23 Things I’ve Learnt Before Turning 23

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With tomorrow’s coming of age (I’m turning 23, no big deal), I thought what better way to start the birthday celebrations than to share some life lessons that I’ve learnt along this journey. Here are 23 things I have learnt before turning 23.

  1. This too shall pass. Always remember that the bad times are just as transient as the good. When things aren’t going your way and it feels like the world is caving in on you, just remind yourself that it is temporary. That being said, the good times can be just as brief so make sure to fully acknowledge and appreciate the good times when they are glorious.
  2. Be your own best friend. And if you’re not already, learn to become it. Knowing how to be alone and comfortable in your own company is one of the most empowering skills you can give yourself.
  3. You don’t have time.  None of us do. Its not something we can own or contain. You have to make time for the people and things you love.
  4. Sunscreen. Every. Single. Day.
  5. Have a good handshake.
  6. Despite what you may think, your parents really do want the best for you. It just takes a little bit of life experience to realize that they actually have more life experience.
  7. Good things fall apart so better things can fall into place. I know that is probably one of the most cliche things to say, but I have lived through this one, one too many times. Trust me, better things are coming your way, it just takes time (could be weeks, months, years) to see it.
  8. Never underestimate the power of exercise. Positive vibes for the mind, body and soul.
  9. No situation is every truly black or white. There always tends to be a wide range of grey shades that somehow become oversimplified and overlooked. Try to look at the situation from a different standpoint and not from the boundaries.
  10. Everyone is human and so are you. Being human means we make mistakes. Constantly. Forgive yourself. You are not perfect and neither is anyone else. Don’t hold yourself accountable to an unrealistic self-imposed standard.
  11. Try your best to listen to people. Hearing is imminent but listening requires an active effort. There is nothing more invaluable than giving someone your undivided time, focus and attention. Even if its just for a coupe of minutes.
  12. Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire. 
  13. No lie is worthwhile. Not even a tiny white lie. You will always get caught out at some point. The truth may hurt but at the end of the day, the truth is still the truth and needs to be dealt with, with or without your help.
  14. Address the situation when it happens. If something is bothering you, respond to it there and then. There is no use in putting something off until the last minute. Deal with it in the moment.
  15. No amount of anxiety can change the future and no amount of regret can change the past. We can only work with what we have – the present. Still trying to learn this one but it just makes so much sense.
  16. Hard work always pays off. Maybe its not the way you wanted but it will pay off in some way. (I have to thank my sisters for this one).
  17. Own your flaws/weaknesses so others can’t. I used to get teased about two things: a) having “ginger” hair and b) having (self-diagnosed) narcolepsy. (I can basically fall asleep anywhere. Its both a blessing and a curse). Once I started to own these characteristics, by accepting myself for the way I am (and being able to joke about them), no-one could ever make me feel inferior about them.
  18. Your plan < God’s Plan.
  19. Acknowledge life’s small miracles. I’ve been doing this a lot lately. When I drive past a beautiful sunset or hear a great song on the radio, I take the time to fully acknowledge and appreciate that moment and remind myself how grateful I am to be experiencing it. There is nothing better than inviting positivity and gratitude into your life.
  20. Self-love is the hardest love to give yet the most essential love to live. 
  21. Be mature enough to take responsibility for your actions/ mistakes. Own up to what you’ve done. Admit it to yourself and those involved. Apologize. Apologies are never wasted.
  22. Never give up.  Nothing is impossible and I mean nothing. Whether its life-changing or trivial, keep pushing through. Perseverance is key.
  23. Know your customer. This is probably my golden rule for life. Liat and Tali can vouch for how many times a day I say this. We live in a world within which we are constantly interacting with other people. Understanding their behaviour as a result of their personalty can only help you react appropriately to them. It in no way condones bad behaviour, it just helps rationalize a person’s actions and saves you from taking unnecessary offence.
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