I was certain that I’d written a version of this post last year and the year previous, but as it turns out, I did no such thing. That brings me to the point of today’s post- although late, here are sixteen meaningful lessons I’ve learned over the course of my small lifetime. Enjoy, and I hope you’re able to take something away.
Your teenage years aren’t necessarily the best.
Whether spoken or unspoken, there is this largely false idea that your teenage years are the best of your life. It’s really not this black and white at all. There is no timeline on when you’re in your prime, because it’s different from everybody. Right now, I know I’m not there yet. I’m currently stuck in that weird in-between where there’s more responsibility and new things to tackle, but little recognition for it. When I think about getting older, it’s not about wishing my life away, but wanting to move into a new stage where I feel I could really be all that I’m capable of.
Be vocal about the things that move you or you feel need change.
Don’t stifle the voice that yearns to call you or others to action. There are so many worthy causes and numerous small and big ways in which you can make a difference. Say what you truly feel- say “I love you” honestly and often, because a reminder can’t hurt. Speak even if your voice shakes or others cower down. You and your individual power is special.
Some things you’ll only understand once you experience them.
We remember the things that change us in life and oftentimes, when we reflect on them, we’re transported back to that time, feeling unsettlingly similar to how we did then. Finding true love is one. Grieving someone you thought you’d have forever and a day with is another. Becoming a parent. Finding your passion.
Empathy is far more appreciated than sympathy.
Empathy is understanding, sympathy is pity. When we empathise we walk in another’s shoes, but when we pity, we degrade.
No one person is entirely good or bad.
“Nobody’s all good or bad, and nobody’s all light or dark. Every human being has so many different aspects and facets to them. And there can be something noble and something really dark and dangerous going on in a person all at the same time.”
Happiness will look different for you all the time.
When I think of my happiness, I remember moments of utter elation when I wanted to jump and down and never stop. I remember being so happy I smiled with teeth, which, if you know me, you’ll realise is a rarity. Other times I might be overcome with a deep sense of satisfaction that blossoms inside of me and slowly radiates out. I remember times in solace, happy tears streaming down my face. Quiet, unbridled joy, relief. Happiness in all your seasons and moments will look different and you’ll come to know it.
It’s important to know what you want to do, but essential to know how you’re going to make it happen.
You cannot dream something it reality, but you can consciously create. As people, we are absolute magic. We hold infinite possibilities within us at all points in time. For a while I’ve had my plan of becoming an interior designer and starting my own business while continue to blog as a side occupation. I’d also like to start seriously thinking about earning money on this site. I had all these plans and first wanted to make sure it was my calling, my passion, so I sat on it. Now though, it feels like I’ve been called to action. I’m ready to take my next steps to get myself to where I need to be.
Closure is sometimes all you need.
There have been situations in my life where other people think I’m hung up on something, but really it’s about knowing the truth and wanting to get to the bottom of things. Closure.. it’s about knowing there is an end or resolution or simply just getting an explanation.
I met someone last year who was turning into a very good friend. Somewhere along the line though, he stopped talking to me entirely. I couldn’t work it out. I was friends with him and his group and out of all of those people, he was the only one I couldn’t speak to anymore. I never did get an answer. I don’t mind, but I guess I just expected more.
You don’t need to move on from things, you just need to move through them.
There are many things in life that you can’t forget about and ultimately don’t need to. Trauma and life changing events can’t be moved on from, but simply moved through. It’s all about what you can and can’t bring back. When healing from trauma, a healing that is entirely non linear, a new normal is left in place. There is no getting back to who you were, because a new you has come of your situation.
Within reason, do what is best for you because you are the only one who will live with it.
Other people will always have their opinions of where you should take your life and how you should use your time. For one, I don’t have any desire to finish high school. My plan has always been to continue to year Ten, then go to tafe and study interior design. So many people seem scared of this idea and want to project their own ideas onto me of what my future will look like if I do this. Ultimately, what can I say? This is not a choice for them but a choice for me.
Many things are bittersweet, which is why you have to allow your happiness and sadness to coexist. In my case, it was grief and relief at the same time.
