Birthdays, they seem to sneak up so fast, don’t they?
Prior to turning the big 2-5, each passing birthday felt no different than any other day of the year. Even life’s most celebrated milestones felt rather mundane. When I finally turned 21, I had already abused the hell out of an unstoppable fake ID. In short, bar hopping with girlfriends was nothing new.
However, things started to change when I turned 25.
Suddenly, time escaped me. It felt as if my Facebook feed transitioned from graduation announcements to engagement posts overnight.
I wouldn’t say I experienced a quarter life crisis; in fact, I would instead call it a quarter life awakening. I know, I know. Before you roll your eyes so far back they get stuck, hear me out.
I decided life is too short. Life is too short to care what people think. Life is too short to delay personal goals and aspirations. Life is too short to seek validation and self-worth through a significant other. I decided it was time to wake up. And I’ve experienced a tremendous amount of self growth in the process.
To my younger readers, I wanted to share some tips I would tell young Taylor. These tips aren’t meant to be preachy; in fact, they’re straight from the heart and intended to nudge you in the right direction should you need it.
Without further ado, here are my best tips toward self betterment…
Trim the fat.
I borrow this term from one of my best friends, Amber. “Trim the fat” implies ridding your life of the unnecessary excess. In this particular case, I refer specifically to people that do not serve you. This could mean a friend, or even family. *gasps*.
Sometimes, no matter how much you love someone, their intentions are not to lift you up or support you. Over the past few years, I’ve had to make painful choices. I broke up with a serious boyfriend and stopped talking to one of my closest friends at the same time. I’m not going to lie… it was really hard. Through the process I learned that ultimately you want to surround yourself with people you admire, whose values align with yours. Trust me, hindsight is 20/20. You’ll feel so cleansed and wonder why you tolerated being treated less than you deserve in the first place.
Since then, I have become very selective of who I choose to spend my time with, and…guess what.. so should you! Time is the most valuable currency in the world. Don’t waste it on people that do not lift you up or have your best interest in mind.
Get rid of the clutter.
This is one of the best pieces of advice I can give. It seems simple, but you really can’t comprehend the benefits until you actually do it.
I feel mentally clear and focused when my life is organized and structured. Marie Kondo, a professional Japanese organizer and author of “The Life Changing Method of Tidying Up,” breaks it down so simply. When you reach for something in your home, ask yourself “does this item bring me joy?” If the answer is yes, keep it. If you hesitate or say no, donate or discard it.
I recently donated about 7 trashbags of clothing and several boxes of trinkets/items I don’t use or need. Now, I can see everything in my closet and my drawers are incredibly neat. Every item has a home or place, meaning I am no longer misplacing things.
Rid the notion of “I’ll never see them again.”
We live in the digital age. We’re all connected in some way, shape, or form. That guy you flashed in college or girl you accidentally puked on at a sorority party could be your future boss. It sounds like a stretch, but I’ve learned life has a funny way of working out and things always come full circle. Conduct yourself accordingly.
Believe in yourself and confidence will follow.
I liken this analogy to sales. If you don’t believe in the product you’re selling, how will you convince yourself (or anyone else) of its value? If you’re feeling particularly insecure or unhappy, it’s time to step back and reflect.
List five things you admire or love about yourself. It can be anything. Write it down and repeat it to yourself every day. **Do not focus on physical attributes.** Positive manifestation yields positive results.
Another good way to think about this is “be the type of person you’d love to meet”. Read the news. Be able to articulate an opinion. Have hobbies and interests. Invest in YOU. The more you do, the more self love will follow.
Invest in experiences over things.
Invest in what can never be taken from you. If the economy tanks or a natural disaster hits, ask yourself what kind of intangible wealth will remain. For me, it’s my education and experiences. No one can take either away from me. $10,000 can either mean a Rolex on your wrist or a European vacation you’ll remember for a lifetime. The choice is yours.
Fake it till you make it.
Lastly, fake it till you make it! The most valuable life lessons cannot be taught, but rather they are experienced. Life is all about trial and error. Do new parents feel prepared for their unborn child simply from reading parenting books? Absolutely not. Every situation is unique to you, and it’s just about doing the best you can. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and follow your dreams, feet first.
What are some of the most valuable life lessons you’ve learned? Let’s chat!