I may only be 27 and, in some eyes, way too young to be handing out advice. But I honestly feel like the path I have taken in life has catapulted me very early into some of life’s biggest challenges and lessons.
Seeing the world and travelling to the extent that I have over the past 5 years has encouraged me to be extremely curious, to be open minded, to be courageous and to make pretty some big choices, often on my own.
Through all of the latter, though the tears, the triumphs and the rock bottoms, I find myself now with very strong foundations. I’ve explored the depths of my emotions and my mind and I’ve faced them head on. I look back on my 18 year old self, about to leave for 9 weeks backpacking through South East Asia and I’m so proud that I found it in me to go travelling.
That trip was the start of everything and led to the person I’m so proud to be today.
I thought I’d share in this post some of the big life lessons that I would like to tell my 18 year old self to help her on her way. In those moments of confusion, of heartache, of pain and of sadness, I think some of these things would have made it easier. Of course, the learning is in the doing and in the mistakes but in case any of you guys are feeling lost, I figured this could be a great post for you to read.
For more posts on this topic try…
20 life lessons I want to tell my 18-year-old self…
1. Whatever you’re passionate about, you’ll find a way to make money from it.
A life lesson I will always remember my mum feeding me. I honestly believe there’s a career to be found for every single passion out there. Whatever it is and however crazy people think that you are for wanting to pursue it. Your success just depends on your willingness to pursue it. What are you waiting for? Don’t regret not doing it. Find what you love and make it your life. You’ll figure it out!
2. Other peoples opinions are a reflection of their own limitations and boundaries.
If i’d have listened to even one of the hundreds of people that said to me, ‘so, how are you going to actually make money from that’ I wouldn’t be sat here today earning a 6 figure income from my passion for travel and capturing incredible moments through art. Dig deep. Don’t let people drive your future for you. Take the wheel and steer it yourself!
3. Travel, explore and experience as much as you can.
Whatever means you have to travel, whatever budget – just go. You’ll learn more life lessons travelling than school ever taught you and you’ll never ever regret it. I’ve never met anyone that regrets going travelling, even if they went home early. If travelling is not for you it will still give you a profound appreciation for home life and you’ll be more content than ever getting back there. That in itself is life changing.
4. If in doubt – be grateful. Be grateful every day.
I once heard Tony Robbins quote ‘Going from depression to joy can seem an impossible task. You may not have all the tools yet to take this leap but once thing we can always do is be grateful. Gratitude is always accessible and leads to a much more wholesome way of living.’ I used to think that gratitude lists and ‘writing 5 things down you are grateful for’ was a bit weird. I did. But I now do it every day. Practicing gratitude is an exercise that will rewire your brain to focus on the good stuff. There’s always always things to be grateful for and it’s the best way to shift a negative mindset. Try it!
5. Relationships come and go, build a solid foundation within yourself. Get to know YOU.
There’s one person that you have to live with for the rest of your life and it’s… yourself.
We spend so much time trying to figure other people out, the people we are dating, our friends, our housemates but we don’t realise just how important it is to figure out ourselves. Digging deep into your mind and into your triggers and habits is one of the scariest and hardest journeys you will ever go on but it is single handedly the journey that will lead you to your happiest self.
There are no shortcuts to self love and self acceptance and it’s a long road for many but it’s the most amazing experience in the world. Learn about how important breathing is, go to a meditation workshop, try yoga for the first time, write down all your dreams on paper. Make mistakes and realise that you messed up. Ask yourself why you messed up and what you’re going to do differently next time. Know that there’s no shame to be found in going to counselling. There’s no shame in making mistakes and owning up to them. In fact that’s so admirable. Own everything you do and everything you say to people. Be responsible for how you feel and how you make others feel. Spend time listening to what your body, mind and soul is craving. Really pay attention to yourself and become your own best friend. Build a solid foundation within yourself.
6. ‘Sleep when you’re dead’ is the worst phrase ever invented
We need sleep, we really do. Our bodies need to recharge to function healthily, effectively and efficiently. If you want to work all hours of the day, do it but welcome yourself to the life of the crash and burn. This is one of the most important life lessons I’ve learned as an adult.
Tip: Listen to Dr. Chatterjee’s podcast on sleep!
7. Listen to your gut: say no more often
This links back into getting to know yourself. Get in tune with your gut. Your gut has a lot to say, if you listen to it. Your ‘gut feeling’ usually puts emotions aside or at least combines them with practicality and will help you make good clear decisions for you.
