Today is my 22nd birthday. Another year of feeling a little more like an adult - learning, doing and experiencing what life has to offer.
I like to reflect and look back on what the year’s been like: soak in all of the amazing people and experiences, and take some lessons moving forward, to do better.
So, here are 7 lessons I learned, in my 21st year on planet Earth.
1: The Value of Providing Value.
I started this blog a year and a half ago, because I wanted to give back. Because I thought that after some specific point in my teenage years, I'd gone past the threshold of learning, and absorbing, and it was time for me to return the favour to the people around me.
I think a fundamental part of any person’s life is the joy they get from helping someone, in any respect. We all have our own ways of showing it, and the feeling sneaks up on us from moment to moment. Cherishing that idea, and the power and positive potential that comes from giving, is what really makes me happy - I'm slowly realising that as I get older.
And if that isn't reason enough - life rewards you for doing it.
2: The Memories You’ll Cherish are Happening Right Now.
When I was in primary school, I lived a happy, carefree life.
When I was in secondary school, I had a good time, but I still missed primary school.
When I started university, I had some great experiences, but I still missed secondary school.
I’d always leave each moment in the past wishing it had stayed just a bit longer. But the realisation I come to now is that as much as I miss what's already happened, I’ll be missing what’s happening now in the future.
I learnt to appreciate the present, and savour what I get to experience.
Don’t miss out on what was, or what could be, for what is.
3: The Power of Choice.
As you grow older, you start to get a lot more control. First, over what you do - then, what you think, and eventually, how you live your entire life.
It’s all up to you, and whether you actively take charge of it or leave it up to what’s happening around you - you’re making that choice.
Why not strive to take matters into your own hands and improve?
One statistic says we make up to 35,000 decisions a day. Assuming we're asleep 7 hours a day, that's 2000 decisions every hour, or one decision every 2 seconds.
Every moment of every day, we get the choice to tip the needle of the compass one way or another, and make steps towards living better lives.
That, to me, is the greatest power you can give to someone.
4: Putting Yourself Out There.
The more I look back at the opportunities I was given, and take gratitude in what I managed to achieve - the more I realise what else I could have done, had I taken just that much more effort to act - to seize opportunities, and focus on making every experience new.
Your comfort zone is a dangerous place: it can keep you there your entire life if you let it.
Diving in headfirst, taking the chances that become available to you to do new and exciting things, and doing them despite fear. Having done these things, it's very difficult to regret any decision.
This year, I finally started on YouTube and Tiktok. I improved my public speaking, and I took a step forward leading teams. If anything, I wish I'd done them sooner.
5: Talking to Yourself.
Whether it’s through journaling, introspective thinking or literally speaking the words out loud.
Sometimes hearing what we say back gives us an entirely new perspective on what we're doing or where we're headed. Especially in a world that's becoming more fast-paced, taking time to look back at the thoughts you had, even a week or a month ago, can be equivalent to talking through it with someone.
Everyday, we look in the mirror to keep our physical appearances in check.
Why don’t we do the same on a mental level?
6: Consistency is Key for Any Success.
The longer and more in depth you think about something, and the more time you spend on it - taking action and walking down that path - the closer you get to the big returns.
So many people give up on what they believe in too early, purely because they don't see results.
The results never come quickly. But they do come in spades, if you give it time.
Think of it like watering a garden. Through your habits, you tend to the goals in your life, to work towards something bigger. Stay on it long enough, keep on giving, and eventually, it will bear fruit.
7: Thinking About the Game You're Playing.
With everything you do in life, you're on a quest for something. Wealth, love, peace, they're all end-game goals, win conditions that we set at the beginning - and we get to decide them.
In an arcade packed with every possible game you could play (the arcade of life) why not actively choose what you want to win?
There's nothing worse than realising, regardless of whether you beat the game or don't have what it takes, it just isn't fun anymore. But the best thing is, you can choose what to play for each day - each moment, even.
Look back every so often to see if what you're working for is something you really want to win at.
If you made it to the end of the post, thanks so much for reading. The journey that I've been through documenting these lessons has been so insightful for me, and I hope it had the same effect for you. Here's to another year filled with love, happiness and fulfilment.
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