Editor's note: This article was originally published on Heilala Garcia's blog, Aunty Lala. It has been republished here with permission.
I'm 25. So here are 25 things I've learned throughout the years of my existence in this life:
1. Life is as beautiful as you make it
If you think life stinks, life will stink. Those who are always looking at the ground miss the beauty of the world above them. And even if you're looking up, you can't expect sunshine if all you're looking for is rain.
2. We all stink at life
We all make mistakes. We are all imperfect. And that's OK. Just get back up and dust yourself off. If anyone sees you fall, just know at one point they were or will be in your same shoes. Because we all trip and fall. It's those who get back up and keep going that succeed.
3. Success is more than money
Money is paper. When the dollar fails, people will be after food and resources and those who can DO things. And besides, who wants money without family, friends and fun? There are things in life you can't buy " loyalty, love, trust, kindness, time. Those things you have to EARN. And when you do earn it, you gain way more than whatever money could buy. You also gain self-love, self-respect and the knowledge of who you are and what you are worth. (And you're worth more than all the money on earth!)
4. Jalapeños are hot
And they burn like the fires of Mordor. I'm not kidding. Don't eat one unless you are absolutely sure you can handle it.
5. If kids give you candy, they are giving you a piece of their soul
If a child offers you candy, TAKE IT. They either really love you or they are really nice. Either way, it is difficult for most children to give up THEIR candy and give it to you. So you take that sucker and enjoy it because that kid just gave you their heart in the form of sugar. At least it's sweet.
6. Time is nonexistent
You only have NOW. There is no such thing as tomorrow or yesterday. Only today. When you book an appointment or make time for something, what you are really saying is: I have to do all these things and take time for all this other stuff before I can get to that right there. So can you wait until I'm done with this person, this other appointment, this time frame and THEN I will get to that. So don't tell your loved ones you "don't have time." No one has time! You MAKE TIME. Point blank.
7. Giving is food for the soul
Whether it's time, money, service or a cookie, it doesn't matter. Giving is seriously FOOD for your soul. It thrives on giving and sharing and loving and caring. We were made for these things. And when you do give, it's like your whole chemistry changes and you are happier, healthier and you see the good in life. So give! And give freely without expecting anything in return. Even though you get the greatest return of all.
8. Choose happiness
Did you know you can CHOOSE to be happy? You seriously can! It doesn't matter what's happening in the world, or around you, or whatever. If you WANT to be happy, you will find something to be happy about. So CHOOSE HAPPINESS!
9. You get what you pay for
If you pay $1 for a burger, you get a $1 burger. Now it doesn't necessarily always mean that if you pay more you "get" more. No. Some things are more about personal preference than anything else.
For example, I will pay $1.50 for toothpaste and be fine with that. While Josh, my husband, gets some healthy, organic toothpaste for maybe twice the price. For me, it's just toothpaste. BUT, if I want some mascara, I am NOT about to buy a $1 mascara. I am not about that life. I am getting the one that makes my lashes look the best.
Another example is a goal you want. If Josh wants to get down to less than 10 percent body fat, he will eat rabbit food and work out every day to "pay the price" for under 10 percent body fat. And if you saw my pictures you'd understand that I am not willing to "pay that price." So paying the price isn't necessarily $$$$.
10. Reading is good for you
I love reading. And I know if you read daily, you will expand your mindset. New ideas, new ways of thinking, things you never thought about before " you just need to READ. And let your mind interpret and design. When I had read "Harry Potter," I wasn't skeptical to watch the movies because each person sees things differently. I saw the Chamber of Secrets differently but after watching the movie, that image of their Chamber of Secret is now stuck in my head, which I'm OK with now. So just READ! And let your imagination work and expand your mind.
11. Margarine does NOT taste like butter
And it doesn't cook the same as well. If the ingredient says butter, YOU PUT BUTTER. This is true for lots of ingredients, and sometimes you can replace things, just know it'll be different. Most people can't tell, but I can. And that's because I love butter.
12. People who you spend time with the most, are a reflection of you
You tend to gravitate toward people who are like you. And you become friends with them because you have similarities. And when they say you're a combination of the five people you hang out with, they literally mean it. Count your five closest friends and you'll see that you are a combination of all of them.
This is important because they are either empowering you or disempowering you. And just in case you didn't know, you get to choose your friends. So if one is doing you more harm, it may be best to find a new close friend. And if one is doing you good, it'd be wise to stick around that friend instead.
