I turned 25 on Sunday. It’s a little surreal,to be honest. Just yesterday, I was urging my 18th birthday to come along. There’s this eagerness to grow up when you’re young. One simply could not wait. Adulthood, independence, respect, all beacons of the path to becoming our own person, free of the hold of the world. If only we had known. Or listened to those who came before us.
My 25th birthday opens up a new chapter in my life. I’m moving to a different state in a matter of hours and I’m leaving in my wake so many stories, some painful, all beautiful. Below are some of the lessons they taught me. Their wisdom will guide me through the next stories I’ll be creating on this new journey.
1. Tell the truth: when you lie you judge yourself.
2. Connecting to people doesn’t require you to play the games people play, you can connect to people by being completely, genuinely yourself. Those who do appreciate it are who you want around.
3. Question your views daily, use the scientific process of falsification. Ask yourself every day, do i still believe this?
4. You’re not gonna figure every single thing out the first time you try. Try again.
5. Say “No”more when you know you want to.
6. Say “Yes” more when you’re too afraid to.
7. The journey is the destination. The idea that you’ll eventually get someplace where you have no bullshit to deal with is fantasy. As you level up, so does your bullshit. You may not be dealing with the same, but you’ll always be dealing with something. So don’t be too attached to the outcome. Don’t forget to live while you’re on your way.
8. Self-compassion is a more fruitful goal than self-esteem. Self-compassion invites you to be there for yourself, especially in the moments when you’re the worst. Self-esteem doesn’t allow you to be anything less than great at any time.
9. It’s okay to see someone’s potential but don’t base your actions on it. If you’re not okay with their present as it is, don’t engage with the goal of getting them to where you want them to be or think they could or should be. Let them figure out their own path.
10. Love yourself. I can’t say this enough. It all starts and ends with the way you talk to yourself and how you envision the person you are.
11. Don’t be afraid to let go. Nature abhors a vacuum and will always present you with options for replacement.
12. Emotions and thoughts are equally valid and equally bullshit. Don’t identify too much with either. Don’t bound yourself by definitions or impressions. Find flow.
13. Welcome change. You cant escape it, outlive it, fight it. So welcome it. And learn from it.
14. Worrying is not useful. It only makes you feel busy.
15. Figure out what the hell credit is and how to maintain it before it’s too late. But also don’t over identify with those arbitrary human constructed metrics for worth.
16. Loving unconditionally does not mean not having criteria for who can access you or reside in your space. Some situations require long distance love and support
17. Be present in the moment but don’t tie yourself to it; everything is temporary, even the good things.
18. Pay attention to the friend who drains you; run.
19. Similarly, don’t be the friend who drains.
20. Curate your circle; surround yourself with energies that keep your vibrations high, trust your intuition.
21. Sometimes things have to break to get put together better. Sometimes you’ll have to break them. Do it.
22. What you’re worried other people think of you reveals what you unconsciously think about yourself. Is it valid? Do something about it. Is it not? Do something about your self-talk.
23. Travel. At least once a year. Local or not. It’s cheaper than you think and more important than you can imagine in terms of personal growth.
24. Love is the way. That’s what connects us. Any time you feel alone, just think of who you love and loves you, reach out, check in, be there for people. Ultimately, that’s what really matters.
25. Believe in yourself. You have it in you to succeed. You’ve made it this far, and you’ll go further because you’re you. Yes, bad things will happen, as they always have, but you’ve always survived, and thrived. That’s not changing.