I recently celebrated my 24th birthday and it’s got me feeling all types of ways. The past couple of years in particular have been a roller coaster ride in terms of changes and growth, and I thought it was time to sit down and think about everything I’ve learned throughout my life journey thus far. Here are some of the major life lessons I’ve learned over the past 24 years.
1 – Shine your light baby and don’t let others make it fade
It is so so important to shine your light, whatever that might be – whether that is creating something, being literally in a spotlight, lifting others up, lending a helping hand – whatever that is for you that lights you up, keep doing it. There are going to be so many different kinds of people that will want to dim it, but you do you and keep shining, girl.
2 – You don’t have to be only one thing. You are allowed to be a million different things all at once.
One of my favorites and something I realized awhile ago. I struggle sometimes with feeling like I need to be only one thing, but in reality, you can be so many different things at one time! You can be a working professional, an artist, a romantic, a traveller, a musician, a lover, and more all at once. Don’t let people try to put you in a box, bust it open and be yourself in all of the many ways that you can.
3 – Life is much easier when you are pursuing your passion
I cannot tell you how much more alive I feel when I am doing something that I am passionate about. I am lucky to have a job that I really enjoy. Pursuing your passion is so important; why waste your time being miserable and not enjoying what you are doing?
4 – If you are excited about something, that’s usually a sign. Pursue it.
This is a big one. If something makes you excited, that is not an accident! Different people get excited about different things, and it is so important to pursue something that excites you and that will hopefully provide you with some level of happiness. Don’t ever try to downplay your excitement just because someone else may not be excited by it; you do you and pursue what sparks joy within you.
5 – Get clear on your vision and don’t stop until you get there
All about the vision baby! This is a big one as well. Sometimes it can feel like you are simply drifting or falling through life without having the chance to grasp on to something or follow a clear plan with set goals. It is so helpful to construct a plan of what you want your future to look like, based on whatever is important to you. This could take many different forms, but having that vision and plan in place is the first step to getting there.
6 – You are allowed to let go of people who do not appreciate you or put in the effort to be a part of your life
I have been in countless situations where someone has not been matching my effort in a relationship, or showing that they are appreciative of our relationship. There is no space for that kind of negativity in your life! If they are not fighting to be a part of your life, then they don’t deserve to be in it.
Life is too short to be unhappy and try to force things.
7 – It is normal for you to grow apart from some people as you experience life’s changes. It is a part of the process. The real ones will be there throughout those changes.
Having gone through a major life transition over the past year from being a student to being a full-time working professional was much more challenging than anticipated. One of the big ways it impacted me was the friendships I had with others. I grew apart from a lot of people, and it wasn’t because of anything bad, but simply because we were all experiencing changes and adapting our lives to those changes. I do believe this is a normal part of the experience of growing up, if you want to call it that. I am grateful for those who have been able to weather the changes with me and are still by my side.
8 – Life is too short to spend time trying to force something to work if it just doesn’t fit. Move on.
Choosing to move on if something isn’t working is a big one for me. The fact that I am already 24 and time seems to pass by so quickly reminds me that life is too short to be unhappy and try to force things. I would much rather welcome happiness and synergy.
9 – You can always start over and begin again
We’ve all been there. You can do it. If something isn’t working, or you’ve had enough – you can re-create it and begin again. It might be hard, but it is possible. You have everything you need within yourself to make it happen.
10 – Ask for help! Please do it!! It doesn’t make you weak, everyone needs it!
Asking for help took me a really long time to come around to. I definitely wasn’t one to ask for help in the past, and some days I still struggle with it. I am doing my best to push myself to ask for help when I need it. Recognizing that we all need help has been a big game changer for me!
11 – You are not worth less if you are struggling with your mental and/or physical health
I cannot stress this enough!! So many people struggle with their mental and/or physical health. The struggle can be pretty brutal and at times, you can feel worth less than those who might not be struggling – but that is absolutely untrue. You are worthy and deserve happiness regardless of your struggles. In addition, you also deserve support throughout your struggles – please reach out and ask for help if you are struggling <3
12 – It is not realistic to expect yourself to be happy ALL the time. Allow yourself to feel your feelings and sit with it.
This is so important and it took me awhile to realize it. I thought if I wasn’t happy all of the time then there must be something wrong with me. Now, if you are always unhappy that may be a different story – but experiencing multiple emotions, such as sadness, anger, etc., is a part of the human experience. I try not to push past these feelings any longer and sit with it a bit more, rather than pushing forward to try to seek unrealistic happiness.
You have everything you need within yourself to make it happen.
13 – Self-care is necessary to survive
Self-care has been huge for me lately, especially in 2020. It hit the point for me where it finally clicked and I realized how necessary self-care was to continue on in my life without constantly burning out. I have been focusing on making self-care a priority as I truly believe it is necessary to survive and also thrive in life, for the long term. I would highly encourage you to do the same!
14 – You matter and you existing on this earth is so much more than enough. You don’t need to prove yourself to be ‘worthy’.
