26 Lessons I've Learned in 26 Years


Who knew I'd have the chance to still be here doing this thing called life at 26. For the first time in a long while, I feel like I'm planted in a good place but also on the verge of some life changing decisions. Here is what I have taken away from my experience so far. I hope that you can take something positive away from this.


1. There is no lack when there is self love.

Through self love I've found that I don't always need things outside of myself to bring me happiness. It just takes digging a little deeper and taking time out of my day to check in with myself.

2. You get what you give.

What goes around comes around.

3. It's okay to be vulnerable.

99.9% of the time everything that I fear will happen never actually happens. There's so much to gain through authenticity for the risk of a moment of embarrassment. 

4. Sunshine is like an espresso shot to the soul.

SAD hit me at an all time high last winter and is still lingering into spring (it's still snowing here in Iowa). Even the shortest moments underneath the sun bring me so much warmth and happiness. It has actually made me consider moving to a place that is warm all year-round. 

5. Thoughts shape reality.

The Law of Attraction was first brought to my attention when I graduated high school. I didn't really think into it very much until I started reading old journal entries from years ago and realized that everything I had written down about wanting, I had actually manifested. Through self-awareness, I've been able to shape a much more positive and interesting reality. 

6. less possessions = sense of freedom.

Less is more. Just imagine if you had to fit everything you owned in a backpack... it would be pretty heavy, right? Having less can make moving throughout your life lighter and more freeing. I've made more of a conscious effort to stop mindlessly buying things I don't need and to start selling the things that are collecting dust around my home. 

7. Water. All. day.

You already know.

8. plant foods bring me energy and happiness.

I became a vegetarian two years ago. I just woke up one morning and decided to make the change. Recently I have been steering away from dairy as well. I'm doing it not just for the environment, but just because it makes me feel lighter and more inspired. 

9. intuition is always right.

I often think about all the times my gut was trying to tell me something and I would just set it aside. I should've been more in-tune with my intuition, because it has always been right. I believe we all have that inner guidance within us- we just have to be more aware.  

10. Fear is just a feeling.

I have been reading Tim Ferris's book "The 4-Hour Work Week" and in it he wrote about defining your fears. Simply writing down the worst case scenario gives you a better look into what's holding you back from your desires. If you write down and analyze these fears, they actually don't seem as big as they use to.

11. Good habits can be created at 5 a.m.

This could really be at any time for anyone, but for me the early morning has been the key time of day to create new habits. I went from never working out, never meditating and just missing a good chunk of my morning to being able to take advantage of all of the above and more. I've seen a positively dramatic change in my mood daily from just waking up an hour earlier and I don't plan on stopping.  

12. It's okay to not have your shit together every. single. day.

We're alllll just doing our best.

13. Surround yourself with people who genuinely love you.

The people you spend time with is who you become. Let go of toxic relationships that don't serve you. You deserve the very best and that includes people are absolutely adore you for you.

14. More awareness leads to opportunity in the present moment.

I've learned to not go throughout my day on auto-pilot anymore. I'm continually challenging myself to take new twists and turns every day. Take time to notice the people around you and open your eyes to your surroundings. Often times there are signs there for you, you just have to be awake to notice them.

15. You can never have enough avocados.

I mean...

16. It's okay to let go of people, things and the past.

Don't revolve your life around one person, one feeling, one place, one memory, one problem. The complexity of life and the diversity of the world is beautiful and you have the right to explore it. Do not settle for less.

17. Spending more time alone leads to more self discovery.

Don't be afraid of your own mind. Taking time for you is extremely important. Take it whenever you get the chance.

18. The most uncomfortable conversations are often the most important to have.

I still struggle with this one from time to time but wow is it true.

19. Comparison is the killer of happiness. 

I grew up with low self-esteem. I struggled with it all throughout high school and into college. I'm grateful to have met people along my journey that have helped me see the beauty within myself and appreciate the beauty of others at the same time.

20. You should never feel guilty for changing for the better.

This goes hand-in-hand with self-discipline. Just because someone thinks that you should be doing something different doesn't mean that you should. Follow your own path. We all have a different journey.

21. Being grateful for everything creates more of the good in life.

Whenever I get caught up in the feeling of lack, I take a moment to acknowledge all of the good around me. It's impossible to feel upset when you're grateful. 

22. I have control over my emotions.

I have the power to react in any way I choose. Being more conscious of this has done wonders for me, even in my darkest moments. 

23. Always hug your pets.

They miss you when you're gone all day. Deep down in their fuzzy nugget bodies is love for you.

24. Being open minded opens doors.

Don't be so quick to say no to things. You might just end up surprised. 

25. Never take anything or anyone for granted.

26. Call your family.

These two are obvious, but I'm still working on being a better friend, daughter... etc. Honor them, even your enemies, because without them you wouldn't be where you are now.



Payton Rodewald

Payton RodewaldComment