Lifestyle, Other Mentions
Comments 16

26 Life Lessons at 26

Note: my birthday was last month. Some of the sentences won’t make as much sense time-wise because I wrote them on the week of my birthday but let’s just stick to it, shall we?

My birthday surpassed a few weeks ago and to make things ironic, I am writing about some life lessons that I’ve acquired through the years. That’s right – I’m 26 this year! (Not that I can believe it myself but I don’t flinch when I say this. Side note – I still feel like I’m 21!) Some of these will be through coming-of-age, others through the university/trying to adult stage but I’m sure majority will be from the true ‘adulting’ experience.

Enjoy!

26-hoiyinli

1. Learning to Accept Compliments

I used to be that awkward child who was so modest whenever I heard any compliments towards me that I wonder if I ever believed them myself. Probably not whereas now I say thank you every time I hear one. ‘You have really good hair!’…‘Oh really?’Er…yeah, why would you doubt that?

2. Saying ‘No’

High school me was very quiet, very geeky and a bit of a pushover. I thought that I’d feel bad in saying ‘no’ to other people, probably in fear of rejection or judgement; but the older I got, the more fun and relieving it was to say it. It’s nice to know to not drag your own feet to something you’d hate doing for someone else’s benefit. Of course, be open-minded too but if it’s a genuine no, don’t be afraid to voice it.

This brings me to my next point…

3. Clubbing

Ah…that wondrous event to celebrating being legally an adult, whether it’s at 18 or 21. If you love clubbing, this is absolutely nothing against you – it just really wasn’t for me. I did it for a good few years and there was even a period of time when I did it every Monday (!). There were some nights that I really enjoyed the occasion (results night being one of them) but overall, a majority didn’t add huge value to my life. I’m not a huge drinker. In fact, one or two drinks and I’m tipsy. I hated having to dress for it and then ultimately being judged whether I was worth being pursued or not. Just no…those days are in the past for me. I think the reason I went so much was to not be seen as a social outcast but if you asked me if I truly enjoyed myself, I probably didn’t.

Note: I find raves are much cooler but generally speaking, bars are probably more my thing now.

4. Quiet Night-Ins are Totally Acceptable.

I don’t think I need to explain this one.

5. It’s Okay to Lose Friends Sometimes.
The Last Ones Standing are the True Ones.

I will probably write a separate post about this. But just know that as you get older and have left school, you will lose touch with some friends. Sometimes it’s inevitable (e.g. you only talked in school but never hung outside), other times life has become busy and has taken you all to different paths. There is also the friend that changes or maybe you changed – who knows. Just be friendly and reasonable about it but know that the friend where you can pick the conversation up again from any point is likely to be the true kind of friend (for you).

6. Think About Yourself

We’re getting a bit deep – I know. (I’ll add the more fun ones towards the end.) Years ago, someone asked me if I was selfless or selfish. I think selfless can be the real desirable answer here but still to this day, I think the answer is neither black or white. I still think about this question now and again.  Just know that it’s okay to be a bit selfish sometimes – that’s how you achieve your goals! But of course, be fair to others and to yourself too.

7. Be Unapologetically Yourself

This links in with all my previous points so far. Don’t be afraid to be different or feel the need to sacrifice the meaning of you for someone else. You are better than that!

8. Always Change and Adapt

The world is constantly changing and so should you. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people say that someone is “just the way they are”, and therefore don’t need to commit to change like change is the devil. Go to the gym. (Ha I need to do this…) Take some new classes or online courses. Join a club. Travel and meet new people.

9. Don’t Wait for the First Move, Make the First Move

If you’re always waiting for something or someone, chances are, you’re never gonna get it. Make the first move and at least you have a better chance.

10. Taking a Plan B isn’t All That Bad

My end of training was on Friday and this week, I’m formally starting my job (although still on probation and with lots of help around so it’s not so daunting). This is the happiest that I have been in a long time and I feel that a massive weight has been lifted off my chest – something that I didn’t know was there until I felt like this. I think we can be so stubbornly set in our ways as humans at times – especially if we majored in something or decided from a long time ago what we “want to be”. The truth is, there is no real answer. I don’t think anyone really knows what they want to be but you know what? Try at something different, it won’t kill you.

11. You Will Love the People You Meet as You Get Older – Never Stop Meeting New People!

I went to quite a rough high school although actually, my experience was good overall and I wouldn’t change it. I will say though, that after high school was when I started to meet people who were on the same wavelength as me…no airheads or anyone ruining someone’s experience. It was also a time when I started to feel more comfortable in my own skin and I wondered if meeting the right people impacted that or if it’s just an age thing? Either way, meeting new people is always so exciting and even now in my job I’m meeting new people all the time!

12. You Never Stop Learning Even After School

This probably sounds cheesy but it’s so true. In a team-building game at work where in our groups we made our own team badges, I actually illustrated this. Perhaps a cliché but I am an eternal learner at heart and it’s the thing that keeps me going everyday.

13. Being a Morning Person Isn’t So Bad

My average waking-up time in the morning is now 6.30am-7am. Anything later is considered a lie-in for me and I actually cannot sleep in anymore – my new body clock will not allow it. Maybe it will be different in winter though – we’ll see.

