I’m turning 26 next week and I thought I’d reflect back on all that I’ve learned in my life. This has been a year of huge growth for me and I’m finally embracing being proud of myself for my hard work. Last year, I read a letter I had written to my 25 year old self and it really helped me gain perspective for the year ahead. So here it goes:
- Life will never go according to plan
Remember when you thought you were going to be married to that douchebag you dated in high school? You were going to have 2 kids by 30 and even had their names picked out? HA. Now I’m glad things didn’t go according to plan.
- Speak out about the things you deserve
No one gets anywhere by being complacent. Do you want a better relationship? Have a conversation. Do you deserve a raise? Have a conversation. Know your worth and don’t be afraid to ask for it.
- It’s okay to be proud of yourself
Those accomplishments in life were not strokes of luck, they were hard work and you should be proud.
- Love isn’t what the movies show
It’s not always big gestures or fatal attraction. It’s spending every day with your best friend. It’s having a home in a person.
- It’s always going to be hard to like yourself.
But there are people who look at you and want to look like you, have your job, have your life. Love yourself.
- Appreciate what you have.
Stop focusing so much on what you don’t have.
- Go everywhere, do everything!
Travel while you’re young and do it while you can. Live new places, take advantage of every new opportunities.
- Everything ebbs and flows.
Relationships, your friendships, your career. They all have their ups and downs and in the ends the things that matter stick around.
- Challenge yourself.
If you don’t like something, change it. If you’re bored, learn something new. Never. Stop. Learning.
- It’s okay to be afraid.
Don’t let it stop you.
- Being alone is the key to being happy with your life.
If you don’t take some time alone, even if you’re in a relationship, you’ll never know who you are and you’ll never be happy.
- Don’t let social media get you down.
It’s not real and you are.
- Stop wasting time on people who don’t care about you time at all.
There will always be people who don’t give as much as you do and they’re just not worth it. They’re not worth crying over or putting effort into.
- Mistakes shape who you are.
And they might feel terrible at the time, they might still feel terrible today. But you’ve learned.
- Exes shape who you are.
Even those almost-relationships and it’s okay to think about them from time to time. The good times made you happy, the bad times taught you lessons.
- Everyone fails.
You can’t be good at everything, but don’t stop trying. Excel in what you’re good at and continue to work on the things you can do better at.
- Change is good.
And it’s okay to be afraid, but it’s not a bad thing to be different than you were at 21.
- Take everything at your own pace.
Even if everyone’s getting engaged or married or having babies – that’s not your life. Embrace your pace.
- You’ll disappoint people.
You’ll tell your parents you hate them when you’re in high school. You’ll break someone’s heart. You’ll betray a friend. Apologize and grow from it.
- Happiness isn’t guaranteed.
You have to work at it, just like everything else.
- So many people love you.
So many more than you could ever imagine. They’d all miss you if you were gone. Some of them look up to you, some of them need you. Never forget that.
- Care about yourself more than others.
Yupp, I said it. How can you give to others when you can’t even give to yourself? Don’t reserve all the love and happiness in your soul for others. Make sure to feed yourself, take care of your mental health.
- And take care of your physical health.
It’s easy to skip the gym, eat the junk food, and forget why you were taking care of yourself in the first place. Imagine all the great things you can do if you take care of yourself.
- Not everyone will like you.
And you’ll start encountering more of those people throughout your life – it’s okay though, we’re not meant to please everyone.
- It gets better.
I wish I could tell high school/ middle school me this over and over and over again. I was miserable and I turned my life around. In my 25 (almost 26) years, life has certainly become a lot better.