twenty-five | 25 things I've learned

I'm 25.
I don't know whether to cry my eyes out or thank God that I'm alive.  Probably more of the last one and a little of the first will be acceptable.  One of my favorite parts about writing on this blog is being able to look back on how much I've changed over the years.  I read some of my posts and realize how silly I sounded, but being able to have a direct link to how I was in the past is priceless.  Last year, I told myself turning 24 would be okay because it wasn't 25.  Today, I'm going to do the same, except put my own twist on it and mention that at least I'm around to see it.
If you've talked to me lately, you'll know that this wasn't at all how I was feeling these past few weeks. Referring myself to a "debbie downer" would be an understatement.  Turning 25 without my family around and still being in school has been hard to swallow.  Knowing that at 25, my country is still being bombed is also hard to swallow.  I was in a pessimistic mindset that highlighted all of the things I haven't accomplished that I wanted to accomplish by now.  Thankfully, my mood has changed.  This post is dedicated to 25 things that I have learned by 25.
 1. Parents are everything
 You spend all of your child life disliking your parents.  It wasn't until this summer that I truly realized how terrible life is without them.  When I was growing up, people told me that I would look back on my life and regret all of the pain that I have ever caused them.  At the time, I never believed it.  Looking back now, my only wish in life is to make up for any of that pain.  If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be who I am now.  For that, I will be forever grateful.
2.  Friends come & friends go. 
    But some friends don't go.
High school was fun.  College was more fun.  The transitions between the exit of my high school friends and the entrance of my college friends was drastic.  I remember getting into arguments with people about petty things.  People would always say things like, "those friends aren't permanent.  They are temporary friends".  You know what? Some of them were, but some of them weren't.  It's not that you don't stay friends with the people you were with in high school.  My current room mate was my preschool, elementary, middle, and high school best friend. The people who are worth your friendship when you are older, more mature, and in college are the ones who never ended up leaving to begin with.
3.  You can't assume that everyone is trustworthy. 
Unfortunately, the world isn't perfect.  All people aren't always good.  For the most part they are, but sometimes they aren't.  Some of my biggest secrets are withheld in people that I don't talk to anymore.  They say you should live life with no regrets.  The only good thing that came out of this, is now I know not to do it anymore.
4. My best friend is my sister.
My dad used to always tell me, "your siblings will end up being your best friends".  When I was 8, of course I didn't believe him.  Every time Aya would show up to my door when friends were around, I always wanted her to get out and give me "privacy".  Now, when she comes to visit me, I never want her to leave.  She is one of the only people in my life that I know will always be a constant.  Throughout all of my hard times, it's nice to know that someone else is going through them with me.  We share friends, clothes, & problems, and having her around is something I feel so blessed for everyday.
5. Eat the cupcake.
In case you don't know, cupcakes make the world go round.  If someone offers you one, I've come to the conclusion that no excuse is reasonable.  Take it & enjoy.
6. Hair is only hair.
The past couple of years, I've been suffering from hair problems.  From thinning, to cutting, to breakage.  Somedays, I would let it get the best of me... spending lots of time reminiscing on how my hair used to be when I was younger. Hair is only hair.  If you cut it too short, it will grow back.  If you dye it the wrong color, you can dye it back.  Even if you lose it all 'til you're bald, they have wigs.  It's not worth fretting over.
7. You have never really lived until 
you have done something for someone 
who can never really repay you.
Generosity is a quality that cannot be pointed out as often as we would like to think.  The true meaning of generosity resides in a person who gives without expecting anything in return.  It is in the individual that donates their time, money, and effort to someone who will never be able to pay them back.  The intrinsic feeling of happiness is worth so much more. Next time you have leftovers, drop them off for someone who can't afford food and you'll see.
8. Being in a sorority was one of the 
best decisions that I have ever made.
As a freshman in college, rumors fly around school that sororities are organizations that "pay for friends".  Now that I'm 25 years old, I've been out of college for a little over 3 years.  The idea of "paying for friends" couldn't be further from the truth.  There are times where I lose touch with some of the people that I went through Phi Mu with, but I know for the rest of my life if I ever needed anything, they would be there.  That's something that money could never buy.  Some of the most interesting and brilliant people  I have ever met are ones that I met from Phi Mu.  For that reason, I am actually in debt to such a wonderful group of people.  I have been changed for good.
9. Life goes on without phones.
There was a time in life where phones were on extremely limited data plans, with no color, and weren't smart.  During those times, life was more beautiful.  A simple lunch date weighed so much more than lunch dates now.  Catching up with old friends while checking your phone every few minutes only accelerates life passing by.  Taking time out of our day to stay away from our phones not only increases health, but increases our happiness.  Phones should only be used for emergencies and boredom. 
10. Macarons.
My love for L'aduree macarons started 4 years ago in Paris.  Life has been so much sweeter ever since their discovery. 
11. Coffee should be enjoyed 
and not depended on.
