20 things I have learnt in the past 20 years.

One big adventure awaits me in the new year– my twenties! I have discovered a lot about myself in the past twenty years. My teenage years have taught me a lot of valuable lessons, that I continue to hold very close to my heart. I am more confident in myself than ever before – and I cannot wait to see what awaits me in this new decade. So here it is- the 20 most valuable lessons I have learnt over the past 20 years! Enjoy!

  1. Take Care of Yourself First

Your mental, emotional and physical wellness should always be a number one priority. It is equally important to recognize that self-care goes beyond fancy bubble baths and luscious face masks – self-care takes work. It is a conscious effort to become aware of what your body needs, and to take steps towards meeting these needs. Sleep, social interaction, exercise and fueling your body will always be foundational. You can only expect out of your body, what you put into it.

2. You’re Going to Feel Lost

One thing that became very clear to me upon graduation, is that nobody has life figured out. People are just doing the best that they can, with what they have. Regardless, people still harbour doubt, even when they are doing well. Adulthood is a rough transition and harder than you will ever imagine it to be. There will be many obstacles standing in the way of where you are and where you want to be. There will be days where you feel like you can’t handle it and wonder why you even started in the first place. But that is okay. You can only do, what you can do. One step at a time.

3. Take Pride in Everything You Do

Even when you feel like something is beneath you, take pride in doing it. Every situation that presents itself, has something to teach you. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a practicing attorney. That didn’t stop me from working lower-level jobs all throughout high school and university. Good work ethic doesn’t stop depending on your position. You will always have something to learn from these jobs, you just have to be open to it.

4. Stay Humble, Always

You have every right to be proud of your accomplishments, but always stay humble. When we were growing up, my dad always taught us that the loudest person in the room, knows the least. Remember to take as much time to listen, as you take to talk. You can learn a lot by observing others and know that your success will speak louder than your words. 

5. Don’t Make Excuses, Apologize

Immature people make excuses. Professionals take responsibility for their mistakes. This speaks volumes to your character. Nobody wants to hear excuses, people want to know it won’t happen again. Knowing how to make an apology sincere, is one of the best skills you can have. People don’t want to hold a grudge, so don’t give them a reason to. With that, know that not everybody will accept your apology – and that is okay. Take what you have learned from that situation and don’t do it again. 

6. Time is Your Most Precious Resource

Time is the one thing, that you can never get back. Don’t waste time on work that you hate and people you don’t want to be around. That is so much time slipping through your fingers. Instead, make an effort to spend that time surrounded by the people you love, doing the things that make you happy.

7. Tell Those Around You, How Much They Mean to You

There is never as much time with those you love, than you hope for. Whether it be friends, family or lovers, never hesitate to tell those people how much they mean to you. Surrounding yourself with people that make you happy will add so much value to your life. 

8. Be Your Own Source of Happiness 

That being said, do not make the people around you, your only source happiness. A friend once told me, “only you can make yourself happy.” Search for happiness in the things you love and that benefit you. Work on making yourself better, instead of relying on other people for validation.

9. Eliminate Negative People

Life is too short for people who make you feel like you aren’t worthy of what you want. Don’t waste your time with people, who are trying to feel better by tearing you down. There is nothing selfish about purging unhealthy relationships from your life, no matter who it is.

10. You and Your Friends Will Change

As time goes on, you will begin to decide who you want to be – and so will your friends. Sometimes you are going in the same direction, and sometimes you are not. That is just fine. Most relationships aren’t meant to last a lifetime, most are meant to help you during certain stages of your life. It can be hard to accept that sometimes the people you thought would be a big part of your future, won’t be there after all. You cannot assume that people will care for you, the way that you care for them. You can adjust your expectations and take comfort in the lessons they taught you.

11. Invest in Experiences, Not Things 

Take advantage of your youth! You don’t have a lot tying you down right now. No children, no full time job, no house. You have more time and fewer obligations now, than you ever will. Take advantage of it. Travel, pursue hobbies, experience things you want. Maximize this time. 

12. Dreams Require Sacrifice

Nothing in life is handed to you. If you have big dreams, this will require big work. Putting in the time and the effort that it takes to make these dreams a reality. You will have to work through the night, weekends, birthdays and holidays. You will have to turn down things you want, because of the effort needed to achieve these goals. You will have to make short term sacrifices to make your long-term goals a reality. Finding healthy ways to manage this stress will help you through these transitions.

13. Do What You Love

We are often tired, not because we do so much, but because we do less of what sets our soul on fire. Do something you are passionate about, and the rest will fall into place.

14. Embrace Failure 

Failing is what success is built on, so embrace it and do not fear it. Failure means you are doing something – the more risks you take and the harder decisions you make, the closer you are too succeeding. 

15. It is Okay to Be Uncomfortable

As humans, we always try to eliminate anything that makes us uncomfortable. But, a lot of the “aha” moments in life come from discomfort. Discomfort is a part of learning. It is a fundamental aspect of growth. Put yourself in situations that are unfamiliar to you, and you will discover so much about yourself.

16. Relationships Take Work

The most excellent relationships, whether family or friends, are not taxing. If it is, that is the sign that something needs to change. You have the ability to change the dynamic of every single one of your relationships. You are never trapped, so don’t put yourself in that box.

17. Embrace the Moment

Stay present, stay focused. So many experiences in life, happen in a blink of an eye. Don’t enjoy these experiences through the lens of your phone. We are all so obsessed with capturing the moment, that sometimes we miss out on the most important parts. 

18. Don’t Get Too Caught Up in Making Plans 

Rejection hurts in the moment, but it also means that the right opportunity or person is still out there. It is so important to have goals, but it is equally important to be spontaneous. Don’t get so caught up in making a career, that you forget to make a life. You never know what each day will bring, value the chaos. 

19. We Are All a Work in Progress

None of us are perfect and none of us are complete. We are a work in progress. My friend uses this brilliant saying, “If they can’t change it in 10 seconds, don’t point it out.” We are all just doing what we can to get by and we need to be empathetic of others.

20. Never Stop Learning

Some of the most valuable things you learn about yourself, come from listening to others. It is a big world out there, filled with so many stories and experiences. Never stop taking opportunities to learn and challenge yourself. Always seek out opportunities to make yourself better.

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