26 Things I’ve Learned in 26 Years

9,497 days.

That number felt intimidating. But it also felt inviting to reminisce about what I have learned so far in those days, and I write this down in the hopes that this may help some of you are reading to reflect on your own lives and draw a parallel in the experiences I have had and the lessons that I have learned.

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So, here it goes:

1. Age is an attitude

You can feel old at 18 much in the same way someone else can feel young at 90. It’s your perception of the number and what you do about it that matters. Yes, your body ages, but your mind can be programmed to transcend your biological age.

You can feel old at 18 much in the same way someone else can feel young at 90. It’s your perception of the number and what you do about it that matters. Yes, your body ages, but your mind can be programmed to transcend your biological age.

I don’t know why, but I love getting older. With every passing year, it allows me to look back at what I have learned and how I have grown each year. 

After all, whether I like it or not, I’m going to get older each year. So I’m not going to let a number define me or affect my actions.

2. Mornings are important

Having a morning routine is essential to a successful life for the very simple reason that it allows us to start the day with intention and mindfulness.

As a result, you get more done, are more grateful, and feel more accomplished at the end of the day.

3. Exercising is amazing

Physical activity is the elixir of life. 

It always pays to do some form of exercise and do it with consistency, whether it be going for a job, doing yoga, or cross-training.

Besides, the discipline you instill in yourself along the way is going to help you immensely in other areas of your life.

4. You cannot please everyone all the time

For some people, you will always be under-educated, dumb, ugly, or just not worth it. And for others, you will be too much, too smart, too pretty, or just too much. 

Recognize this, stop trying to please everyone all the time, and see what happens.

5. If it feels wrong, it is probably wrong

Trust your gut feeling. It is hardly ever wrong. And if it says that what you are about to do is wrong and will cause you misery and suffering and whatnot in the future, listen to it.

Backing away or refraining from doing something stupid is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of the strength of your character and how much you are in touch with yourself.

6. Looking after your mental health is as important as looking after your physical health

You can look gorgeous on the outside (as you should) but never forget to look after your mental health. 

If anything is bothering you, reach out to those you can trust and share it with them. Do not try to go at all by yourself, and do not bottle up your emotions. 

If you need professional help, seek the help you need.

But whatever do, never put it off as something to do later.

7. Failure is an opportunity to learn

Failure sucks. 

You are going to be pissed, sad, and feel dumb. 

But if you dare to achieve anything worth achieving in life, failing is a part of that equation. 

Sure, you might get crushed, carry with yourself a few bruises, but once you get back up and learn from the mistakes and the failures, you are going to be in a better position to extract a better outcome.

So, embrace failures and take it as a necessary evil to doing better the next time.

8. Envy is a waste of energy

Seriously, let it go.

It is not worth your time or energy. Instead, use that energy to learn from the success of others. 

Better yet, try and emulate the secrets of their success and teach others what you learned from your experiments.

9. The way you speak to others reflects how you feel about yourself

There is a world of difference between someone who talks positively about the people they love, says good things in their absence, or cares about the way they judge them than someone who is constantly judging and talking down and saying cruel things about them.

Whatever you choose to do is a big reflection on yourself and your morals and ultimately a window to the way you view yourself. 

10. Your past does not define you

I do not know how this is going to hit you because it is going to hit everyone differently. 

Whether it is trauma or the mistakes that you feel you have made in your life, it does not define you.

Moreover, you have the chance to start over again or to start fresh and create a new chapter in your life. 

Yes, your past is a part of your life, and you cannot undo it. Whatever it was, take it like the knowledge that now you are carrying into your future years to come.

11. Celebrate the little victories

There will be a lot of things that will happen in life that might make you sad or give you pause, so learn to celebrate the little victories.

Whether it be a task that you wanted to do for so long and you completed, making time to exercise, read a book that you’ve been dying to read, celebrate those moments, applaud yourself, congratulate yourself. Take it in.

12. Know your WHY

Without a firm, clearly defined WHY, you would be doing things you do not love doing and wasting your life.

So ask yourself: 

  1. What are my goals in life?
  2. What kind of a person do I want to become?
  3. What gives me the greatest fulfillment?
  4. What kind of legacy do I want to leave in life?

