24 Things I’ve Learned in 24 Years

I’m normally not one to publicly announce my birthday. I usually just let people remember … and usually end up disappointed and hating my birthday (seriously, it’s happened before). This year, I thought I’d try a different approach. I’ve been really focusing on self love this year. After I became a mother, I found it was really important to take care of yourself first, before you take care of your sweet baby. If you don’t, it’s really hard to feel pretty because children drain so much of your energy. Anyways, today I am turning 24. I’ve learned a lot in my 24 years of life, and I am excited to learn & improve even more over the years to come.

I set up the tripod, put on a dress that makes me feel beautiful, and took birthday pictures with my boy.

And today I’m celebrating me.

Aly Dawn Photography 24 Things I've Learned

1. make time for yourself

I feel like this is important in all phases of your life. It’s important for me to have alone time. I try to schedule in alone time everyday. Most days it’s when the baby naps. Some days it’s while I’m in the shower (I always linger just a little longer…) but my favorite is when my husband willingly & lovingly says, ‘I’ll watch our son, you do something for you.’ He’s a keeper! But, seriously. Making time for you is very important to keep you sane.

2. confidence is beautiful & powerful

3. stop talking about yourself & start listening

You are important, but so is your friend. So, stop talking about yourself & listen to those people in your life that are important to you. Ask questions about their life. Be engaged. Listen to their problems, excitement, anything they feel like telling. So, it’s OK to stop talking & lend an ear.

Aly Dawn Photography 24 Things I've Learned

4. things work out when you work at them

The first time you do something is always the scariest. How could it possibly work out? It always does, especially when you put the work in.

5. love takes work…

… but it’s worth it!

6. it’s ok to ask questions

Most of my life my pride has gotten in the way of me learning new things. I have learned that asking questions is totally ok and actually helps you even more in the long run.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Aly Dawn Photography 24 Things I've Learned

7. change can be good

8. stop comparing yourself to others

I am enough. I am beautiful. I am perfect just the way I am. I’ve learned that I should stop comparing myself  to others. I’m not better than them, they’re not better than me, we’re just different. And that’s OK.

9. it’s ok to treat yourself

You deserve it! Don’t feel too guilty for that extra piece of cake. Don’t feel bad about buying that super cute dress you’ve had your eyes on. Treat yourself every once in a while. It’ll help keep you sane.

Aly Dawn Photography 24 Things I've Learned

10. care salesmen are the worst

Enough said.

11. it’s ok to have opinions

This has been a hard one for me. I’m a people pleaser. I never would say my opinion to other people without feeling like I was making someone upset … so there was a time where I wouldn’t say my true feelings, just what everyone wanted to hear. But, it’s ok to disagree and to have your own opinions. I don’t think any less of you because you do something differently than me.

12. being a mother is the best and worst job

I’m sure all other mother’s would agree with me. There’s something so rewarding about being a mother. Watching your little one grow and develop. Watching them learn new things from you teaching them, or them learning by themselves. There’s so much joy and happiness that comes from being a mother. But, on the other hand, it is the toughest job in the whole world. I’m constantly worrying about my son. I am constantly tired. Constantly trying to figure out how I could possibly teach him the way of life. Motherhood is definitely the hardest thing I have ever done.

But I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love being a mother.

Aly Dawn Photography 24 Things I've Learned

13. family is everything

14. life is short

So, hug that person and quit fighting. Love, guys, spread love everywhere!

15. god is in the details of your life

I’ve learned this at a young age. He’s always there to guide you. He’s there in your darkest days. He’s also there when you’re happy! He’s working on every small detail in your life.

Aly Dawn Photography 24 Things I've Learned

16. being an introvert is cool …

… and totally ok! It took a long time for me to accept the fact that I was an introvert. But, I am. And you still like to talk to me. I just do better one on one than in a large group. 🙂

17. messy house is totally ok

I’ve had a long day. I’ve been running around cleaning up after my son and the house is still a mess. And that’s ok. Because it’s not always going to be clean. And I have to accept that! But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t strive for it. 😉

18. it’s ok to cry

I hate crying. I really do. But, I have learned that it’s totally ok to cry sometimes. Get it out of your system. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed. It’s ok (I might need to continue to tell myself that!).

19. your body really does change after childbirth

I didn’t believe them. But they were right. My body is changed forever, for the better.

Aly Dawn Photography 24 Things I've Learned

20. it’s ok to say no

21. grudges aren’t worth it

22. forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself

I read that somewhere and really liked it … it’s true. I’m still working on forgiveness, though.

23. getting out of the house everyday is a must

For your sanity. I sometimes find myself not going outside at all in the day … and then I realize why I’m getting frustrated with the baby. I need fresh air. So, I plan on scheduling more outside time this year!

24. nobody’s perfect

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