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25 Life Lessons I’ve Learned in 25 Years

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Today is my 25th birthday!  I remember the day I turned 10 years old and vividly remember wondering what it would be like to turn 18 or even 21?  Back then, 21 seemed so old, and honestly, I didn’t even consider life beyond 21.  But here I am, entering my twenty-fifth year – I’m so grateful and blessed for the 25 years I’ve had so far.  The past 5 years in particular, have taught me so much and I’ve learned so much about myself – who I aspire to be and where I want to go.  I can’t wait to see where the next 25 will take me but while we’re looking forward here’s a look back at a few lessons life has taught me so far:

  1. Learning to forgive, is essential to finding personal happiness.  Don’t wait for a verbal apology before you forgive someone.  Forgive now, not because they deserve forgiveness but because you deserve peace.
  2. Simplify.  Everything.
  3. Always choose quality over quantity.
  4. Learn to enjoy being an introvert.  Relish those times spent alone or in the company of one or two.  Delight yourself in a less-dramatic, less-complicated lifestyle.
  5. Stop comparing your journey to someone else.  It’s just not worth it.
  6. Don’t ever, ever give up.
  7. Think of travel as a lifetime investment.
  8. New experiences and challenges force you to grow and in time help you become a better person.
  9. Becoming financially “wealthy” isn’t the end goal.  Becoming happy, healthy and  financially independent is.
  10. Don’t let failure hold you back.
  11. The majority of the time, the best moments you’ll remember were the simplest.
  12. Loyalty is rare.  When you find it, don’t let it go.
  13. Work hard.  Then come home and work even harder.
  14. Write down your goals and then demolish them.
  15. Invest in individuals who value you for being you.
  16. Don’t ever change under peer pressure or for what’s current or ‘cool’ and don’t live by other people’s expectations.  On the other hand, appreciate those around you for who they are and don’t expect them to live up to the standards you set for yourself.
  17. Meditate daily.
  18. Always put your phone away when you’re at dinner with guests or family – they deserve your full attention!
  19. You own the power to how you react to situations and events.
  20. Don’t ever stop growing, changing and improving your life.
  21. Don’t be shy to take advice or ask for help.
  22. At the end of the day you’re responsible for your own happiness.  Life will throw you the worst but its up to you, and you alone to make the best out of what you’re given.
  23. Most good things in life take time.  Be patient, work hard and always show up.
  24. Always put your best foot forward, even on days you just don’t feel up to it.
  25. Count your blessings.
thoughts

Simple Ways to Start the Day Right

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During the last few weeks I’ve learned to love mornings.  There is nothing better than starting the day with the birds, breathing in the fresh air and watching the sunrise over the treetops.  My appreciation of mornings first began a few months ago when I found myself not looking forward to the morning hours as much as I used to. Perhaps it was having such a busy schedule every day and finding myself rushing around almost before the day had started.

So I made a point of rediscovering the joy in mornings.   Taking time to appreciate the fresh, crisp air, the wonderful feeling of a new day breaking or a quiet solitary moment were small ways I began to enjoy mornings more.  My appreciation of my morning time is growing as I continue to implement small changes into my daily routine as listed below.

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Plan an delicious and nutritious breakfast.  Planning breakfast the night before is an essential.  I’ve been soaking oats the night before and upon waking, I pop them on the stove (or microwave) and within a few minutes I hve a steaming-hot breakfast!

Sleep in total darkness.  A good nights rest will aid you in feeling fresh and alive the next morning! Melatonin, the sleep hormone, is produced in the darkness.

Drink water before going to bed and immediately after waking. Ending your day with water is one of the best ways to help your body store nutrients and minerals.  Starting your day with water aids your body in rehydrating itself and you’ll feel much more refreshed.

Turn off the phone.  Honestly, we all know why!  If not, read up here.

Plan your day ahead the previous night.   Nothing really stresses me more than going to bed with a million ‘to-do’s’ running through my mind!  Plan your day before you hit the pillow.  If you are like me and think of the things at any crazy hour, keep a pen and paper by your bed.

Spending time in solitary.  One of my greatest joys of the morning is spending what I call ‘quiet time’.  Usually spent alone and in silence, I can gather my thoughts, meditate and plan the details of my day.

Wake up to music. Not only do I love the quiet times of the morning but I love to start the day with joy!  I usually start streaming some of my favourite tunes as I’m getting dressed and doing my hair for the day.

