I turned 26 last Friday (August 23rd). And I have 26 things to say about it.
Seriously though, as I get older, my birthdays feel less and less special. It’s in the late middle (ish) part of August, which is a particularly complicated date to celebrate anything, to be honest. It’s time to go back to school for some and go back to work for others. I live many miles away from the rest of my family and old friends. And my local friends are on vacation somewhere or just working. And I guess having less of a celebration has made it feel like just an ordinary day. But that doesn’t mean that I spend my birthdays alone! Far from it! I’m fortunate enough to have a very loving in-law family to spend it with!
One thing that life has for certain is that it teaches you something new every single day. So I thought it would be a great idea to narrow down 26 things I’ve learned in 26 years of life.
26 THINGS I’VE LEARNED IN 26 YEARS
- Be adaptable. You can plan ahead all you want. And even though it will make you really productive, life is unpredictable, and the quicker you adapt to the new situation, the better the outcome.
I would say I’m really adaptable myself. But I’m also a huge planner. I have lists on my phone, some more lists on several notebooks. I have conversations with people trying to direct and control every situation. But no list or plan will ever control life.
- Learn to say yes and no. This one is one of the hardest to conquer. It depends on personality, I guess. But sometimes, in certain situations is really hard to say no, even when you really don’t want to do, or make, the specific situation you said yes to. Same goes with saying yes. Sometimes we fall back into routines and excess comfort that we don’t accept any new challenges or adventures. Whatever they may be. We have to learn to say yes or no, exactly how we feel at that specific moment and be brave enough to confront it.
- Don’t feel like you are in debt with anyone. This is something that I truly believe is personality-driven. I think that is very different to feel grateful towards someone that did you a good favor or whatever than to feel like you owe them anything. Try to learn the difference.
- Stop judging. I know it’s very easy to judge. We are all guilty of this. But what we have to understand is that we don’t know every single detail about any given situation, or person, to just splurt out an opinion about it/them. More so, if your opinion can hurt someone. So gather all the information you can before judging. Especially if you are going to say it out loud.
- Live in the moment. 26 years, and I still haven’t conquered this one. But I totally acknowledge the fact that is important to do so. Being a planner myself, I live in the future a lot. And the years go by and nothing turns out the way I planned it to (see point number 1) and I didn’t enjoy certain moments in my life because my mind was many years ahead, for nothing.
- Healthy habits make a healthy mind. This is so cliché, but oh, so true. Being healthy overall is one of the greatest investments you can do for yourself. And having a healthy body and a healthy mind is the most precious thing you can ask for.
- Mental health is just as important as general health. A lot of people underestimate the power of mental illnesses. If you feel like you need help, ask for it. If you can work on it yourself, do it! It doesn’t matter how you choose to approach it. As long as you’re doing something about it. Always make your mental health a priority. If everything is working correctly up there, anything else will follow smoothly.
- Don’t settle for less than you deserve. This one seems easy but it’s not. It’s very easy to fall for comfort. Trust your gut, and never settle for less than you deserve. Never. And you will always know when something is below your standards.
- Learn to put yourself first sometimes. I’m not talking about being selfish. But sometimes you give too much of yourself to others, in many different ways. And there has to be a limit. And that limit is yours to set.
- Consistency is key. Develop discipline and patience. Slow and steady wins the race.
- Read books. There are so many benefits to reading that I would need 3 posts to cover them all. Education, relaxation, grammar, history, imagination, creativity, inspiration, etc, etc. Do yourself, and the world a favor, and read some books!
- Ask for help. Let your ego aside and learn to ask for help whenever you may need it. This is so important! Don’t feel the need to prove to anyone that you can do anything by yourself if you really don’t. There’s no shame in it.
- Open a savings account. Can’t stress this enough. Every single and small penny you can put away into that account is a penny you will have secured for your future. Instead of spending it away in nonsense. This will save you a lot of nightmares, trust me. And when you have an important sum, invest it!
- Always be polite. No matter how strong your opinion is, or how correct you may think you are. Always deliver the message with ultimate respect to the other person.
- Time flies. Learn to live in the now, in the present. As a planner, I make the mistake to live in the future too much. Time is so ephemeral. Learn to enjoy every single moment.
- Trust your gut instinct. Just like that. No one knows your own limits as you do, so trust that feeling.
- Blood doesn’t make families. I’ve known people that aren’t related to me that feel more than a family than some family ever will. And family members that have done terrible things. So no, blood doesn’t make families.
- It really doesn’t matter what other people think. I personally don’t really care what people think in general. But I do care what my close ones think. And to be honest, we need to learn how to give zero f*cks and let go a little bit. And really don’t care about what ANYONE thinks. No matter who.
- Actions mean more than words, but words have power too. I prefer a doer over a talker. It’s more important to do something than to say you will do something. But that doesn’t mean words are powerless. Quite the contrary, words have the ability to create worlds or destroy them. So be careful.
- Invest in yourself. Whether it is by education, reading, traveling, meeting new people, socializing, exercising. It doesn’t matter it’s shape or form. As long as you invest in yourself, you will grow.
- Life isn’t a competition. I plead guilty as charged. I once tried to compete against time, and I don’t have to explain how that one went. Just learn to go at your own pace, and don’t compare yourself to others.
- A morning routine will change your life. Wake up, make your bed, have breakfast, go to the gym, go to work. It doesn’t matter the composition of that routine, but make sure you have one. It will make you very productive and will set your mind to start your day in good terms.
- Get a dog. No explanation needed.
- Being a woman is hard and scary. No explanation needed, sadly.
- Eat the f*cking cake. I’m all for healthy habits, and I think that it’s important to have a healthy lifestyle in general. But I also think that life really is too short to worry too much about these things. As long as you are healthy and happy, eat the effin cake.
- You are the only person responsible for your happiness. Will Smith said this in an Instagram video and it actually shocked me. Because it’s very easy to rely on other people for your state of mind. “I’m sad because he told me blah blah” “I’m down because she did blah blah”. I’m not saying to not get affected by anything and be completely ice cold. But it’s your job to be happy, not anyone else’s. You decide how long you dwell on that sadness, or whatever. And you take yourself out.
Of course, I’ve learned more than 26 things in all these years, but I tried to come up with the most important ones. I’m sure I’m missing others that are crucial, but they didn’t come to mind.
You can leave me your “26 things I’ve learned in 26 years” or however many things you’ve learned in no matter how many years, in the comments below, so we can share the wisdom with everyone together!