Today (November 18, 2019) I turn a quarter of a century old! Although, I haven’t been alive for very long I have learned and experienced so much in my time on this floating blue marble. I’d love to share 25 pieces of wisdom that I’ve learned as a twenty five year-old.
25 Pieces of Advice I Learned at 25 Years Old
Don’t Tone Yourself Down
I recently heard a quote that I loved: “You’ll never be too much for people who can’t get enough of you.” I used to apologize to people for being “extra” and now I know that’s one of my best qualities! You know what they say, never let anyone dull your sparkle. Never apologize for being yourself.
You Can Be Alone, But that Doesn’t Mean You Have to be Lonely
You have to be okay with being in your own company. Sometimes being alone to spend time doing your own thing is a form of self-care. It could be reading, drawing, listening to music, or even doing absolutely nothing. Whatever makes you happy, relaxed, or recharged.
Don’t be Afraid to Fly Solo
I often hear my friends say things like, “Thuy, I saw that you went to that event, I would have come, but nobody wanted to come with me” or “Did you know anyone there beforehand? No? You’re so brave.” I’m not brave, I just like being able to make new friends. When we go places with people we know, we tend to stick to our established social circles. I know this is counter-intuitive to what a lot of us have been taught, but sometimes it’s okay to talk to strangers. There was this saying I picked up in Australia that goes, “Do you know why we call everyone ‘mate’? Because a stranger is just a ‘mate’ you haven’t met yet.”
Travel When You Can
Speaking of Australia, I studied abroad in Australia for six months in 2014. Shortly after returning, I got an internship at my university’s study abroad office and helped my younger brother study abroad in his dream country, Japan. I cannot emphasize how important traveling while young is. You might have more difficulty going to another country if you’re already established in your career. Traveling can make you open-minded and it’s great to be able to experience other cultures and lifestyles.
Don’t Be Ashamed that You Aren’t Where You Thought You’d be in Life
Life isn’t a race or competition. Some people develop the idea early on that they know exactly where they’d be at certain ages in their life. “At 18 I’m going to move out of my parents’ house”, “At 21 I’m going to get my dream job”, “At 23 I’m getting married or engaged”, and “At 25 I’m going to own my own house” Sound familiar? People often get frustrated when reality doesn’t align with the deadlines they’ve set for themselves. I’m not saying it isn’t okay to have goals or dreams, but don’t be so hard on yourself if you haven’t achieved what you want when you wanted. As long as you don’t give up and keep working towards it, it’s never too late.
Do Things that are Outside of Your Comfort Zone.
That is, unless you are completely happy or content with how things are going for you. Things that are challenging and make you a little bit afraid at the end of your comfort zone are the keys to growth and change. It’s amazing how a simple act of courage can change your life.
Just Because You Didn’t Follow Your Dreams Doesn’t Give you a Right to Stop People From Pursuing Theirs
The sentiment I usually hear for people doing this is, “Don’t bother”, “Been there, done that”, or “Don’t try, it isn’t worth it”. Well these people are usually trying to come from a good place, they don’t want to see you waste your time or energy pursuing an unrealistic goal/dream and they don’t want to see you get hurt or fail. I hate to have to say this, but the road to success IS paved in failure so you’re not entitled to crush someone’s spirits or dreams just because you’re bitter that it didn’t work out for you. Worse-case-scenario they fail, better-case-scenario they learn from it, and best-case-scenario they succeed! If you’re not there to support your loved ones dreams, then kindly get out of their way.
Never Stop Learning
Whether it’s listening to older relatives talk about your family history, having new life experiences, taking a course, or reading about a topic you enjoy, there’s no such thing as knowing it all. There’s always more information out there to be consumed and more to learn and teach ourselves.
Don’t Occupy Your Mind With People, Who Don’t Even Think About You.