I struggle with feeling the need to prove myself constantly. I should probably print this reminder out and put it on my wall. It is so important to remember that there is nothing you have to do to prove yourself, you simply existing is absolutely incredible in and of itself, and you deserve to be here! Regardless of who you are and what you have/have not done – you are so so worthy of being here and enjoying all that life has to offer.
15 – Some people you have to love from a distance
Ah, yes. There are some people that I will always love even though they are no longer an active presence in my life. Sometimes, it is not healthy to continue a relationship with someone. But that doesn’t mean you stop loving them. You can still love them from afar and wish them the best without any active connection with each other. This is also not something to feel guilty about if this is where you are at, it is simply a fact that some people are not meant to stay, but we love them anyway.
16 – Make the time to connect with others. We don’t make it through this life alone, surround yourself with the good ones.
It took me a long time to learn the importance of connection with others. I have a tendency to want to do things on my own and think I am tough enough to handle it all by myself, which isn’t true. We all need each other and the only way we get through this life is with the support of others. It is so important to make time for those connections, which is something I have been focusing on lately in the midst of COVID-19 as well.
17 – Life is more than work and/or school, it is about the people you spend it with and the memories you make along the way.
This one took me SO LONG to realize and is honestly something I am still working through. Looking back I wonder why I spent so much time stressing out about school, when I should have been focused more on the people I was with and the memories we were making. I need to continuously remind myself that life is not just work and/or school, you have a life outside of that and it is important to focus on it to thrive in both areas.
18 –Travelling and exploring somewhere new will always let you see things with a fresh set of eyes, so do it often
One of my favorite things I have come to realize is the joy, and importance, of seeing something from a fresh perspective. Travel has always done that for me, which is a big part of the reason why I make travel a priority in both my work and personal life. COVID-19 is definitely making it difficult right now, but even exploring a new area of your current location or visiting a store you’ve never been to before can help put things into perspective.
It is all about embracing what comes as it comes.
19 – Going for a walk and listening to music can heal almost anything
Walking, and listening to music, have been big therapeutic techniques for me. I absolutely love going for walks. Something about having the chance to connect with nature is something I find very grounding. Listening to music also helps, in so many ways – whether it is going for a walk, driving or commuting, doing chores, dancing it out in your kitchen, singing at the top of your lungs – I find all of these put me into a good mood and I start to feel better right away.
20 – Your relationship with yourself is the most important and that should always come first.
People say this all the time, that your relationship with yourself should come first, and for a long time I thought that is what I was doing when I wasn’t really doing it. Getting clear on what you want in life and finding ways to prioritize time on your own and self-care activities are so necessary. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t be expected to take care of anyone else, and you also can’t expect anyone to do it for you. You need to be that #1 cheerleader for yourself first and foremost.
21 – You are not obligated to interact with everyone that wants access to you. Boundaries and self worth are important. Stick to them!
Boundaries has been a big one for me lately as well. I inherently struggle with setting boundaries and I have for many years. But lately, with everything going on, I have been more careful with who I interact with and who has access to me. Just because we live in a hyper-connected world does not mean that anyone can interact with you at the drop of a hat. Setting those boundaries, and sticking to them, is so crucial to preserve your own peace.
22 – This is your life. No one can live it for you and no one gets a say, it is up to you. The choices you make will define you and you know yourself best to choose the direction you want to take next.
Coming to the realization that you are in control of your life is a bit scary. Realizing that it is your life, you are the one in charge, and all of it is up to you is kind of a terrifying thought, though liberating at the same time. This doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to a support system, but ultimately, your life is yours and you should be following the choices that make you the happiest and best version of yourself, regardless of what others think. You do you baby!
23 – Your intuition is hardly ever wrong. Trust it.
So key!! Intuition is MAJOR. If you are getting an off vibe, it’s probably correct. If you are getting a good vibe, it’s probably correct too. You know you best and your body knows what is good for you and what could bring confusion, uncertainty and instability. Don’t ignore it, lean into it and trust your intuition.
24 – Change is going to continue to come at us, no matter what point you are at in life. It is necessary to embrace it and hopefully, if you’re lucky, weather these changes with the support of others by your side.
One of my favorite simple quotes is “change is constant” and it is so true. Just when you think you’ve got the hang of things, they go ahead and change again. We are constantly evolving and encountering different circumstances as the years go on, and expecting ourselves to remain the same person is a bit ridiculous. Since these changes are always coming our way, it is important to be open and embrace them as they come. It may be a bit rocky, but life is all about the messy bits. Having a support system beside you to weather these changes is also extremely helpful, and I hope you are all so lucky to have that support throughout these changes. Know that the support system may change overtime as well, and that’s okay too – it is all about embracing what comes as it comes.
Life is all about the messy bits.
I hope these life lessons, I suppose you could call them, have resonated with you. I know the years to come are going to bring countless more. What are one of the biggest life lessons you’ve learned? Share below in the comments! 🙂