22 Lessons for 22 Years.

Can we take a minute to appreciate what a good photographer my boyfriend is?

And so birthday month for little Jeannie has come to an end. Happy May, everybody. It’s been such an event filled year, I don’t even know where to start. A couple of highlights from being 21:

  • I took my first (and last, it appears) college trip with my roommates and original loves, Noelle & Jessie. We went to Hawaii and it was amazing.
  • Andrew and I went on our first vacation together to Walt Disney World and it was…so humid.
  • Graduated a semester early with a degree in Business Administration and a major in Hospitality Management.
  • Moved away from my wonderful little apartment in San Francisco 😦
  • Accepted a position with the Walt Disney Company through the Disney College Program as a Front Desk Agent at the Disneyland Hotel.
  • Have met some of my best friends through the Disney College Program.

So much can happen in one short year, it’s crazy. My entire life changes on a year to year basis. Wild. That’s your twenties for ya, I guess. Anyway, my 22nd birthday was pretty nice. Pretty tame considering I’m 22 going on 65, but I still look 12. I worked an AM shift and it was a crazy day at the Disneyland Hotel but it went by quickly. Afterwards, I went home and got ready for dinner with Andrew. He came over and brought me birthday flowers and my birthday gift (Sephora giftcard? This boy knows the key to my heart. Food first, makeup second). But Diana takes the cake because she got me Minnie ears and MICKEY MOUSE SOURDOUGH BREAD FROM DCA AND WE ALL KNOW HOW MUCH I LOVE THAT BREAD (with like 18 little butter packet things). We went to Carthay Circle at Disney California Adventure for dinner and the food was so good, I almost died. 10/10 recommend the ceviche and jalapeno poppers….SHOOK!!

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A little bit of Pimm’s punch and a whole lotta happiness lies ahead.

Went on Toy Story Mania after dinner and got whooped by Andrew. Boy won’t even let me win on my birthday. Are you kidding me? Met up with Diana, Katy and Ethan after at Trader Sam’s. Had a great time. I am lucky to have met such wonderful people through this program….one of many things to be thankful for.

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My love. ❤

Anyway, I’ve learned quite a few things in my short 22 years of life….mostly advice to myself. Brace yourself. It’s cheesy.

  1. It is okay to be in your early 20’s and not have your life planned out. 
    • I always thought I would have my life planned out after college. I thought I had it down. I had my five year plan, I had my ten year plan…(everyone and their mom reading this is laughing at me right now for thinking I had it all planned out, but I’m laughing too so it’s fine). But life doesn’t go according to plan. It took a lot to realize that that’s okay. There are a lot of moving parts to this weird thing called life. And it’s okay. And if it’s not okay, it will be okay, eventually.
  2. Work hard and stay humble. 
    • This one’s pretty self-explanatory, right?
  3. Find what you love and pursue it. 
    • Life is too short to do things you don’t love. So do what you love. I was going to school for Business Administration and I was miserable. I added Hospitality Management as my major and I thrived. I am so passionate about the hospitality industry that I ended up loving my education. When you find something that ignites that fire in you, chase that feeling.
  4. There will be so, so many bumps in the road. Do not give up until you achieve what you want. And then when you finally get what you want, aim higher.
  5. Family first, always. Remember where you came from. Family above everything….family is everything.
    • There will be so many jobs, so many different things that come up. Family first. You only have one family and life is short. Family over everything.
  6. Find a handful of friends who will love you for you. 
    • Find friends that will love you despite your flaws. Find friends that will take care of you when you’re down. Find friends that will stand by you through everything.
  7. Love and care for those friends, stay fiercely loyal to them. Protect them and make them happy — they will do the same for you.
  8. Life is too short to spend with people you don’t like. You have no obligations to anyone but yourself. Your happiness comes first.
  9. If you’re unhappy with something in your life, change it. You are not a tree…move.
  10. Don’t give 110% of yourself to someone who won’t give you the same in return. Again, life is too short to care about people who don’t care for you. It’s exhausting. Surround yourself with people who know your value and know your worth. You will find people who love you and show you that they care. Spend your time and effort on those people.
  11. (see above) Know your own worth. Don’t rely on others for your happiness.
  12. It’s okay to be sad sometimes. But don’t let it drag you down, rise above it, learn from it and be better (“…like a phoenix, I rise.”)
  13. Find a partner who will love and support you through anything. Find someone patient and caring and one who understands you and knows you, better than you know yourself. And most importantly, find a partner who can make you laugh when you want to cry.
  14.  Eat all of the ice cream. 
    • They say money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy me my double scoop of ice cream in a chocolate dipped waffle cone, so what’s the truth?
  15. Be honest. Be honest with yourself, be honest in your work and be honest in your relationships. There is no value in lying or sugarcoating. Admit when you’re wrong and learn from your mistakes. Move on.
  16. Do not compare yourself to others. This is one that I have a lot of trouble with on a pretty regular basis. You are not the person next to you. Move at your own pace, do what you need to do. Do not compare yourself to those around you.
  17. Don’t take life so seriously. Take yourself seriously but know when it’s not that serious. Stop freaking out over every little thing (still working on this one).
  18. Perception is important but it isn’t everything. People will see you. People will judge you, regardless of how hard you try. Some people will only see what they want to see. That’s okay.
    • Perception can be important and if being perceived a certain way is important to you, then take care of your image. But keep in mind, no matter what you do, some people will view you in a certain light. And that’s okay. Ignore those people; keep being yourself. Don’t let anyone who isn’t important to you negatively affect you.
  19.  Failing is okay, mistakes are okay. 
    • How will you ever have good days if you don’t experience the bad ones? Not every day will be a good one. Keep your chin up and keep moving forward.
  20. Country pop is actually not as bad as people make it to be. Give it a chance. I did and it changed my life. In other words, be open to new things. Except Nickelback.
  21. I’m stealing this one from one of the speakers we had at our Disney Leadership Speaker Series class but I really enjoyed this piece of advice and I kept it with me so I’m sharing it with you. Pick and choose your battles. And once you have chosen your battle, you better defend it with everything you got because you made that decision and now you have to stick with it.
  22. And as my dad used to tell me growing up and continues to tell me on a regular basis, “Don’t be stupid.” Such good life advice, honestly. Applicable in so many different scenarios.

So thankful for everything that has happened to me thus far that has helped me realize all of this cheesiness. As much as I like to complain about my first world problems, I actually have such a blessed life. I have food, I have shelter, I have a job, I have a loving family, a loving boyfriend and loving friends. And a lot of makeup. I am always striving to better myself, but I am appreciative of how far I’ve come.

Life has treated me well so far. There have been so many bumps in the road, but in the grand scheme of things, they were all minor and I’m still learning. There will be far bigger bumps ahead and that’s okay. I’m learning how to be okay with that. I’m excited for what 22 brings me and for what 22 can teach me about myself and about life. Bring it on, 22. I am ready.


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