26 Things I Learned Before Age 26

Today is my 26th birthday.  I’ve been blogging for while and have celebrated five birthdays on LOLZ blog.  Sometimes I post about my birthday and other times I don’t.

To be honest, age 25 wasn’t my favorite year but not every year can be.  At age 24, I moved, got married, bought my car and was riding the high of a newly wed.  Age 25 wasn’t bad and had both its fair share of both good and bad moments.

I thought it would be fun to reflect upon and think out loud about some of the things I learned over the past year.  Some were good, some bad.  Some are running related; some are life-related.

26 Things I Learned Before Age 26

Life is not perfect and never will be.  Social media doesn’t tell the full story.  We all have issues and problems behind the scenes. We all have tagged facebook photos we wish never existed.  Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. About a month ago, I found out I had a severe case of food poisoning as well as a fracture in my ankle.

MRI foot
An MRI image of my foot

Do things you like and skip what you don’t like.  Your life is yours to live and no one else’s.  Enjoy it as much as you can.  Choose wisely of activities and things you want to do.

Do what you like and skip what you don’t like part 2: Enjoy your job.  A job could be in an office full time, blogging or taking care of children. I like my job at the Running Store.  I like seeing my friends, helping plan group runs and seeing new running excel! Whatever you choose, enjoy it.

Rest up.  You only have one body and it follows you around. Your body is direct reflection of how you treat yourself.  Treat your mind, body and soul well. carlsbad half

Enjoy the moment.  In this day and age we find ourselves looking into the future far too much.  One of my favorite quotes: The future has yet to be written, and the past is written in permanent marker.  You have the power to write the present.  Enjoy the current moment.

Small things don’t matter.  Trivial things like the slow driver in front of you, a paper cut, small issues…you probably won’t remember any of this stuff in a week.

Be confident in your beliefs and values. If you don’t stand behind yourself, who will stand behind you?

Don’t lie. A lie turns into ten lies which turn in 100 lies that you can’t remember. It’s never worth it to lie.

Similarly, speeding only gets you a ticket which ultimately slows you down. If you live in New Jersey, then you know there is always a faster drive in the left lane anyways…

Nothing comes easy. If everything in life were easy, we would all be Olympic multimillionaire CEOs. Pick and choose your battles.

These two images are within a week: 

shamrock marathon 1

via Phillies facebook

You are not always right. It’s impossible always to be right.  Accept advice and help from others.  You will grow as a person both mentally and physically.

When you are late, you waste other people’s time. No one’s time is more valuable.  Time cannot be replaced. It is one thing that cannot be bought.  Respect other people’s time.

Smile.  Smile as much as possible, so people don’t think you’re a mean girl (When in reality you just have a resting bitch face…like me).

atlantic city april fools half me

Be flexible in everything.  If everyone was able to do every single thing they wanted, the world would be chaos. Your plans are not always the most important.

Our culture is full of extremes. Extreme beauty, extreme sports talent, extreme music talent, extreme weight loss or weight gain…Real life doesn’t work like that and moderation, and balance is key.

Everyone wants to be treated the same. Be polite and caring. No one likes a jerk.  No one deserves that.

Find your most productive hours of the day and do what you need to do. I find myself most productive in the mornings. As the day flies by, I typically become less productive. I try and do the most important things in the morning.

Do what you don’t want to do: first.  Save the best for last and do the tasks that you don’t want first.  That way they get done.

Quiet days are never a bad thing but social days are not a bad thing either.  It’s so important to balance both.  Everything is moderation.

How you dress says a lot. It’s easy to dress like a college student or an old lady. Dressing like a 26-year-old is tough!  Have a few well-fitted outfits that make you feel confident.

It’s totally okay to be by yourself. It’s okay to go out to eat at a restaurant by yourself, and it’s okay to treat yourself.  Doing things by yourself is okay.

To stay in touch with friends, it’s a two-way street. If you don’t go down the road, you can’t expect someone else too.  Make time for your friends and family.

Always thankful for friends
Always thankful for friends

Sometimes life needs an exact plan and sometimes it doesn’t.When I moved in with Tim 3 years ago, I had no plan. We worked through the current time, not the future, and it ended up working out.

My first visit to Texas

Stay Confident in Yourself. You are your biggest fan and your biggest critic! Make sure to stay confident in yourself.

Be Open to Others. Other people have different beliefs and viewpoints of the world.  Be open to ideas that do not agree with your own.

The End is Not Now: Remember, your life, your story, and your book are not complete. Always strive to be the best and add more words to your story.

Questions for you:

How did you celebrate your last birthday?

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned recently?


  1. First off Happy Birthday! My last birthday was spent jumping out of a plane. Next month I’ll be running 31 miles for my 31st birthday! and recently I’ve learned (and accepted) that the weight of my body is not what makes it healthy and look good. It’s what my body can do that matters. I wish i could have told my 20-year old self that.

  2. First,Happy Birthday!!

    Love this list and so many great lessons. I try to smile and laugh as often as I can.

    And this is my new favorite quote “The future has yet to be written, and the past is written in permanent marker.”

  3. Some great wisdom there, lady! I wish that I had had the wherewithal to make such a list when I was your age.:) HAPPY BIRTHDAY, I hope you have an awesome day!

  4. Happy Birthday! I think i’m on board with your “be flexible” as a recent lesson that I’ve (tried) to learn. Lots of life changes right now, and I’m usually very type-a-scheduled-always. Learning to adjust as much as I can!!

  5. Happy Birthday Hollie! Wishing you a stellar year ahead! ~jade

  6. I love the idea of using birthdays as an occasion to reflect on one’s life and learnings. Something I love about your blog is that you are very self-aware, you are always striving to learn, and you pay attention to things. This is all great advice, and stuff that we can all be reminded of now and again!

  7. First of all, happy happy birthday! Secondly, let me just tell you – by the time you’re 29… You’re going to learn even more than you already know and be COMPLETELY BLOWN AWAY!!! Ha Ha! Trust me 😉

  8. I love so many of these…ok, pretty much ALL of them. HAPPY BIRTHDAY and I love that you have reflected on your 26 years (you are SO young) and have already learned so much about yourself and your life. Good for you! I promise, it will only get better with each passing year!

  9. Happy Birthday!!!

    And yes yes yes to saying no. I said no to several things recently that I know would have brought me stress & no joy. So, I said no, and I don’t feel the least bit guilty. Life is too short for BS. Knowing I won’t hurt feelings, it’s a-okay to say no.

  10. Happy Birthday!!! I’m dying that the NJ ticket one. I drive a total mom car and (KNOCK ON WOOD) I’ve never been pulled over in it, thank God. The key is the make sure you’re always driving next to people who are speed emons – makes you look slow. 😉 (Or if you’re my hubs, drive however you want and have a gold card because your mom knows a state trooper. He gets out of EVERYTHING)

  11. Happy Birthday Hollie! These are great lessons. I spent my last birthday with my family. We went to a baseball game and had cake. It was marvelous.

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