1. Finding one’s life purpose will take time. “What do you want to do for the rest of your life?” is the most daunting question. You must consider so many factors — Does it tap into my passions? Will it support the kind of lifestyle I want? Do I have what it takes? What I learned is that it takes awhile to figure it all out and that is okay.
2. I’m exactly where I need to be. I am neither behind nor ahead of anyone. Just because someone my age has owned a coffee shop and I’m still in school figuring out what I want to major in doesn’t mean I’m behind that person. We all have different circumstances, passions, and experiences — and that makes your journey unique to yourself. Don’t spend time comparing it but instead embrace and accept it.
3. Perfection is superficial and exhausting. It’s okay to aim for perfection, because it challenges you and makes you produce the best work you can, but it should never be the standard you hold yourself to all the time. Do not punish yourself or retreat when perfection isn’t achieved. Instead, push yourself to be the best that you can be and hold yourself accountable all the time. Am I growing? Am I challenging myself?
4. Being assertive is important. In the beginning of our career, we usually start in the bottom with an entry level position and sometimes we will have the tendency to please people or accept treatment that is akin to being taken advantage of. Don’t let that happen. Just because you’re only starting out doesn’t mean you need to be treated any differently by a senior coworker or supervisor. Speak out. Be assertive and confident.
5. Patience is important. Nowadays, because everything is so readily available, we are used to instant gratification and get irritable or upset when things don’t work out right away. Breathe, figure out why it’s not working out, modify, and then work towards it. Most things take time.
6. Kindness and compassion are superpowers. We’re all in the same boat here — working towards what we want out of life, balancing everything we have on our plate, wanting to travel and experience life, etc. Put yourself in another person’s shoes and practice compassion. You leave your mark in the hearts of people with this superpower. Everything else will fade or get broken, but the impact you make in a person’s life through your kindness and compassion can be a turning point to someone. It can brighten someone’s day, and believe me, they’ll never forget that.
7. Self-care is essential. I know we’re all caught up in reaching our goals and dreams, but it’s also important to just take things slowly. Put on some warm fuzzy socks, pull that duvet over your body, and whether your poison of choice is a hot chocolate, a glass of wine, tea, a blueberry shake, a beer, or a pint of ice cream, indulge in it. Relax. Take care of yourself and the rest will follow.
8. It’s the little things you should be the most grateful for. You know that roof over your head? Your education? The clothes you wear? The coffee in your hand? A homemade meal from your mother? A partner who takes care of you? There are millions of people out there who don’t have any of those things. Be grateful for where you are and what you have, even if there are numerous other things you want in your life.
9. Moments will never come back the exact same way, so be present. The way you jump up and down in joy as you finish post-secondary, the way your family and friends scream “surprise” on your 24th birthday, the way your partner unveils the dinner he had prepared for the both of you, the way your long distance best friend comes out of the airport to come visit you… These are moments you should be physically, emotionally, and mentally present in. Once it’s over, it’s gone forever. You can never get it back or recreate it. You don’t want to spend these moments saying, “Wait a minute, let me snap this first.”
10. We are all different and unique individuals, but at the end of the day, we all yearn for human connection, purpose, and love. As millennials, we are only at the beginning of our journey. There are many more individuals that we have yet to meet. I learned that we all have differences – political leanings, skin color, body size, religious beliefs, music preferences, etc. – but these are all little things that sets us apart and should never be a cause of divide. I learned to recognize and remember that deep inside us, we all just want connection and love and this is what links us and makes us the same. And with that thought, I continue my journey with equal love and respect for every person I encounter, despite differences.