To be completely honest, my birthday is my least favorite time of the year. Every year, I dread the date as it approaches. Birthdays are a time for celebration, fun, gifts, and a time where you are showered with love. Naturally, I sought external validation. If no one remembered my birthday, I felt unloved, irrelevant, and unvalued.
In addition, we feel pressured to achieve more when we hit a certain age. All of this makes it hard to enjoy what is supposed to be a special day.
This year was a bit different. Although I can never entirely rid of these feelings, I felt more at peace. I didn’t do anything extravagant. I worked on my birthday and spent the night alone. On top of that, I lost a good amount of friends due to distance and other additional factors.
Despite all of this, I know that I and every one of you guys matters despite external validation or the lack thereof, we receive. Here are my 23 life-changing lessons I learned at 23.
My Life-changing Lessons
- Your failures and your successes don’t determine your life’s path.
- Your goals and values can change — this is ok.
- Adaptation is key.
Nothing in your life will ever be constant. Having the ability to adapt and shift mindsets will be invaluable in all aspects of life.
- Time heals (as well as good food!).
- Life is too short to settle in situations you’re not happy in.
You might not be able to leave a situation right away, but once you notice it, you should work on it. One day, the actions you take will lead to something greater.
- Grades don’t matter as much as you think they do.
They do not, and should not, define your worth as a person. Although it may matter for certain occupations, there are ways around it.
- Your ability to persevere and grind will get your farther than the majority of people in life.
- Revenge is time and thought-consuming.
The best revenge is to forgive, not have that person or scenario occupy your mind, and to live your best life. Seeing someone miserable isn’t as satisfying as you’d think it is.
- Being mean to another person isn’t worth it.
You will most definitely regret any actions you take to be malicious towards another person and it’ll haunt your memories forever.
- Standing up for yourself is important.
There are times where you need to say no. Take care of yourself so you can better serve others.
- People want to be your friend! There are 7 billion people in the world. Even if it feels like you’ll never make a friend, if you continue to put yourself out there and continue to try, there will be someone out there.
- Nourishing your relationships is what keeps them alive.
Water your relationships by checking in with friends and family.
- Base your life around your core values.
Values will keep you grounded and will give you that greater sense of purpose. Goals come and go, but living life by your core values will keep you going.
- Never take anything for granted.
You don’t want to regret and realize something until it’s gone.
- You can’t change people.
No amount of effort will give you the results you want. The catalyst for change only happens within the individual.
- Your thoughts determine your limit.
They shape who you are and what you can achieve.
- The easier path is actually the harder path.
Things that seem like a shortcut are just traps for a long and convoluted path. There are no significant results without hard work.
- Experience is more valuable than whatever grades or test scores you receive.
Real-world application is something you can’t get from studying textbooks.
- It’s ok to remove yourself from toxic people.
You’ll save mental energy that can go towards something more productive.
- You’re never too old to try something new.
Those who say otherwise are not the people you want to be around.
- Always ask and reach out for opportunities, even if you don’t feel qualified for them. This is how most people get their foot in the door.
- Fail and fail often.
You never know what you like, what works and what doesn’t, until you tried it. Those who never failed never learned.
- Love and treat yourself like someone you love.
You grow with nourishment, self-reflection, and effort. Loving yourself is a lot of effort but effort well spent.
Although I’m not the wisest person out there, I can say that I loved, lost, and fostered important relationships. Along the journey, there were many ups and many downs. However, I am still ok, and I know you will be ok too. I still have a lot to learn, but I’ll carry these lessons into my future actions.
What you do and achieve is not an indicator of your success. You matter, despite what anyone says (or doesn’t say). Your relationship with yourself is the most important, so please nurture and foster that.
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