13. 13 is the best number
I love that my birthday is on the 13th. It lands on a Friday once in a while and people panic. It's funny. I love it. So it's the best number.
14. Love is the key to all things
You can't beat war with war. But you can eliminate it with love. For who can be your enemy if you love all? I know I'm hoping for the impossible in this world, but people think you have to hate people because they're mean or rude or horrid. No. You don't. You can love them, yet you can distance yourself at the same time. And that may be the most loving thing you can do for them. People aren't searching for money or happiness or fitting in and acceptance. What they want is love " they just don't know where to find it. And they can't find it if you're not willing to give it. So love. Love all things. Not like romance love, just have love. And be willing to express it.
15. Find joy in simplicity
I like when my kids draw for me. It isn't much, but it's the fact that they thought of me and created something to give me. I also enjoy the color yellow. It reminds me of my Maria. As a child it had always been my favorite color. And you want to know why? Because it made me happy. Simple things that create happiness means you can be happy when all you have are the simple things in life. So when I see a yellow daffodil, my day is 10 times better and I am happy.
16. Forgiving is a state of being
You don't forgive someone, you ARE forgiving. Because it isn't something to GIVE to them, it's something you CHOOSE for yourself. You are saying, you hurt me, you wronged me, you put me in a hard position " but I will be OK regardless. It's really a gift to yourself. Because you have taken control of YOUR life, regardless of someone else's actions.
17. Find purpose
If you don't, you literally feel like Katy Perry's lyrics. A plastic bag floating in the wind. A plastic bag is meant for carrying things, being filled and used. If it's floating around it's not fulfilling its purpose and it's being a nuisance to the rest of the world. Not that you are a plastic bag or a nuisance.
18. There is good in everyone
If they choose it. And some people won't. But that's what they decide. Just know it's there. And if you are lucky enough, you might be the one person who gets to see it.
19. My business. Your business. God's business
My business are things in my control. My thoughts, my actions, my words, my choices " I can do something about all of those.
Your or their business, is someone else's business. I can't make my kids' decisions. That's their business. I can't stop Josh from saying unpleasant things. That's his business. That's what THEY decide and do for themselves. You can't change people, they change themselves.
God's business is the rain, the weather, the trials and experiences we go through. Things no one really has control over.
Why is this important? Because you can only work on YOUR business. When you're worried about someone else's business, there's no one to work on yours. So figure out today, what's My business, Your/Their business and Gods' business AND ONLY WORRY ABOUT WHAT'S IN MY BUSINESS. Life will be so much better and you will be less stressful. I promise.
20. Don't make promises you can't keep
That includes yourself. If you say "I'm gonna wake up at 6 a.m." Then you better get up at 6 a.m. The more you stop doing what you say you're gonna do, the less likely you'll keep ANY promises because you can't even trust yourself. It becomes easier to say, "nope, I'm sleeping in," and lying to yourself.
21. Homemade cookies are the best because they are made with love
Cookies bought from the store or bakery are great. They really are. But when you actually MAKE a batch of cookies, you are saying "I got all the ingredients, put them together, and waited for these baby's, I took time out for you!" This goes for anything homemade. (Now, don't go thinking you can't buy stuff, there's nothing wrong with that! Some people are willing to take more time out and that's OK. That's your business not mine.)
22. You literally ARE your thoughts
In case you don't know about him yet, look up "Dr. Masaru Emotos Water Experiment" on YouTube. (The videos are usually all the same.) But basically if you are thinking awful thoughts, you're getting awful water crystals in your body. And you are 70 percent water. If you're thinking good thoughts, then you have beautiful water crystals. So be careful about what you think around others. Your thoughts affect them as well.
23. Be kind to others
You don't know when you'll meet people again. So be kind. You may need their help later on in life.
24. You are never alone
We come in families for a reason. You are NEVER alone. And if you ever feel that way, shoot me a message and let me prove you wrong. I mean, help you out.
25. There is a God
There is a God. And He loves you. And He has a Son, my Savior, Jesus Christ. You don't have to believe in them. They will always believe in you. No matter what you do. There is always a way. He is the way. Even if you don't see it now.
Thank you for letting me share a few things I've learned throughout my 25 years of life.
It hasn't been easy " I'm always told I seem like I'm in my 30s. I don't know if it's my kids, but I've been through a lot of things that have opened my eyes and my heart to a beautiful world of possibilities. Life IS beautiful. But only if you wish to see and believe it. I do. And I love every moment.
And enrich the lives of others while you love it.
You ARE wanted.
You ARE loved.
You ARE NEEDED.