The biggest lesson that I’ve learned in my 17th year of being on earth is that change is inevitable, and often necessary for growth. Whether that means your circumstances, the people in your life, or yourself. Holding on to the idea of what these things were instead of what they are or are becoming will do nothing but cause you unnecessary heartache.
2. Just be.
Stop focusing so much of your energy worrying about the past or even the future. You will never have any moment except the one you are in now. You can only ever do anything to affect now. The past is what it is. The future is not guaranteed. This was a tough thing for me to swallow but it’s true. However, you can’t solely live in the moment and not prepare for the possibility of a future, or even keep the past in mind. Still make plans, set goals, and take time to reflect. Just make sure you don’t forget about now.
3. Don’t take everything personally.
I have a tendency to let myself absorb everybody’s energy and overreact to trivial situations. At one point, I just said to myself, “it’s really not that deep,” and it has become my motto ever since.
4. What’s meant to be will be.
This one definitely forced me to have more faith in God and trust that whatever or whoever is meant to be in my life will find me. The only thing I have to do is pray and prepare myself for it.
5. Forgive often.
I talked about the importance of forgiveness in “3 ways to make forgiveness seem more bearable” but, especially in the past year, I’ve learned so much about forgiveness and that the process is different for everyone.
6. Stay proactive and productive.
Always look for ways to get better at something, move forward, and be a step ahead of yourself. If you find yourself taking steps backwards or getting off track just slow down and refocus.
7. I don’t owe anything to anyone but myself.
This year I had a bad habit of putting other people before myself. I then realized that without those people, it was obvious that I was neglecting myself. I started to check in with myself more often to make sure that in every situation, I am okay first and foremost. I find that I still struggle with this and think that it translates to me being selfish, but I realized that nothing should come at the expense of my well-being. Fill your heart with love and give the overflow to those who surround you.
8. Positivity is not synonymous with happiness.
Just because you try to be positive doesn’t mean you have to be happy. It simply means that you try to have faith in the idea that things can and will change for the better, even if that means tomorrow or a few years from now.
9. Patience is key.
Looking for shortcuts to whatever you’re searching for in life is actually counterproductive. I’ve found that the things that I was stressed or upset over not having months ago came in due time. Being impatient draws you to things that aren’t meant for you, causing more detours along your journey than need be.
10. Every day is a new day.
That seems obvious but looking back, I spent a lot of time thinking about the past instead of preparing for the future and, more importantly, making the most of now. Holding onto things that no are no longer pertinent in your life takes away your ability to be fully present in the moment.
11. Be intentional.
If I have learned anything about myself in the past year that I know can be held true for the rest of my life, is that I do not want to lead a “just because” life. Every thought, every action, every word, every relationship, needs to have intention. If it isn’t helping me progress, there’s no need for it in my life. I have realized that the more you understand that your life is purposeful, you don’t have the need to partake anything that isn't in alignment with that.
12. Love is powerful.
I have found in the past year that love is really the core of all human interaction. And I believe that everyone is capable of love. I believe the ability to love comes from one’s relationship with God first and foremost, and I believe that it comes from one’s relationship with themselves. Also, the idea that everyone has their own unique love language is so dope to me. And applying that to how I interact with my friends and family had made those relationships much more meaningful.
13. Personify gratitude.
At a certain point I realized that I have so much to be grateful for, which goes way beyond material possessions. I’m blessed to be in the circumstances that I’m in, the opportunities that I’ve had and will have, my health, my family, my friends, etc. I’m breathing so that in and of itself gives me plenty to be grateful for. Waking up every day feeling nothing but gratitude makes life really beautiful, honestly.
14. Your mindset is the only thing that determines your happiness.
Constantly reminding myself to not be affected by any and everything makes life a lot less stressful. It’s not necessarily saying you don’t care, instead that you understand that sometimes shit happens, so you handle it, and you move on.
"For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." -Hamlet
Taking the time to understand who and what you really, truly care about simultaneously narrows down where you decide to give time and energy. Spreading yourself too thin, I’ve learned, doesn’t allow you to give 100% where you need to.
16. Keep writing.
I don’t really know where this blog is going but if anything I’ve learned that writing, posted or not, is one of the best forms of therapy I never knew was so accessible to me. Writing is the most influential form of communication we have, whether it’s communicating to each other, or just our thoughts to paper. As a skill, I’ve realized that writing when I feel like it doesn’t help me get better at it. Writing out my thoughts, questions, feelings, etc. is an infinitely refinable skill (And, actual pen to paper writing is a thousand times better).
17. There’s so much more to the world than what your phone screen portrays.
Understand that there are billions of people. Billions of lives and emotions and thoughts and dreams. The world curated by our billions of social media accounts only represents a fraction of the universe we live in. Regardless of how badly I would like to be able to live without a phone, that’s really not a possibility (for me, at least); but that doesn’t mean I have to live with my face in my phone for the rest of my life, either.
18. Every moment is a learning experience.
I'd say the most fulfilling thing in my life that I've discovered since my 17th birthday is self-improvement. I absolutely love to learn and find inspiration from every single person I come across in my life as well as from every experience I have, and is definitely something I hope continues in my adult life