Since my birthday is right around the corner—Friday, November 20th to be exact, I wanted to do this post as a recap of things I’ve learned in life so far.
When I was younger I took for granted all of the incredible family vacations my parents planned for us. I have been to Europe (London-multiple times and France once), Pakistan, India, Dubai, Canada, countless states in the USA. However, the older I get the more I want to travel to so many different places! Travelling exhilarates you, and broadens your perspective in a way that nothing else can. You realize how small you are, and how much this world has to offer, both amazing and terrifying at the same time. New cultures, new people, and new adventures are at your fingertips, so go and explore! I can’t wait to take vacations and go abroad one day soon iA!
2) Remove the NEGATIVE
You know those friends who come up to you and say something, you smile but then two seconds later turn around and say something mean to someone else…about YOU? Yeah, I’ve had friends like that too. Sometimes it is difficult to recognize at first, but once you notice that these “friends” somehow always make you feel terrible it is best to keep your distance. I can proudly say that I’m quite good at deciphering and having a good group of friends for most of my life. But I see this happen ALL THE TIME. This lesson is not just for friendships, but for anyone in your life who claims to support you and want the best for you, but are still somehow always brings a negative energy. These people don’t deserve to be in your life.
3) Be the better & bigger person
This is something that I had to learn the hard way in high school and early into college. Sometimes, when you are in a fight with a friend and you truly believe that they owe you an apology, you have to suck it up and be the bigger person. Instead of wasting all of that energy holding a grudge you could instead be an adult and move forward. Being stubborn can be a positive attribute in a lot of ways, but sometimes you just have to deal with an issue head on. Be the bigger person and address the problem before it simmers for too long and creates an even larger issue.
4) Water…is life
A habit I only picked up after working for a year. I have 4-6 glasses daily. It’s the best beverage around! Carry a water bottle with you everywhere. You won’t be sorry!
5) Smile, it won’t kill ya!
We all have our own issues rolling around in our heads at any given moment. However, it is important to keep perspective and focus on the positive. Try to take a step back and see the bigger picture. Smile even if you don’t feel like it, chances are that forced smile will feel genuinely in a matter of minutes.
Being alone and being lonely are two totally separate feelings. I am someone who really does like being alone. I like driving by myself silently, listening to the radio. I keep to myself mostly at work unless its lunch time or I need help. Even in my family & friends I am quite yet loud if I’m excited or with my friends. I also believe that everyone should spend time alone to figure out who they are and what they want. It is so easy to get caught up in the masses, but if you know yourself and understand what you truly want it will help you in all areas of life.
I am incredibly fortunate to have such a great family. My parents, sisters’ aunts and uncles, and cousins make up my support system and are my biggest cheerleaders. They applaud my victories and console me in my moments of weakness. At the end of the day, your family is the people who stick by you through everything so remember to appreciate them.
8) Change is always
Things change, it is a part of life! I’ve never have, and don’t think I’ll ever be, comfortable or OK with change. It’s so difficult to deal with, and even if the change is good for you, I still struggle with it. I like having things set in stone but we all know that’s not reality. Once you accept that moments are fleeting you recognize all the benefits rather than your fears.
9) Enjoy life NOW
Do not get me wrong, I think it is important to have goals you want to accomplish. However, when you live your life putting so much emphasis on accomplishing different supposedly memorable experiences, they often fall flat because of their forced nature. Be spontaneous! Enjoy your friends, family and company. Even if it’s just sitting and chatting or going out for ice cream, those are the best moments in life. Live in the NOW!
10) Wash your face before you sleep
Do it! Wash your face every single night before you go to bed.
11) Indulge in fashion & make up
This lesson comes from my life post grad. I never spent any time on myself with my hair or makeup in college because I was too tired and I just never cared. Obviously on certain days I would dress up, but on the daily, I had my hair in a ponytail every day with no makeup on. I’ve always loved shopping for clothes especially. I do think I have a good sense of style & fashion (as confirmed to me by my friends lol) so the fashion part was never an issue. The makeup kicked in, during my last semester in school and when I started to work. Having more time in the mornings and actually WANTING to look good, made the difference. Now I put makeup on, even if it’s just eyeliner, to make sure I look presentable. I’m obsessed now with bright lipsticks, something I would never have tried 2 years ago. Fashion is an expression of who we are as individuals, so remember to take risks and to not be afraid of what you love.
12) The only thing that heals is time…
Difficult to endure, but very true. Try to keep in mind “With difficulty there is ease” (my favorite verse from the Holy Quran) when things get overwhelmingly hard.
13) Work for what YOU WANT
Hard work and luck go hand in hand, so work hard for what you want and the universe may reward you with some wonderful bursts of luck.
I promise you that whatever past you are cringing about, we have ALL been there. Everyone has moments they are not proud of, but more likely than not those moments provided necessary lessons. We all have a past, but don’t let it ruin your present.
15) You CAN spend the whole day in pajamas, watching TV and eating endless amounts of chips and chocolate.
You don’t need permission to take a day off and spend it doing nothing but chilling. I honestly wish I did this MORE often than I do because sometimes you just need a break. Give yourself some YOU time.
16) Do what you love
This may seem pretty self-explanatory but it is something that I have noticed many fellow college students and post grads overlook. Major in the subject that most interests you, not the one that you think will give you the highest paying job after graduation. Pick a job that is the right fit for you, not just the first offer. Although my first job before my current one, I was at for 9 months straight after graduation. I only took it because I had no other offer and I wanted to at least get some experience. I can say I learned a lot but everything about the corporate environment at that company, I hated. Where I am now, I’m so much happier with the environment and the job. Coming into work every day is a lot more enjoyable when you love what you do.
17) Never be “too cool”, “too old” for things,
Being “too cool” or “too old” often means having a bored expression on your face while something pretty awesome is happening. Always keep that inner child alive and do the things that look like fun. I struggle with this. I’m the oldest in my family, and I always act that way too. I have to learn to cool off and enjoy stupid things from time to time. Learn to do that as quickly as you can, it’ll make life a lot more fun.
18) Appearance is key
Unfortunately we do live in a very superficial world, so try to always put your best foot forward. Dress appropriately for every occasion. It is important to represent your best self, because first impressions are key.
19) Give yourself a BREAK
As someone who is very Type-A and constantly hard on myself this has been a very difficult lesson to learn, and one that I still struggle with literally every day. It is great to have a dream or a passion that you are working towards, however sometimes things do not always go as planned. Remember to keep perspective and give yourself a break.
20) Say NO
How many times have you said “yes” to something you didn’t really want to do? Chances are it happens more times than you even realize. Say no to doing something if you would rather be doing something else, or just not be doing anything at all. It is & will be OKAY!
21) Choose HAPPY
Self-explanatory. I really didn’t understand this until the last year or two. You cannot be happy unless you truly want to be happy. If you are miserable, only you have the power to change it. So choose happy!
22) Not sure what to end on, besides just be happy, be you, be free, be young, be alive.
We go through life not realizing how quickly time passes, until the time has passed us by. Enjoy every moment and DON’T stress every detail. Things will ALWAYS work out but everything takes time. Put your faith in God, pray, stay humble, be active, stay happy and good things will come your way!
With that, I’m welcoming my 23rd year (iA) with open arms. I always feel like an old woman compared to my sisters & younger cousins but hey, someone’s gotta be the adult around here 😛 But no, all jokes aside, as we grow up, learn to embrace your age with grace!
Bismillah to a new, fabulous, change-ful, eventful, great year! Bring it on! Let’s see what you got!
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