A few weeks ago, I turned 27 years old. (Okay, a long overdue post.) I should be proud of that, sure. Not everyone in the world reaches that age, and yes, I am not old… yet. And so, because I have written several similar listicles for Thought Catalog, here’s another one in honor of myself turning a year older: 27 things you (might) learn by 27 (or not, up to you).
1. Forgiving is not easy, but is essential.
I have met so many people in my life who would always have a hard time forgiving people who have wronged them. I am not an exception. Forgiving is downright difficult. It means you need to be humble enough to accept the fact that people cannot always be the way you want them to be. This should mean that it is normal for them to disappoint you for some reason. There will be people who will not like you, people who will hurt you, people who will not care what you think or say or do. And it’s essential for you to forgive them, because that is the only way you’d be able free yourself from the pain. Let go of all the hatred the world has been throwing at you, and just keep on forgiving, no matter how difficult it could be.
2. Your life is not about pleasing other people.
Growing up, we always think that we NEED to please everyone around us. We need to be perfect in everyone’s eyes so we can be accepted by society. But that’s not exactly how it works. You cannot pretend to be somebody you are not just to please other people. That would really be tiring for you.
No matter what you do, you will NEVER please every single person in the world. Even the most powerful and most successful people cannot please every single person around them. We cannot do that. People will have varying opinions about you, and that’s fine. As long as you are not hurting anyone along the way, you’re fine.
3. Because really, you cannot please everyone.
When I started writing, I would open my email to see hundreds of hate mails and mean comments. The day would start out pretty crappy, and that’s how it would be until I get in bed at night. That’s because I let these people I don’t even know tell me that I’m not good enough, that they’re better.
The thing is… As we grow older, we learn how to let these things pass. We learn how to listen to people, but not hold on to what they say. We listen, we learn and then we move along. We learn how to appreciate ourselves more and we realize our worth.
And so, Kids, I say this to you:
You cannot let anyone bring you down just because they feel smarter than you, or because they say they’re better than you. They are NOT. They cannot tell you how to live your life, how you should look like or what clothes you have to wear. They cannot judge you because of your beliefs and because you act a certain way. They cannot tell you that you need to lose weight or you should cut your hair like this, because it might look better on you. It just doesn’t work that way.
You cannot let society make you feel unimportant, because in reality, you are as important and as wonderful as anybody else. There are so many wonderful things out there waiting for you. You should not feel small just because one person says they are better than you. Know your worth. You are beautiful and you are amazing. It doesn’t matter what other people think. The only thing that matters is what you think about yourself. And you are pretty freakin’ awesome.
4. Things won’t go your way all the time.
And that’s okay. There will be some things that you would really want in life, but you won’t get. Not just yet. Sometimes, there will be better things for you. Perfect time.
5. You will lose people along the way.
Some people who were in your life were there just to teach you a lesson. And then, they would have to go. And you will need to just move along, and suck it in. It will hurt, of course it will hurt. There will be times when you would feel so alone, like the universe is conspiring against you, and all the people who matter to you leave you, just like that. But the thing is, there is a reason why people are given to you in your lifetime. Sometimes, they stay. And other times, it will not work, and they really just have to go away.
6. People will forget about you.
In your life, you will do some amazing things and you will feel really accomplished at some point. But that’s just you. People will forget the good things you did, they will forget all the help you’ve given along the way. And guess what? You will forget about some people too.
7. You will make mistakes.
Some will be really bad mistakes. And you will go “uh oh” most of the time.
8. But those mistakes will only make you stronger.
True, this is somewhat a very cliché excuse, but you really do learn something, if not a lot, from your mistakes. One day, you will look back and realize that it’s good you made that certain mistake in your life. At least, you would be able to say that you have learned from it and carried that lesson with you for the rest of your life.
9. There is only so much you can take.
Toxic people, toxic relationships, all these negativity in your life, they must go and you know it. There is only so much you can take, you’re only human. As we get older, we make better decisions in life. That being said, we need to choose to let go of all the things (and people) who are not good for us anymore. Let go of vices that are making you sick. Let go of things that are holding you back from doing what you really want to do in life. Let go of relationships that are hurting you everyday.
10. Your flaws are what make you YOU.
Instagram has instilled in us some sort of envy, in which many of us are dying to look like all these “beautiful” people, and sometimes to the point of hating our selves, our flaws. You know better. However you look like, even if you feel like it is way out of society’s league, you still are beautiful. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise.
