21 Things I Have Learnt in 21 Years

Story By Caitlin Paroczai

Over the weekend, I celebrated turning twenty-one. It was probably the first birthday where I have really felt an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. Twenty-one… seriously? It seems like only yesterday I was a little girl (although, I am still very little) starting high-school.

Over the past twenty-one years, there has been so much that I have experienced, achieved, gained and lost. I think it is safe to say that we often get caught up in predictions about what our life might be like by a certain age, who might be there and where we might have ended up. But, if I have learnt anything, it is that predictions are simply that. Predictions.

Of course, that is not the only thing I have learnt in 21 years.

In fact, here are 21 things I have learnt in 21 years.

  1. If you smile in a mirror like an idiot for 20 seconds, you will naturally feel happier.
    I have absolutely no idea whether this is psychologically proven or if it’s a load of crap. It works for me.
  2. Chocolate is essential.
    Speaks for itself really. Also, if Cadbury takes Marvellous off the shelves I am going to be writing a very angry letter.
  3. The only person you can rely on 100% is yourself.
    There will always be somebody that can support you. But, we should not expect everyone to be there for us 100% of the time. Make sure you can take care of yourself.
  4. Dancing is the best medicine.
    Research has shown that dancing boosts both physical and mental health.
  5. Not everyone thinks the same way that you do.
    It can be super duper frustrating when somebody does not respond to a situation in the same way that you would. However, it is important to appreciate that no one is the same. That is what makes the world such a diverse and interesting place.
  6. If you do not want to do something, do not do it.
    Life is too short to be worrying about impressing others. If you do not want to do something, simply say no. I PROMISE you that people do not care nearly as much as you think they do.
  7. The mistakes you make have a funny way of fitting into the bigger picture.
    We DO learn from our mistakes and it is a natural part of life that we should all strive to accept.
  8. People are like ships. They pass you by.
    Think about all the positive and wonderful people who were periodically a part of your life.
  9. But, a few will stick around for the long haul.
    Now, think about those who have stuck around. Appreciate them.
  10. Trust your intuition.
    If you consider yourself an intuitive person, always trust your gut instinct. You will find it is usually right.
  11. It’s important to constantly keep developing and working on yourself.
    We are all a work in progress and it is important to be self-aware. Know your strengths and weaknesses and use them to your advantage.
  12. Your mindset can dictate your day.
    Consider the last time you had a crap day. Was it just one of those days where EVERYTHING went wrong? Chances are you could not get out of your negative mindset. I am still working on this one too.
  13. It’s okay to be completely and utterly lost sometimes.
    Ugh. Been there. Done that.
  14. Mental health is just as important as physical health.
    Your mental health is EVERYTHING! Never be afraid to reach out for support if you are struggling and learn how to support others as well.
  15. Not everyone is going to like you, and that is fine.
    Do you like everyone? The answer is no. So, why does everyone have to like you? Life is too short anyway, who cares.
  16. Keep hustling and it will pay off eventually.
    Keep working hard to achieve your goals. They are not going to achieve themselves.
  17. Never underestimate your ability for greatness.
    We all feel inadequate sometimes. Surround yourself with people who will build you up and remind you that you can do ANYTHING.
  18. Create as many opportunities as possible.
    Apply for that dream position. Connect with that industry leader. Share your ideas with anyone who will listen. Make them listen.
  19. Family is everything.
    Tell them that you love them.
  20. Nothing stays the same.
    Life is constantly changing. One-year down the track your life will look somewhat different to what it is now. That is both scary and exciting.
  21. You learn something new every day.

xo Caitlin

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