When you are so immersed in the present, you often don't have time to reflect on the past. This has seemed true to me the past couple years as I have been overwhelmingly focused on my studies. As I round the corner to my quarter century celebration, I can't help but ponder the life lessons that have helped shape me into who I am today. 20-25 was a time of immense growth for me, and I really came into the person I am. Sometimes these years threw things at me that were unexpected and life seemed a bit unorthodox, but regardless it was all a personal growth opportunity.
I thought it would be fitting as I turn 25 to share 25 life lessons that have come from my experiences.
25 lessons I've learned in my 25 years
Life goes on
Yeah this one may seem like an obvious one, but you never really appreciate the words until you are on the other side of a challenge. It is often hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when we are hyperfocused on our problems, but it is always there, and yes life does always go on. Always.
- Perspective is everything
I have found that life becomes easier when you put things in perspective. Things aren't always as bad as they seem. Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have friends and family that love you? Can you afford your next meal? Yea, there are way worse things that could happen to you, than this minor set-back. I also find that asking myself "in a year from now, will this matter?" helps shift me back to a more realistic mind-frame rather than being stuck in a moment.
- Negative people are not worth your time
As a people pleaser, this one took a long time to learn. People that bring down your vibes are not worth your precious time my sweet. Good energy, positivity, support, love and people that bring you UP are who you should surround yourself with.
- You have to be passionate
"Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire"
Passion is fuel for success. If you lack passion for what you do on a daily basis, it may be time to look closely and re-evaluate. It must always come back to the spark, let yourself be silently drawn by this. People resonate with passion, it becomes apparent in how you light up when you talk about your passions.
- Know what in the end really matters for you
Unless you are in massive denial, there is a chance that any of us could pass at any moment. Shit happens, even when least expected. You never know when the last time you will speak to your loved ones will be. Are you on good terms? Have you forgiven each others mistakes? Do you say I love you often enough? In the off chance that it were to all go to sh**, take the time to realize what really matters to you at the end of the day.
- Gratitude is the attitude
"The secret to having it all, is knowing you already do"'
We all have so many things we are grateful for. Gratitude allows us to see what there is, rather than what there isn't. It allows us to be content with where we are. Anxiety can quickly be interrupted by gratitude. It is the secret pill to happiness. Incorporate it everywhere you can.
- You will never be "ready", just do it
When I launched my blog, I was scared shitless. I hated the idea of putting my opinions and thoughts out into the universe. I hesitated, thinking maybe I should just wait until I graduate and I am actually a doctor. Will people even take what I have to say seriously? This negative self talk consumed me, but in the end my motivation, passion and drive won out and I just went for it. I could not have made a better decision! Moral of the story, you will never be so called "ready", there will always be flaws you can pick out, or things you could improve upon, but sometimes you need to just take a leap of faith and just do it. You know that thing you have been dying to do, yea just go do it.
Tap into your intuition
Intuition fascinates me so much. How is it that ourinstinct often knows the right thing before we do? Trusting your gut, and listening to your heart can lead you to make some of your best decisions. Deep down you have all the answers, tap into this, listen to these subtleties, they won't lead you astray.
- Be kind
"People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel" - Maya Angelou
Being kind is one of the simplest things you can do for others. A smile is nearly effortless, yet the power it can have on those around you is insurmountable. We all face challenges, and you never know what people have going on behind the scenes. Kindness is underrated, and should be the brick and mortar for every interaction with others.
- Trust the process
Sometimes things may seem like they are falling apart, but growth does not happen without setbacks. You have to trust that the universe has your best interest in mind. Things do happen for a reason, and if not anything there are always lessons to be learned. Trust that things will work out for the best, trust the growing pains. Hard work will always pay off. You can't force it, you must believe.
- Stress is a silent killer
Yikes, I learned this one the hard way. Stress is the underlying cause of so many illnesses, it is crazy. Spreading yourself too thin can be damaging to your health and wellbeing. It is important to be able to recognize a healthy dose of stress vs chronic stress. If you are more often than not feeling stressed out, deal with it now before your health gets compromised.