I NEVER used to be a morning person at all however this has somehow gotten easier as I’ve gotten older. I was neutral a couple of weeks ago but now I’m definitely a morning person and it’s bizarre for me but I’m living for it.

14. Breakfast is the Best Meal

Again, not something that I used to do at all. I didn’t start eating breakfast properly until I went to university I’d say just so I could concentrate in the lecture rooms or just prepare myself for what would be a long day. Now that I’m waking earlier, it’s a must that I eat breakfast. It just gives me good vibes, y’know?

15. Sleeping is a Luxury in Adulthood

I’ve been sleeping on average 6-7 hours per night (probably more 6) and I actually don’t feel too bad – maybe because I have a set routine for everything now? I no longer procrastinate as much as I previously did simply because I value my time more now and that includes making time to sleep otherwise I wouldn’t have any! Once my head falls to the pillow, I’m out which makes sleeping such an efficient task for me now.

16. Introductions Get Easier

I’ve naturally always been a quiet and timid person. I was that kid that hid behind her mum’s legs when she tried to introduce me to someone. 😂 And then as I got a bit older, into my teens, I remember blushing really easily or getting embarrassed really easily because I was so shy. My cheeks would actually burn I kid you not. Attention on me? Oh shit. Taking all that into account, I have greatly improved in this field bit by bit and although I’m still quiet, still shy, for me – the “me” at this moment is the most outgoing I’ve ever been. Introductions have gotten easier and less awkward too.

17. Dear Introverts – You Will Find Your Confidence

So I mentioned that Friday was my last day of training before I officially start the job. We all got handed certificates for completing induction and just for fun, we each got up as our names got called out to receive it and shake our trainer’s hand. 😂 Little did I know that I would get an additional certificate for ‘top trainee‘ which I was quite taken aback by but so happy to receive. God knows that I’m not a talker but I passed both my role plays first time (it’s quite normal to re-do them again as long as you pass) and my confidence has just been peaking. I’m putting this as my personal goal for the rest of the year – just to shine in confidence and not be so awkward.

18. Look Forward to Each Day

Look – life is short. To make the moments count, I think that it’s so vital to be positive. Of course, you can’t be positive in every minute but I’m a strong believer that (positive) attitude is everything. As cliché as it sounds, smile more! I’m lucky to be in a workplace where the environment is still fun whilst still being productive and that has put a spring in my step. All of my friends and family have commented on how happy and glowing I have been looking recently.

Note: being with positive people helps a lot with this.

19. Learn to Have Some Me-Time

I think one of the saddest things to go through in life is to just work, sleep and eat with no leisurely time for yourself. I get that this is a way of life for some people who are living on the edge, a day at a time, but I still think there needs to be some sort of me-time, a hobby that’s entirely you, y’know? For myself, blogging is a huge part of my me-time. The other part is probably skincare. Both put me in my zen-mood and before long, I’m refreshed again!

20. Be Funny!

In the long term, being serious can actually take a toll on your psychological health. Try and joke with someone everyday even if it is a lame sense of humour. I always think that humour is what makes us more human since we can learn to laugh at ourselves and other people (in a good way) and you’ll just feel better for it. Why so serious?

21. Experiment with Style

I cannot tell you enough the amount of fun I’m having again with fashion and style since my venture into a new career path! The company I work for has a relaxed dress code so I can wear more or less anything as long as it’s not offensive. I went through quite a minimal phase at some point but now I’m back to my usual colour-fest/print galore tradition.

22. Don’t Be Afraid to Fall

I am not really a gutsy or sassy person unless the occasion absolutely calls for it. In other words, I need some pressure applied before I make the jump. I don’t know what my deal is – I think I’m just afraid of failing. I remember when I was still studying, this idea really restricted me and made my stress increase. I couldn’t free myself and it was the worst. I’m better now though and my best advice for this is to try as many things as possible in life and don’t think so much about yielding a certain result. If you fall, maybe no one will catch you but you can definitely get back up. Try again, fail better.

23. Look After Yourself

This is something that I’m continually learning to do. I don’t think people quite realise how important it is to have that good relationship with yourself in terms of understanding your needs and wants, not just mentally but physically and emotionally too. People can be good at being in a relationship yet not so good at looking at themselves  and that has always somewhat worried me. Just know that it is fine to do both! You’ll find along the way, what a discovery story it is and the peace that comes with it.

24. Music Really Does Tell Your Life Story

So I was in work today and my colleague was playing a playlist which was basically reminiscent of my high school days. We’re talking The Killers – Mr Brightside. Plain White T’s – Hey There Delilah. Panic At The Disco! – I Write Sins Not Tragedies. There are definitely much more which I cannot remember now but wow. Talk about history. I have been listening to a lot of old songs lately and it’s amazing how different songs take you back to different parts of your life.

