I am sitting here as my 25th birthday weekend draws to an end, and I can’t help but rise to the clichés of extreme nostalgia and reflection associated with such events.
As the day grew near, I couldn’t ignore thoughts about where I am in life and what it means to be a 25-year-old woman in 2017.
I have no job. I am still in the process of a 7-year long schooling process. I have no children. I am not married.
My life’s direction has not been mapped out for me. My dreams and goals are changing on what feels like a second-to-second basis.
But, this is of no concern to me.
We’re trying to survive in a society where we’re constantly comparing ourselves to one another and automatically being fed images of unrealistic lifestyles.
It’s so easy to get caught up in what we aren’t. What we don’t have. Who we don’t look like.
These ideals are nothing. They’re meaningless. They shouldn’t define your happiness or lack thereof.
On that note, here are the most pivotal things I’ve learned in my mere 25 years of existence.
1) Do Your Thing (even if no one else is doing what you’re doing)
What’s so beautiful about our generation is that our creative outlets are at an all-time high. We have the resources and imaginations to be as innovative as we want. It just takes a little confidence.
We’ve created a society where things are constantly changing and growing; don’t be afraid to take a leap. Do what you want.
Start a new hobby. Create a quirky sense of fashion for yourself just because you like it. Take career risks. Don’t let yourself wonder what if?
Absolutely no one should be dictating what you do with your life. It’s yours and yours alone.
Choose now. Choose yourself. Try. Fail. Fly. Soar. Crash. Do it all.
This is our time. Take advantage of the present.
2) Be Honest
This should be a no brainer, but sadly it’s not.
Being honest is difficult because of the above topic. Honesty can be risky. It takes bravery.
It’s challenging and scary. We’re afraid that the truth will find a way of punishing us for our candor.
Whether you’re honest about an unfavorable opinion or you’re expressing your feelings to the person you love, we’re afraid of rejection in all of its wondrous forms. Rejection sucks. I get it.
While an honest statement leaves room for a disagreement or unrequited feelings, it also leaves room for trust and respect. Two things that will help you grow into the type of person people can count on for better or worse. Be that person.
3) Love Your Body
This could be a novel on its own, but I will get to the point and move on.
Body image determines so much of our lives. What we wear, who we feel comfortable talking to, what we eat, how we wear our hair, how we contour our makeup. It’s vastly responsible for how we feel about ourselves in general.
That’s so freaking sad.
Love your body. No matter the shape, size, muscle content, color, etc. It’s the only one you have. Treat it kindly. Keep it happy. Give it Cheetos when it wants them and reward it with water and nutrient-rich foods because it needs them to survive.
How we look is irrelevant. How you feel is the only topic worth discussing.
Treat yourself because your happiness is important. Care for yourself because your existence is important. Find the balance.
I think there’s a delicate balance concerning the appropriate times to be silent and when to open your mouth. It takes patience.
In some situations, silence is the cowardice choice. Those moments when you kick yourself for not saying anything when you had the chance.
But, what about all those other times? The moments where someone just needs to be heard, and you’re the person they’ve chosen to trust with their thoughts.
We all have so many opinions and have been gifted with the freedom to say what we think, feel or want on so many platforms. That’s so important. But, not always appropriate.
I think we’ve become greedy with a need for our voices to be heard about absolutely everything when we can learn so much from just listening.
Listen and learn. Learn to listen. Kind, compassionate eyes, an open heart and willingness to just hear something new can go a long way for yourself and anyone else involved.
5. Love Often, Love Hard, Love Fearlessly
How many times can I stress the importance of love?
I genuinely believe that the power of love has the capability of healing anything and everything.
Hearing “I love you” from your spouse, your partner, your best friend, your mother, literally anyone, has this indescribable effect.
Love is uniting and comforting. It comes in so many magical forms.
And to me, that’s the whole thing. We think we need to be so careful with the world love because we’re afraid of the commitment to being in love with something or someone.
Love is defined as a feeling of affection.
We’re so afraid of becoming too vulnerable through regular expressions of love. We’re afraid to open up with our hearts to give and receive love.
Love is joy and connection and it’s human.
Never be afraid to love. It’s the most powerful thing we have. Use it often.
Oh, and one last thing. Choose kindness.
I can’t wait to see what all I have left to learn in this ever-changing life. I’m so excited for the journey & I’m so grateful for everyone who’s helped me get this far.
I have so much love and gratitude in my heart.
Wishing for you confidence, bravery, good health, patience and love,
Emily Perrott, The Sunflower Child