- Self care is of utmost importance
Adding to number 11, self-care can be of great help for preventing the negative effects of stress. You may find your zen in running, yoga, meditation, floating, massage therapy, reading, hiking, bubble baths, etc. Regardless what your jam is, it is important to incorporate a self-care routine into your schedule. This term I have started dedicating Tuesday nights as my self-care nights. Some Tuesdays I will float, others I will get a massage, or just book off 2 hours to curl up with a non school related book! Taking time for yourself allows you to be a better human in this world, and who wouldn't want that?
- Never stop learning
Not just in school, but in life. Let everything be of service to you. Learn from your mistakes and your triumphs. Growth only happens when you do this.
- Everyone sees the world through their own eyes
As the old addage goes "don't compare apples with oranges". It is so true! We each see this world through a collection of experiences and values that have taken our lifetime to be shaped. Keep this in mind when engaging with others. No two sets of eyes will be the same.
- Learn to meet yourself where you are
Accept what you need and honour it. You will not feel 100% all of the time, some days you need to be a bit more patient with yourself, and there is nothing wrong with that. Recognizing when you need a little extra self love and compassion will allow you to better meet others where they are too.
- Worrying is of no use
I wish someone had told me this one while I was stricken with anxiety a couple years ago. I was constantly in a state of worry. I have come to realize one of the greatest tools to zap anxiety is to rationally think about what I am worrying about. Will worrying about it change the outcome? No. Then what is the purpose of worrying? There is none. I repeat, there is absolutely no reason to worry. If something bad happens then deal with it, but for now do not waste your precious energy on worry.
- The present moment is all you ever have
The future is ALWAYS uncertain. The present is happening now, don't miss it.
- Nature is power
Nature has an innate wisdom that is beyond comprehension. Everything in nature works in synergy and functions seamlessly. Have you ever noticed that nothing in nature takes more than it needs?
- Stay close to anything that makes you feel alive
Know what you love, who you love, where you love and spend time with it often (person, place or thing). This will lead to a more fulfilling life.
- Treat your body well, you only have one
Think you can eat like shit, party hard and not sleep with zero consequences? Think again. What you do when you're young will have ramifications when you are older. We only get one body to have our human experience in. Take care of it, it deserves the best. Everything is better in moderation. Having a couple drinks every now and then isn't the end of the world, but binge drinking 2x + a week, yea stop that.
- Cut the bullshit
Honesty and integrity lead to much more respect from those around you. It is easy to know when someone isn't being genuine. Embrace who you are, and don't try to be anything that you are not. People will respect you all the more for it.
- Authenticity will breed opportunities
When you start to truly live in your own skin and accept the person you deeply are, magic happens. People are drawn to authenticity, and opportunities naturally unfold.
- Spend time in places untouched by human civilization
Some of my greatest inspiration comes from these wild places. They are refreshing and renewing for the mind and soul. Green spaces are scientifically proven to be beneficial for our health in so many ways, but we don't need science to prove this. We already experience it first hand when we envelop ourselves in nature. There is a sense of being "home", a sense of belonging and of contentment.
- Work on your fears
"Don't be afraid of your fears. They're not there to scare you, they're there to let you know something is worth it" - C. Joybell
Fear stands in the way of our dreams every damn day. If you were to actually keep track of how much fear rules your life, you would be in awe of how often it surfaces. I have found that instead of running from my fears, using them as leverage to recognize what truly matters to me is a much more productive use.
- Love yourself
Without the ability to truly love ourselves, we are unable to give love to others. Happiness is an inside job, and it must come from within. Fire your inner critic, it does not serve you any good. You deserve nothing but love and appreciation, and that begins with accepting them from yourself. Self love does not equate to selfishness. It is the realization that you are human and will make mistakes. It is forgiving yourself when you don't live up to your own expectations. It is waking up, looking in the mirror and reaffirming with yourself that "you got this". It is the realization that you have to live your whole life with yourself, so might as well get a long with each other. You must be on your own team!
Time to go eat some cake :)