As a five year old, I remember telling my Mom that I would be a ‘Neurosurgeon’ when I grow up. I had heard the word from someone who also told me that Neurosurgeons operate on people’s brains. Soon after, when a friend of mine told me that he wants to fly planes, my life goal changed from being a neurosurgeon to a pilot. From being a teacher to a singer, I’ve dreamed of it all because that’s what people always ask – “What do you want to be in life?”
As kids, we don’t really think what it means to be an adult. We don’t believe that adulthood comes with responsibilities and that life is more about the lessons learned through whichever path we decide to take up. We grow out of school, build a life away from home, drift apart from our closest friends and face heartbreaks while also trying to live up to our professional commitments. And more than our profession, it’s the life lessons learned throughout the journey that shape us up into the person we eventually become.
In the 26 years of my life, I can barely recall anything that went as per the plans. And as much as I hated growing up, I’m happy that I got to learn the many lessons that life has taught me till now. Because it’s always the ‘growing up’ part that helps us find our way from being kids to being adults. Through the struggles and the successes and those emotional breakdowns, I have learned many lessons in the past 26 years of my life that I would like to share with you today. Hope you can relate with me!
1. Happiness Can’t Be Chased. It’s A Personal Choice – Back in my teenage, I used to believe that success, and thus happiness, can only be found in future. I remember working hard to achieve my goals only to realize it later that I wasn’t happy. It took me years of experience and wisdom to know that happiness is a personal choice and can be discovered only if we learn to live in the moment and celebrate little things in life. Today, I feel the happiest when I buy new stationery items, water my plants every evening and spend an hour chatting with my family after dinner.
2. What’s Worrying You Today Will Make You Laugh At Yourself Two Years Down The Line – I remember how my self-esteem took a hit when I failed several job interviews. As someone who has always attached her self-worth to grades and money, I lost my confidence within a few days. But when I finally got a job, I realized that I had been worrying for nothing. I still regret letting go of many happy moments because my mind was entirely focused upon getting a job. But guess what, your worries can keep you caged only until you are willing to let yourself out.
3. Life Is Unpredictable. So Stop Making Plans And Go With The Flow – The biggest truth about humans is that we change and outgrow ourselves. Everything that we are planning for right now might not even mean anything tomorrow. Well, financial planning should be an exception to this rule. But everything else is sure to be more fun when you just let yourself go with the flow and enjoy the ride.
4. I Am Doing My Best – Self-sabotage is something that I had always engaged in as a kid. I used to beat myself up for having fought with my parents or siblings or friends. I used to think that I was a failure when my words would fumble during a public speaking competition. But over the years, as I grew up as a person, I realized that I had always given my best even when I failed. After all, life isn’t about being perfect, but being better than who you were yesterday.
5. No One Really Cares What You Are Doing. YOU DO YOU! – For a long time, my actions were largely a result of what I believed others thought about me. The fear of being judged always pushed me away from the things I wanted to pursue in life. But over the years, I realized that people don’t really care about what others are doing because they have their own issues to address. This realization felt like a huge weight off my back and I felt more liberated than ever.
6. Don’t Build Your Self-Esteem Around Just One Thing – My work used to be the only confidence booster for me until three years ago when I decided to resign from my job. Soon after, I started feeling that I wasn’t worthy enough to deserve anyone’s respect, not even my Mom. The year 2017 taught me how unfairly harsh I had become on myself and how tough life could become that way.
In order to build my self-esteem, I started spending more time with people who understood me and loved me. I also took up new hobbies and worked on gaining more knowledge in order to build my lost confidence bit by bit. Now that I am running my own business and have family and friends who love me no matter what, I realize how important it is to never base your self-confidence around a single thing in life.
7. Self-Love Is The Only Key To A Fulfilled Life – The moment I stopped hating myself, the world started to look different to me in every way possible. When I learned to forgive myself for making mistakes, I realized that I wasn’t a culprit but a learner. I learned to cut myself some slack for being a slow learner because that’s how I am. When I let go of toxic people from my life, I feel satisfied for having prioritized my own happiness. Self-love is a superpower that can entirely change how you look at the world.
These are a handful of the many lessons that I learned in my 20s that have certainly changed my life in some or the other way. I would love to make this conversation two-way. Let me know about the life lessons that you have learned till now and how it has impacted your life. You can drop a comment below or write me at firstname.lastname@example.org