I don’t know about you but I’m feeling 22 (+1).
Since I have officially been existence for 23 years, I thought I’d share with you 23 things I’ve learned – 1 for each year.
1) Sleep is important.
I’m one of those people who will be bursting with adrenaline off of a few hours of sleep and go about my day absolutely fine – as long as this is once in a while. Sleep is hugely important for your mood and overall health. I, for one, know that I will be happier and more motivated if I get my 8 hours each night.
2) Family is everything.
It’s very easy to get complacent when it comes to family and – though it sounds harsh – take them for granted. I know I’ve gone over a month without spending some quality time with my family before and this is something I now make a conscious effort not to allow. I don’t like to go more than a fortnight without visiting my family at home or arranging some form of meeting. These people are what made you who you are and it’s important to never forget that or let it go unnoticed.
3) Ho’s Over Bro’s
I’ve made the mistake before of choosing a guy over my friends and I will always regret that. I’m lucky that my friends stuck by me and – now that said guy is out of my life – I still have wonderful friendships. I’m not saying to choose your friends over a relationship but just make sure that you don’t forget them or take them for granted once you find a new bae. They both deserve your equal attention – something I learned the hard way.
4) Every day is an opportunity to learn.
Never let a day go to waste. Whether you’re rushed off your feet with work or social plans, or your having a lazy day in your house, every day offers you the chance to learn something new. Take full advantage of everything you experience. Learn the old-fashioned way by reading books and watching documentaries or simply acknowledge the fact that the smallest thing could be teaching you something about yourself or your life.
5) It’s ok to not have a plan.
When I was younger, I would always have the next step of my life planned out and get myself in a huge panic if that plan wasn’t acting itself out the way I’d hoped. From primary school to high school, then high school to university. Since I’ve left university, I’ve learned that sometimes, the healthiest thing for your mind is to simply go with the flow and accept that things don’t always pan out the way you’d hoped. Right now, I’m working away in a job completely unrelated to my degree and am content in the idea that something will come my way when the time is right.
6) It’s ok to take a breather.
You don’t always have to be on the move and have every second of every day filled with activities. Sometimes, what your mind and body really need is a break. It’s ok to not leave your bed for an entire day if that’s what you feel you need. Listen to your body and, if you need (or even want) it, take a lazy day and don’t do anything productive until you feel rebooted and refreshed.
7) Online does not equal Reality
Don’t spend every day behind a computer, television or phone screen. Get out and live in the moment. Interact with your friends in real life and enjoy yourself without the aid of technology.
8) Do things for you, not for the gram.
Don’t plan your days based on what would make a good instagram picture or what would impress others when you post it online. Though it’s completely ok to do this sometimes, you need to enjoy life for yourself too. Leave your phone at home sometimes and go out and enjoy your day without thinking of how it looks to others.
9) Don’t Settle (For Anyone or Anything)
You deserve the best. Don’t stay with someone because it’s comfortable – find someone who makes you feel alive. Don’t stay in a job you hate because it’s all you’ve ever done – find something that makes you happy.
Reading nurtures your mind and imagination, allows you to learn more and gives you a break from technology – whether it be a book or a newspaper. Reading for even 15 minutes before bed each night can be all it takes to feel a little more in touch with yourself and the world.
11) Travel the world.
Travelling gives you the ability to learn and open your mind to other people and other cultures. There’s nothing more nurturing or eye-opening than exploring other parts of the world.
12) Take on criticism.
One of my biggest flaws is how quickly I get defensive. I find it difficult to take criticism of any kind and immediately jump to making excuses or blaming other people. This is something I’m really trying to work on at the moment. Learning to take criticism in a constructive manner is hugely important and can improve you and your life.
BUT 13) Don’t change who you are for others.
On the flipside, some criticism is an issue on the part of the person giving it rather than you, yourself. Learn to distinguish between the two and never change the fundamentals of what makes you you.
Similarly 14) Don’t try to change/’fix’ others.
Though you can aid in a person’s development into the person they want to be or ‘could’ be, don’t try to completely transform a person into someone they are not. If a friendship/relationship isn’t working out and you feel the urge to ‘fix’ someone so that they become who you want them to be…don’t. This could simply mean that the two of you are not compatible and that’s ok. People are different, the world would be a boring place if we weren’t.
15) Accept/own your imperfections.
There is always going to be something you don’t like about yourself – from your high-pitched laugh to your cellulite-ridden thighs. However, you don’t have to ‘fix’ yourself either. Learn to accept these imperfections, they are what makes you who you are.
16) You will never grow up.
My mum is in her mid-50s now and still maintains that she feels like a young adult, hurtling through life with no idea what she’s really doing. We all think, as children, that one day we will be an adult and feel like an adult. Apparently, this is not the case. I’m 23 now and I still feel like a teenager. I don’t think I’ll ever grow up.
17) Sometimes you have to put yourself first.
Though it’s important to think about others and do what you can to help them or make their life better, it’s also important to look after yourself. Don’t perpetually focus on those around you and neglect your own needs. Sometimes you have to put others on hold for a moment and think about yourself and what will make you happier, even if this could be negative for others.
18) You don’t have to fit into one box.
I’ve spent endless days trying to make choices so that everything about myself fits under one label – from fashion to diet; from diet to skincare. Through this, I’ve learned that I can’t fit myself into one little box or idea of who I am. I like mom jeans and oversized tees but I also like pretty pink dresses. I like eating healthy but I also like gorging on greasy junk food. I do not fit into one category and I don’t have to. I like what I like and I’ll make choices based on that and not what I think I should like according to the category I’ve placed myself into.
19) A clean environment is a clean mind.
Nothing makes me feel better than a good spring-clean. I know that I feel infinitely better mentally if my surroundings are neat and tidy. For that reason, I tidy my bedroom every single day, maintaining a good level of cleanliness so that I can feel good in the knowledge that something in my life is under control.
20) Put your all into everything.
If you’re going to do something, do it right. There’s not point in half-assing anything because you’re only going to look back and think, I could have done that better. Live life in the knowledge that you’ve always done your best.
21) Don’t compare yourself to others.
You are you, and you is wonderfully unique. Don’t sit up at night scrolling through the instagram feeds of insta-models, wishing you could have their flawless skin or their long legs. By all means, improve yourself in a healthy way – work hard at the gym to tone up or eat healthy to improve your overall health. Just don’t let yourself lose sight of how great you are by constantly spending your time wishing you were someone else.
22) Don’t beat yourself up.
Mistakes are a natural part of life and we need to make them in order to learn. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you mess up every now and again (or even everyday), keep your head up and find a way to turn the experience into something positive by acknowledging what you can learn from it.
23) You Control Your Happiness
If you’re not happy with your life the way it is, you have the power to change it. Cut out the people that are bringing you down, leave the job that’s making you miserable. Never count on others to make you happy, make a conscious effort to improve your own happiness.
So there you have it: 23 things I’ve learned in 23 years! Let me know what you think in the comments below.