1. Who you surround yourself with makes worlds of difference. The people I started the year with are not necessarily the people I’m ending the year with. Walking away from people who leave you feeling drained and unsatisfied is hard. It’s even harder to try to make new friends which is why we stay in those negative relationships, but once you walk away it changes everything. It truly is one of the best decisions you can make for yourself.
2. Things will get really hard at times, but they will always get better. Life can be really difficult whether it’s from a decision you made personally or just bad luck with life, but it will always get better. It may not feel like it, you may feel like you’ve been suffering for days or months or even years, but it will change and things will get better. Things always get better and if they don’t feel like they are ask for help.
3. You can always leave. You can pack up all your things and you can leave. You’re allowed to start your life over somewhere. You’re allowed to be miserable and make a change. You are in complete control over your life and you should do the best you can to make it most enjoyable for you.
4. Backpacking the world is one of the best things you can do for yourself. I took my first solo backpacking trip this year and it was one of the most self-fulfilling things I’ve ever done in my entire life. The amount you learn about yourself, your home, your life before you left, what you enjoy and even the food you eat is amazing. I get backpacking is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I will still recommend it to everyone. It’s definitely an experience that has changed me for the better and opened my eyes to new aspects of the world.
5. Your attitude about life will determine life’s attitude towards you. If you are constantly expressing gratitude you will constantly be given more to be thankful for. There’s still going to be bad times to come your way, but things won’t seem so bad when you’re always focusing on the good. When you stop looking for things to complain about, but instead notice all the things you have to be thankful for life changes and it starts to attract the good things towards you.
6. Being vulnerable is a strength. Being vulnerable is difficult, it can be very hard to open up and allow the world to see pieces of you that sometimes make you uncomfortable, but vulnerability heals. Vulnerability is allowing yourself to show the world who you are and not be ashamed, it’s being proud of yourself and using the lessons you’ve learned in life to help others by not being ashamed of your past.
7. Make yourself uncomfortable. Push yourself to do things that make you uncomfortable and that scare you because in those moments is when you will grow and change. If you live a life doing the same routine and never try anything that scares you, you will never fully amount to anything. Step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to do more and do better.
8. Do what you want, regardless of what everyone else is doing. If everyone is going left but you really want to go right, then go right. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing and that doesn’t make it wrong if you don’t. If you want to take a gap year, then take a gap year. You are in charge of your own life so do what makes you happy, regardless of what everyone else is doing because no one else is living your life.
9. Sometimes being right isn’t worth the argument. Sometimes it’s just not worth it to argue over something you know for a fact, even though the other person believes they are right. Pick and choose your battles, but not every argument is worth chiming in your opinion, even if you’re right.
10. If you don’t believe in yourself no one else will. In order to achieve anything you have to believe in yourself. You have to want it more than anything because if you don’t want it then no one else is going to support you to get there.
11. How to let go. I learned you can’t make people stay present in your life when they’ve moved on, so you just have to let them go. Relationships and friendships sometimes just die out and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s heartbreaking and it doesn’t get easier, but sometimes that’s how it goes and it’s something I’m still working on accepting every day.
12. You don’t need a lot to be happy. We say this, but most people don’t actually believe it. I’ve been living with a bag on my back that’s packed with clothes and I’ve never been happier. I sleep in different places, non of which are hotels and eat at restaurants that look like people just decided to pick an empty abandon space and hang a sign up that calls it a restaurant.
13. You don’t need a 9-5 job you’re miserable at to sustain yourself. There are so many more ways to make a living than just working in an office for a boss you’re scared of. Find something you’re passionate about and do it, turn it into a way to make money. It might be difficult at first, but it will pay off.
14. Never settle for any aspect of your life. Never settle in love, with sex, with friendships, with work, with shitty beer. Never settle at all because there is so much beauty and greatness in the world that you shouldn’t sell yourself short. Know what you deserve and don’t settle for less.
15. Life is all about the journey. The destination is only a sliver of the fun, but the most fun is getting there. It’s all the road bumps and challenges you face along the way that make the actual destination worth it. It’s the times that make you laugh and angry and build up the suspense to where you’re going. It’s those moments where the most enjoyable views and heartfelt conversations take place. Don’t ever rush the journey, enjoy it because it might be better than the destination.
16. Don’t compromise your happiness in order to make it more comfortable for someone else. Don’t put yourself in situations you know will make you angry or drained just because you’re trying to accommodate someone else. If it isn’t what you ultimately want say no. It’s okay to say no. Don’t beat yourself up because you’re too nice to stand up and say what you want. You can be happy, just don’t waste all your happiness on someone who wouldn’t waste an ounce of their happiness on you.