As I write this, I just turned 26. I’m in the middle of my adulthood, but I still feel the Britney song, I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman.
While most of my friends are getting married or having kids, I still can’t decide where to eat later. Seriously, it’s a tough decision! Despite this, I’ve learned a thing or two in my 26 years.
These are the 26 things I’ve learned at 26:
1. Your faith is the core of your being. Faith is having complete confidence and trust in who you are and what you are doing. Many spend their lives being defined by their religion instead of letting their faith define them.
2. Never forget your family and home while trying to make a life of your own. We are all guilty of being too preoccupied with our work and goals that we often forget that our parents are growing old, our siblings are all moving out and our grandparents barely see us.
3. Keep a positive circle of friends. Learn to unfriend in real life. It is important to surround yourself with people who will challenge you, motivate you, inspire you and most of all, support you.
4. Your first love doesn’t have to be your last. Although we want our first love to be our forever, sometimes it’s meant to be our one great lesson in preparing us for our relationships in the future.
5. There is overflowing beauty in the art of letting go. Breaking up has valuable lessons. This is one of the toughest decisions in life, but when someone brings you more hurt than joy, it’s time.
6. Your body is indeed a wonderland. Love it. Forget about the body shamers. They will pick on your weight, skin, eyes and every other physical feature. You have to learn to be truly comfortable in your own skin.
7. Health is wealth. Invest in it. In our 20’s, we have so much energy! We work all day, party all night and abuse our bodies. It’s best to develop healthy habits now before our bodies fail us.
8. Train your mind and heart to see the good in everything. We will encounter many difficult moments in life. It will only get tougher as we grow older, but we have to believe that everything really does happen for a reason.
9. Find something you are truly passionate about and make a continuous effort to pursue it. Don’t wait for the time you will regret not chasing what you want to do. It doesn’t matter if you fail over and over again.
10. No man is an island but learn to depend on yourself first. Step out into the world knowing you are capable of paying your own bills and getting your own problems sorted. Your parents are not your emergency funds!
11. Work your ass off then keep your mouth shut. Stop bragging about your achievements. Make people guess what you are up to then surprise them with where you are.
12. Be yourself. It’s been said – the world worships the original. Seriously, there are too many copycats in this world. Don’t end up being one of them.
13. You can lie to the world, but you can’t lie to who you see in the mirror.
14. Don’t underestimate the power of time. What’s hurting you now is the exact same thing you will be laughing about in a few months.
15. Forgiveness unlocks a door to love and happiness. When you forgive, you will be free as a bird. It feels nice to be a bird.
16. Don’t expect people to have the same heart as yours. Have you ever treated someone with so much kindness, but they don’t treat you the same way? It’s because we have different hearts. Someone else along the way will repay that kindness. Take note: Someone else!
17. Always make them wonder why you are still smiling. In the toughest times of your life, don’t stop smiling and laughing. It’s the easiest way to stop the release of Cortisol.
18. Intelligence is always sexy. Explore, read and don’t stop learning! There are so many wonderful things to discover in this world so learn as much as you can.
19. No matter your income, save for the rainy days. You can start with a piggy bank, keeping a few bills in another wallet or get an investment plan you can afford.
20. Fall in and out of love. We all go crazy when we feel those butterflies in our tummy, but become tired and jaded every time we get disappointed and hurt. It’s okay. As what Taytay says, “I got a blank space, baby.”
21. Wander, enjoy nature and nourish your soul. Go on random trips! Go book that plane ticket and don’t think of the if’s how’s and why’s.
22. Do not give the haters and naysayers a second look.
23. Invest in yourself. Invest in learning and beautiful memories. Expensive and fancy things aren’t forever. Go for what no one can take away from you, you’ll have it even when you turn seventy.
24. When you feel like giving up, that’s the best time to get back up. As they say, winning moments come from those troubled and heart wrenching times.
25. Forget societal expectations. Don’t conform to these made up rules of how we should live. We’re free to dictate how our lives flow. It’s our will that leads us and not the pressure from family and peers. Once again, it’s your life my dear, not theirs.
26. It’s OK not to completely figure out life. The true beauty of life lies in its mystery so just let life happen.
To end, here are lyrics from one of my favorite songs, Walk on the Water by Britt Nicole:
So what are you waiting for? What do you have to lose?
Your insecurities, they try to hold to you
But you know you’re made for more
So don’t be afraid to move
Your faith is all it takes
And you can walk in the water too
Just like you, I’ll also take my step into the unknown but I’m still really undecided with where to eat!