Twenty five years. A quarter of a century filled with laughter, heartache, struggle, over-the-moon happiness, terrible pain, ridiculous mistakes, astonishing accomplishments, exhilaration, passionate love, learning, growth, clarifying inspiration, confusing transitions, ‘ah ha!’ moments, beautiful sunsets, and a never-ending desire to create, travel, pursue my passions, and continue to ponder this thing we call life.
I officially feel like an adult. But what has this adult, this freshly 25 year old me, learned over the past quarter of a century? Here’s a summation of life as I know it – 25 lessons in 25 years.
1. You’re your greatest investment.
So invest away – spend time with yourself, spend money on your education, and spend a whole lot of energy endlessly transforming to become your greatest you.
2. You’re in control of your emotions.
This realization came to me at 20, and changed life as I knew it. You’re not a reactive being, at the mercy of the uncontrollable events happening around you. You’re in control.
3. You’ll have a handful of true friends – who will stick with you ’til the end.
I’ve long grown tired of feeling bad about not having dozens of friends. I’d much prefer to focus on the handful who are true to me, my lifelong companions.
4. Life is a continuous cycle of changes and transitions.
Things in life my settle down for a while, but life isn’t meant to be stagnant for long – and who would want it to be?
5. In love, he’s got to make you laugh.
Laughter is a necessity. If he’s not making you laugh, he’ll soon be making you yawn.
6. Passion is worth chasing.
Perhaps the only thing worth chasing. If the thought of it doesn’t light your soul on fire, what’s the point?
7. Uncertainty is just opportunity in a scary outfit.
Uncertainty is exciting, because anything can occur. When the future seems the scariest, it’s often filled with the most incredible surprises.
8. Having a broken heart is inevitable.
While guarding your heart is important, it’s silly to expect to never be broken-hearted again. The sting of lost love is well worth it in the end, anyway. Remain open to love.
9. Giving back and spreading love is what it’s all about.
It’s not just about receiving love or falling in love – it’s about spreading love to each and every human you come in contact with, whether through a smile, a compliment, or a silent blessing.
10. Independence is the coolest thing.
Not relying on a guy for a thing, having your own home, your own money, and control over each and every one of the decisions you make? Yep, it’s the coolest, most liberating thing.
11. Solo travel is damn amazing.
Solo travel isn’t frightening. It’s damn amazing, enlightening, and life-changing.
12. Sex and the City never gets old.
Carrie Bradshaw is still my idol.
13. Your current reality is the sum of your past decisions.
The result of the decisions you make now tend not to show themselves until down the line – but you can bet that where you are in life now is a result of either fabulous (or poor) decision-making.
14. Your physical body is great at guiding you, and intuition never lies.
Intuition isn’t as esoteric or mystical as it seems. Your intuition is keenly linked with your physical body, so pay attention to what your physical body is telling you.
15. Goodbyes are important.
You never know what you might regret when someone you once loved leaves for good. Say goodbye, and give all of your relationships an ending that honours what you shared.
16. Life can change as you know it – in a matter of a split second, a single day, a month, or a year.
That’s right – so pay attention, and keep stabbing.
17. You’ll never be “set.”
You might win the lotto, find the love of your life, get that job promotion, or run away from home, but you’ll never be quite “set” the way you imagined when you were young. That’s just not the reality of life.
18. Your soulmate might just be your very best friend.
Y0ur soulmate doesn’t have to be your lover – your true soulmate is the one standing next to you, the one who knows you best.
19. Being beautiful is synonymous with feeling beautiful.
If you don’t think you’re beautiful, you’ve got a lot of inner work to do. Beauty has little to do with “being” and a lot more to do with “feeling.” Tell yourself you’re beautiful each and every day.
20. Happiness is like a muscle – you have to use it every day to keep it strong.
Gratitude, journaling, reading, watching sunset, spending time with friends, giving yourself accolades for your accomplishments – happiness is a way of life, not an isolated achievement.
21. It’s fine to change your dream, or create a new one.
Sometimes you get something you once dreamed of, and then you realize it isn’t what you wanted after all. This doesn’t make you stupid – it makes you human.
22. Job security is an illusion.
You can work at a job your whole life just getting by and then get fired out of the blue. Don’t do anything you dislike for the false benefit of “job security.”
23. Having a mentor will change your life forever.
Sometimes all you need is someone who believes in you. Even better? Having someone you respect believe in you.
24. You are the sum of who you surround yourself with.
Stop hanging out with negative, energy vampires. You can identify them by how you feel during or after they leave your presence.
25. Your emotions are a key indicator of where you are headed.
You can change your path in life at any moment by focusing on how you feel. If you’re happy and jovial, you’re heading in the right direction.
PS. I love you guys. Thanks for being such an important part of my 25 years.