When I was 21, I imagined the 27 year old me as a confident young lady, happily just married and having a home to call my own. Yet at 27, I live in an apartment with undergrads who party all day.
Apart from realising reality often differs from our dreams, here are 27 other things I learned as I grow another year older.
- Your heart will get broken over and over and over again. Not just by romantic love, but by dreams with expiry dates, lost opportunities, friends and family.
- Yet, your heart will heal. It may hurt like hell. It may take a long time. But your heart will eventually mend.
- Just like the ones who broke your heart, you too, would have broken someone else’s heart
- When you have quality, quantity doesn’t matter as much. It’s only when you have little that you start to appreciate more.
- Life doesn’t always turn out how you expect. But it always turns out just right. Everything happens for a reason, you just need to trust that one day you will understand.
- The past could make you bitter, but it could also make you better. You either win or learn. You never lose.
- The best gifts are their presence, not their presents. Part of growing up means realising that time, is the real currency. Not money. Appreciate face-to-face interactions with loved ones. They chose to give a part of their life to you, a part they’ll never get back.
- Being alone doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. There’s no point appearing to have fun at a party if you can’t be comfortable being alone.
- Some progress in life faster than we do, and that’s ok. Life isn’t a race, it’s a journey. Sometimes, growing up also means losing your freedom. It means learning to place the interests of loved ones over yourself. Make the most of the freedom to pursue the dreams, because it’ll be gone before you know it.
- Time and tough times reveal true friends. Some friends say they’ll be there but they never are. Yet some friends never say the sweet, cheesy words but somehow are always there. Keep the latter, for they’re the only ones you really need.
- Money doesn’t buy happiness, moments do. The best moments in life are often simple pleasures – coming home to your excited puppy, standing in awe of a beautiful sunset, or even cuddling your partner while watching a movie. Be rich, in moments.
- Finding a job is like dating. We search for the right one all our lives, but not many of us eventually do. It’s not meant to be easy. It’s meant to be worth the while.
- Loving someone sometimes means letting go. Sustaining a relationship is like holding sand in your hands. The tighter your grip, the more it slips through your fingers. All you need to do is cup it gently with both hands and never let go.
- Be more than your work. You may be remembered for your presentations. But you’re loved for your personality. So be more interesting than the deck you prepare at work.
- Treat your last like your first, your first like your last. In all that you do.
- True education lies in the trips you take, the experiences you go through, not in the textbooks you study. The orphanage kids I got to know while volunteering overseas taught me gratitude. My dogs showed me what it means to love unconditionally. Traveling showed me that the little things we fret about, like missed deadlines and a bad day at work, aren’t really problems. Real problems are when you don’t have a home to go back to, or when you don’t know if you have food for tomorrow. Lessons don’t lie in books, they lie in experiences. Get your butt off and experience something new.
- Thank the people who’ve hurt you. They’ve taught you empathy. They reminded you to appreciate the ones who love you. They’ve shown you what you should never be. The people who hurt you, make you the best version that you can be. Don’t hate them. Thank them.
- Family is the only real constant in life. Times change, things change, people change. But family, never changes.
- When you strive to be the best version of yourself, you inspire others in ways that change their lives. Instead of holding out for the perfect one, be the perfect one.
- Failure isn’t bad. It’s simply the opportunity to begin again. This time more intelligently, humbly and confidently.
- Always give your best in all that you do. Because even if it doesn’t work out, at least you won’t be living in regret.
- Don’t be imprisoned by expectations. Loved ones may have impressions of what’s best for you. Yet, however close they may be, they’re not you. Life is short to let others write your story. Lead the life you imagine, not the life others envision of you.
- It’s ok to be different. So long as you stay true to yourself.
- Home is where the heart is. The difference between a house and a home, is love. And that is only found in the latter.
- Relationships may fail even if you give your best. Not just love, but also friendship and kinship. You can’t prevent it, but you can make sure you’re not the reason why they failed.
- The future isn’t always as you imagined it to be. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be awesome.
- The best things happen when you least expect it. As is with love, career and family. So stop trying to make things happen. Stop fretting and live in the now.
Goodbye, the 26 year old me.
The stronger and happier 27 year old me.
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