So this is one I struggle with myself. I tend to hold onto grudges towards the people who have wronged me. More often than not, these are people who 1) I never have to interact with again on a regular basis, and 2) Aren’t connected to me via social media in any way (usually because I’ve blocked them). This means there’s a high chance that they don’t think about or remember me, so it doesn’t make any sense to check-in on what they are up to.
Every so often though, Facebook will bring up a memory or old photo and I may be tempted to lurk. My advice is DON’T do it, nothing good can come from it! You won’t see anything that will make you feel better and also why give them a premium piece of property in your thoughts. By being too fixated on the past, you’ll miss out on the present.
Even if you Feel Unlovable, You Deserve to be Loved (Even if It’s by Yourself)
It took me many years to learn to love myself and trust me it hasn’t always been easy. Seeking approval and wanting to be loved is very natural, but I have to emphasize this for the people in the back YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING TO BE WORTHY OF LOVE! Accept yourself and come to terms with what you cannot change. Respect yourself, know your worth, and remember to love yourself unconditionally!
Not Everyone is Going to Like You, and That’s Okay
“You are what you love, not who loves you” -Fall Out Boy. If you thought I was going to make this list without quoting Fall Out Boy at least once, sorry to say you got that one wrong. But in all seriousness, you can be the the ripest pineapple of all time, but there’s still going to be someone who complains that your enzymes are dissolving their tongue. Okay, so that isn’t how the saying goes, but I had to improvise because pineapples are my favorite fruit.
Do what is Right, Not Necessarily what is Popular
“What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.”― Albert Einstein
Think for yourself, and do what is aligned with your morals rather than what everyone else is doing. At the end of the day, life isn’t about popularity and doing the right thing might not be the easiest, but it is worth it.
People Aren’t Their Mistakes, but be Sure to Hold Yourself Accountable
We’re all human, we all make mistakes. I have the utmost respect for those who genuinely show remorse and apologize than those who act like they’re perfect and never make mistakes. A simple “I’m sorry” means nothing if the person apologizing won’t take action or make things right. Apologizing without changing is just manipulation.
If people are willing to atone and actually do something when they’re in the wrong then they are on the right track to forgiveness. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes in my youth that I’m still trying to atone for as an adult. So if I’ve hurt you in the past just know that doing my best to fix myself and be a better person.
Learn to Say ‘No’
I used to be a total people-pleaser to everyone I met; I’d go out of my way to do stuff for people no matter what, even if it wasn’t convenient for me. I never expected anything in return, but after a while I realized that I was giving all my energy to people who were just using me or taking advantage of my kind nature.
Then I learned the power of ‘no’ and don’t get me wrong, if you are complacent all the time and you do say ‘no’ certain people may try to punish you for it or treat you like a bad person. These are manipulators and selfish people. If they don’t respect your ‘no’ for whatever reason is is (I don’t have time, I just don’t feel like it, I’m too busy, etc…) then they don’t respect you. I’ve lost a handful of “friends” in this way and to be honest it’s a relief to be able to focus my energy on the people I love and care for instead.
Live in the Moment
Life is too short to let it pass by while you’re too focused on things that don’t matter. Do not get too anxious or worried about what could happen and don’t get too bogged down on what’s happened in the past. Be conscious and live in the moment. If this means unplugging from social media for a while or putting your phone down at dinnertime to enjoy the company of others, so be it. Just focus on the gift that is the present.
Make Your Own Luck
I am a fan of this definition of luck, “Luck happens when hard work and timing and talent intersect.” The harder you work the more likely you will be to reap the rewards. I’m also a firm believer in the law of attraction and manifesting your own reality with optimism and positive thinking. Also, the more chances you take, the higher the odds will be that you will eventually succeed.
If You Don’t Make Time for Your Health, Be Prepared to Make Time for Illness
I have a sedentary office job where I am often sitting for hours at a time, if I didn’t make an effort to do something like kickboxing, hiking, moving, or doing yoga, my health would suffer. If you don’t exercise or take care of yourself while you can, you may not get to live your longest, fullest life. If you don’t take care of yourself both physically and mentally, you risk getting sick.
