Although this post is a couple of months late from the day I actually turned 21; the relevance has not changed. I think reflecting and teaching from our personal experiences is one of the greatest gifts we can give in our lifetime; even if the advice is not followed in the first place.
I have learned so much about myself and life in general over my 21 years, yet understand that there will only be more experiences and lessons to come my way.
Here are the top 21 most important things I have learned at 21.
1. Pain is temporary.
If there is one thing life guarantees, it’s pain; you can’t escape it. Whether it be a broken bone, or a broken heart, everyone experiences pain. The thing about pain though, is that you will feel it for a day, a month, or even a year, but pain dulls with time – you learn how to get over it and you will learn how to move on.
2. Family is the most important thing; don’t ever take them for granted.
Family (whether blood or not) are the people that stick with you through thick and thin. They will be there to support you on your lowest days and boast you on your highest. You should appreciate the shit out of that. Show the ones that love and support you the same kind of love and support.
3. You can’t find happiness, you have to create it.
Don’t go searching for happiness in someone or something else, because you WILL be disappointed. In order to find happiness you must look to the ordinary days. Your cup of coffee, the music that makes your heart flutter, a pink sunrise, or the poetry of a good book. Point being, you can find happiness wherever you want to, if you look for it. Live in the now and look at the beautiful chaos of your life.
4. Kindness is one of the greatest gifts you can give to the world.
I truly believe that kindness is this worlds greatest weapon. Being kind comes in many different forms, none of which are underrated. Kindness has a ripple effect, and the world can never have too much of it.
5. Everything in your life has a purpose.
Every person, every event, every object has a purpose in your life. Whether to teach you a lesson or present an unfounded part of yourself you would have otherwise left buried away. Appreciate your path in life and let things and people show you why they are in your life at this moment in time.
6. Be a shoulder for someone to cry on, but learn to lean on others too.
Showing people you care and support them in the toughest of their times will only strengthen your own character. Don’t be afraid to let someone lean on you, but don’t be afraid to lean on them when you’re feeling shaky on your own two feet as well.
7. Express yourself.
Don’t be scared to be vulnerable. Let your emotions show and own them; never minimize or feel bad about the way you feel towards something. Vulnerability is one of the rawest things you can experience.
8. Forgive yourself, even though it may be one of the hardest things you will ever have to do.
Instead of obsessing over the why or how everything went down, let it go. Forgive yourself for all of the stupid mistakes you’ve made, for all of the dumb decisions you’ve made; embrace what happened and let go of whatever attachment to the past that you need to in order to move on. You will never grow if you are constantly holding yourself back by focusing on the past. Your past makes you, you. Grow and learn from it.
9. Follow your gut.
Your “gut feeling” is right 98% of the time. Go with your intuition bravely and with force.
10. You are stronger than you realize.
No matter what you are going through, know that you will get through it. Your heart can take it, your soul can take it; be brave and fight whatever battle you are going through with so much of your soul that you know there is no other option than making it past this. You are strong, you will get through this shit, and you will prove yourself.
11. Take care of yourself.
Take care of yourself, not only in the physical sense. To be fully, whole heartedly balanced, you need to take care of your mental and emotional health as well. Check in with yourself; be honest about where you’re at and keep things in perspective so you can make it to where you’re going.
12. You are not your insecurities.
This is one that is hard to face. You are not everything bad that you think about yourself. Chances are your own words and thoughts are the harshest it’s going to get. Your insecurities and differences are what make you unique- embrace them, own them, and flaunt them because they are beautiful.
13. Confidence goes a long way.
Being confident is the difference between being picked for the job or not. Confidence is not only something that people with big boobs and nice hair can have; confidence is owning your shit, good and bad, and presenting yourself with such a demeanor that you demand to be heard and respected. Confidence is one of those things that you can “fake it ’til you make it,” if you’re acting confident you’ll start to rub off on yourself and start to own that confidence.
14. Don’t rush through life.
Whether it be a heartbreak, a book, anything, do not rush it. Everything in life comes with time, so enjoy your life where it is at in the present moment. Everything you have and everything you are in this present time is exactly where you are supposed to be.
15. Other people’s opinions and views of you do NOT define you.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion; the thing is though, you don’t have to outline yourself with said opinions. Never let anyone else’s thoughts tarnish your own or interrupt the way you live your life.
16. Believe people by their actions before you do by their words.
The saying “actions speak louder than words” is one of the truest things ever voiced in this world. Words mean nothing when actions do not reflect them. If someone treats or acts in such a way that contradicts the words they speak, believe the physical.
17. Being spontaneous can get you into the greatest adventures of your life.
Some of the best moments in my life have been ones that were not planned, rather happened on a whim, decided in a split second. As a planner at heart I can say how hard it is to let go of your little drawn out schedule; however, when you do, you will experience life.
18. Taking time for yourself is one of the least selfish things you can do.
Taking care of yourself and putting yourself first is one of the greatest things you will ever learn how to do. There is something I heard the other day “You can’t pour into someone else’s cup if yours is empty.” This truly speaks volumes; in order to give and aid in life you need to put yourself and your needs first, otherwise you will feel drained one hundred percent of the time.
19. Make a plan, but don’t be afraid to stray away.
Set goals, make plans, and create paths to get yourself there, but, going along with spontaneity, don’t be afraid to drift away from the path you have laid for yourself if it no longer serves you purpose. Change is inevitable, even within the best laid plans. Embrace the change and adjust your path accordingly.
20. Find what makes you happy and pursue it with all of your heart.
When you find something that you love and are truly passionate about, find a way to pursue it no matter what obstacles may get in your way. You will never regret going after something that you have a pure passion for.
21. Understand that confusion in life is inevitable.
Realize you are not the only one feeling overwhelmed and anxious about life and what is to come. There is not one person who is not wondering what’s next or wondering what they should be doing different. Understand that there is beauty in the unknown and that the future will work itself out in time, however is is meant to – just be patient and everything that is meant to come to you will.
with all the love and positive vibrations sent your way,