OUTFIT DETAILS: Top: Zara || Faux Leather Pants: Stitches || Shoes: Payless Shoesource
Some may not consider 21 to be that old. And to be quite frank, it isn’t. What I can say (now that I’ve joined the club) is that it’s just the beginning. I believe that your twenties is a period of time for self-development. And despite being so young, you will face experiences where lessons learned will ultimately impact how you may have once perceived the world.
However, mistakes are to be made and lessons are to be learnt. It’s a little alarming to realize that you cannot retrieve your childhood—let alone your adolescence. But with those memories came experiences and it’s important to utilize them to the best of your capability.
Here are a few things I’ve learnt over the past 21 years:
You don’t need friends
In the early stages of childhood we are taught to be kind to one another and that everybody essentially has a ‘friend in [them]’. It’s indoctrinated into us to build relationships and become dependent to our peers, whether you realize it or not.
Generally speaking, this is good for some time. But it can hit you hard when you start to age and undergo maturity. People grow apart, become busy, and ultimately change their point of view. And when this happens, it’s easy for that dependency to cause emotional downfalls. You may not align with the same people you once thought to be your best friends anymore.
Instead of leaning on others, solidify yourself. Friendship is not a necessity, but rather a supplement. Which is why it is important to surround yourself around people who are smarter than you when you are building a circle. By no means am I suggesting that you should not have friends, but that you should embrace your independence.
Who you hang around will reflect what you do and how you act. Although this is not always the case for everybody, there’s no denial that you unconsciously pick up on the behaviours around you. If you want to succeed, hang out with the overachiever. Because at the end of the day, that person only has the best interest in doing what’s best for themselves.
Count your blessings.
Each and everyday is a gift to you. Not everybody has the opportunity to wake up and be healthy or live in a safe environment. That in itself is something to always take note of.
Remember your parents.
As we age we often forget that our parents are growing older as well. You randomly saw your mom’s favourite flowers at the market one day? Buy them for her. You saw an old photo that your dad took of you at your horrendous elementary school talent show? Tell him you appreciate all his support over the years for coming to such monstrosities. Show and let them know how appreciative you are of them because they won’t always be there one day.
Just do it [now].
I think we’ve all experienced a time where we had an important deadline to meet, but getting yourself to sit still seemed like the impossible. Procrastination is a killer. I can’t say that I’ve mastered the technique to totally combatting it, but what I can say is: force yourself to do 20 minutes of work. Studies have shown that if you dedicate at least 15-20 minutes of focus to whatever you’re attempting, you’ll develop a comfortable rhythm and will continue pursuing it.
Don’t expect anything, but the unexpected.
In other words, go with the flow. If there’s anything that I can recall useful from my high school experience, it is the piece of advice that my English 30 teacher told the class on the last day of school.
“No matter what path you have set out for the future, there’s always an alternate that you’ll probably follow instead”.
At the time I totally dismissed the advice because I thought I had my life relatively planned out for the following 10 years. Additionally, that there was no way that I could stray-off. I was wrong. Little did I know that life rarely goes as planned. Ultimately, I think it’s important to have goals, but it’s vital to keep an open-mind about the routes needed to achieve the end result. You never know what obstacles you may face along the way.
Manage your time, then master it.
I may be slightly bias because I’m in school and deal with this on a daily basis, but I believe the key to success is time management. No matter the degree of cohesion, it can be achieved. As soon as you start to believe otherwise, you allow space for failure. If you are able to grasp the concept of time, you will maximize your output far beyond what your initial beliefs were.
Acknowledge your accomplishments.
There’s a fine line between confidence and being egotistical. And because of this, it sets a standard for what is considered a norm and value in today’s society. Everybody has an insecurity, but why basket in it? Who says you cannot praise yourself? Is it better to be insecure than appreciate your achievements?
Personally, I believe that if you have the credibility behind yourself for the achievements, nobody should bat-an-eye about how much growth you’ve acquired. If that means you have a big-head, by all means, flaunt your big-head. It’s full of greatness.
Forgive. Not for them, but for yourself.
With the good experiences, come the bad. You cannot avoid pain, but you can make sure you don’t habour it. Emotional competency is a natural occurrence. And the more in-touch you are with your feelings, the better understanding you’ll have of yourself.
Over the years, I’ve noted that holding on to anger is exhausting. Some times arguments are a result of something you did wrong, other times it’s not. But regardless of who’s fault it was, a cloud of anger will always be held above your head. Don’t forget why you were subject to that predicament, but realize that sometimes you just need to forgive in order to allow yourself to have a peace of mind.
If you don’t understand something, look at the situation from a different perspective.
It’s easy to be judgemental. It’s a natural feature hardwired into the human system, so who is there to blame? Everybody. It’s so easy to spew negativity about one another. Especially, when you’re in a group of people. One comment gets the group riled-up and next thing you know, you’re hosting a roast session on comedy central. There are so many point-of-views in the world, but have you ever tried looking from another?
If you haven’t or you refused to do so, then the only other option is to accept the situation as is. Being closed-minded in a globalized world will get you nowhere. Many people fail to distinguish this. And for that reason, they miss out on an opportunity to expand their perspective. I challenge each one of you to be more compassionate. When you catch yourself passing judgement, think about how you would feel or deal with a situation if the tables were turned.
There are more years ahead, and many more lessons to be learnt…