Happy 23rd Birthday to me! This year was the birthday I was least looking forward to, simply because being 23 meant that the physical weight of responsibility and independence will now begin to truly bear on me. I mean I'm still:
Not financially independent
Living under my parents' roof
But, that said, this was possibly the happiest I've ever been, so there is that. And I more of less have some direction in my life and kind of know where I'm going... Sort of, maybe, not really- But hey, it's a learning process correct? So here are some things that I've discovered in the 23 years I've been on this Earth.
Between the ages of 1 to 16:
1. Being cool is completely, and utterly overrated. I remember feeling most ashamed of how nerdy I was when I was younger, but now I realise it is probably one of the more interesting things about me. Being passionate about anything, is better than fitting in. Not letting the fear of embarrassment simper your wants to pursue something will mean that you have the time and experience to grow in that field.
2. Learning to truly and really forgive others can cause immense improvements on your happiness.
3. It's okay to have zero fashion sense. You will develop your own style over time, there is no need to stress about it. (At least, this is what I tell myself. But I'm very okay with my dressing, even if it's not very great.)
4. Treating yourself with the care and love you would give to a significant other will help grow your own self-love and self-compassion, something severely lacking in most during high school.
5. Don't let society pressure you into feeling anything lesser. If there is one thing I now know as a fact, it is that humanity is stupid anyway so don't bother with trying to please it. There will be people that will find fault in you no matter what you do. But, like I've said, the world is filled with people who are not worth paying attention to.
6. At some point you decide who you want your future self to be, and the entire journey of life is basically working to getting there.
7. This is a planet with 7 billion people, don't lose yourself in relationships with the thought that "I don't deserve better".
8. You are in control of your own body, don't let anybody dictate how you should treat yourself.
9. In continuation, nobody has the right to touch a person without consent. No means no.
Between the ages of 16 to 21:
10. Someone making you feel lesser about yourself, be it in a romantic relationship or friendship, does not deserve to be in your life. You have so much more to lose to toxicity than you might realise.
11. Being honest is the best thing you can do for yourself and the people around you. Voice your opinions and your problems, don't let them fester for that is a poison that only worsens over time, and can destroy many beautiful things.
12. Pain is a part of the learning process; the best and brightest amongst us are the ones with the most scars. Revel in your challenges and know for a fact that you will be better due to it.
13. Habits are the backbone of a character.
14. Your brain works the hardest when you are being imaginative. Don't ever let yourself think you are bored, because the greatest entertainment you have is in your own head.
15. Good shoes, skincare, pillows and undergarments are a must. Don't bother spending too much money on anything else.
16. Failure is the best thing to happen at this age, not only would it build resilience for rejections to come (there will be a lot of them), but it also teaches you to not be afraid to try new things.
17. Start a small business that requires minimal monetary investments, there are many markets to explore. You will learn so much more than you would have imagined.
Between ages 21 to 23:
18. Be free with your smiles: with your laughter and kindness. You don't know how that one very easy, simple act can cause ripples in others.
19. Decide for yourself the people whom are worth investing time into, and those that are not. Because time is limited and while you should love everybody, doesn't mean you can't love them from afar.
20. At some point, you will meet a person that thoroughly and utterly confuses you: from their beliefs to their values. This can be so startling that it may even offend and leave you with a lot of anger (e.g. Donald Trump or an avid supporter of his). But keep in mind that everyone is a product of their environment, that this person is different from you, because they come from a different background. Respect that, and move on. You don't need to be friends with everybody.
21. People can be very, very disappointing. But amongst these there are a few that will be very, very inspiring.
22. The only one who can find satisfactory answers about life, should be you. Create your own understanding of the world.
23. Nobody knows where life will take them: you can plan all you want but plans can fail. Be ready and accepting of that and you will be able to push yourself further.
Maybe you agree, maybe you don't. I know reading someone else's words may not have an impact without the experience, but I think if I had known this when I was younger, I would have lived a pretty different life. I don't have many regrets, because I would not be who I am today without my past, but still, would have been nice to know.
Till next time,