As I sip on coffee on the very last day of my 28th year of life, I am determined to begin 29 on a reflective note. When I entered my 20s wide eyed and bushy tailed 9 years back, little did I know that I was in for a ride of my life. And now as I embark on the very last year of this crazy decade, I wanted to be able to document some of the things that I learnt through the years.
1. Nothing is Ever Permanent
It might seem like some things will never change but change is always lurking around somewhere in the corner. The sooner I learned to embrace change the better off I was.
2. Comparison sets you up for Ruin
Everyone is different and there is no blueprint for how people should live their lives. Some people choose to travel the world, others work hard to set themselves up for success and yet others choose to start a family early in life. Judging someone for their choices in life and comparing your own to theirs sets you up for failure. I choose to work on my own dreams and not judge anyone else for working on theirs.
3. Health is Wealth
Take care of yourself. I’ve had my fair share of too much alcohol, staying up too late, partying too hard, exercising too much and eating too little. Over the years, you just come to a realization that no fleeting feeling of euphoria will overpower the confidence that comes with a healthy body and mind.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Explore
Whether it is with your creativity, career choice or love interest. Sometimes all you need is to explore what doesn’t work for you in order to truly discover what does.
5. Love Unconditionally
Because it is so much more worth loving that way. Be it your partner, family or friends, loving with expectations or restrictions that someone behaves a certain way or lives within the same boundaries is causing yourself more grief. People change. Acceptance is a skill that we should all master. And love should never come with conditions.
6. Let Go of Expectations
Not only of people. I have learnt to let go of expectations of how circumstances should play out or things should turn out. The less expectations you have, the happier you will be because regardless of what is to come, you will be OK with it.
7. Never Stop Learning
When I first moved to Perth back when I was 26, so many circumstances were not in my favor. I had to constantly push myself to go out and learn new things regardless of how scary it all seemed in a new country at first. Learning has continued to be the theme of my growth moving forward. Life is a great teacher if you choose to be its student.
8. Wear Sunscreen ALL THE TIME
Don’t let laziness get to you.The fact is, sunscreen is important. Arguably the most important skin care product in my books.
9. Be Your Own Spiritual Self
Don’t let someone else tell you what to believe in. Spirituality is something that you yourself wholeheartedly feel. It is strong and indescribable. It will take you on a journey or several different journeys in your life time. And in the end it will be only yours to feel and delve deeper into and yet it will have the power to connect you to so many other things in life.
10. Let Go, You Cannot Control Everything
Nope. Most things in life are uncontrollable. What you can control is your own feelings and reactions. The sooner you realize this, the better!
11. Sibling Relationships Evolve
My sister and I had very little in common from a very young age. We went through periods of childish adoration to hate and disdain through to delirium and laughter. The years made me realize that sibling love is like none other. You cannot walk away from your best friend. You just ride the ups and downs. And when the joyous moments arrive, they are really joyous. Love your brothers and sisters people!
12. So Do Parental Relationships
Parents are God–like when we are young. Their word is final and they can do no wrong. Over the years I’ve viewed my mum as a super human. She juggled life, work and two children single–handedly without so much as a twitch in her stride. Yet parents are only human and I have come to view my mum as human too over the years and loved her so much more for being one. Parents make mistakes and you don’t need to agree with them all the time. It does not mean you love them any less.
13.Don’t Let Anyone but Yourself Determine your Self–Worth
Our self–worth is based on our own value system. If something does not hold a high regard in your framework of values, don’t let it determine your self–worth. I’ve allowed many things like appearance, a visa status and career pathways determine my self–worth in the past and I am not afraid to admit it. It took me a while to reconnect to my values and discover the things in life that are truly important to me.
14. Unfollow the Crowd
Don’t be afraid to stand out where everyone is trying so hard to fit in. It is worth following the crowd only if your dreams take in you in the same direction. If they don’t then shake off the fear and take yourself away from the crowd.
15. Sometimes Nothing Goes As Planned
The plan was to graduate, get settled in a stable career, get married, have a big house with two dogs and at least one kid that was mine running around by the time I hit 30. Life has awarded me with many different adventures but nothing close to what I had planned for myself in the earlier part of this decade. Things don’t always go as planned and I have learnt to be OK with that.
16. Find Time to Reconnect with Your Passion
Writing has always been one of my biggest passions. I wrote through school, high school, blogged, joined the editorial board in college and university and finally lost all touch when I begun my career in a completely different industry. I felt like all along, I always knew what I wanted to do, until the time came to do something. It took me a while to reconnect, to even want to start reconnecting. But now that I am here, in this space I wonder why I ever stopped.
17. Floss, Floss, Floss
If you have ever sat through a root canal, you will understand. I never paid any attention to my dental hygiene until I had to sit through the procedure. It does not merely burn a deep hole in your pocket but scars you for life.
18. Travel Much
This one is common and so true. There is no better time to see the world and learn a thing or two. Misconceptions corrected. Curiosity answered. Culture treasured. Memories kept safe and sound.Travelling has been the highlight of my decade and I don’t intend on slowing down at 29. If you have time and just about enough money, explore the world, there is so much to see and learn.
19. It is Never Too Late to Start Saving
I started saving the day I received my first paycheck. Some of my savings from my very first job have taken me through rougher patches long after. Referring to lesson 1, nothing is indeed ever permanent and that includes your finances. When presented with the opportunity, always save for your rainy days. You will not regret it.
20. Wholeheartedly Be Present and Enjoy the Best Days of Your Life
The past is gone. The future will come. What you have now is the present. So wholeheartedly engage and enjoy the moments that you take on in your present state. No two moments are ever alike and some pretty important ones can pass you by if you choose to let them go unnoticed.
Bring on 29!
Main picture credit : https://www.flickr.com/photos/twiisted-logic/4205184174