Find something you love and enjoy to do and stick with it. For instance, I LOVE kickboxing and I HATE running. Not everyone is going to love doing the same thing, maybe you’re interested in weight-lifting, swimming, or cycling. Whatever gets you energized and gets your blood pumping, do that. Your body and overall health will thank you.
Labels are for Wine, Not For People
That’s just my version of never judge a book by its cover. Don’t stereotype or judge people by their looks. I use this example because I used to buy wine solely based on how pretty the label is. More often than not, the most attractive wines had the worst wine and the underwhelming bottles had wine with flavors that spoke for themselves. So what I’m saying is appearances can be deceiving and your own preconceptions can be flawed. Give people a chance to show their true flavors/colors, whoops might still be talking about wine.
Live Each Day With a Grateful Heart
Instead of waking up and being like, “Ugh, I have to go to school/work today” try “Yes! I get to go the school/work today.” Gratitude isn’t about having it all, it’s about loving what you already have!
Don’t be too Eager to Grow Up
“Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”― C.S. Lewis
Recently, I got into a conversation with someone about “Peter Pan Syndrome” versus being “young at heart”. Some people argue that Millenials (people born between 1981 and 1996) have the inability to grow up and that they have an idealized fantasy-like idea about how the world should be. My perspective on this is: if you’re an average functioning adult in society there is nothing wrong with being “nostalgic” and still finding joy in the things you used to love as a child/still love.
I still enjoy unicorn things, as many of you may know. And I’m an “adult” who pays rent, votes, pays bills, and is financially responsible. I see no problem with that, and if you think it’s wasteful for me to spend my hard-earned cash on these frivolous things let me remind you that it costs $0 to let people live and spend their money however they want. Embrace your youth if you want to and “grow up” when you’re ready.
Trust Your Instincts
Have you ever had a hunch or feeling in your gut that you’ve ignored that turned out to be true? I definitely have. Your intuition is a very powerful thing, some people are just more in tune with theirs than others. Especially trust your instincts when it comes to things you have experience with. Trusting your instincts is the ultimate act of trusting yourself.
You Can’t Talk Butterfly Language to Caterpillar People
Not everyone wants to be a CEO, Entrepreneur, or Superstar. Some people are completely content at a “normal” job or stable career. If you want to be a person who wants to change and grow not everyone is going to understand that, and that’s okay. I’m not saying either of these kinds of people is better than the other, but what I am saying is that although you might not understand: live and let live. You don’t have to push people to support your dreams AND you don’t have to justify why you choose to do what you do.
If You Don’t Stand for Something, You’ll Fall For Everything
Question everything and don’t take everything you hear with a grain of salt. If somebody tells you about someone you haven’t met yet in a negative light don’t be afraid to form your OWN opinion. Also, don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in; as long as it doesn’t hurt others. Do no wrong, but don’t get walked all over and taken advantage of.
If You’re Going to Do Something, Do it With Your Entire Heart
I have a very extreme personality I guess that’s the ENFP in me lol shoutout to all the psychology fans out there. I’m also a challenger/enthusiast according to my Enneagram test (8w7). Now if you have no idea what I’m talking about that’s totally fine. Basically, what I’m saying is that my personality is very outgoing and passionate. I have an all or nothing mentality and if I do something or set my mind on it I give it my all and go for it with everything I’ve got. If I care about something, I go HARD. Not everyone can say that and I pride myself in my ability to care!
Spread Kindness Like Glitter
This is my whole mantra and entire philosophy rolled into one. Do good recklessly! Be so kind and so good that it gets all over the place, much like my favorite art supply haha. I think that kindness is contagious (like glitter) and before you know it, it gets everywhere! That’s really my goal in life, to make such a positive difference in the world that it’s a kinder, more sparkly place.