I'm a long way from having much wisdom to impart. Ten years ago 26 would have seemed really old, but I feel pretty young right now, all pregnancy symptoms aside. So here's a short list of the things I have figured out by age 26... subject to change of course, with more age and wisdom...
1.) I do NOT know everything, I have a lot to learn, and as long as I'm this side of the dirt, I'll never have it all figured out. (Probably won't then either ;)
2.) My parents were right 97% of the time, about 77% more than what I gave them 10 years ago. They were always right, growing up has just made me realize it. Why the 3%? Well, because they aren't perfect either, and let's face it, it'd be unfair for me to expect them to be.
3.) Often times contentment and 'happiness' in life comes only after difficult circumstances and experiences. God allows us to endure one to better be able to enjoy the other. (And because He knows what's best, unlike us, who just think we do.)
4.) Love is a choice. Sure there are lovey feelings from time to time, which are much welcomed, but our greatest blessing comes from learning to love when it seems most difficult.
5.) Our own children become some of our most vital teachers.
6.) You should never have to change who you are in order to maintain friendships with anyone. True friendship comes despite our successes and our failures, in the face of adversity, and endures the changing of the seasons of life.
7.) Worry really doesn't get you anywhere... but worrying about how much you worry just gives you something else to worry about.
8.) High school was not the best years of life. In theory, can't you see how it'd be pretty sad to say that high school was the 'good ole days' in the presence of your spouse, your children, and your new life as a family? It fails in comparison.
9.) If you want to be made quickly and enjoyably unselfish, have children.
10.) You can't judge people. Get to know someone and learn their story and you'll know who they really are and why they are that way.
11.) It's important to not only be good stewards of our money, but also of our time and our service.
12.) Some things are just a pain in the butt to pay for... like trash bags.
13.) Jesus can handle all of our hard questions.
14.) There's a lot to be learned from people, even if you disagree with their opinions, morals, or convictions.
15.) Men and women really are worlds different...
16.) Forget the feminist movement... of course I can open my own door, pay my own way, stand on my own two feet, etc etc etc, but why would I want to when a husband can do those things for me out of an act of love? I'm for chivalry, and I'm not going to fight against it!
17.) Not every battle is worth fighting... choose wisely.
18.) Never, I repeat, never, make comments about other people's children and how 'your child will never act that way', until you have kids yourself and know for sure. Sometimes you are catching kids at their worst moments... and they all have them.
19.) Even if money is tight, the absolute best thing you can do to help yourself stop worrying about money is to make yourself a written budget. Include everything, then at the very minimum you know that you can afford all of those bills that are showing up at your door.
20.) Find time to play... all work and no play leads to burn out very quickly. All play and no work, well, that just makes you lazy.
21.) Don't put people on pedestals... anyone. Everyone will disappoint you... it's in our nature.
22.) Go to Disney World... at least once in your life. There's no place on Earth quite so magical :)
23.) Honor your commitments. In this day of age, integrity and good character are hard to come by. Be a person who possesses both.
24.) Everyone has that thing they really enjoy. A new pair of shoes, a new haircut, an awesome new outfit, a trip to the movies, whatever. Budget for it and do it. Trust me, a little splurge is worth it.
25.) Be serious less often. I've learned this the hard way. Laugh more. People will like you better.
26.) And lastly, don't care... completely... what people think. Who cares if people hate your shoes if you love them? Who cares if people can't stand your personality if you are who you are? But guard your reputation, and live in such a way that people can't find fault with you (or inconsistencies).