25. Have A Voice

In high school, I was very quiet. One thing I struggled with was taking part in debates because I hadn’t really formed an opinion in terms of politics – it was the least of my interest which considering what’s happening now, probably sounds stupid but that was the truth. I also didn’t have a strong opinion about other debatable topics such as abortion, religion or euthanasia. I definitely have more of a voice now and whilst it’s not verbally voiced in these areas, I have found my interests to be loud in. Women’s rights and feminism is quite a big one, as well as learning ways to be a more responsible human e.g.. eating better, spending better.

26. Live in the Moment

It took me a while to think of this last one but I do think it’s a fitting one to end this post on. Considering the social media storm that has long arrived and never going away, I think we are missing the point a bit in terms of “living in the present”. We live so quickly now that we think about the next Instagram post and before we know it, we miss a moment. Moments are just that. Fleeting. To be honest, ever since my new job, I am on social media much less but it’s a healthy relationship where I can really focus on being in the moment and feeling in the moment. Ironically, social media restricted all that for me so I’m happy to have found my peace and balance.


Something a little different today! I appreciate that it’s a rather long post which I’m proud to have finished now as it has taken many edits and many days of writing, so congratulations if you get to the end. I’m on the late shift next week so I’m hoping to make time for blogging in the early mornings instead. 😊 What have I missed? 

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16 Comments

  1. I really enjoyed reading this post! (Happy belated birthday btw, hope it was a good one🎉🎉🎉) All of these are really interesting life lessons and I already find music MASSIVELY holds memories and time periods for me xx

    • Thank you! It was great – work were really cute and everyone at home were really cute. Music definitely holds a huge place in life for me. You don’t think it but when you listen to an old favourite song especially, it brings so many memories back to you. xx

    • Haha I knew you’d like that one. It’s like my life motto nowadays! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  2. This is a great list and I’m not sure if I would have come up with such “deep” ones when I was 26 years old… 😛

    It’s funny you mention being a morning person. I was never a self proclaimed morning person but now I recognize that I’m one of those people who can’t sleep in, and I prefer jumping out of bed and starting my day.
    And YES, breakfast is the bestest meal!

    My advice to myself would have been: don’t worry about what people think of you – in fact, they’re probably not thinking about you all that much because they’re worrying about themselves.
    And also: give yourself more credit than you do.
    🙂

    • Hello Stashy! 🙂 I definitely cannot sleep in anymore. Even if I sleep in, it will only be an hour extra and the next day, I am awake a bit earlier so it all somehow balances out. I sleep well though so it’s cool, it’s probably a good thing that I can sleep efficiently right?!

      Yes! Especially to the last one. I used to be really hard on myself and some days, it would actually end in tears. I am no where near like that anymore though but wow.

  3. I absolutely LOVE this post! I seriously don’t know where to begin because reading all your answers felt like my replies. I really can’t think of lesson you have put down that doesn’t relate to me in some way. And I am nearly 26 in like 2 weeks!!
    The only thing, I do enjoy clubbing, but I get tipsy very quickly like you and I don’t like being that drunk. When I went to Ibiza, I was so nervous because I’m not a ‘raver’ and my sister kept saying to me, I don’t think you will enjoy it. But actually, I had an amazing time because it was about the music and just having fun. I didn’t feel pressure to look a certain way or try and get hit on etc.
    But we are so similar. I was unbelievably introverted (still kind of am) and I guess I started using social-media to try to shred my ‘innocent’ and quiet image. So I go on there and I’m really confident and body positive, and then I come off and I’m my normal self. I have come along way and I try to be more confident and not worry about other opinions, but I’m not 100% there yet.
    And yes learning to be funny – humour is so important to me now. I try to always not take myself too seriously and just try to laugh alot more about embarassings things. I could honestly pick out so many points you have written, but this comment is already too long lol! Thank you for this post!! x

    • Agreed – I don’t like being that drunk either. I think it makes me a bit anxious actually because I like to know what I’m doing. I don’t like the idea of a drink taking over my mind and conscience if you will. But I admit that there are some good raves and clubs out there where the dress code is more casual/hipster and people really are there to dance and feel the music.

      I think it will always take more time to not worry about what others think. You just have to find a way to free yourself and to find a way where you can be yourself as much as possible and in a way that’s unapologetic. To be honest, a lot of the time people are not thinking about you the way you’re presuming because they’re probably occupied with something else!

      Ahaha, I have to have a laugh and joke everyday. There is always banter at my workplace, it’s great. But no problem! Thank you for your generous comment! 🙂

  4. Wise words! I definitely don’t feel like I had this kind of insight when I turned 26, haha.

    Re: clubbing, I totally feel the same way. Looking back, I realize I never liked it much to begin with, I think I enjoyed the process of getting ready to go clubbing WAY more than being at the actual club, LOL. Kind of related to your #4, but I totally preferred staying home, curled up in bed reading, than going out. My friends and I laugh now about how we used to wait in lines wearing short little skirts in -25 degree weather to get into clubs, because that sounds god-awful now.

    • Hahaha can relate! I remember one time for my friend’s birthday in November, we went out. After the night out, we all queued for quite a long time for a taxi and it was freezing cold but neither of us had a jacket on let alone a thick coat. No idea what we were thinking but looking back, it was a good memory. Just not a smart one haha.

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