23. Two years after turning the legal age and seven more years before turning thirty. A number that should be defined by so much more than our degrees, jobs, materialistic success and accomplishments. As a matter of fact, it goes much deeper than that.
I was told on my birthday to “be you, be true”, and that definitely has hit home.
So here are 23 things that has guided me to so much growth in hopes this will provide some encouragement for y’all too.
1. Dream big, anything is possible.
If there was nothing stopping you from achieving that one big dream, what would it be? If you answered that with all your heart, you’re already one step closer to your dream. Anything is possible and nothing will stop you from achieving it. You already have one person to support you, and that will always be me.
2. You are not defined by your failures.
You are worth so much more than your failures and your mistakes. You are so much more than the past that keeps triggering fear. You are so much more than the lies that keep telling you inside that you’re not worth it. All your flaws, all your weaknesses and all your mistakes makes you the person you are truly meant to be.
3. Being vulnerable and open only makes you stronger.
I’ve never liked being vulnerable, opening up and sharing my stories because I was afraid of being judged or not being able to understand my circumstances. But I’ve been so much stronger knowing that there are people out there that are willing to wholeheartedly listen. They might not understand, but at least their two ears are wide open with no judgement in their heart and there is so much comfort in knowing that holds true.
4. It is okay to say that you’re not okay.
One of the worse things to do is tell yourself that you’re okay when you’re really not. To hide all negative emotions inside just so you can pretend to be happy and show off a positive side of you is so uncomfortable. But once you tell yourself that you’re not okay and that it’s totally okay to feel this way, you begin to realize that a huge burden has already been lifted off your shoulders and you’ll begin to see how many people around you are there to support you for who you are.
5. Be confident in who you are.
Look in the mirror, take off that mask and who do you see? That’s right, the person you are meant to be. Each and every one of you were wonderfully and beautifully made. No extra touch ups, just you. The person that was created to do great things in this world and be a light to those around you. That is who you truly are.
6. Appreciate the little things, for they are the greater things in life.
For those of you that have seen my #throwback Instagram pictures of my Oregon trip would know this trip had such a huge impact on my journey. Before, I focused so much about worrying what the big things I was going to achieve in the future was, that I forgot about the little things that appear in the now. With a world that is always on the go and productivity is key, we tend to forget the little things in life – the daily sunsets, the clouds in the sky that triggers our imagination, to wake up full of energy, etc. – these are the many things that we tend to forget to appreciate with our busy lives.
7. Continue to step out of your comfort zone.
Another huge part of my Oregon trip was coming back home in a new area of my comfort zone. Never would I have thought that I’d have the opportunity to fly down there to experience God, to create new relationships, to deepen friendships and ultimately, step out of my comfort zone. It definitely takes a lot of courage to do so, but there is so much more out there than what is sitting in your comfort zone. You’ll never know what you encounter once you step out of those doors.
8. Embrace the singleness.
I’m never afraid to tell anyone that I’ve never been in a relationship before, nor am I afraid of admitting that I’ve chased a lot of guys in hopes that they can love me back just the same way I had loved them. But I know that there is someone out there for me – that one person that will love me unconditionally for who I am, that I can walk this journey with, support me for me and loves my weaknesses just as much as my strengths. Until then, I take this time as a single lady to figure out who I am so that I can wholeheartedly love the man that I am suppose to spend the rest of my life with.
9. Comparison is the theft of joy.
It took me a really long time to understand what this famous quote really meant. I’ve spent so many years consciously and unconsciously comparing myself to those that were “better off” – in careers, in graduating faster than I did, in getting into med school and so forth. And it made me feel so worthless. It even stole a huge portion of my happiness. But what’s so dangerous about comparison is that you will always be comparing yourself to others, when the person you were made to be exists for a purpose. A purpose so unique that no one was given it. So stop comparing yourself to others, because there is no one out there that can be a better version of you.
10. Time does not matter as long as you’re growing.
Prior to entering university, I had no idea that I would be spending six years in university trying to figure out what’s next for me. It’s so silly to even think that I was going to finish in four years and get a job right away. Of course, there are many people that has been honoured with this opportunity but I’m just taking a little detour. In these six years, I have grown so much and I honestly don’t think I’d be where I am now. So take your time, no one is rushing you.