Life is full of uncertainty. Sometimes it’s hard to find a balance between a sense of living with the things we can’t control and the reality that most of us experience many happy moments sprinkled in throughout the day.
The best way I can describe the simultaneous existence of these polar opposites is to say it feels absurd, like sobbing uncontrollably… whilst you also laugh uncontrollably. It’s living with great hesitation. In my personal life, it’s seeing the way my partner goes about doing things. It’s knowing that he is such a workaholic that had he not been stopped by illness, he wouldn’t have had time for a relationship! It’s celebrating things other people take for granted. It’s saying goodbye before you’ve said hello, a disruption of the natural order of being. It’s losing a life that never should’ve been, yet is more precious than you ever could’ve imagined. I was raped. I lost a child to miscarriage. What comforted me is knowing my baby is straight up in heaven and will never be touched by the darkness or witness pain, fear and struggle. I never thought I’d talk about this here. I guess this is me taking my power back in a most unexpected way. I don’t know if this is something you’d like to hear more about, but I felt today was as good a day as any to break the silence.
The best thing you can have is a growth mindset.
Modern psychology talks about belief systems and how they affect our own abilities as well as potentially fuel our behaviour and predict success. The opposite of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset which assumes that our character, ability and intelligence are given and can’t really be changed or improved upon in any meaningful way. Success is seen as an affirmation of those supposed inherent traits.
Ultimately; a constant, relentless striving for success and perfection, which makes the fixed mindset unattainable and unrealistic. A growth mindset thrives on challenge and the broadening of existing talents and abilities. Failure, a bruise, not a tattoo. It is seen as an opportunity for strengthening.. a springboard off which we propel ourselves into something greater.
A power outfit is an absolute must.
Power dressing- on a more lighthearted note, everybody wants to feel their most empowered and confident self. For me, I love a red lip. It’s smart, bold and almost always seen as risky and that’s what makes attempting to pull it off so much fun.
Embracing your inner child is so important- be silly, be passionate, be brave, love harder; fiercer.
Think back to your innocent younger self.. naive to the ways of the world (or at least more so, haha!) and totally carefree because of it. There’s no real sense of anything.. of time or commitment. It was utterly spontaneous. You did what you did and usually had a lot of fun with it. Get to know your inner child too. Work out what parts of you need healing. Dig deep. Human beings are multi-faceted- we’ve got layers upon layers of hidden desires, needs, beliefs and stories about the world and our place in it. The early experiences we have as small children shape our personality, build self esteem and emotional balance. They become memories when we get older and reach adulthood or continue to present themselves as problems, manifesting in all kinds of ways. Doing the inner work will always be worth it. It is an investment of self.
Hold the hand of the child that lives deep in your soul. For this child, nothing is impossible- Paulo Coelho.
Sleep is much more worthwhile than late nighters.
As I write this, it’s past midnight and I’m starting to get sleepy, but also enjoying the peace that comes with this time. It’s uninterrupted, which is rare and so lovely. I should get to bed though, because sleep really is more worthwhile than yet another late night! You always feel it in the morning. Sleep debt is real. The cumulative effects of not getting sufficient sleep lead to fatigue, mental and physical. Think droopy eyelids while your class teacher drones on and on. I think that’s when I get most of my shut eye. Time to kick that habit, huh?
Anyway, this is how you’d go about settling sleep debt- say you’ve missed ten hours of sleep over the course of a week. You’d need to add three to four extra hours on the weekend as well as an hour or two per night the following week until you have repaid the debt fully. Even having a method like this exist is proof enough that a sleep schedule is worth working out!
Most of all, I learnt that I’m an old soul..
I never seem to be on the same page as others my age or close to. I can’t relate to them. I thought it was because of my experiences and what they molded me into, and partly, it is, but not entirely. I resonate with the most unexpected of people. I like solitude. I’m quiet and reflective. It feels often like I was born in the wrong body or in a time that isn’t right. It’s an odd way to be, but I like who I am. I do feel underestimated a lot though. Like the representation of my generations fits so many people that we all just end up bunched in the same category. It is unfair, but I seek to prove those people wrong. Ultimately, it doesn’t take a lot.