Looking back at the past year, I have been so incredibly blessed. From helping further girls’ education in India, travelling to Greece, making memories in Las Vegas, and to meeting the Prime Minister of Canada, I have experienced so much. Although 22 years of life may not seem like a long time, each day I have had the opportunity to grow and discover not only myself but the world around me. We never truly stop growing, so it’s important to take a step back and reflect on our self-growth. So without further ado, here are the 22 things I’ve learned by 22:
- You’re going to lose friends. As we grow older, our priorities and interests slowly begin to change. The friendships we once had in elementary or high school may not last. It’s important to surround yourself with people that motivate, challenge and inspire you every single day. Fadeaway those who are passive and/or negative so you can open your heart to those that will make space for you. Foster quality relationships, because more isn’t always better. I truly believe that the people you surround yourself with really says a lot about you. Everyone has their own path in life, so don’t hold onto people that don’t bring you happiness.
- Sleep is your best friend. Remember when all-nighters used to be “cool”? Well, not anymore. All-nighters are literally one of the worst things you can possibly do. It puts you in a bad mood, your skin begins to hate you, your mental functioning decreases, and it’s just not that easy. Sleep on time people! Nothing good comes from being out all night or watching YouTube videos till 4am. It’s just not worth it.
- Life is not a race. There are so many times where we think, “I’m behind”. We think that “success” means that we need to accomplish all of our goals within our 20s and that everyone has it figured out, but us. However, we need to realize that there is no one we are competing against and that nobody has it all figured out. We need to enjoy our lives because this journey we’re on shouldn’t be rushed. We are all on our own paths with our own struggles so comparing yourself to others will just leave you feeling insecure, jealous, and unhappy.
- Live in the moment. Stop worrying about the past. Stop worrying about the future. What is meant to be will be, so take a breath and be here in the now.
- Travel the world. Travel is crucial to living a fulfilling life. Whether you travel an hour away or a continent away, go out and explore. You learn so much not only about different cultures, but also yourself. It helps you gain perspective on life and gives you new experiences to share. Don’t wait for retirement to travel, this is the time to go. Plan a family vacation, go with friends, or just take a solo trip. Life is too short to wait around. The world has so much to offer, so go out and discover its beauty.
- Time flies. This cliche saying is so darn accurate. As I’ve been getting older, I feel like time is slipping through my fingers. It feels like yesterday I was graduating from high school or beginning university. Life never slows down so I’ve learned that you need to make the best of everyday. Slow down, take a deep breath and enjoy every moment you have on this Earth.
- Vote. Exercise your right people!
- Learn to listen. Many of today’s social issues stem from ignorance. It is impertinent that we open our minds to others. Although we may all be human, our experiences differentiate us. Don’t talk over people. Don’t talk for people. Just listen. We need to be each other’s allies. Only when we listen will we understand and learn to be more tolerant, accepting and inclusive.
- Put down your phone. I always thought social media detoxes were a sham, but it is honestly vital to your wellbeing. We don’t realize how obsessed and dependent we are on our phones. We use them for everything. However, when you put your phone down, you’ll find entertainment in other things, gain an appreciation for the world around us, and actually have face-to-face conversations.
- Do what you love and love what you do. No one is living your life for you, so it’s important that you are happy with not only yourself but your job. We spend most of our lives working, so our work needs to be fulfilling if we want a happy life. Find the things you love to do and do it! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Let your heart be your compass.
- Take lots of pictures. I used to hate taking pictures growing up, but ever since I jumped into the blogging world its all I do. I love looking back at what my life was like in the past, whether that entails from a couple months ago or years. Photographs freeze our memories in time so we can reflect back on our journeys. Capture moments of your life that are both mundane and exciting, so you can reminisce about your experiences in the future.
- Be engaged. In today’s global political/social climate, it’s so important to be informed. Get involved in civic life so you can help shape the world for future generations. Although it may seem as though the world is a dark place, don’t let it make you hard. Don’t turn a blind eye because you’ve lost faith. Get active, be bold, learn constantly and be the change you want to see in the world.
- Failure is a learning experience. Don’t be afraid to take risks in fear of failure. When we fail, we learn. Don’t let the fear of failing hold you back from experiences and achieving your goals. The most successful people are those that took a leap of faith and just went for it. The important thing to remember is to learn from our mistakes and move forward with positivity and confidence.
- Ask yourself why. Self-reflection is important for growth. Critically analyze why you believe the things you do and behave in certain ways. Only when we are aware of our actions and beliefs, can we make changes to be better.
- You’ll always need to call your parents for help. I swear you will never be too old to consult your parents no matter how old you are or where you are. Your parents have been on this Earth longer than you, therefore are much wiser. Whether you need help cooking, changing a tire, deciding on an apartment, figuring out your taxes, or solving the inconveniences in your life, your parents will be there to guide you. You will never out-grow your parents.
- Self-care is important. Sometimes we get so caught up in our work or the lives of others that we forget about ourselves. Take care of yourself. Do what you need to do to relax and rewind because your physical and mental health is important.
- Be grateful for everything. We take so much of life for granted. However, the saying “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone” is so very true. Appreciate every single thing you have while you still have it. Live life with a grateful heart because no matter how bad you think you have it, someone probably has it worse.
- It’s not too late to change your path in life. Never feel like it’s too late for you to change your future career goals. Some people have their future planned out, and others think they do, but they might not. Go out and explore different avenues. You should make a decision about your future that you feel is in the positive direction and that you feel confident in.
- Don’t get too comfortable. Never get too comfortable with where you are because when we get comfortable, we stop growing. It’s when we’re pushed out of our comfort zones or take part in critical conversations do we open our minds to a new perspective and reality. Challenge yourself. Push yourself. Strive to be better.
- Don’t put up with BS. Honestly, life is too short to put up with any kind of negativity. Some people thrive off watching the world burn, and you don’t need to be put in a position where you have to deal with that. Don’t be afraid to say “no” when you don’t feel comfortable. Don’t let people dictate how you should feel or what you should do. Don’t take on people’s baggage. Never let someone compromise your sense of self. You are so much stronger and fierce than you think. Focus your energy on things and people that bring you joy and positivity.
- Call out bad behaviour. We are living in a time where we are finally holding people accountable for their actions. The standard that you pass, is the standard you accept. Do not be complicit. We must call out bad behaviour from a place of empathy in order to support marginalized communities and educate others from a non-threatening position. We need to be allies of one another.
- Things don’t come easy. You need to work your butt off for the things you want. Study. Work. Hustle. Life is not going to hand you your dreams and ambitions on a silver platter so be persistent in whatever it is you want in life.