I am the first person to order coffee every single day.  I love waking up to the smell, and even the thought of drinking it starts my day off on the right foot.  The past couple of years have made me realize how much my body has depended on it (through fasting & withdrawals).  Coffee was first ingested for social purposes.  Now, some people don't even know how to function without it.
12. Worrying is the worst.
Read here.
13. The answer to all problems is time.
Some of our problems seem out of our control.  Whether it be sadness, grief, school... the only thing that heals the pain of a problem is time.  Just like when we fall down and scrape our knee, the wound is terrible at the moment.  With time, it may not be fixed completely, but our body heals our wound by creating a scab.  The bruise, scar, or memory may still remain, but the pain has lessened.  The hard part is remembering that things will get better with time.  The hardest part is actually giving yourself some.
14. Cartoon movies are not just for kids.
I still go to every animated movie that comes to theaters.  I also watch and re-watch every Disney movie that has ever been made. They keep my spirits young, and I will never be ashamed of that.
15. Everything in life is 50/50.
Sometimes things don't look like they will work in our favor, and sometimes they don't.  Everything in life is half chance.  There's a half a chance it will work out.  Because of this half chance, the risk is worth it.
16. Summers overseas were 
the best thing to ever happen to me.
All throughout my adolescent years (up to about 2004) I used to complain to my parents about how I never wanted to go to Jordan.  I wanted to spend my summers in America with my school friends, especially because their days were spent at the pool and having cook outs. I could never thank my parents enough for forcing me to go.  Two of my very best friends live in Jordan.  The summers I have spent there have not only made me proud of my culture, but made me realize the true value of friendship.   
"When I look back now, those summers seemed to last forever.  And if I had the choice, I would always want to be there.  Those were the best days of my life."
17. The under appreciated are the ones 
who deserve the most appreciation.
The ones who deserve the kindness and thank-yous are the people who are never asking for them.  Humbleness is a quality that comes from a person who never wants any recognition.  With that said, those kinds of people are the ones who don't get the appreciation they deserve until they've been under appreciated time and time again.  Be aware of those people.  One day, the overwhelming gratitude you have for them may knock you upside the head.  Be thankful for them while you still have the chance.
18. Uncles, grandmothers, aunts, & cousins 
are just parents & siblings you don't see as often.
I have no doubt in my mind that when  life knocks me down, they will be the ones to pick me up.  These people would take a bullet for me.  That's something even greater than the world "family".  I could spend the rest of my life thanking them for everything they've done and it still wouldn't be enough. 
19. Vanilla bean cake is the 
hardest from-scratch cake to make.
If you're a new baker, start with chocolate cake.  I've been making vanilla cake from scratch for the past 5 years, and every time it tastes like a sugar cookie.
20. Happiness comes from within, not from others.
A lot of people spend their life (& emotions) on other people... friends, family, & significant others.  People will blame their unhappiness on others.  The relationships they are in "make them unhappy".  Happiness should be looked at as a characteristic of  an individual.  It should not be based off of other people and how they make you feel.  If we all spent a little more time to do things that make us happy, we will turn into happy people without needing the approval of others. 
21. The 90's were the
I have been so blessed to have attended the Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, N'Sync, Britney Spears, and the Goo Goo Dolls concerts all before I was 25.  The teenager inside of me has cried tears of over-dramatic joy.  The mid 20 year old in me only makes me realize how fortunate I was to grow up in such an awesome time period.  The last decade before life became based on technology.   
22. When an opportunity comes, take it. 
Opportunities are some of the only things in life that could appear and disappear in the blink of an eye.  If an opportunity comes your way that will aid in a better life, always take it.  The timing and the people you leave behind should not be taken lightly; however, it is important to do what is in your best interest.  With that said, opportunities come and go... if they are not seized in the moment, there's a high chance they won't come around again.
23. When it comes to men, things will fall into place.
To the ladies: I'm now 25 and not married.  I've gotten over it. Eventually, you will find someone.  Someone who you would've waited 25 more years for.
24. Traveling is the only thing you buy 
that makes you richer.
Everything that is bought with money is money well spent.  The only time you will ever become more enriched from money is when you spend it on traveling.  I have been so blessed to have seen such wonderful parts of the world (thank you baba and mama) and have realized that those experiences could never be replaced.  All of the knowledge I have gained from learning about history and soaking in some breath-taking views have all been contributions to the person I am today.  Please use this as inspiration to go on trips when you can, and open your mind with curiosity because these are the best times to do it.
25. Even when you're not ready to let go, 
life will still go on without you.
We should stay thankful, humble, and appreciative of every moment that we are given.  I could sit here and dwell on how I am another year older, how life is going by so fast, and how I feel like I haven't accomplished all the things I have wanted to. Life still goes on.   My twenties have been fabulous... I've learned much more than I would have ever expected at this age.  Half way to 50, & thank God that I'm alive to see it.
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