So inspired was I by this Thought Catalog article, I decided to dispense some advice of my own based on some key things I learned in 28 years.
1. When it rains, it pours.
Good, bad… it all happens at once. When you’re in a sea of bad, be assured that it will always be followed by a sea of good.
2. Not every friendship lasts ‘forever’… and that’s okay.
I was once a fervent believer in the concept of a ‘forever friend’ and then that illusion was shattered. I was devestated by it, but I’ve since made peace with the idea that some friendships are finite and as long as you had some good times and learned something about yourself and others and relationships in the process, that’s still valuable.
3. You don’t know what you’re looking for until you find it.
We are all on this quest for the perfect man, the right career, Mr. Right… but we honestly can’t seek those things out. We find what’s right for us, and it may be (probably) that all of our own qualifications are shattered in that moment by what’s actually perfect.
4. You’ll feel sexy when it’s right for you to feel sexy.
True confidence comes from within. No matter how much we diet and exercise and watch what we eat, we may not feel confident until we are in the right place to feel confident. Be patient and kind to yourself.
5. Never under-estimate your mom (or mom figure).
You’ll need her/him at some point. They have wisdom and experience beyond your years and they know you better than pretty much anyone.
6. Open-mindedness is the key to everything.
Try new things. Always. New food, new experiences, new people. It’s always worth it.
7. Don’t wait for the text/call that never comes.
Guys/girls will lose interest and they will treat you like crap, and you’ll let them. Don’t let them. You’re worth more than someone who’s sitting on the fence and needs a plan B.
8. Learn how to bake.
You’ll be amazed on how accomplished, cathartic, comforting and friend-wining it is to bake cookies.
9. Ask for help when you need it.
I almost failed something that was crucially important to me only because I was working in isolation and too shy/afraid/nervous to ask for help and receive feedback.
10. Move out of your parents’ house.
Honestly… please do that.
11. Keep a journal.
Make it a habit to somehow document your past. Sometimes you’ll need your past to cultivate a better future. Sometimes you’ll need it for a good laugh. Sometimes you’ll need to remember your first date with your fiancee or the moment you experienced heartbreak. For these reasons, it’s so important to keep a record of everything important in your life.
12. Move to a new place.
There is so much wonder in a place you don’t know.
Go far enough with something – a career search, an artistic pursuit, a relationship, learning a new skill – that there is huge potential to fail. You always learn from failure but there is also a chance – even a slim one – that you’ll succeed.
14. Make a bucket list.
Even if you never cross anything off it, once you have the opportunity to do something you’ve always wanted to do, you have a list to refer to.
15. Accept that some things can’t be changed.
Waits in a long lineup, your financial situation, the state of global affairs, the awful result of an election gone wrong… some things cannot be changed. And doing our best with what we have is the best thing there is to do.
16. Tell people you love and appreciate them.
One day, you might have a falling out with someone, or they may dissipate from your life, or God forbid, they may be gone forever. It is never ever a bad thing to tell someone how much you appreciate them and how much you care. Even if one day, you don’t.
17. Be vulnerable.
People who refuse to be vulnerable or show that they can hurt, and cry, and be open to love and rejection, are people who will make the same mistakes over and over again.
18. Remember that formal education is not the end-all and be-all of everything.
We cross all these milestones in our high school, post-secondary, and post-grad education. But at the end of the day, what we’ll remember about those times in our lives are our personal and social-emotional achievements, and the good times we shared with the people around us. Learning – good learning – can take place outside the classroom too.
19. Accept that one day, you’ll hurt someone.
We are all going to have to tell someone something one day that they don’t want to hear. And they might shoot the messenger and get really angry and upset. And that’s as valuable as learning how to cope with our own rejection and our own heartbreak.
20. Survive a breakup in a way that you’re proud of.
Gilmore Girls taught us that wallowing is a part of the breakup process. But I think once there’s been some wallowing, the best way to get over a breakup is by doing something for ourselves. Getting out of bed, making breakfast, going for a run, getting a new job, a new haircut, a new social circle, a driver’s licence, and a path in life can help us feel like we’re survivors. And we can do it on our own without a white knight to rescue us.
21. Don’t do things you don’t want to do.
We have this pressure to be a certain way – work on our abs, watch certain TV shows, go for runs, be a part of certain social media movements, hop aboard the latest fashion trends – but if you don’t like them, don’t do it. Only do what you like, what you see as valuable, or what is 100% necessary. This is the key to being happy.
22. Realize that where you are is less important than who you’re with.
I live in one of the most beautiful amazing cities in this country if not on the entire planet. And my boyfriend is gone and my best friends live in other places. And, I’m often quite lonely.
23. It always works out in the end.
We get stressed and nervous and afraid of what’s to come. But the reality is, it will ALWAYS be okay. Someone once said to me, “If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” These are words I’ve lived by since I was 14 and I’ve never been steered wrong.
24. We can’t have everything.
This seems pretty obvious – but sometimes we still want everything. And sometimes we still need to remind ourselves that’s not possible, and that’s okay.
25. Nothing in life feels better than having focus.
A career focus, relationship focus, academic focus, or a personal goal… once you have focus, there is clarity and there are blinders, and thus, the ability to truly feel accomplished begins.
26. Never treat people as if they are not equals.
Being blunt or rude to servers or store clerks, talking down to others, patronizing, judging… remember that nobody is better or worse than you are. We all need to do jobs, we all start off as beginners or children and grow up and get older, we all have different abilities.. but that’s okay.
27. Know the difference between sympathy and empathy…
And practice empathy. Always, always be empathetic.
28. Accept yourself.
Don’t compare yourself to others, don’t wish for more than you have, don’t try to be someone else, and don’t be inauthentic, dishonest, or a version of yourself that you can’t live up to. You’re you. You don’t need to be anyone else.