On clocking 21: Lessons from the 20 years past

…journeying through life

My heart is so full of gratitude as I celebrated a new year. And also clock 21! It’s indeed a big one for me. It’s really been a long way coming. And I can’t but appreciate the journey so far.

My birthday this year, despite its attendant frolicking and overwhelming well wishes from family, friends and acquaintances, afforded me quality time to reminisce the past years, meditate on the new phase and reflect on what I have learned, achieved, dreamt and lost. The ups and downs of life, you know, yes. And yes, in introspection, I drew the lessons I have learnt, inspiration I have gleaned and the values I have stayed true to over the past 2 decades of navigating this bittersweet journey of life.

While I may not be the wisest man to talk about life lessons, I believe you would surely find this piece a worthwhile read. And learn a thing or two — afresh or perhaps yet again. So here we go: I bring you 21 life lessons — in no particular order of importance. Follow and enjoy the tidbits.

  1. Always be grateful. Being grateful makes you appreciate and cherish the beautiful essence of life better. No matter what, there will always be something to be grateful for in life. Having the habit of gratitude can make you a more awesome person. Whenever I am in low spirited moments, one of the major things I do is to find the things I am grateful for in life. And once I highlight them, I become geared up and motivated. At least, there is something to be happy about.
  2. You’re able. And more capable than you ever could imagine. So stop looking down on yourself. Take a chance and leap of faith. Everything is worth an attempt. Just a bit of trust in yourself can change everything.
  3. Pay it forward. Offer to mentor or maybe just guide someone. It can also be in the form of support — moral, emotional, spiritual or financial. You have something unique and important to offer. What I have observed is that when you’re interested in other people’s development and successes, somehow, nature becomes kind to you and brings forth your own successes for you, too.
  4. Acknowledge your journey of growth. Celebrate your wins. No win is actually too small to be celebrated. It’s fine that you have not clinched those coveted big wins yet. Just fine. But you should know that even though you have a long way to go, you have also come a long way. And that’s what that really matters. Your smaller successes are the springboards to your bigger ones.
  5. Be fulfilled. Yes, be fulfilled. One critical lesson I have learnt about life is that you don’t need to reach a particular age or milestone in life to be fulfilled. I am only into my early twenties, and I can say I am a fulfilled young man. Here is what I am saying in essence: be fulfilled by just being yourself and contented, and playing on your strengths. And no, being fulfilled doesn’t translate to complacency. Of course, you would keep growing in every way possible, and striving to achieve. Discovering where your strengths and passions lie is key to living a fulfilled life.
  6. Nurture healthy relationships. As a person, relationships with people are your greatest assets. No matter what, you would always need people to motivate you, inspire you, support you, push you, and always be there for you. You really deserve awesome people with beautiful souls in your life — an incredible support system. And that’s through building valuable and healthy relationships with them. You would wonder how humans are so capable of generosity, caring and having a true heart of gold.
  7. Meet new people. I have been an introverted person all my life, which I have tried hard to change without significant results. But I would always challenge myself to meet and talk to a new person per day. That way I grew the confidence and swagger to accost people and strike a conversation with them. The truth is, being shy can only take you a little bit far in life. Out there, whenever you are, always take a chance on yourself to meet new people you’re seeing for the first time, and probably would never see or get to meet again. Meet, network with a lot of people. From different fields and walks of life. Connect with people. Consciously invest in your network. One that will serve you in your life endeavours. And yes, try to stay in touch.
  8. Be healthy. Take care of yourself, both your physical and mental health. Exercise well. Rest well. This doesn’t stop you from being productive. Don’t overwork yourself.
  9. Fall in love. Whether the time to fall in love is ripe for you or not is just up to you. But whenever you do get a chance at love, giving it a chance, of course, isn’t a bad idea. Love can sometimes be the most complicated feeling, but also a beautiful thing, especially when it is also shared with a beautiful soul. You deserve to love and be loved.
  10. Always show up stronger more than ever. The world, everyone around you, needs you more than ever. Show up!
  11. As you grow up, priorities and interests (levels) tend to change while the core of your personality remains. So it’s important to always know when you’re done with one level in your life, and when you’re to simply step up to the next level and move ahead.
  12. Patience, they say, is a virtue. Don’t rush things through. Enjoy them. Things take time to develop significantly. Trust the process for what it really is. Always endeavour to take smaller, actionable and strategic steps towards reaching a particular end goal.
  13. Be resilient. More than ever, we need a generation of people building resilience. Life will always be full of challenges, rejections, failures, losses, disappointments and negative outcomes. And how we recover from those tough life situations, grow thick skins, move on, forge ahead and rise even stronger matter a whole lot. You will always be fine.
  14. Don’t give up easily, but know when to give up on seemingly impossible situations. Know the limits you can truly go, be able to recognize a lost cause not worth fighting for anymore and cut your losses. Sometimes, you have got to just let something or someone be and go, and leave them to whatever they are .
  15. Strive for financial independence. The earlier, mostly the better for you. Take a bold move to start that business idea. Launch that product or service. Monetize your skill. Freelance. Take up a job. Develop multiple streams of income. Invest. Save, too. The list is endless. The gist is that you just need to gear efforts towards gaining financial freedom to have a decent life for yourself. When you achieve this, you gain influence and control over the trajectory of your life and fuel your choices without being dependent on someone. You’re growing up, and this is increasingly important.
  16. Hard work really pays. And good luck, too. And you will need both to factor in the equation of success for you.
  17. Stake your odds in many places. Take risks. Explore your chances. You simply don’t know where there will always be an odds-on bet.
  18. Have good values and principles you live by. And standards you hold yourself to.
  19. "Work and pray." Have faith.
  20. Start, and start. Just start. Everything else in fall in place as you journey ahead. You will gain clarity, grow and figure things out.
  21. Live each passing day of life with passion, selflessness and impact. Inasmuch as you owe yourself a lot of good, you also owe the world a whole lot more.

Thank you so much for sparing barely 6 minutes of your time to read this. And I hope you have truly held on to a few things. It’s a new year for me. And I am grateful for all these lessons life has indeed taught me — all of which will remain my guiding light. Thanks for being a part of the journey. I am ready for the ride of the new decade!

What lesson do you find most helpful? Let me hear from you in the response section.

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