11. Live forward even when the future is unseen.
The past is the past for a reason. No one can change what has happened before but we have full control of the present. We also don’t know what the future holds, but as long as we live forward with open arms and open hearts, nothing is impossible.
12. Mistakes and failures are the stepping stones to growth.
It is totally okay to make mistakes, no one is perfect. Without our mistakes and failures, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to reflect back, change our perspective and allow us to grow into a better version of ourselves.
13. Seek authentic relationships.
It’s been such a blessing to find the ones that can walk my journey with and do the same for theirs. To have those that can sit there for hours to listen to you rant in ways that sometimes don’t even make sense. To accept you for who you are. To be honest with each others. And to allow me to bless them in all that I can. That is what a meaningful friendship is. Your heart will know who these people are.
14. No need to rush anything, life wasn’t meant to be a race.
The journey was never created to have a finish line. Just obstacles but no timer. Some easier ones to overcome, others much more difficult but can be done with strength and courage. There is not one single journey we all start with, just some paths crossed. I’d like to describe ourselves as marathon runners, not sprinters. A never-ending marathon runner where the journey is the reward, not the destination.
15. There is power in love.
Love your family. Love your friends. Love on strangers. Love yourself. With love shining so brightly in the heart, nothing is impossible. They do say that “the most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart” and I most definitely believe that holds true.
16. Happiness is found in the daily blessings.
I’ve been asked so many times how I can smile without even having a reason to smile. Well let me tell you – I smile because there is always a reason to smile. The big things, the little things and the most random things in our daily routine can absolutely be the reason for our happiness. It just requires some searching but it’s so worth it.
17. Everything happens for a reason.
Every decision and every step in our journey was meant to happen for a reason. God created each one of us with a plan – all unique with no two plans that are the same. All our mistakes, our failures, our expectations, our struggles – He knows and He’ll never leave your side. He will always be there to guide your every step so allow any fears to be released for everything happens for a real good reason.
18. Even at our deepest struggles, there is always a way out.
In the moment of our deepest struggles, we tend to think that there is no way out and everything seems so impossible. But it’s really not. With strength and courage, everything and anything is possible. In my previous blog, I wrote about my deepest struggle that I hid for the last few years and I knew I had to finally release it. So I did. And it was honestly the hardest thing to do, but I did it anyways. And I believe you can too.
19. A season of rest is important when we are consumed in a society of productivity.
As a girl that loves to always be on the go and feels so uncomfortable in full rest, the concept of a season of rest is so difficult to understand. But I believe it’s so important. When I first thought of ‘rest’ – I honestly thought that it meant sitting there and doing nothing. And of course that’s not what it really is. I’m still learning to fully rest and put all thoughts of what I have to do later and rest in the idea that I don’t have to worry about the near future and rest in the present – the here and now and allow myself to indulge in all that around me in this very moment.
20. Doubts and assumptions are dangerous.
It was so easy for me to assume all that was being said and all that was being done was presented in the ways that my mind believed was true. But that is so detrimental to the mind. As much as we like to think that everything is the way we want it to be, it’s unfortunately not. We can only take things with a grain of salt.
21. Me time is important for growth and reflection.
Spending time alone, without any distractions is so essential. It allows us to sit back and really reflect on our day, soak up all our thoughts and ultimately, give all our worries to God. We live in such a world where all our deepest thoughts and questions are never brought to the surface, but let’s change that and allow it to be part of our daily routines.
22. Take people’s opinions with a grain of salt.
We all love to hear other people’s opinions – to be reassured that our own point of view is the same as other people. But there will be times where other people’s opinions does not align with ours. But that’s okay. We all have different perspectives and ultimately, we just have to respect that whether we choose to accept them or not.
23. Finally, don’t be afraid to try and take risks.
We’ll never know until we try – a very famous quote my parents love to tell me. If we are always sitting within the comforts of we are think we can do, we’ll never know what more we are capable of. Just because we are afraid of failure doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. If once you don’t succeed, try and try again.
23. Just a number.
Unsure what the future holds.
But that’s okay.
I hope you accept your age as a number too.
And embrace all that this journey has to offer.