11. You do not know what other people are going through.
This one’s a bit difficult for me to swallow when I was younger. When people would be rude, I would really be annoyed. And it would ruin my day instantly. But the thing is, everyone is going through something right now, and we would not know what that is. Accept people as they are and don’t expect them to be how you want them to be.
12. Being kind is a must.
No matter what happens, being kind is something that we should never forget. Respect people and be polite, no matter how rude they are to you, no matter how annoyed you are. As the Dalai Lama says: “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”
13. When you learn to live with less, you find that you have so much more.
Millenials keep on buying stuff. Because, you know, it’s cool. Living with less though, that is somewhat difficult when you really think about it. But that’s when you’d realize that you have so much more: when you are able to really be happy with only what you already have.
14. There will be happiness, and there will be suffering. Be grateful.
Life is not just about always being happy. It’s also accepting pain and suffering, going through all of it, and still being able to exude happiness. We need to learn how to be grateful even in times of trouble. When I was younger, this would be such a horrible thing to try to understand, but now, it makes sense. We cannot be grateful only for the good things that come to our lives. We need to be thankful even for the not-so-good ones, too!
15. It’s good to surround yourself with good friends and good people.
When we were younger, it’s always our priority to be around the people who other people think matter. You know, the cool kids. I was like that before too. It felt like it was the right thing to do, considering that the society is cruel to everyone. I would go with the popular kids, the cool ones, even though they weren’t really that great. As we get older, we realize that it doesn’t matter what society thinks. As long as we are with people who matter to us, those who make us genuinely happy and those who share with us nothing but positive energy, then everything is just awesome.
16. And it’s good to be a good friend.
You cannot always count on people when it comes to sharing love and joy and kindness. It cannot always be just them towards you. We learn that being a good friend not only makes life so much easier, it also allows us to keep them in our lives for a long time.
17. Comparing yourself to others will only make you miserable.
Meh, I don’t know about you, but this still happens even as we grow old-er. We keep on comparing ourselves to people who we think are living so much happier lives. We see all these posts of people eating and drinking and traveling and doing so many cool things, and we feel so inferior, like life has been really bad to us. But really, we can stop now. We have to learn how to be grateful of what we have here and now, simple as that.
18. Most, if not all, of the things that you worry about are only in your head.
I am an anxious person. I worry about the craziest things. What if I touch the coin and I touch my eye, and I go blind? (Does not make sense.) What if I was in the car, shotgun, and the door suddenly opens and I fall and a truck hits me and I die? (Again, does not make sense.) You see, most of the things that we worry about are there only to worry us and to make us go mad. It’s a waste of time to think about all these things when we know for a fact that we do not have control over everything. Let go. Relax.
19. Water is good for you. And sunscreen, too!
We’re getting older. It’s okay to not care about things, you know, like what other people think or say or do. But if you haven’t already, it’s about time you start taking care of yourself. Drink a lot of water. Avoid unhealthy stuff. Moisturize. Alcohol is okay, but in moderation. If you have been smoking, maybe by now, you can start reading about lung cancer and all those shizz, and then just quit already. Or not, up to you.
20. Apologizing isn’t so bad.
Back then, it’s pretty difficult to swallow our pride and just let it go. I, for one, wouldn’t ;ever drop an argument. Because my mind was set on always winning. I didn’t care about how other people would feel, it didn’t matter if people would end up hurt at the end of the day. And it shouldn’t be that way. Learn to apologize. Be humble and accept defeat. Say you’re sorry. It’s not so bad.
21. Everything happens for a reason.
Bad things may be happening to you right now, but there is a reason for everything. Sometimes, we ask why something is happening. There are moments when we cannot really accept them, we don’t want them to happen, we get angry and we become miserable. But really, it’s normal to feel bad. You need to learn how to accept things, even the bad ones. Know that some moments are inevitable in life, and the only thing we can do is surpass them and move along.
22. Laughter isn’t the best medicine, but it’s pretty good for you.
Someone asked me why they find it so hard to laugh about things like I do. My response: “Darling, happiness is not something that just happens. It isn’t served to you on a platter each time you ask for it. You have to learn how to choose it over anything else in everything that you do. You have to learn how to appreciate the little things, and be grateful even for the things that hurt and those that break your heart, the things that you feel are too difficult to handle, and those that are making you question everything you believe in. These things will help you grow as a person and as a loving being. You learn from them, and if you have to, you let them go. Everything that is happening in your life has a reason, and whatever that reason is, we have to choose to be grateful. Happiness will follow. You need to stop waiting for good things to happen. You need to stop complaining about the unpleasant things that are in your life right now. Grasp valuable lessons from them, learn, and then move along. Life is not easy, but it’s really beautiful.”
