Isn’t it strange how, as we age, we stay relatively the same inside? Of course, we gain more experiences and through them new perspectives and growth and change, but I know I can say that (at least for me) we generally stay who we are throughout our lives. Our internal dialogue and who we know ourselves to be continues on this journey in the same way, never minding that our bodies are continuing to age. Physically, our bodies may show the lines and spots we’ve acquired on our adventures. Mentally, our brains may process certain things differently based on past experiences. But our souls, the true core of who we are, never changes. And I like to think that if that’s what we remember and pay attention to, we’ll always feel freeness to be our best selves, through all the years we spend here on Earth.
I still feel like 24 year old Sarah in many ways. Sure, in the years between now and then, I’ve moved to two different states, earned a Master’s degree, gotten married, made a career pivot and too many other things to name, but she’s still here. Her and I are one and the same, observing and processing all these different experiences we’ve had. And it’ll still be that way for as long as I’m here. When I’m 80, the same internal self who was experiencing the age of 24, will be right there, experiencing 80 too. Thinking about aging and our lifetimes this way helps me realize that, though so much can and will change as we move through our lives, internally so much stays the same. I take comfort in that. This is one of the many things I’ve learned in my 28 years of life. Here’s a list of some more; 28 things I’ve learned in 28 years:
- It is possible (and completely acceptable) to feel sadness and gratitude at the same time.
- The most important & meaningful parts of life are often the simplest.
- We have control over very few things in life; perspective is one of them. Your life will be exactly as you see it- approach your perspective wisely.
- Pain can be transformed to power to help others. Do not fear it; it is part of your journey and will make you the person you’re meant to become. You will make it through.
- You are NEVER alone. Reach out to help others and connect; in doing so you will heal too.
- Creating boundaries is important; you are not a selfish person for instilling them.
- If you love animals, don’t eat them. Also, if you don’t love animals, don’t eat them.
- Take care of your body and your body will take care of you.
- Food is fuel- but definitely partake in all the pleasures a table of good food with those you love around it can bring.
- Feeling sad does not make you a lesser person and will not keep you from having a wonderful life. Let it move through you so you can move forward.
- Everything is an ebb and flow; things cannot and will not always be wonderful, but always remember more wonderful times are coming. Stay open and receptive to them.
- Find whatever it is that helps you process your feelings. They will not leave until you’ve allowed them in.
- Life is short, but it’s also long. You have time, but don’t forget how precious it is.
- People are too worried about themselves to analyze you in the way you think they might.
- Don’t let what others think of you stop you from being exactly who you are.
- In fact, your truest, most beautiful purpose here on Earth is to be the most you you can possibly be and share your gifts with the world. Do that.
- Paying attention to your breath and experiencing stillness on a regular basis provides so much clarity and peace.
- Your words are powerful, be mindful of how you speak of yourself and others.
- Spend time with your parents. Ask them questions. Learn about their experiences in life. You’ll be so glad to know them in this way; what they were like before you.
- Set goals- you don’t have to accomplish all of the them within a certain time frame to be proud. Setting goals in general will lead you to accomplishing goals you didn’t even know you had.
- Don’t put so much pressure on things. It’s more fulfilling to have fun.
- Release yourself from the outcome- go after your dreams even though they may not work out. Something better is on the way and you’ll be a better person for taking the leap.
- Vulnerability is the most powerful tool for connection and healing.
- That ache you feel when you realize things won’t be how they are forever is normal. Don’t run; embrace it. Life becomes even more beautiful when you acknowledge how temporary it is.
- Taking care of yourself and learning what you need to feel good is the greatest gift you will ever give yourself, and to the world.
- Create the relationship with yourself that you wish to have with others. You’ll attract the best people that way.
- Stay open to all possibilities. Life will likely not work out how you envisioned it, but if you trust your path it will lead you somewhere more beautiful than you ever could have imagined.
- Do not let the fear of time passing get in the way of you enjoying your life and where you are in this moment. Time will pass regardless, may as well dive in. Stay present.
- You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be; no time can be wasted when you trust in the process.
Okay so I added one extra in there.. it’s just that I’ve learned SO DAMN MUCH. And there’s so much more I could add. Funny thing is most of what I’ve listed here are the things I’ve learned within the past 3-4 years. Between my Dad’s passing, dealing with my own anxieties and quitting my full time job to figure out what the hell I want to do with my life, I’ve found my way to many self-development resources and insightful conversations with amazing human beings.
I’ve learned so much about the world and about myself in such a short amount of time, and there’s still so much more to learn and grow from. I never in a million years would have guessed that this is where my 28 year old self would be. There’s been a lot of heartache, but there’s also been so much love. And no matter what, I know I’m exactly where I’m meant to be. And so are you. My greatest lesson is that, so long as you stay open to opportunities and love yourself and trust the universe, incredible things will happen for you. I’ve only just started this journey and, whether you’re starting from right where you are reading this now, or you’ve already been on it for a while, I hope you feel that knowing deep inside, that this very moment is meant for you in your journey to becoming who you’re meant to be. And you’ll learn everything you need to know along the way.
Would love to hear from you; share your greatest life lessons in the comments below!