So I’m officially 26! Birthdays are always a time for reflection for me so I wanted to share some wisdom and lessons that I have learned along the way. I know what you’re thinking if you’re not a millennial. You’re ONLY 26, puleeze how many lessons could you possibly have learned by now? You’ve barely left the nest….Try having real adult problems kids…That is an unfair mindset to have towards anyone solely based on their age! Everyone is different and you can’t pool all millennials as complainers, lazy and glued to their phones only.
And if you’re a millennial reading this, I’m certain that you can relate to some if not ALL of my lessons below. SO, without further rambling, here you have it!
- Follow your dreams! Now this is one thing, I think you should ignore when your parents tell you to just get a “comfy job that pays well with a good retirement plan”. They say “love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life” and this is SO true! The generation before us loved job security, they were not taught to go after what they wanted because simply it is uncomfortable but not to mention that they did not have the resources we are so lucky to have, which is totally understandable! Lately, there’s more turnover in corporations and more and more millennials that are unhappy in their current roles. Firstly, employers need to catch up on the changes that are necessary so that people can actually have work, life, balance and not just talk about it in meetings and presentations but you need to realize that although you are not following the traditional method that is guaranteed to make you $X amount per year, if you love what you do, truly love what you do. That will come through in the end. Believe in yourself. That’s just my 2 cents.
- Life is what you make it! Too many times, people just complain about EVERYTHING. If you stop complaining and pay attention, you’ll see that everyone complains about everything. If the weather is too cold, if the weather is too hot, traffic, waiting for coffee, their boss, their boyfriend, their husband, their mortgage payments, their hair is falling out and the list goes on and on…trust me it really does, but I’ll spare you the complaining I hear on the regular but make sure that this isn’t or doesn’t turn into you and your mindset. Stop and really hear what you say on the regular to your coworkers, family members, friends etc. Redirect your habit of complaining just for the sake of complaining and start focusing on the good stuff in life! By focusing on the good, you SEE the good, you ATTRACT the good. Your thoughts manifest your reality, so focus on yourself, and start reprogramming your brain to seeing the good in your life. It’s amazing how much our mindset shapes our life. If you don’t like something, change it! Because between us, complaining never solves the problem. One of my favourite quotes someone mentioned to me was “change what you can’t accept and accept what you can’t change.
- Change is good! We grow up thinking that the person we are at 18 years old will be who we are forever because we feel “so old” but as you go through life, university and then start working, your mentality changes, your interests change, your life changes from what it used to be when school and homework were your biggest problems. Embrace the change and be open to accepting all the good it has to offer. Continuously improving will keep you away from a place of being stagnant in life. It also works in the opposite way. If you don’t like your temper or you are too sensitive, you can also try and change that by recognizing that is something that you want work on. I love reading self help books for this or listening to podcasts! Today, you can be who you want to be and not who you were yesterday.
- BFFs aren’t a must! Going off my point above, you change! and sometimes, the people around you don’t change or don’t for a long time after you do. It’s okay to re-evaluate your friendships and relationships continuously and adjust accordingly. My hobbies and interests are sometimes vastly different from the friends I had through elementary and high school and just because we were best friends then, doesn’t mean we HAVE to be best friends now. Sometimes it’s okay to accept that your relationship changed and build from there or other times it’s okay to let that friendship go completely. Remember, any relationship is a two way street. If it no longer is serving you, let it go (politely)!
- Family is EVERYTHING! Time and time again I’m reminded about the people who are LITERALLY always there for me. From late night calls, help moving, advice, they are the ones that know you so well and their advice is always for your betterment. Trust your mom’s intuition. That boy she doesn’t like…dump him. Just kidding, sometimes you need to follow your own path and see things for yourself! But more times than not, you will eventually see what your family saw all along when they spoke out their concern for you. So the next time your mom annoys you with that constant 2 cents that you didn’t ask her for, listen a little harder. She may be on to something 😉 .
- Never stop learning! I really believe that if you’re not constantly learning, you’re dying. May that be a new course, workshop, watching youtube videos, always stay curious or whatever learning looks like to you. For example, in today’s fast moving world, taking an IT course in 2009 and then never learning new programs or technologies, you’d be at a dead end job in no time.
- Spend $ on experiences not things! I don’t know how many hours I spent wandering aimlessly around a shopping mall buying clothes from stores like Zara, Forever 21, H & M. Wearing them once or twice a year and then donating them because they don’t fit, got ruined etc. Not only are you wasting your money but you are encouraging retailers to continue to provide “fast fashion”. They sell you items that are cheap, are poorly made, often with terrible conditions for workers in third world countries, in order to keep you “current”. It’s their job to make us want to constantly consume, new jeans, light wash jeans, ripped jeans, flared jeans, boot-cut jeans, ankle jeans but really do we NEED to have so many items? NO! In the past few years, I try to think before I buy anything. 1) Do I need this? 2) Will I wear it more than a few times/seasons? 3) If I don’t buy it, will I regret it? 4) Can it be worn in more than one way? Often times, I rarely need any new clothing so half the clothes are put back with question no. 1. I also try to think of what I already have in my closet that could act as a substitute for what I’m thinking of buying. For example, sure these floral high-waisted shorts are cute, but can the 5 other pairs of shorts I have be worn if I didn’t buy this right now? If the answer is yes, I leave it. I’m not perfect and this isn’t something I follow 100% but trying to be more mindful of your consumption will help the environment, your wallet and encourage corporations to come out with better quality products. Remember, be the change you wish to see in the world. I am choosing to spend this saved money on more trips, experiences and memories! Those I do need and will last forever unlike that new dress.
- Use your resources! Often times we compare ourselves to some person and think that they had it easy, knew the right people, had the right upbringing but instead of focusing on the lack, focus on what you do have. Network, talk to people, get out of your shell. I really believe that everyone has something to offer and that we can learn from anyone. I personally, enjoy talking to people who are older and younger than me who have had different life experiences. You learn so much from just talking and listening to others. We are often so focused on ourselves that we ignore what is around us. Go to the library, talk to your mom’s friend, talk to your teachers! Mentors and the right people are all around us.
- Know your worth! If you want people to see the value in you, you need to value yourself. Your validation needs to come from yourself. Not your family, friends, boyfriend, husband etc. When you know your own value, others opinion won’t hinder you because you aren’t trying to convince them of your worth. Trying to make everyone happy and see my worth was making me miserable. When I changed my mindset of trying to please others to being truly happy with myself, my light shone brightly and no one can take that way from me. When you give others the power to define you, you are let down, disappointed or hurt when they don’t see in you what you see in yourself. That’s not on you though, you can’t make everyone happy. It’s up to you to make yourself happy only.
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Thanks for reading friends! I hope you could relate to some if not all. Let me know in the comments below 🙂 . Here’s to an amazing year being 26! I can’t wait to see what this age has to offer 🙂 .
One Reply to “9 Life Lessons from a 26-year old Millennial”
Happy happy birthday — these are valuable lessons and so good to remember. Thanks for sharing and cheers to a new year!