Momma warned us. Grandma tried to let us know. Poppa whispered it into our ears. But certain things we’ve just had to find out ourselves. Growing up, advice comes plentiful at the hands of elders and even more experienced peers. But a lot of times, the best teacher of life’s most valuable lessons is, well, life itself.

Here’s a list of some lessons I’ve had to learn the hard way, through experience.

1. Automatic debit payments are not your friend.

2. Don’t pluck your eyebrows in a magnified mirror if you plan to keep them.

3. It never hurts to have an umbrella, phone charger, $20 bill, and a pair of back-up flats in your possession.

4. Your time is very valuable and should be meaningfully spent.

5. All of your friends don’t have to be friends (and it’s often better that way).

6. No one will ever be as passionate and enthusiastic about your dreams as you are. Nurture them.

7. It’s not a bargain, deal, or sale if you don’t need it. “Half off of too damn much is still too much.”

8. Makeup applied in natural light looks better. Flash photos are a great way to check your face before you leave the house.

9. A person who truly wants to get to know you will not attempt to do so solely via text.

10. Never be hesitant or apologetic about demanding your money’s worth. If you pay for a product or service and it’s not up to par, speak up! Respectfully, of course.

11. Waxing services should never be scheduled the week before your cycle begins (unless you’re into pain).

12. Never underestimate the power of a simple and sincere “Thank You” note.

13. Don’t count and budget money that hasn’t yet cleared the bank. Income taxes, school refunds and checks from upcoming gigs may be on the way, but if they haven’t arrived yet, don’t plan as though they have.

14. Those who gossip to you, will most often gossip about you. Be leery of those infamous for saying things like “… but you didn’t hear it from me” or “I’m not supposed to say anything, but….” Also note that those who don’t protect their own personal business won’t have sympathy for yours, either.

15. Acne scars last longer and are harder to treat than the pimples that came before them. Be patient and proactive (no pun intended), but don’t pick or pop!

16. It’s best not to divulge all of your plans. Your actions and achievements will speak for themselves in due time.

17. Nothing good ever came after five shots of Patron.

18. S-A-V-E $$$!!! No, seriously. Put a li’l something something away every week. You never know when you might be in a bind that requires immediate financial attention!

19. You can not gauge your own success based on the triumphs and falls of others.

20. There is no penalty for being early. Tardiness, on the other hand, can and will get you in trouble.

21. Write things down.

22. Those who do not add value to your life do not deserve a place in it.

23. You shouldn’t worry about a problem and pray about it at the same time; it defeats the purpose. Let go. Let God.

What life lessons have you learned through experience?

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