1. Traveling alone.
There is something both freeing and terrifying about traveling alone. As women, we often try not to travel alone if at all possible, because we think that it’s going to be dangerous or even simply boring. And it definitely shouldn’t be taken lightly, but it’s also something very unique about the experience that we should all enjoy. It allows you to be the most pure version of yourself, and to explore the world around you in a way you just can’t when you’re with other people.
2. Proving to yourself that you can do something athletically.
It doesn’t have to be a marathon (although it could be), but it’s important to think about what your perceived limits are in terms of athletics and deliberately work up past them. Even if your goals aren’t high (hell, I made a promise myself to go to the gym three days a week this month and even THAT has been a challenge), it’s always crucial to prove to yourself mentally and physically that you’re stronger than you think you are.
3. Getting a promotion.
Nothing feels quite as good as getting a bit of professional success, whatever that may entail, and knowing that you have achieved it by yourself. The day someone hands you that check, or officially gives you your new title, it’s proof that you can not only land a job, you can be good at it.
4. Living by yourself.
Living by yourself, supporting yourself, paying your bills, and having total freedom over your domain is truly life-changing. It changes your perspective on solitude — it’s nothing to be afraid of, and can be pretty great — and shows you that you are capable of managing things by yourself if the need ever arises. (Plus, you can walk around naked whenever you want!)
5. Completing something you care about that isn’t your job.
Personal projects are so underrated. Personal projects change lives. I knitted my first full-size blanket this year. It was a big deal! I actually worked towards something and achieved it, even though it didn’t immediately earn me money or praise. That’s progress.
6. Watching your girlfriends succeed.
Yes, your own success is good. But part of it is about celebrating it in others, and learning to enjoy their happiness as well. Watching the people you surround yourself with better themselves means a lot about you, too. The moment you hear that your girlfriend has achieved something that she’s been working for and you get to truly say that you’re happy for her, that is truly life-changing.
7. Taking care of someone else.
Not that long ago, one of my best friends went through a very traumatic event and came to live with me for almost two months. She wasn’t working and needed a lot of things done for her, and it was the first time I’d ever been truly put in the “caretaker” role. It’s scary, and makes you feel more like an adult than anything else in your life — you’re so far away from the dependent place you were as a child, so completely in the opposite perspective. And it’s taxing, and frustrating, and all the things you could expect, but it’s also great. It teaches you to believe in yourself and to trust your instincts, because you’re capable of taking care of much more than you think.