Life Lessons Learned In Your Mid-Twenties

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As my 26th birthday inches closer and closer toward me, I began doing a lot more reflecting on my current state of affairs, more than I’ve ever done before any other birthday. After a quarter of a century of living, you sort of stop and take a moment to really try and figure out where you are and where you plan on going exactly.

It’s not easy because you quickly realize that you don’t have the answers to most of the questions that come up; whether they are about marriage or your career or whether you should invest in that condo in the heart of the city, these questions become heavier and heavier on you as you strive to find the hopefully correct answer to them.

Throughout my current reflections, I have yet to answer these and other questions, but I have come to terms with many things that I saw happening in my life. Although many will wonder what a budding 25 year old has to offer in terms of great wisdom, many will realize that they are not alone in their confusion or quest for answers. I think that that was the scariest part up until today, feeling alone in my life or feeling as though I can’t get the right answers. Regardless of what you’re thinking or feeling as a 20-something, here’s a list of the things I’ve figured out up until today.

You will fall in love again. Trust me.

You started dating and it got serious. You moved in together and started planning your retirement together. You were inseparable and all your friends were waiting for your wedding invitation in the mail. Then it all ended, the spark went out, the feelings faded; the relationship became the remains of a dead body that you were still trying to poke alive. You knew it was gone, you just didn’t want to admit it.

You went through the grieving phase and decided that you would never venture into the game of love again. You simply couldn’t imagine that you would find that same magic you had with your ex with anyone else on the planet. Days and months went by and you remained adamant on your stance of being on a dating hiatus.

Then, from right out of left field, you were swept off your feet again. Now this relationship may or may not work out, but the point is that you will allow yourself to try again whether you like it or not. As hard as you will try not to, you will fall in love again.

You will most likely not work with the BA you got from university

We all dream of the day that we will move out of our parents' place and live our lives the way we want. While some may choose another path, many will go to college and get their degrees in hopes that this may secure them a job and a career to boast about until their retirement party.

Well, although your degree is important, odds are you won’t work in your field for very long or ever for that matter. Soon after graduation, you may realize that your talents lie in something completely different than what you did in the classroom; pursue your passion and don’t worry about anything else. The BA helped you get to where you are now and showed you that you like something else better. Don’t stop yourself from doing what you love in life ever.

Your friends won’t always be there for you, depend on yourself

We all promise to be there for our friends for the rest of our lives and no matter what the situation. Once a situation arises, we find that only a few of our friends are near to help us out while the others have been hit by the flu, have to babysit their nieces and nephews or have that really important meeting that they’ve been waiting for all year long.

This is not to say that your friends are bad people, this just is a warning to depend on yourself as much as possible. Your friends all have their own lives and priorities and will want to do their own thing and that’s completely normal, so make sure you do things yourself. In any case, when you do things yourself, you’ll feel amazing when you look at the end result and see what you can achieve flying solo.

Nothing is more important than your parents

Our parents can sometimes frustrate us and a lot of the times you may think that they don’t understand, but trust me they understand you much more than you could possibly imagine. As outsiders that care about you more than anything in their lives, they have the hardest job in the world: watching us make mistakes and learn from them.

They know how much they can get involved in your life and will leave you enough space to grow, but when they sit you down and want to give you advice, listen very well and make sure you understand it and take it to heart. All they want is to see you happy, healthy and successful and trust me when I tell you, they may be old-fashioned, but their advice is gold.

Never settle for less than what you can achieve

A lot of the times, I’ve seen my friends give up simply because it was too hard and they just didn’t feel like putting the effort in to achieve their dreams. I can easily say that they live in regret most of their days, as time has passed and responsibilities have grown and now they are forced to settle for less than what they could have achieved.

Don’t give up at the first sign of failure, it’s okay if things don’t work out the first time. Do it two, three, maybe even four times -- the important thing is to keep trying until you reach your goals. Always be on the lookout for new goals, set them and achieve them. Start small and work your way up until you become the person you always imagined yourself to be.

Dream big and then dream bigger

What’s the point of life if not to dream and eventually to achieve those dreams? Dream big, imagine yourself the CEO of your own company, sky diving from the edge of space, inventing the next great gadget or even finding a cure for Cancer. There’s no reason why any one reading this wouldn’t be able to achieve any of these things and more. Dream big; live, eat, breathe your dreams until you believe in them so much that they become a reality.

Always forgive and let the world take care of the rest

I’ve seen people become so consumed by revenge that they become unbearable to their surroundings. All they ever spoke about was getting revenge on this person or that person, it literally ate them up alive. Have a forgiving heart that never holds grudges, they’re pointless and only bring you down and always remember that what goes around comes around. You don’t have to take care of anything; the world always has a way of giving everyone exactly what he or she deserves.

As I sit and watch the minutes tick by until midnight hits and I officially become a whole year older, I look back on the year behind with happiness and no regrets. No lesson went unlearned and no experience was a waste; these 365 days all came together in perfect harmony to make me who I am at this very moment.

I look to the next year with optimism as I ponder the dreams I wish to achieve and think of the many experiences I have yet to go through and wonder about what this list will look like at this time next year. Shorter possibly, maybe longer, maybe even completely different; one thing that’s for sure though, this year will be life-changing.

Yasmine Hassan | Elite.

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