13. Motivation is garbage

You cannot rely on motivation because it comes and goes. 

Instead, create sustainable habits that will stay with you for life. It could be a habit where you read more so that it enhances your knowledge, or that you eat healthy so that it does not make you feel awful about yourself, or that you exercise so that it keeps you in shape, and so on.

14. It is okay to have as many dreams as you want

If you know in your core that it is what you want, then pursue those goals even though it does not make sense for other people. 

But no matter how many dreams or how few of those dreams that you might have, always follow through.

Dreams without any follow-through are the stuff of most regrets in life.

15. You can never get too old to ask for your mother’s opinion about anything

Mom is the one friend that you can always count on, the one friend who is going to be with you in good and bad times.

Cherish her for who she is and seek her wisdom as much as you can throughout your life. 

16. Life is a journey from one comfort zone to another

Getting out of my comfort zone made me a better risk-taker. 

Taking risks helped me save myself from falling into the rut that most of my age usually falls into as it helped me learn new things.

Learning new things earned me new and renewed experiences, and so on.

Life is a journey. Take risks. Be bold.

17. Stop trying to convince everybody on what you say

People do not need to believe what you are saying. You do not need to convert them to take your viewpoint either. 

They just need to believe that you believe what you are saying. And as long as you believe what you are saying, you are golden.

18. It is okay to put yourself first

Stop thinking it is selfish to put yourself first. If you do not do it, then who will? 

So be comfortable doing things on your own and enjoy your own company as this will help you learn more about yourself. And no, you do not owe any explanation to anyone for putting yourself first. Never.

19. If something is important enough, you will find a way to get it done

Stop lying to yourself by saying that you are busy or that you do not have time to do certain things.

You have twenty-four hours a day just like everyone else. Carve out the time to do the things you love and the things you know you ought to be doing so that you do not have to come up with excuses all the time.

20. Be grateful for what you have

I am not going to say there is somebody who has it worse than you because you probably already know that. 

But aside from someone having it worse than you, just take stock of your life.

Do you have food to eat, a roof over your head? Are you healthy? Do you have healthy family members who care about you and love you? Look for anything to be grateful for, and you will discover that you have plenty to be thankful for in life.

21. Your dreams are within your reach

Anything that you want, you can manifest it. 

You can start by surrounding yourself with people who can help you work towards it. 

It is just about how much time you are willing to put in to make it achievable. And if you are ready to put in the work, sweat, and tears towards making those a reality, you are already halfway there. 

Just go with the knowledge that they are within your reach and 100 percent achievable.

22. Time spent on yourself is never time wasted

Take the time you need to do what helps you grow, even if that means taking some time away from your loved ones. 

Those who love you and understand you will be there supporting you and cheering for you even if you cannot be physically or mentally present for a while.

23. Use fear as a barometer to chase your dreams

For the most part, if you are scared of doing something, it usually means that it is exactly what you should be doing. 

So take the chance, take the risk, and do those things because it is probably the thing you would be most proud of a decade from now.

24. Always be kind to everyone you meet 

No one knows what the other one is going through. And it is easy to judge people and to be less than kind towards them while they may be battling anxiety, depression, addiction, or any number of psychological problems. 

Go out of your way to show kindness and make empathy a guiding principle in your life.

25. Never tire of trying one more time

It is easy to give up when things do not go your way. It robs you of your drive, and it makes you question the whole point of even trying.

But do not be the person who stops digging five feet from a potential diamond mine. Persevere in the face of setbacks. 

That is how the impossible becomes possible.

26. It is going to be okay

Whatever you are going through in your life, it will pass. And if it is a hardship, you will come out braver, wiser, and confident than you did before.

Always have a little faith, even when you have every reason not to.

So those are the 26 things I have learned from my 26 years of living, and although I might not be able to offer such sage experience as a 62-year-old, I hope at least one of those lessons will ring true in some aspects of your life.

About the Writer: Suzeena Ahmed works at Kurumba Maldives as an event manager. She started her career at Kurumba at the age of 19 and has been working there ever since. Her ultimate goal in event management is building strong relationships with customers and investing in their needs.

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