I wrote this post during my busy birthday weekend during which I spent most of the weekend with my family, preparing for my family birthday party. But I really wanted to get a post down nevertheless. It has become some sort of a tradition to reflect on the past year when you turn a year older. And since 2018 will be a big year for me (there are some major changes coming up, I cannot wait to tell you all about them), I decided to tell you about some of the life lessons I learned in the past year.
3 Life lessons worth remembering
1. It’s true what they say, you really do find out who your real friends are in your twenties.
When I left high school and went to university I couldn’t be happier to leave that time of my life behind. I did not have a great time in high school. I was bullied. I felt alone. I was hurting. I did not have many friends. When I went to university I thought things would change. And things did change. I gained and lost friends. Now, more then 3 years after I’ve graduated (boy, that makes me feel old), I realised that I hardly see any of my university friends anymore. And at first, I was incredibly sad about it.
It took me a while to realise that if people don’t put in the effort to be in your life, they do not deserve to be in it. I lost some friends in my twenties but the ones that stayed are without a doubt the most amazing, kind-hearted people out there. I trust them with my life and wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. These are the people that stayed, that were there for me while I was going through some difficult times in my life. They stayed, while sometimes I couldn’t be a good friend. Because I was hurting that much. And I will never forget that.
Instead of missing the friendships that I’ve lost, I just feel grateful for the ones I have now. It’s an amazing feeling.
2. You are allowed to be selfish sometimes.
Which brings me to my next point. For the first time in my entire life, I am putting myself first. And it feels weird. But good weird, if you know what I’m talking about. I am recovering from an awful period in my life and I want to feel like myself again. Even though I am not completely sure who that person really is yet. But I am starting to find out. I thought I’d lost her, but she is still there deep within me. And I am not letting her go, ever again.
Someone once told me: “Why do you care so much about other people, people who couldn’t care less about you?”. And it took me so long to take what that person had said to heart. Because it’s not that I cared about other people’s opinions that much, it’s that I thought in order to be a good, kind person, I needed to let people walk all over me. That I needed to care more about them than I cared about myself. I was wrong. And I wish I realised it sooner.
3. Take care of yourself. Take care of others too.
So that brings me to my final point. Take care of yourself. If you are not feeling okay, if you’re having a bad day, take some time off of whatever you’re doing to have some time to yourself. It’s okay to cancel appointments or a meetup with friends because you’re mentally exhausted. If you feel like you need to take some time for yourself away from social media, it’s okay to switch off your devices for a while. IT IS OKAY. And you are going to be okay.
For years I felt pressured to partake in all of these events and social situations, while I knew I wasn’t up to it. I am no longer afraid to say no. Although I must admit, I do tend to still make up an excuse once and a while. Learning to say no is an exceptional skill I am only starting to master. But I am working on it and you can too. It has finally registered with me that it is not impossible to say no. I am starting to listen to myself more, if I WANT TO do something, I’ll do it. If not, I’ll see if I can say no. Listening to my mind, my heart and my body all at once isn’t easy. But it is so important to learn how to do so.
That said, can I please make one final point? Please, please, please check up on each other. Don’t just ask ‘How are you’ expecting to hear ‘I’m fine’ back. Listen. Ask follow-up questions. Make sure people know you care. Too often we tend to say ‘I’m fine’ when in matter of fact we are not okay. And we need someone to care, to take notice. So please, take a look around, even if it’s just in your group of friends or your family, ask and I mean really ask if they are doing okay. If you notice a stranger on the bus, or someone waiting in line at the bakery looks worried or stressed, ask if they’re okay. Offer to wait with them. Have a little chat. Sometimes, all it takes is to show you care.
If you ever need someone to talk to, I’m here. I will always be here for you.