How do you like to start the day?

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The Art of Letting Go

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It is human nature to hold on to the past, to re-live special moments, saviour close relationships to hold on hurts and disappointments.  But does this ‘holding on’ to negative moments help us become a better person in the long run?  From my experience I have learned that it by holding on to negative judgements, unkind words that you’ve heard or how you have been wrongly treated has a damaging effect on your attitute and outlook on life and those around you.  Perhaps it is easier for human nature to hold onto the past with all its troubles, trials, bad choices and hurtful feelings.  But by holding on to the past we bring the past into the present.  If we keep re-living the past we cannot move forward.

“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”
―Ann Landers

Letting go: the past

One of the greatest steps you can take in letting go of the past is acknowledging that it now is gone.  What remains in the past should stay that way.  Once you learn to acknowledge your past for simply that, you learn to move on and face the future with a much clearer vision.

Perhaps it is a life-changing decision you made which you now regret or a hurtful word you said in haste.  The ball is in your court to let go of the hurt and move forward by taking the necessary steps to let go.  Forgiveness is an essential element.  Perhaps you need to go to that person who you’ve offended or hurt or who has hurt you.  Acceptance of that forgiveness of that person is non-essential.  Once you have done what you can to leave the past behind you, you are free.  It is not your responsibility to force that person to accept your act of apology.

Letting go: friendships

Throughout life we meet many individuals.  Some of which, there is an instant connection, others not so much.  Through the twists and turns that life hurls at us, people’s personalities change and their lifestyles and goals adapt.  This alteration creates an effect on the friendships we hold with one another.

For whatever reason, perhaps you are at a point of ‘letting go’ of friendships you may have valued in the past but the other party simply doesn’t have the same sentiment.  This may cause a fracture within the relationship but friendships are simply a state of trust and support between two people.  If that trust is broken and the support is no longer in existence there will usually come a parting.  There is a way of allowing that friendship to move into the past without holding hate or hurt against that person.  Firstly, you must realise that some friendships fade with time.  Learn to understand that upon closing a door, a window always opens.  Perhaps letting go of this friendship prepares the way for a new and more positive relationship to form and grow.

Letting go: hurts, disappointments and negative judgements

Whatever we have experienced in our childhood or adult life each of us has at one time or another been given ‘the upper hand’.

Through my experience, I have learned that sometimes the greatest disappointments and hurts that life so easily hurls at you can be transformed into some of life’s greatest learning curves.  Just think of the life that that you have been handed, with all its troubles, trials and uncertainties has made you into the person you are today.

There is one thing that I am a great believer in, and that is despite where you have come from, it is your choice and your choice only that creates your future.  Never let a disappointment, a hurt or an offense that is in the past continue to affect today’s decisions negatively.  Learn from your sorrows to create a brighter future for tomorrow.  One of the most rewarding moments in life is when you finally find the courage to let go of what you can’t change.

Whilst it is important to ‘forgive and forget’ it is equally important to learn from the circumstance.  If you find yourself in a similiar situation that you were in a year ago, or a few weeks ago you know one thing – you have not learned from your past.

Letting go: gossip + untruths

For some unknown reason, the voice in our head can have so much power over our thoughts. In the end it comes down to how much you value yourself to hold on to those things in the past which do more harm than good.  It is in that moment, when you make a conscious choice to ‘let go’ of those hard feelings.

I have seen in my own life, as I have grown older, you learn to care less about what people think or talk about you and care more about building your values and principles.  The people who care most about you will speak the truth in love to your face and not behind your back in malicious gossip.  Those who speak behind your back are behind you for a reason.

It may depend on your personality and experience in how you deal with gossip but from my experience it is best to detach yourself from those people.  If they are speaking ill of you to others in the good times, how can you depend on them in the hard times?

Live simply.  Love generously.  Speak truthfully.  Breathe deeply.  Do your best.
Leave everything else to the powers above you.

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On Being Tender & Open

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“Being tender and open is beautiful.

As a woman, I feel continually shhh’ed.

Too sensitive. Too mushy. Too wishy washy.

Don’t let someone steal your tenderness.

Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart.

Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to truly be affected by things.

Whether it’s a song, a stranger, a mountain, a rain drop, a tea kettle, an article, a sentence, a footstep, feel it all – look around you.

All of this is for you.

Take it and have gratitude.

Give it and feel love.”

Zooey Deschanel

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