Mistakes are the most valuable learning tools in my opinion. As much as we like to think we can learn from the misdoings of others, the truth of the matter is experience is the best teacher. I’ve made SO many mistakes over the past 22 years of life and in all honesty most of them I wouldn’t take back if I had the opportunity. I don’t want to continue to make the same poor choices but I think mistakes are like scars, they are constant little reminders of what we want to do differently and how we can make ourselves better. Here are 15 little (and some not so little) mistakes I don’t think you should be afraid to make once in your life:
1. Wearing too many trends at one time. There’s no doubt you will look completely ridiculous in a pair of harem pants with a peplum top and flower crown but five years from now you won’t care how silly you looked and you’ll be able to laugh at the pictures of yourself looking like a walking circus (see also middle school photos with safety pins in your pants…or was that just me??).
2. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable, with friends, with boys with family…whatever! Putting yourself out there is scary and more likely than not you’re going to get hurt. However it is my firm belief that anything worth having in life involves a bit of risk and that includes interpersonal relationships.
3. Getting caught in a lie because you’ll feel like an idiot, you’ll loose your sense of trustworthiness and you’ll be forced to become a person of integrity in order to regain it. Honesty for the win!
4. Pursuing a career that just isn’t for you. I think more and more it is important to gain exposure to a plethora of career paths and industries. You may find fashion is your worst nightmare and banking is more your style. You may discover you thought accounting was your dream but really you want to be a teacher…I don’t think everyone was meant to know what they want to be when they grow up at age 10 (or age 22).
5. Dating the wrong guy, because eventually all the mistakes you make just might lead you to understanding what you actually want…and lead you to the right guy.
6. Biting off more than you can chew. It can be tempting to try and wear five hats at once. I want to be in the best shape of my life, I want to pursue my career, I want to volunteer to work with homeless children,I want to learn to play the guitar and I want to have a boyfriend a blog and a thriving social life filled with after work drinks and weekend trips. Taking on too much responsibility and suffering from a (minor) mental breakdown can help you realize what is truly important to you. In the end you’ll be forced to give up something (maybe yoga isn’t for you) but you’ll also realize you are capable of handling WAY more responsibility than you ever imagined and that’s a cool feeling.
7. Splurging on that cute bag you can’t afford, and being forced to return it the next day because…well, rent. I am so guilty of attempting to live outside of my means (not a quality I’m proud of). However, giving into temptation and then being forced to return to the store (cough, Kate Spade, cough) and return an impulse buy (embarrassing) has taught me to think more carefully about big purchases. I’m still not perfect but I’m getting better!
8. Skipping a night out and spending a night at home alone. While you don’t want to become a social hermit it is important to learn how to be comfortable spending time alone. Being a grown up means taking proper time to care for yourself whether that means spending a Friday now and then doing laundry, mopping and painting your toenails or an occasional Sunday morning sleeping in and skipping brunch…alone time is crucial.
9. Weird dating…whether it’s a blind date, a tinder date, a “OH-MY-GOD-I-CAN’T-BELIEVE-I’M-GOING-ON-A-DATE-WITH-MY-BFF’S-BROTHER” date…putting yourself into an awkward situation is scary but more often than not worth it. Even if you don’t find yourself swooning over your date’s perfect bone structure and intellectually stimulating conversation you will build confidence and stamina. Awkward situations make great stories and fabulous life lessons.
10. Getting in a ginormous, explosive fight with your best friend, mom, boyfriend…whoever. Sometimes you need to let it all out (passive aggressive is never fun). Lick your wounds, suck it up and be the first one to apologize. Fights can’t always be avoided (and shouldn’t ALWAYS be avoided) so learn to fight clean and fight fairly early on to avoid burning bridges and destroying relationships.
11. Moving somewhere you never expected to find yourself. There is something both saddening and liberating about feeling all alone in the world. It’s depressing but you gain independence by jumping so far outside of your comfort zone and by becoming your own best friend you learn to feel comfortable with alone time.
12. Hanging out with a new clique. I know high school is technically over but in all honesty cliques never really end. You find them in college (Hello Greek system), you find them at work (on Wednesdays the marketing department wears pink) and I think it’s pretty obvious that even if they aren’t destructive…they’re always there. If you find yourself spending each Friday with the same group of friends branch out once in awhile. I spent a substantial amount of time with a crowd composed of primarily software developers/computer engineers. At first I was incredibly uncomfortable, I felt unintelligent, secluded and inferior. Over time I came to recognize that these people were different than me when it came to the way they thought about problems, work, etc. however that didn’t make them better. Pushing myself into uncomfortable territory helped me further appreciate all of the different kinds of intelligence that helps make the world such a wonderful (functioning) place.
13. Eating too much pizza at midnight, loosing your six pack and realizing that your high school metabolism won’t last forever. As disheartening as it is to find that your favorite skinny jeans won’t zip it’s also a wake up call to healthy living. At 18 you can stay slender on a diet of sour patch kids, powdered doughnuts and pizza lunchables however this diet isn’t exactly healthy. Learning to stay bikini ready through exercise and balanced nutrition is important beyond reasons of vanity.
14. Getting caught taking a Selfie by a stranger. Everyone needs a little narcissism wake up call now and then right?
15. Showing up under dressed at a party, job interview or other social gathering. You’ll feel so silly and immature it won’t happen again!
What are some mistakes you’ve made that in the end you’re happy you’ve experienced (even if you don’t ever want them to happen again)? Here’s to learning from our mistakes, making new mistakes and pushing ourselves to grow from them all!