistake and ensure you don't make it again.
  19. Always give credit where credit is due. Worked on something with a co-worker, but you get the shout out in a meeting? When explaining your work, drop your colleague's name and how great of a partner they were in this initiative. Trust me, it never hurts to share the spotlight.
  20. In the same vein, healthy competition is good, but don't let it get the best of you. Especially in management training programs (like administrative fellowships in health systems, for example), you are often in a similar role as your friends and colleagues. Getting your co-workers involved in a cool project or letting them know about an opportunity that you can both take part in is always a good idea. If that person succeeds because of you, you shine too! Sharing in success is never a bad thing.
  21. Diets never work long-term. Case in point, I did the Whole30 and gained back what I lost and more after I switched back to a more balanced diet. When I started making healthy switches, skipping on unnecessary dessert, cooking more meals at home and working out consistently, the post-college pounds started coming off and has stayed off!
  22. There is nothing better than the music you loved in your late teen years. For me-this is early 2000s emo/punk music. So many angsty teen emotions resurface when I listen to Dashboard Confessional ever so often.
  23. Wear what makes you feel confident and own it. For me that is mostly pant suits, jump suits, and dark denim. I will take a jumpsuit over a dress any day and feel like Beyonce wearing it!
  24. Friends is one of the best shows of all time and I cannot believe I waited 26 years to start watching this series?!
  25. Double Dunkers by Turkey Hill is the best ice cream flavor in existence. Don't fight me on this one. Check it out for yourself (Comment below if you agree)
  26. Your early 20s is probably one of the toughest, most uncertain times of your life and that is OK. You will look back on it fondly and ask yourself why you were still so angsty and worried about finding where you fit in this life once you are on well on the other side (probably with a house, steady career and maybe even kids).

Ok-26 things I've learned was a little aggressive, but we made it! Happy Wednesday!

What is the best lesson you learned in your 20s?


  1. Charlotte, I loved this! So many great tips in here. Really agree with you especially in sharing the spotlight and giving credit to people. So important! Also....how did you never see Friends before this year!? Girrrrl..but you do have it right- best show of ALL. TIME.


  2. It was another joy to see your post. It is such an important topic and ignored by so many, even professionals. i am sharing Nexter this blog here with you for more information and news.


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