Rik’s Life: 23 Things I’ve Learned So Far (Birthday Edition)

In May, I started crafting a list, that I would publish on my 23rd birthday.

Who would've thought, at age 5, I'd be writing a post dedicated to my 23rd birthday.

Who would’ve thought, at age 4, I’d be writing a post dedicated to my 23rd birthday.

  1. Chocolate literally releases endorphins and makes you feel so much better.
  2. Sweet potatoes give you an awesome boost of energy.
  3. Vaseline attracts dirt and I will never bring myself to layering it on top of my skin.
  4. Oatmeal, honey, almonds and cinnamon is about the best breakfast anyone can whip up
  5. Tea tree oil cures all. The end.
  6. There’s no limit on chances.
  7. If you’re going to go on a shopping spree, wait for major sales. Inventory happens shortly after the Christmas season, so you can catch 60 to 70 percent off sales at your local malls and some boutiques.
  8. There’s more value in paying for experiences. Buy a plane ticket or bus ticket to go visit a friend. Spend extra money on a ticket to see Lauryn Hill in concert. Pay to go to Bonnaroo. I’d rather wear my dingy white Converse on three different trips, than spend $600 on a pair of shoes that I’ll probably wear no more than three times.
  9. There is always a cheaper way to do things. I’ve been living post-grad life for more than one year now, which means I’m poor, but still feel entitled to do whatever I want to do whenever I want to do it. In the past year, I’ve learned that if you’re willing to be a little bit uncomfortable, you can go and do whatever you want to do. Greyhound tickets from STL to CHI ran me $20 roundtrip. I slept on friend’s couches, and instead of eating out, I went to the grocery store and cooked at their apartments. I waited until the right moments to buy plane tickets to the east coast, again, stayed with friends, and ate cheaply (or for free) and had the best time of my life. On top of that, I still had enough money in my bank account in case of emergencies or for my next getaway! Exhaust all opportunities before saying you can’t do something.
  10. Twitter is the best way to get the news. No one can argue with me on this.
  11. Men in suits. The end.
  12. Reading is fundamental. Countries, politics, love, wouldn’t exist without words. Words wouldn’t be understood without reading. Pick up a book every now and then.
  13. Natural hair is not a movement.
  14. It is never okay to a make a socially constructed race “fashionable,” “trendy” or the “thing of now.”
  15. Never, ever take off your heels. No matter how bad your feet hurt.
  16. Don’t pass up an opportunity you really want based on fear. There are so many things I regret passing up because I was afraid that I wouldn’t make it, not enough money, etc., etc.
  17. Find the one thing that calms you and try to do it, at least, once a week. For me, it’s painting my toenails and running.
  18. In the 8th grade, I learned that it really doesn’t matter what people say about you. And since then, I have the hardest time caring about what people say and think.
  19. A professor once gave me advice for writing: Read everything–from porn to the Bible. Still has been the best advice I’ve ever received.
  20. My little sister bought me a book titled, Stealing Like an Artist. In it, author Austen Kleon writes “Write the book you’ve always wanted to read.” That little piece of motivation has become my guiding light in pursuing my outlandish dreams.
  21. I’m convinced that Beyoncé doesn’t sleep, and that’s why she runs the world.
  22. Chewing gum too long gives you headaches (go figure!)
  23. Music is a universal language.

I’m excited to learn, grow and create more in this upcoming year. Until then, help me celebrate by spreading #23by23, a campaign to raise 23 donations by my 23rd birthday on July 20 in an effort help me get to graduate school this fall. Learn about where and what I’ll be studying and donate here.

Go Fund Me 2


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