It's My Birthday: Here Are 25 Challenging But Important Lessons I Learnt This Year!

I’m 26 years old today. Amazing.

25 has come and gone. A quarter of a century is now behind me. What a year it has been. My very first year as an adult. And by that I mean, my very first year of fully supporting myself. You know,  paying bills, renting an apartment and kickstarting my professional career. Aaanndd, need I say, all in a foreign country!

25 has been a year of learning some challenging but important life lessons.

Just to be hella corny, I’ll let you in on my top 25 lessons of the year:

1. The time to start is now. I’ve felt less than ready to be where I am professionally but hey I’m here. Working in corporate Australia (like a baawwwsss!) I’m learning to wake up and show up. It’s okay to learn along the way.

2. Don’t settle. For anything or anyone that you feel is “beneath” you. You deserve the best, so claim it.

3. It’s okay to put on weight. Oh heavens! I have some extra junk in my trunk and boy do I love it! I’m learning to love my body, rolls and all. I rock me, unapologetically.

4. Take time to rejuvenate. I’m a giver. I write. I blog. I listen. I mentor. But at the end of the day, I’m human too. I’ve learnt to find 15 minutes in my day to find mental and emotional rejuvenation.

5. Growth takes time. This year, I’ve had to learn the meaning of independence and self-sufficiency. It’s been hard. But everyday I’ve forced myself out of bed and lived, I’ve grown. I'm learning to trust the process.

6. Guard your heart. Jokes aside. No seriously. Guard your heart. Be careful who you let into your life ladies. Be passionate but be logical. Before you commit, seek to get a better understanding of who he really is.

7. It’s okay to feel a little jealous. Trust me, more times than I'd like to admit, I feel like my neighbour’s grass is greener than mine. I beat myself down and feel defeated even before I start. I’m learning to turn healthy envy into inspiration.

8. Binge watch your favourite shows. I downloaded an app called HAYU after my friend Simone recommended it and I’ve watched all manner of reality TV shows. (Where are my fellow RHOA fangirls at?) There’s lots to learn from people’s lives. Yes, even from dramatized reality TV shows.

9. Don’t pay for the gym. Go outside instead. Ride a bike. Do yoga. Join a dance class. I stalled on my #CravingHealth challenge because caring for my physical well being became yet another task on my to-do list. Now, I'm incorporating fitness into my way of life. 

10. Accept change. Resist the urge to stay comfortable. Familiarity can breed laziness. Push yourself. Seek out new opportunities. Learn as much as you can.

11. Don’t set year-long resolutions. They’re a waste of time. Rather, make small daily changes. Add an extra 15 minute walk to your daily commute. Eat an apple at 2pm. Take baby steps rather than huge leaps. You’re more likely to be successful.

12. Find God. Find your peace. Your center. Your foundation. And let this be your identity. You’ll withstand the storms of life, whatever they may be.

13. Pamper yourself. Have your nails professionally manicured and pedicured at least once a month. Put an extra $100 aside to buy yourself your favourite perfume. Make time to do what you love and don’t feel guilty about it. You deserve it.

14. Be consistent. Choose a path and stick to it. Are you good at math? Well then, seek to be the best mathematician you can be. Use your gifts and talents faithfully.

15. Simplify your life. We can’t do it all. Again, choose a path, hobby, dress code, dietary option. You name it. And stick to it. Cut out the fluff. Life is more enjoyable when its simple.

16. Force yourself to grow. It doesn’t feel right to forgive him just yet? Well do so anyway. Growth can be faithful but at the end, you’ll become a better version of yourself.

17. Let go of toxic people. Yep! I love people. But I’m learning not everyone has my best interests at heart. This doesn’t mean I'm bitter. But rather, I don't apologise for protecting my energy.

18. Seek counsel. Get help from a professional. See a doctor. Speak to an older person. Wisdom and knowledge will make your path straight.

19. Work hard. Set goals. And chase them. Relentlessly. Don’t give up just because it’s hard. Do your best. Hustle. Fight. Push. Wake up early. Plan. Strategise. Revise. You owe yourself your best chance.

20. Rest. At least, once a week. Find your sabbath. Read a book or sleep. I personally love to sun bathe. Take time to stop. You're human. You need to recharge.

21. Connect. Life is best lived with friends and family. Spend time with those who love you the most. Cherish them. Let them know you love them too.

22. Grieve. It’s your mum’s funeral anniversary - its okay to cry. You failed your exam for the fourth time. It’s totally okay to cry. You’re still not over him. Girl, cry. It’s okay. Allow yourself to feel. Anger, disappointment. Healing is on her way.

23. Obey. There's a method to the madness. Life is to be lived in a certain way. If someone wiser tells you to take one path but not another, listen. Life has consequences. No matter who you are.

24. No one knows tomorrow. Trump is president. Kim Kardashian is off social media. I mean, need I say more. 2016 has been a year of surprises. The future is unpredictable. Don’t give up yet. Keep hope alive.

25. Look back. Take time to reflect. Who are you? Why do you do all you do? Where are you going? What’s your mission in life? What do you want to accomplish? What does success look like to you? Think. Reason. Process.

And so 26 is here. Right here at my front door. I can hear her knocking. And so I shall let her in. And climb upon her chariot and begin my 26th trip around the sun.

I’m excited about what 2017 will bring. I’m hopeful. I’m ready.

Happy 26th Birthday to me.

Love and Sunshine,

Tabitha.