On my 27th birthday: my 27 life lessons

Today I turn 27. Happy birthday to me!

That’s right! For the astrology-inclined, I am an Aries born in the Chinese Year of the Horse. Rams and horses – both pretty feisty creatures. What a combination huh?

As you read this, I will probably be on an aeroplane back to Brisbane from an Easter weekend spent with one of my uni friends in Wellington, New Zealand. Yup, I’ll be spending my birthday on an aeroplane. But it’s OK because I would have spent a long wekeend in one of the coolest cities in the world. Further on from that, I generally declare the week of my birthday “Birthday Week” and there will be celebrations throughout, like birthday cake at work on Tuesday, Friday night out with my new friends and housemates and Sunday lunch with my dad. Hey, you only get one birthday a year!

Now that I’ve managed to reach my late 20s with grace and aplomb (in my mind at least), I think this is the perfect time to stop, look back and reflect on the highs and lows I’ve faced and all the lessons I’ve learnt after being on this Earth for 27 years. I sound like quite the wise owl.

Celebrating my 26th birthday last year with my girlfriends at the This Is Africa festival in Perth (The Heart Less Travelled)
Celebrating my 26th birthday last year with my girlfriends at the This Is Africa  festival in Perth!

27 Life Lessons Learnt

Life doesn’t always turn out the way you expect it. Let’s just say, by this age I thought I’d be a lot closer to getting married to the love of my life and having babies, not house sharing with two males. Nor did I think I’d ever move to Brisbane of all places.

But life turns out exactly as it was meant to. I thought I’d hate house sharing at my age. I’ve never had so much fun in my life! Brisbane is a wonderful city and moving interstate away from a life I had established in Perth has really pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me to really grow up.

… It’s ok to not have lots of friends (and it’s especially ok not to have a big social group in your current location). Be content with the besties you still have, no matter where they may live now and be content with the two or three good friends you’ve managed to make in your new home. That is more than enough.

…It’s ok to go home from a party or night out early and sober. Believe me, you’ll feel wonderful the next morning.

… Taking care of your health and skin is an investment, not a waste of money. That $30 bottle of magnesium pills may feel like it’s breaking the bank, but your health will thank you for it.

… Adulting isn’t that difficult. Folding clothes away as soon as you bring them in off the washing line is a lot easier that letting them just pile up on top of your drawer. And it looks nicer too, especially if you categorise your wardrobe and drawers by colours and styles.

… A career change is hell scary (especially if it feels like a backwards step). But if you’re pursuing your passion, it will be the greatest step forwards you’ll ever take.

… Never settle, especially for the wrong person. I recently came across a wonderful saying: “One extra minute spent with the wrong person is a minute less spent with the right person.” Life is too short to settle for second (or third or fourth) best.

… Always listen to that feeling in your gut. That’s your intuition talking to you and it’s pretty much always right.

… Don’t go chasing after people. Focus on the people who have chosen to stick by you, who are always there for you and keep in contact with you no matter what.

… Taking risks is scary, but staying in the same place and choosing not to grow is scarier.

 Don’t be so hard on yourself when you make a mistake or when you can’t figure something out the first time around. Have patience. Be gentle with yourself. You will learn from this.

When you see yet another engagement announcement on Facebook, don’t feel bitter or resentful. Send your love and best wishes to the happy couple. What you give out in the form of loving thoughts and good vibes will come back to you in multitudes.

Spending my 18th birthday (9 years ago!) in Wellington at the NZ Homegrown Festival (The Heart Less Travelled)
Spending my 18th birthday (9 years ago!) in Wellington at the NZ Homegrown Festival (no idea who the chick in the background is).

… Be spontaneous. Book those flights overseas or interstate. Go on a random road trip. Catch the train and get off at whatever stop draws your attention.

… Having a passion project will give you a greater sense of purpose that cannot be found anywhere else – not in another person, not in a job. So write that book, start that blog, start that business you’ve been thinking about, start a vlog! Put aside as much time as you can spare each night or each week and get progressing with the idea that’s been simmering in your head.

… Cooking is satisfying for the soul and it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Pan fry some salmon, whip together a potato salad (boiled potatoes, mayonnaise, tomatoes, red onions, chives – easy), throw some spinach leaves on the side and voila!

… Move your body on a regular basis. Wake up 30 minutes earlier to go for a walk before work. Or get off the train one stop earlier so you get some extra walking time. Try yoga, try out that fitness class you’ve always wanted to go to. A strong, healthy body means a strong, healthy mind.

… Got an idea? Test it! Don’t be afraid to try out a new idea. Don’t be afraid to propose a new idea for something at work. Give it a go instead of obsessing over it and convincing yourself it’s a bad idea.

 

My 20th birthday was spent being cool kids with high school friends in Auckland, NZ (The Heart Less Travelled).
My 20th birthday was spent in Auckland (New Zealand) acting like total cool kids with my friends.

… Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It will make life much easier than just letting yourself struggle on.

 (For the introverted) Be comfortable with your introversion. It’s OK if you don’t feel like being the life of the party. It’s OK if you’re not the most talkative, outgoing one in the group. Just relax, be yourself and people will love you for it. More importantly, you’ll love yourself for it.

… It’s OK to go out alone. It’s a wonderful feeling! No compromising over where to eat, what to do. No waiting around for people who are late. You should always take yourself out on dates even if it’s only every now and then.

… It’s better to sleep alone and cuddled up with yourself than to sleep with someone who isn’t crazy about you. Enough said.

… You may not have the most perfect body in the world but if it’s functional and if it can move (and move well!) then your body is perfectly fine.

… Always have a mindset of wanting to learn and improve in all areas of your life, both personally and professionally.

… Be honest with others and yourself. If there is something that is bothering you, speak up – don’t let it eat away at you. Life is too short to put up with things you find unacceptable.

… Ignorance creates fear, which leads to hatred. Educate yourself. Challenge yourself to learn about a different culture or a different perspective on a topic or issue.

And my 27th life lesson?

… It is so, so, so important to love yourself – every single little bit of yourself from your head to your toes. Love your flaws. Love your quirks. Love, love, love it all!

Because throughout life, some people will be there forever but some will come and go.

But my dear you will always have yourself.

Here’s to turning 27!

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