8. It’s in the depths of pain and confusion that we dig deep to discover our greatest strengths.
Period. Embrace it. Embrace the depths of life. I know it’s hard life lesson when it feels like the world is against you but it’s right here that you will develop the tools so that should the depths come around again, you’ll be equipped and you’ll have a quicker route to the surface.
9. The most attractive people are the happy ones
We all know people who feel like sunshine to be around right? Sunshine can only radiate out of warm places and happiness will give you the most beautiful glow of all.
10. Vibrating at a high frequency will welcome incredible things into your life.
It’s the law of attraction and goddam it’s a real thing. Concentrate on vibrating at your own high frequency and watch ‘miracles’ come into your life. But miracles they are not. It doesn’t happen by accident. Like attracts like.
11. Don’t let the world tell you how to live. Slow down.
This is a life lesson I’m still putting into practise now. Whenever I come back to the city I feel so overwhelmed with my schedule and the schedules of the people around me. It’s so normal these days to work beyond the 9-5 and to not ‘have time’ for socialising. I.e. the things that actually feed our souls. Choose how you want to live your life and don’t be scared to run after it. Just because people around you are doing different things, it doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Happiness and calm inner peace over everything.
12. Make the most of your friends and your combined freedom.
Things change. Honestly. It’s a weird feeling when one minute you’re all at school together having your first sip of alcohol and feeling all rebellious and now you’re at birthday celebrations and half of the table can’t drink because they are counting down the days to a due date. Growing up is a beautiful thing but dynamics around you will start to change and everyone will go in their own lanes. Embrace your youth whilst most of your friends are single, whilst they don’t have mortgage commitments or baby commitments. Soak it all up and go make all the memories!
13. If you’re thinking about it, do it.
This is your sign.
14. Look up from your phone, engage in the world and with people.
Human connection > phone connection. SO simple. Feed your soul with interaction and eye contact. Engage in the world.
15. Love your body for all that it does for you.
As humans we are so quick to focus on the negatives that we forget the millions of positives that are ready to outweigh them. Stop hating on your body and wishing body parts to be different. Your body is so so incredible to function in the way that it does. It allows you to walk, to breathe, to recharge, to smile, to run, to eat. Just think about it for a second, think about all the insane functions your body has, without you even having to prompt it. Appreciate all that you have, whilst you have it.
16. People with more followers than you on Instagram haven’t got access to any more happiness than you.
Please please please stop comparing yourself to people online. This is the one life lesson I think all young people should pay attention to. Social media is art, it’s an illusion, it’s the highlights reel, it’s business. Social media definitely shouldn’t be something you hold your life up to, to play spot the difference. Happiness is an inside job and we all have the exact same access to a happy life. Sure there are holidays and commodities and experiences that can enhance ones life but there are also a lot of people out there extremely unhappy with the pressure, the inconsistency, the loneliness and more that a life online provides. Focus on you, focus on the good in your life and only follow people that inspire you to go out and life a better life with yourself.
17. The company that you settle for will be the life you settle for
You become like the people you surround yourself by. Become a good reader of the energy that surrounds you and be wise with your decisions for company.
18. It’s okay to grow out of people, of places and of things.
As we grow up and begin figuring ourselves out, we begin to take turns into our own lane. Sometimes people will join you for the road trip and others will park up and enjoy the views where they are for a while. Some will join you and you’ll have the time of your life together and then they’ll decide they want to go to the mountains and you’ll decide you want to go to the ocean. There’s no right road for everyone and it’s totally okay to want different things in relationships, friendships and in life. As long as you stay true to what you’d like, you’ll be just fine and you’ll meet more road trip buddies along your new route.
19. You’ll never be happy all the time. It’s not realistic. Learn to ride the waves.
This has taken me a while to learn. There is honestly, no such thing as being happy all the time. Take that pressure off of yourself right away.
Sounds mad but I always think life is like the ocean and the waves are coming whether we like it or not. We just gotta get a surfboard and head out there. Some days we’ll ride the waves so good, other days we’ll fall off and feel like we are drowning. Some days we’ll learn new moves and some days we’ll just lie on the board and not want to do anything. I dunno when life doesn’t feel so great, I just think take a deep breath and get back. on. that. board.
Read my ’12 self care habits to increase your happiness’ here.
20. You’ll be okay. I promise.
The biggest life lesson I’ve learned. If there’s one thing I’m sure of it’s that even in the greatest depths that the world and your mind can offer, light is on it’s way. Hold on tight and breathe.
Oh and one more thing…
Life is so awesome. Go and live it how you dreamt it!
What life lessons have you learned this year?
Love as always + happy adventuring,
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I can’t do this without you.
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