21 Things I Learned at 21
Another year, another number. Just like that, I'm 22.
Being twenty-one was fun and no, not just because of the alcohol. I learned a lot about myself this past year. I learned things I didn't know about myself and that I'm still unveiling today. To celebrate me turning a year older, I thought I would share twenty one things I found to be important throughout the last 7665 days (or so) of my life and share them with you.
I are what and who I'm with.
This was something my parents stressed while I was growing up, mostly because they didn't want me hanging out with the wrong group of people. You are what and who you surround yourself with. This also goes hand in hand with the way you think. I know this sounds cliche but if you constantly think about positive things, positive things are more likely to happen. If you surround yourself around good people, good things are bound to happen.
To trust my instinct, always always.
To rediscover being okay with change.
To be vulnerable with my body and okay with it.
I didn't know it before but I'm scared of being vulnerable. It's not a nice feeling but it's a normal feeling and this past year taught me to be okay with those moments especially regarding my body. Loving my body is hard and while I concealed that feeling, I was damaging myself. I'm not always going to love my body. It's a work in progress and I know that now. And just like I learned to be vulnerable, I also learned to embrace the times that I am absolutely in love with myself and my body.
To let things matter if they matter.
I change moods very quickly. I can be over the moon one minute and annoyed the next. Sometimes I question why but it's mostly because I don't want to accept the next feeling but I've learned that letting myself feel is okay and needed in fact. When things or feelings mattered, I let them matter. It's one of the most important things I've learned. Don't shove those feelings away. Clasp on to them and let them matter because they do. If you want to feel sad, it's okay to feel sad. Embrace it. If you want to be happy, allow yourself that happiness. Embrace it. Embrace it all because the feeling being there is enough.
To be passionate.
To love what I love and do it unconditionally and without fear.
To be alone.
I thought I was good at being alone but I found out (while being alone) that I wasn't. I've felt this before but never like I did when I arrived to London. I was surrounded by a group of students who were also studying abroad but I was alone. I was away from the people I loved the most. It was hard to adjust and it was frustrating. I wanted to be okay but I also wanted nothing more than to be home. I've been in London now for about two months and I'm still learning to be okay but I've found a new comfort in being by myself. I don't feel anxious anymore.
It's okay to be alone even if it feels like it will never be okay. I spent my first weeks in bed with Netflix in the background to help while I fell asleep so I could numb the feeling of being alone. I don't do that anymore because like most things in life, it was temporary.
Traveling to London was huge in my life. I realize that it opened doors to feelings and experiences that were shut before arriving. Once I traveled to Ireland for a weekend away, the wanderlust kicked in and I wanted to discover more. In the past month I've traveled to Italy, Denmark, Germany and Spain. Traveling is so much fun. The experience all-together has been magical and I want more. I want more of different cultures, people, foods, etc. I need it.
To be angry.
To be selfish.
I used to think that you could be selfish or selfless; that there was no in-between but I've learned that you can be both because I am. It's okay to worry about others before yourself but not all the time. It's important that you take care of yourself even if it means being selfish. Be selfish with yourself and your needs and don't feel bad for doing so. It's like learning to say no when you want to say no but are pressured to say yes. Fuck that. Say no and mean it and be okay with it.
That it's okay to let myself go sometimes.
To not feel bad about letting friendships go or grow.
About my mental health and its importance.
Mental health importance is not really a thing in my family. Luckily, most of the younger generation is aware of the importance of our own mental health and what it takes to keep us sane. Look after yourself and the way that certain things make you feel. If something doesn't feel right, delve into it and figure out what you need to nurture that feeling. Sometimes I'm tired and I know I need to sleep. Sometimes certain things make me feel anxious and I know I need to breathe. Find close friends to talk to about your worries and if needed, seek professional help. I have. It's changed my life.
Sleep. It's good for you. You'll love it.
To choose happiness, always.
I love One Direction. I always have. I'm also 22 now and loving a band like One Direction is surprising to some people but I don't care because I love it. I could care but that would make me unhappy and I'd rather be happy. It's that simple. Choose happiness, always. Choose happiness in your career and your hobbies and in things that you do.
To fake it till I make it.
That it is okay to erase toxic relationships from my life.
I can't believe I'm writing this because I've always been so bad at it but as I grow older, I see the importance more clearly. It's great to treat yourself (and needed) but it is also great to save and spend wisely because there might come a time when you really want something but you won't be able to get it because you spent all your money on One Direction tickets.
To not worry.
To let myself love.
Here's to 22. Cheers!