Seems I got a little distracted there, tripped over something in the way and fell right into the second half of my twenties. Before I turned 25, I was very much in a rather anxious state as I navigated being on the verge of a new age.
It’s my birthday today!!,As I turn 26 and ride on further into the second half of my twenties, I feel a sense of peace I can’t quite express. Maybe, I’ve had enough birthdays to know that nothing much changes after the awaited day of celebration. Perhaps, it’s because I know that I’ll still be exactly who I was less than 24 hours ago – the same serial overthinker who takes a picture before taking a bite of every single meal.
Today, rather than feeling any sort of fear in regard to growing older, I’m certainly feeling grateful. I am grateful for the person I am who keeps climbing despite numerous falls. I am thankful for the person I am becoming who is shaping out to be, as cliché as it sounds, perfectly imperfect. Of course, I’m thankful to those who stuck around and asked for absolutely nothing in return.
Hence, to celebrate my birthday today, I thought I’d share with you the 25 lessons I’ve learned in 25 years. These lessons are often bitter truths I learned to come to terms with or just useful notes for life that are important to remember.
With that said, “Hello 26!”. There’s still very much I’m figuring out, but with every passing day, I feel I have the fundamental tools to confidently approach life’s hurdles.
Here are 25 things I’ve learned in the past 25 years:
1. Make the memories more tangible. Print a series of cherished photos every couple of months. Whilst we have about a billion photographs on our phones, there’s still something so wholesome about touching a glossy 6×4 that paints a moment to remember in vivid colour.
2. Time and time again, life has taught me that the story can always change midway. So don’t close any page too soon. Don’t try to skip to the end before the plot twist or big reveal. You may not see the big picture yet, hold on a little longer.
3. If they wanted to, they would. Don’t forget that for a second.
4. Never underestimate the little things. The small walks through the park. A glowing sun that seeps through the window. The giddy feeling you get when you’re reading the best part of a romance book. A familiar laugh that makes a corner of your heart warm every single time. The taste of fresh sushi dipped in the perfect amount of soy sauce. A song that sticks in your head like super glue, but doesn’t irritate you. The little things that make the biggest difference. The Bitesize Wonders that make every day worth it.
5. A part of adulting is finding that perfect black dress for every occasion or the perfect red lip. Really! I think I’m all grown now!
6. If you’re still thinking about it after all this time, maybe it’s time you try to do it. No matter how you shove your feelings down like a t-shirt you really want perfectly tucked into your favourite jeans, they always come back up like crumpled-up dreams begging to be drawn to life. Draw that life you want. And if it doesn’t come out the way you tried to draw it, at least you’d have tried.
7. Be financially smart and aware. Money might not bring all the happiness you need, but it sure does bring some.
8. Losing never stops being painful. A friend. A job. The house you thought you’d have forever You’ll lose over and over, but you’ll build resilience too.
9. No one cares about you that much. Or at least, not as much as you think. So, live the life you would if you weren’t afraid of judgemental looks or sour whispers. No, they’re not all thinking about you. So just do it. Do it before it’s too late.
10. Ask for help if you need it. It’s not a sign of weakness. It’s not a thing to be ashamed of. Everyone will need to be pulled up by a helpful hand at one point or the other. You are no exception and your problems aren’t all that special.
11. If you’re not feeling confident, just fake it!
12. Sometimes there’s no closure at the end of the road. There are just more unanswered questions, more hard feelings, and sticky awkwardness in the air. Some say getting closure is overrated. Some say you can’t truly move on without it. Perhaps, two things can be true at once.
13. Cutting that person out of your life may not be easy, but it will be worth it if what awaits you on the other side is peace of mind and space for others who will value you as a person.
14. Take a step down the pedestal every now and then. You’re not always right. It sounds obvious but it’s really easy to forget that the world just doesn’t revolve around you. Just as much as you are the main character in your own life, remember this truth; we are all villains in someone else’s story. With that perspective, don’t forget to look through other people’s lenses too.
15. Consider all opinions, but don’t take every piece of advice. Your path is your own to choose. The weight of the consequences is yours to bear. So, be open-minded, but not so much you wake up to a life you now no longer recognise.
16. Rejection can be a blessing in disguise. Learning how to deal with rejection can be the difference between stagnancy and growth.
17. Drink enough water. More water and even more water. It will not only help clear your skin, but you won’t find yourself in the ER with a drip in your arm and a severe case of dehydration. I learnt from experience, so you won’t have to!
18. School grades do not always determine where you’ll end up in life. Whether you are top of the class or just barely got by. Grades don’t define who you are or who you’ll become.
19. Have a good cry. Often that solves half the problem.
20. Whenever you say: “just one more episode!” it’s never just one more episode. Now whether it turns out to be a bad decision or a good one, the question becomes, how well can you deal with the aftermath the morning after?
21. You’re responsible for your own happiness. Yes, you are. Only you.
22. Music is and will always be a useful escape – a sort of therapy. Sure, it won’t be enough to replace your need for full therapy, but it’s a comfort I don’t take for granted.
23. Note, not everyone will applaud you when you’re living your truth or being your authentic self. Some may shush you or tell you you’re being too loud – a vivid disruption. But you don’t always have to keep the peace. In life, you might find you have to roll up your sleeves and make some noise. You might need to riot to bring change in a crowded room. You might have to be unpopular to be real. That’s okay.
24. Love yourself even while you’re working on yourself. You’ll always be striving for better, and when you have better, you’ll be striving for more. Don’t wait till you’re where you wish to be to love yourself.
Love her now – she deserves love. Love him now – he deserves love.
25. You’re not “too” sensitive. You have a big heart that wants to carry the weight off heavy shoulders. You want the immense love you give reciprocated and for your feelings to matter. You aren’t “too” sensitive. You are bold enough to trust. You are strong enough to get hurt and grow from the pain. You are fearless enough to be vulnerable. You are never “too much”. If anything, you are just enough being you. Always.
What is one life lesson you’ve learned recently? Share it with me in the comments below!
Your restless romantic roamer