24 Things I Learned in My 24th Year

1. Saying no is okay. You get to say no to people, to jobs, to opportunities, and the negative shit that people may say about you. You get to decide what works for you, and what really does not.

2. Winning is not the end. Winning is great. And it may mean you've achieved something amazing. But it is not your whole story - it is not your whole life. Never, has someone won anything, and had it last their whole lives. Even Presidents must retire and move on.


3. I can actually throw a first pitch.

4. You cannot possibly own too many pairs of false eyelashes. And don't let anyone dispute that.

5. Sometimes, going to bed before 9 PM is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Resting keeps you going. And no matter if you are working one job, or three jobs, or you plan on being Super Woman, you're going to need to sleep.

6. Standing steadfast in your beliefs of justice, and equality is always worth it. No matter what.

7. Some friends will go, but in their place, you might just get sisters. Like, a lot of sisters.

8. In the end, the people that have always supported your dreams, your goals, your zest for life are the people you want to be around. They are the people that you'll always want close. Even when the dreams, the goals, and the zest changes.


9. Removing most carbs from your diet isn't really worth the tiny waist. I mean, not for long anyways. Bagels and booties forever.

10. Chris Harrison is shorter than you think.

11. Even the hardest season of your life will pass. Some days you'll cry because every single task is just too much, but you'll always get through it. As hard as it has been - the worst moments - I've never not made it through to the other side.

12. You can probably run any distance, even if your foot kind of breaks.

13. Meeting new people can be terrifying, or absolutely amazing. And yeah, it is usually just an either/or situation.

14. Watching someone else achieve a dream you share is heartbreaking and one of the most uplighting experiences you might ever have. I think the only time I have ever felt 100% selfless in when I felt myself turn over a dream and say, yes, this is for you. Just let me sit here and watch it unfold. (And can we talk about how only a true Miss America could illicit that in someone? Dang. Girl.)


15. You can actually own too many gowns.

16. Discrimination is a lifestyle choice, and you owe absolutely no one your compliance with their idiocy.

17. My parents religiously watch The Bachelor/Bachelorette together. Yes, this is actually something I learned.

18. Gratefulness is literally the only way through life sometimes. Being grateful costs you nothing. Literally. In fact, it usually means you gain some sort of appreciation or...I don't know other intrinsic mushy gushy feeling.

19. Food poisoning is something I definitely could have done without.

20. Self-care takes work, and takes a lot of different forms. It takes a lot more energy than I thought. It takes a lot more effort than I planned on. It takes a lot of tuning out your own little voices of self-doubt. It's work, and it's worth it.

21. I still don't care about chokers. And I'm not sure why we're still doing that.

22. The good guys are absolutely totally and completely out there, it will happen.

23. You do not have to prove your mental illness to anyone.

24. "That, after all, is why we serve - to make people's lives better, not worse." Your service shapes your life. When you choose to give selflessly, to give regardless of anything, to give time, to give effort, to give your heart - to anything - you are truly giving yourself purpose. I am forever grateful that I was able to give literally a year of my life exclusively to other people.


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