• Elaine Zito

Twenty Five Things I've Learned in 25 Years

1. Give your all in everything you do.. no matter what happens you won’t be upset with yourself or have any regrets if you know you tried your best

-It's easy to worry and feel bad about yourself in situations of performance and rising up. But, if you whole-heartedly try your best, laziness and emotions aside, how can you feel bad about that? Only you know your limits and max, so only you can be the true judge of if you're giving something your all or not so much.

2. Always make decisions based on how it would make you feel after the fact. Do what you know is right and what won’t cause you guilt

-This is my life motto. When faced with a decision, I always think to myself, how will I feel later if I choose one way vs. the other? This plays into your character and conscious. A silly but small example would be leaving your shopping cart in the middle of a parking spot vs. taking the time to put it securely in the correct place. I'm sure most people don't care, but its the right thing to do.

3. You don’t have to like coffee as an adult

-I always thought drinking coffee was like a right of passage into your adulthood. I've tried and tried to get into it, but I just don't desire it, nor want to take the chance of getting addicted. I definitely love unsweet tea though, and occasionally use an energy booster in my water. Mio energy is our go to.

4. Flossing is necessary

-The world teaches you this from a young age, but I know I'm not the only one who struggles with it. The older I get though, the more I realize it's important. I started making myself do it once a week (gross, I know), and have slowly added in more days of the week. It's easier to keep myself accountable if I schedule it in.

5. The harder you work now, the more you’ll benefit in 10 years

-I learned this from my parents, and one of the few business classes I took in college. But it's so true. The more money you put away and save now, whether it be in real estate, stocks, 401ks etc, the more you will benefit in the long run. It sucks because it's the first taste of being on your own in the real word to spend and live however you want, no discipline or guidance from parents. But what you do now can vastly determine when and how you will retire.

6. It’s ok to wait to have kids

-We all feel the pressure to get married and have kids before were 30. But these days, women are waiting until they are in their 30s to start having them. I know many people who had their first child after 35. While I don't want to wait that long, I'm learning and accepting that there's no set perfect time, like the typical year or 2 years after your vows. Waiting can be beneficial to your travel or career goals, and most importantly your wallet.

7. Balance is everything

-Allyn and I struggle with this. If you know him, you know he works like crazy. He still can't keep up with my dad (lol), but he is the most hard working person I know. I try and balance him out with time off and kick as* vacations. We also balance our hard season in Virginia with 4 days off a week in Florida. My mom always taught me that everything is ok in moderation. If you balance and moderate yourself, you should be fine.

8. Being nice is way cooler than being liked

-It's hard not to get caught up in acceptance and favoritism at the cost of others, but does that really make you feel good? No. Again, if it bothers you later on, don't say it or do it or act upon it, even if it gains you popularity. Show love and kindness. It's way more worth it.

9. If you treat everyone with the same respect no matter their background, you will be delightfully surprised

-This goes for monetary status, education level, appearance, what the color of your skin is, where you come from and more. Put your stereotypes aside and try giving that homeless person the same respect you give your boss. It could open your eyes to so many things, and makes you feel really good inside.

10. You actually don’t know shit. The world is a lot bigger with people a lot better than you

-This hit me hard when I went to college. Growing up in a place where participation trophies are a thing, and we are praised for every little milestone, it's easy for all of that to go to your head. I definitely thought I was at the top of the food chain with the best academics and athletic abilities (LOL). Then when I went to Virginia Tech, I quickly grew humble and realized how little I am and how much I actually don't know.

11. Therapy is a game changer

- I did EMDR therapy for PTSD. While i'm not a veteran, PTSD can result from any past trauma or experience. Nothing is too small for this kind of treatment. From my understanding of it, EMDR uses "tappers" that vibrate as you think and talk through your deepest, darkest moments. Somehow it refiles your trauma away so you no longer have triggers that cause anxiety and depression. It freakin' works man.

12. Invest in a really comfortable bed, it will be worth it

-Allyn and I recently bough a memory foam mattress that can mechanically raise the head and feet. We both sleep amazing (which is new for him), and feel better throughout the day. Humans spend so much of their life in bed, why not make it the most comfortable you can find? Your body and sanity is worth that extra money. Trust me.

13. Growing slow is the way to go

-It's exciting when you start succeeding in your line of work and want to quickly re-invest or grow even more. But, the best decisions and outcomes come with time. Slow but steady growth is stable and less likely to fail.

14. Write down your thoughts and feelings. They matter, and reflecting on them will help you navigate your life

-Whether you write down things you're grateful for, affirmations about yourself, or how your day went, it's all important and can change your happiness and outlook on life. Plus, it would be a cool time capsule to look back on in 30 years.

15. Always write thank you notes. It means more than you know

-Thank you notes let people know how much you appreciate them. In a world of digitalization, a thank you note shows more effort and genuinety. Plus, there are some really cute ones out there!

16. Be humble and open minded, you don’t always have to agree

-While you might think your way of life is the right way, it's not the only way. You might find something new you like if you give someone a chance and hear them out.

17. Hangovers get worse the older you get

-Water and not mixing is the only way I survive lol.

18. Not everyone is going to like you, that’s ok

-As a people pleaser, this is still hard for me to swallow. But the more I accept it, the happier I am.

19. Find mentors and role models and soak up their experience and knowledge

-Theres a reason you like them. Figure out what that is and how to use it in your own life. These people can be very beneficial to your growth and success.

20. Try and always challenge yourself and learn new things. If you’re growing, you’re succeeding

-Whether its reading a book, playing a brain game app, or learning a new language, if you open your mind to the unknown, you will continuously get better.

21. There’s a discount code or coupon for most everything

-Google it and don't pay full price.

22. Looking people in the eye and saying hello to strangers is a mood booster and can make someone’s day. Don’t let this simple gesture die

-It takes confidence to look at the strangers you pass by, but showing them a smile can give hope and potentially save a life. You never know who you will cross paths with.

23. Don’t hold grudges. They’re only hurting you and wasting your time and energy

-Forgiveness is a sign of maturity. Save your stress for something else.

24. Day dream. Think about what you really want and don’t think it’s out of reach. Believe you can achieve it

-Try and let your mind wander and go places you've never been before. If you're constantly bogged down with work, social media, chores and kids, how will you ever figure out what YOU truly want out of life?

25. Enjoy life. Plan things to look forward to and make those days off worth working really, really hard for

-Because at the end of it all, we never know when we'll go. So work hard, but play even harder.

xoxo, Isla Girl