23. It’s not about what you used to be; it’s about what you can be.
Sure, you have to be thankful that everything that happened in your past happened, but do not let your past define you. It’s not about what you used to be back then, it’s always about what you can do and what you can be in the future. Give yourself a chance to, at least, be able to experience life without regrets. You will not be here today without the people and the experiences from your past, so you have to appreciate that, take the lessons you’ve learned, and move along.
24. You can find gratitude everywhere.
Life is short, Kid. You are only given a certain number of years, and then you’re dead meat. You’re young now, you’re mad at the world for being too much of everything, you think you’re too cool for school, you think you’re too cool for people, you think those who care about you do not mean you well, that they are just trying to control your life, you never listen, you’re always frowning – you think you have all the time you want, but really, you don’t. You keep on waiting for the right time, for the right moment, for signs that this is really it. But everyday is the right time, everyday is the right moment. This here, right now, this is really it. Now is the best time to be grateful, you should stop waiting to be happy and just be happy. The next thing you know, you’re old AF and your time is much more limited. At some point, you will look back and you’d wish you could have appreciated the little things more. No matter how much you try to stop it, you will get old and you will feel it and you will know it. Be grateful. Happiness is everywhere.
25. Getting older is something that some, unfortunately, do not get to achieve.
Ian, the boyfriend, and I had this weird argument before my birthday. He said I seemed too sad. I said I wasn’t. I just get a bit weird before my birthday, really. I get all sulky and reminiscent and all. It could be because I felt like I was getting really old. I didn’t want to celebrate, because I thought about all the kids in the streets and the victims of war, and families stuck somewhere with no food, and all those stuff. After some contemplation here and there (and a bit of Ian’s usual words of wisdom), I realized that we should actually be grateful for getting old. Sure, it’s sad that there are people all over the world who are not able to eat, and those who do not have families, and those who do not have homes. But we should be grateful of our own lives, because some people die young, and we’re still here. We don’t need to fear age. We celebrate life, that’s what this is about.
Look. I know it’s scary. To trust people and to love them with all your heart. But love them anyway. This doesn’t mean you have to love people only in a romantic sense. Love everyone around you, even those who have hurt you in the past. Love people around you, those who are judging you, people who wrong you, those you are not really fond of you. Love your friends, and love your enemies even more. This is hard, I know. I found this incredibly difficult to understand before, but it makes sense, right? In life, we shouldn’t just accept the good ones, the good people. We also have to accept the people who are there to teach us lessons. We love them just as they are and accept their flaws. Sometimes, it’s necessary to let some people go, especially if they aren’t really affecting your life in a positive way anymore. But this doesn’t mean we hate them. Even strangers need love. And animals. And plants. And things. Love the world and the world will love you back.
27. God is always with you.
You see, Kids, sometimes, even when hope is somewhat shaky and it feels like life is just playing a big joke on you, God is working on His plans for you, He has wonderful things planned out just for you, because He loves you and He wants you to be happy. You may not see it today or tomorrow or in the next couple of months, but really, there’s something huge out there for you, something you cannot even imagine right now, something you would only dare to dream about. God never gives us things we cannot handle, it could feel like it’s never going to end, but it will eventually be okay, really. I guess it’s okay to panic, to feel like you’re not getting where you want to be, like you’re not feeling the happiness you want to feel, and that you still haven’t met the person you want to be with. PANIC, that’s perfectly fine. You will have your heart broken, but let go: learn from it, drop it, and move along. Things will come your way at the right time. One of these days, you will know it in your heart that you are at your most grateful — everything will fall into place at that exact unexpected “perfect” moment. And when that time comes, you’ll know that that is exactly where you should be. Because life has a way of fixing things like that — you just have to have faith.
Okay, so you don’t have to be 27 to realize these things. Just keep an open mind and learn how to be grateful about everything around you, every single day, good or bad. Sometimes, it’s not easy, but life is really what you make it, so make it a good one.
What is something you’ve learned throughout
your lifetime? I’d love to know!