With 2017 coming to an end, we quickly begin to draw up checklists of hopes for the future rather than taking a moment to press pause and reflect; to sit back from our fast-paced lives to think about not only where we want to go, but where we’ve been. 2017 for me was a year of beautiful mistakes and growth; I learned and I lived. People came, and people left. The world changed, and so did I. But the bitter-sweetness of 2017 also brought many beautiful things. It showed me the magic of a ramen night with the right people, and how it can cure any issue no matter how big it may seem. It brought closure, showing me the importance of knowing when to let go. It helped me appreciate the simple things in life, and helped me understand the beauty of timing. It helped me realize that my mother’s sayings held some amusing logic behind them, no matter how silly they sounded. It helped me learn that in order to have clarity in life, I have to first look within myself; as Carl Jung once said, “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” For 2018, all I ask is for the opportunity for more growth and a bigger and wiser heart.
20. The constant reminder of my age brings a bitter-sweet, muddled feeling. A confusing midpoint in life; no longer considered a child, not quite an adult. You’ve made it this far, past the awkward adolescent years yet you’re only halfway through the journey.
Three years ago, I found myself graduating high school. A terrified 17 year old with no clue what I wanted. Everyone around me seemed to have it all figured out. Pre-med. Pre-law. Engineering. Nursing. Business. Yet there I was, with no single idea of what direction I wanted to head in.
Flash-forward three years, and the feeling still lingers.
What do I want in life? If I had known the answer to that question at the time, I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog post right now. Or maybe I would, just in a different context.
Which brings me to the purpose of this post. 20 things I’ve learned at 20.
- Seize every opportunity: Don’t let your fear ever stop you from going after what you want at the moment. Some chances only come once in your life, and if you spend time trying to live in your comfort zone you’ll never be happy.
- Sometimes it’s better to let go: Friends should help you grow and bring a positive influence in your life. If you notice your friendship has become toxic and is bringing you more harm than good, it’s time to end it. Weed out the bad, and only let the good grow.
- Believe in something: Find something and let it consume you. Whether it’s a goal or yourself, find something to fight for and give it your all.
- It’s okay to not have it figured out: Everyone is at a different stage and believe it or not, one day you’ll find every answer you’ve been looking for. But for now relax, life isn’t a checklist.
- Read: Read a lot. Books have the power to shape you, opening your mind to new worlds and perspectives you would’ve never dreamed about. Read every second you have a chance.
- Learn to see the familiar in the strange: Or vice-versa; learn to see the strange in the familiar. Challenge your mind and learn to see the world in a new perspective.
- Say no: It’s okay to say no. Don’t feel obligated to do things you don’t want to just because of what others may think or want.
- Learn to be alone: We’re social creatures, but every once in a while it’s good to have some alone time. Learn to appreciate your own presence and company. You’ll discover things about yourself you never knew.
- Moderation: Life is about balance. As Cheryl Cole‘s song once said, “Too much of anything can make you sick, even the good can be a curse.”
- Spend time with your family: Sometimes we forget that they’re getting older too and they won’t be around forever. Enjoy the time you have with them. All the moments, no matter how small they may seem, will make the most beautiful memories.
- Don’t settle: Nothing good came to someone who never strived for more. Never be satisfied with where you are; appreciate what you have, but always remember there’s room for improvement.
- Seek fairness: If something seems unfair, speak up. Don’t ever let yourself or others be silenced. You have a voice, use it.
- Write: Just pick up a pen and write. Scribble the first words that come to mind. Let them flow out from you. You’ll never understand how therapeutic it is until you try it.
- Don’t change for someone else: Don’t try to turn into something you’re not to impress someone. Always stay true to who you are.
- Be childish: It’s okay to curl up in your living room and sing along to all the High School Musical movies. It’s okay to wear an animal onesie around your house. It’s fine to still sleep with your childhood stuffed toy. Embrace the innocence in your soul.
- Stop complaining: If something is bothering you, do something.
- Red lipstick can be your best friend: It will do wonders to your self-esteem, trust me.
- Take care of your body: It’s the only one you have.
- Change is good: You might find comfort and feel safe in your usual routine, but it’s good to spice things up every once in a while. Try a new hair color. Order something new. You might find yourself to like new things.
- You never stop learning: Every day you’ll learn something new in life. Don’t ever think you know it all.
This past week has been crazy and unreal to say the least. Between work and classes, sometimes even 24 hours a day doesn’t seem like enough and each day can start to feel repetitive and dull. So you can imagine my excitement when my supervisor announced that I’d be attending a one week all-paid course in Palma de Mallorca.
“Palma?!” I screamed.
At that moment, I couldn’t believe what my ears were hearing. I’d be getting sent to Palma for a whole week for FREE.