About a week ago, on the 4th of February, I turned 21 and I had a very deep and emotional conversation with myself and a period of reflection. I mentally went over things I had failed to do these last 21 years, as well as things I had been successful with and decided to write down what I learnt over the years.
Of course, I cannot summarise 21 years of learning into 21 points so I’m just going to pick a few items that I feel everyone could learn from or at least relate to. I tried to combine different points into one so that this post isn’t so long and I hope it all comes together just right. Here are 21 lessons I’ve learned before 21, in no particular order:
- Do not compare yourself to anyone be it in real life or online: I’ve learned that this ruins self-esteem and it takes away your chances of living life and experiencing life for yourself. It leads to jealousy and self-hate. Everyone’s path is different and we are all wonderfully and fearfully made.
- You cannot be friends with everyone: It’s okay to be friendly with everyone but being friends with everyone is quite questionable. If a friendship isn’t working, please jump ship. Do not force things to work or force yourself to endure all sorts of insults just because someone is your best friend in your head because you will only cause yourself unnecessary stress and heartache. You will end up stressing the other person too and ruining friendships you have with others.
- Be grateful: When you feel you have nothing to be grateful for, (always) be grateful for the gift of life. Be grateful for your ability to walk, to see and all the other things we may take for granted simply because we have them.
- Look after yourself: Self-care has been one of my favourite pair of words since I started university. Get off social media, journal, take long showers or do anything that makes you relax your body, mind and spirit.
- Don’t be afraid to let people in: Over the last few years, I’ve met people who make it easy for me to be me and people I can open up to. It makes life a whole lot easier and much more fun. Protect yourself but don’t neglect yourself. Naturally, I’m very withdrawn but you meet the right people and you easily come out of your shell.
- Be patient: Things take time. Not everything happens at the snap of a finger. There is no need to stress about dreams not yet achieved. However, there is need to work toward them!
- Life goes by so fast: Make the most out of every season of your life.
- Address issues that need to be addressed when they happen: I’ll explain more about this in another post. (Edit: I explain more about this in a 2 part post with the first part being Are You Hurt. Check it out!)
- Your opinions and your health are valid: Sometimes we try to shut down other peoples opinions but remember every opinion is valid. Just be smart about when to air out your opinion. Your health should be one of your top priorities.
- It’s okay to just have faith: Not everything needs a rational explanation.
- Grudges? Don’t keep them: They waste your time, your energy and hinder you spiritually. I once held on to a grudge for years without realising it. A waste of emotional space really.
- It’s okay to not like what everyone likes: That shouldn’t make you seem weird or anything like that. Also, if you like something that people don’t like, it’s okay. It doesn’t make you stupid.
- Speak up! Don’t be shy to use your voice: Using my voice positively changed so much for me. Avoid not speaking up when you are hurt or offended. I think this goes hand in hand with point number 5. Sometimes, people won’t know how to help you until you speak up.
- Use money wisely: Make yourself happy of course but avoid regretting spending money on things you could do without by not spending money on them at all. I think I can safely say that experiences > material things.
- God is good: “He is still good. He is still faithful. Even and especially when things don’t go my way.”
- Be your biggest cheerleader: It’s important to be able to push yourself forward when no one else will. No one knows what you’re capable of better than you so be your biggest and loudest cheerleader.
- People grow and people change: Learn how to love a changing person. Grow with them. Don’t get mad because someone isn’t exactly the way they were when they were 18. We are constantly changing. Even you are.
- Think twice before you crack a joke or say certain things: People may not see the humor in things you find funny so just keep certain things to yourself and laugh in your head. Just be smart about when to make comments to avoid awkward tension with people. That’s one of my personal goals this year. To tone down on my sarcasm.
- Do things that you love: I see no point in doing things you’re not interested in, unless of course there’s no way out. Things you are interested in bring you joy and peace and if I were you, I’ll definitely choose joy. Don’t just do things because your friends said you should. It’s okay say no. If you don’t learn to say no, you’ll find yourself in a mess you know you could have avoided.
- Love always because love never fails: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Love just has a way of positively changing things in any relationship or any situation so be sure to always give out love and to love yourself too.
- It gets better: This is something you have probably heard a thousand times but things really do get better. Maybe not tomorrow, or the day after, or even in this life. But trust that it will get better. “All we ever really have is this moment…”
Thanks for reading!