What on earth happened? I closed my eyes for two minutes and now I’m 27. I’ve changed so much and learned a lot along the way. But looking back, I wish I knew some things sooner.
1. Prioritize. Self. Care.
We swoosh through life way too fast. We jump from one deadline to another, tackling a hundred responsibilities at the same time. We keep going even if we’re utterly exhausted. We huff and puff our way to the next thing on our to do list. We think we’re invincible. But honey, we’re not. We’re not made to carry everything all at once. I realized this way too late, and it took me a long time to get back on my feet.
See the thing is, self-care should be way up on our priority list. It’s not being selfish, lazy or unproductive; on the contrary, it’s being responsible. When you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, you need to be healthy to do all the things you have to do. If you neglect your needs continually, you’ll crash. And you’ll waste more time recuperating than if you just took care of yourself correctly in the first place. You’re not too much. You deserve to be taken care of. By you.
2. Learn to say no. Wisely.
I’ve always been a yes girl. But I realized that this too is not healthy. If you’re always saying yes to other people, even if you don’t really want to or you don’t see anything good coming out of what you’re about to do, think twice. You always have the choice to say no.
But see, this is tricky. You have to find the perfect balance. That’s where wisdom comes in. Weigh everything carefully. I mean some decisions are easy, like choosing to go out or not or choosing a place to eat. But some decisions you’ll make in your life are very important. Other people can help you, advise you, but ultimately, it’s up to you.
3. There are times when life will be just blah.
Blah in a good way, mind you. See, there are seasons in life when simply nothing happens. You fall into the same routine every single day. Wake up. Go to work. Eat lunch. Talk to friends. Go home. Watch Friends. Sleep. Again. And again. And again. Blah. Boring. Familiar. Comfortable. Peaceful.
I love when life gets this way sometimes. It’s like the perfect sweet spot. You’re not pressured, not rushing, eased into a predictable routine. There’s something calming about these times. Learn to enjoy the moments of peace and quiet. They keep life balanced.
4. Parents are your best friends for life.
When you were young, you thought of your parents as adults you have to listen to and follow around. But there’s an amazing revelation you come upon as you grow up. They’re the best friends you could ever have—the ones who’ll know just what to say, who’ll be proud of you no matter what, who’ll have your back. A parent’s love is just simply magical.
I wish I realized that sooner, but I’m happy I’ve learned that now. Don’t let life take you away from the people who matter most. They’re life’s best blessings.
5. Imperfections make you truly perfect.
Everyone who’s been a teenager knows what it’s like to not like yourself. Even now, when I wake up and my hair won’t cooperate or when my pants seem a little snug, I revert back that insecure teenager. But one thing I learned is that in this life. You must love yourself, including your imperfections. We were not made to be carbon copies of each other. That would be just plain boring (yes, the bad kind of blah).
Our differences make us special. So love yourself, even when you’ve got a zit on your nose and on the days you’re a total klutz. Love. Yourself. Always.
6. Happiness is always within arms reach.
But it’s rarely seen. Sometimes, happiness needs to be sought out. It’s never far, but it won’t come to you while you’re stuck sitting on the floor and doing nothing.
If you’re heart is whispering something to you, listen. If you want to grab an opportunity, please do. Even if you’re scared. ESPECIALLY if you’re scared. Taking big leaps make you stronger, wiser. Be brave enough to go after your happiness.
7. Some of life’s chapters are meant to be closed.
You don’t finish a book by reading the same page over and over again, do you? It’s the same way with life. You can’t let yourself get stuck in one chapter forever. How are you supposed to see what’s next?
Life’s a cycle of hellos and goodbyes and see you laters. Whether you’ve lost someone or missed an opportunity or your plans got sidetracked, sooner or later, you’ll need to move on. Release all the bad things, keep all the good memories, take a deep breath and take a step forward.
8. Make an effort to be a good person.
The world’s dark enough already. Why not do something to make it a bit brighter? It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, you know. Little things count just as much. Open the door for someone. Compliment a friend. Smile to the bus driver. Greet the doorman. Ask someone how their day was. Simple things like these make the biggest impact. Remember that.
9. Bow to fate. You are an adult now.
This is the lesson I keep forgetting (sometimes intentionally). But I guess it’s time to face it: we’re not little kids anymore. I don’t know how it happened, but we’ve got adult responsibilities now. I keep wishing they would just go away, but so far they’re still here. The best thing to do is learn to roll with the punches and come out the winner! All things can be learned—taxes, cooking, budgets, cleaning after yourself. I know no one’s really got it together, but just do your best and enjoy life. Regardless of what age you are.
No matter how many things you’ve already achieved, life never stops handing out lessons. If you want to live life to the fullest, learn as many as you can. Always strive to be the best version of yourself. You can do this.