Do you ever sit back and reflect on *life*? I turned 23 this week (ah!). Birthdays are my favourite; i love a good excuse to just have a "you" day. Admittedly, I was spoiled by everyone in my life, and it was a really amazing celebration. It made me realize how lucky I am to have the people in my life that I do - from employees, to my boyfriend, and friends I only see every once in a while, but still "get me". Recently, I've been the happiest that I can ever remember myself being - and this weekend I took a quick moment to write down 23 things I've learned to get to this point:
- Eating well matters. You feel 100x better when you eat kale and drink a ton of water, versus Mr. Noodles and pop. And while a McDouble is so good in the moment, it's just not worth feeling like crap afterwards. Eat well; your body will thank you. And you'll be happier with yourself for making adult choices.
- Nothing important happens after 1am. Ugh, I'm getting old, but it's true. Nothing important happens after the whole world has gone to sleep - and you should go to sleep too. Don't feel pressured to go to that friend's house party, or hit the next bar; it's okay to be in bed at a decent hour, because you honestly, probably won't miss much, and sleeping is the best.
- Don't feel guilty for what you "should" or "shouldn't" do. I always used to get caught up in how I thought I "should" live my life. Like, "I should work out more" or "I shouldn't eat snacks late at night"; subsequently I'd make myself feel like shit because I didn't have my life "together" enough to actually follow through with those shoulds and shouldn'ts. Ditching that mentality altogether is one of the key things that has made me so much happier this year; living unapologetically and being happy with every decision I make, because in the moment it's what I want.
- Being a morning person changes your life. I have never been a morning person. I dread mornings. But travelling so much this year between time zones, I've found myself waking up super early some days, and actually enjoying it. Like, if you get a good night's sleep and wake up fully ready for the day, it's a whole new world. Productivity is at an all time high, I get so much done, and I'm even more creative and ambitious. Life-changing.
- But if you get the chance to sleep in, always do it. Weekend with nothing on the go? Sleep in. It's such a feel-good, self-care thing. Treat yo' self.
- Celebrate the little things. High five co-workers after a breakthrough meeting. Go out for drinks when something good happens. Get yourself ice cream just because it's a beautiful day out. Life is too short to not celebrate all the little things.
- 90's R&B is the best go-to playlist for any occasion. Destiny's Child, TLC and R. Kelly. There is nothing better.
- Love and happiness don't happen by chance. They happen by choice. It's a choice you have to make every single day, with your relationships, and with yourself.
- Everyone makes mistakes. Including you. Including your family, your friends, your boss, your role model, your mentor. Everyone. No one is perfect. That is okay. We're all human.
- Everyone deserves a second chance. Have you ever messed up? Wished you didn't? Would you re-do something if you could? None of us know everything, or have all the answers. Everyone deserves a second chance, because, people change. Truly.
- You are beautiful without make-up. This thought is a revolution. I've had skin problems and pretty bad acne for the past ten years and always felt insecure about it. In university I started wearing more make-up, and hated how I looked without it. This year, my skin has gotten so much better - I think it's a combination of eating well, being happier, and using a great moisturizer. I finally feel so comfortable - and confident - without make-up! I wish I had felt this way years ago. It's so silly that something so superficial can change your entire self-perspective, but I feel so empowered now being able to get up and go - with or without make-up.
- The more you give, the more you get. In relationships, in business and in life.
- There's no one right answer to anything. Life is not black and white. Everybody's experiences are different. What's right for you might not be right for someone else. People love to give their opinions, but at the end of the day, you have to do you.
- The world is big. Like, really big. And you are one small, small part of it.
- Travel is a privilege. I have the chance to travel - a lot - but it's a luxury. I love travelling, and I wish everyone got the same opportunities, and saw the same things. You learn so much when you immerse yourself in unfamiliar places, try new things, eat good food. Don't take it for granted.
- Work hard. But not too hard. Success is a combination of hard work, right time/right place, a passionate team, and luck. You can only control one of those things: your work ethic. The rest is up to the universe.
- Stress is normal. Feeling is normal. Everyone gets stressed out, anxious, nervous, happy, excited... It's okay to feel all the feelings. It's okay to talk about it, too. There's a stigma attached to mental health, but the more I talk about my experiences, the more I realize: everybody gets it. Everybody has been there, or can relate, or knows someone. It's common. It's present. It's normal.
- Weird is good. Don't be ashamed of your weirdness.
- The best relationships are when you can be weird together. If you can find someone who loves your weirdness, don't let them go.
- Get outside as much as you can. The sun is great medicine; it reminds you that you're alive. I'm by no means an "outdoorsy" person, but I've been going for daily walks - and now with Pokémon Go I'm spending even more time outside. It's underrated; get out.
- Be grateful. Stay humble. You will appreciate life so much more. I don't understand how some people hit a peak of success, and become different people. It really bothers me actually; your bank account doesn't make you a better person. The clothes you wear don't make you more respectable. I've maybe been lucky to have the outlook I do, and I try to remind myself consistently to be thankful for the little things, and stay humble.
- Never stop learning. I've been out of school for two years, but I feel like I've learned more building Wear Your Label than I did during my degree. It's less about textbooks and lecture halls, more about staying openminded every single day. This world is too big, and there are too many things to do, to ever lose curiosity or the drive to learn more.
- At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is your happiness. If you're not happy, nothing is worth it. That's it.