It’s my birthday! And every year I get the exact same questions: “what’s the big deal?”, “Aren’t you a little too grown up to be excited about it?”, “Doesn’t it come every year? It’s just a regular day.”
Yes, it is. I agree. But what makes me genuinely happy about this day is that somehow my birthday brings a lot of things to my attention, What my past year has been like and what the coming year will bring; the memories I made, the friends I made, what I gained and what I lost. Every year finishes with some good memories and some disappointments but in the end, there’s a lesson that I get from everything. And that, I think, is key to growth.
It’s just a regular day if all that’s growing is your hair, Jameela! What makes this day special is realizing how much you’ve grown as an individual. Every year comes and goes and what stays are the lessons it gives you. So this year, I’m going to list them down.
Lesson 1: Be self-sufficient
Now, there’s a big misconception that self-love and self-sufficiency mean being full of yourself and kissing yourself in the mirror. No. Loving yourself means you respect yourself enough to realize that what you are is the best version of what you could ever be. Trying to improve yourself and taking care of yourself meanwhile, is what self-love is all about. And it is vital. If you won’t love yourself, no one else can.
Being self-sufficient means that you don’t need to rely on somebody’s approval or presence in live your life. Whether it’s your boss, your significant other or a friend. This does not mean you should stay alone because you’re all you need, either. Everyone needs company and friends. But what’s important is that you are capable of living your life even if they are not around. Don’t let loneliness drive you into the arms of people who are toxic to you, basically. Wait for the true, genuine people to come by. And they will. Trust me.
Lesson 2: Be Low-key
Not everyone needs to know everything about you. Try to keep things to yourself that you don’t think someone else will find any advantage in listening to. Or things that you don’t think will give you an advantage by telling them. Communication is a nice gesture, but, with some people, too much of it will make you far more vulnerable than you might want to be.
Lesson 3: Be aware
Know what’s going on around you, whether it’s the national news, the job in the paper or someone giving you a side eye. Know when someone means well to you or means you harm. Sometimes it can be hard to tell but I’m talking about obvious people around you. Be aware of who claps on your success and who frowns. Understand when you are given an opportunity and when you are being exploited. Don’t be too naive. It can make you stupid.
Lesson 4: Be consistent
Whether it’s a work routine, skincare routine, a hobby or praying, consistency is key. Work hard and be consistent in whatever you do. It will take you farther, quicker than you may be expecting.
Lesson 5: Trust yourself
You know yourself better than anyone else. At least that’s how it should be! Self-evaluation and knowing yourself is what will help you get through a lot of problems and avoid many as well. Also, when you want to do something, trust yourself enough to be able to think that you can do it. If you believe in yourself, no one else really matters. Besides, you can just do it and show them. They’ll agree with you then. It’s as simple as that. Demonstration is the best evidence.
Lesson 6: Stop faking
For once in your life, stop pretending. That’s how mental instability is born in the first place. When you bottle up everything and put on that ridiculous mask, it makes everything far worse than it could’ve been. If you’re happy, be happy. If you’re nervous, be nervous. If you’re cranky, be cranky. If you’re disappointed and angry, let it say so on your face.Forcing your appearance on the outside isn’t going to fix what’s wrong on the inside.
Lesson 7: Not everyone is here to stay and that’s okay.
You will lose friends and relationships. People you thought you were going to be with 10 years later, you won’t be talking to them by the end of the year. And that’s okay! There are tons of fancy quotes on that so I won’t start with those but I’ll just say this – The ones that leave have done their part. Let them go.
Lesson 8: Wait for it
All good things to those who wait. Heard it, observed it, experienced it. Trust me when I say this, whatever it is that you’re working hard for and waiting for, it’ll find you. Just wait. It’ll be worth it.
Lesson 9: It will all come together
I have a firm belief in this idea with every blood cell in my body and I will say this till I can- Everything that happens, it’s all part of a plan. There’s a reason it’s happening. If there’s something going on in your life that you have no control over, let it happen. Let it hurt. It may be hard to understand now but later on, you’ll see the puzzle come together and you’ll finally understand. And trust me, there is no better moment when you will find yourself drowning in faith than that very moment.
Lesson 10: Be happy
This one was the hardest to learn.
I learnt that no matter what you do, you can’t be perfect. Because some people don’t allow you to be! If they don’t find flaws in you they will MAKE flaws in you. It’s just how the world works. So instead of being the Mother Teresa that you want to be, accept the fact that some people will never like you and when you identify them, you don’t have to be rude to them. Just accept them and let them be in the background. Pay attention to those who know the perfect you. The ones that see through your imperfections. And there are such people around you. You just need to identify them.
So these were some of the major lessons that I learnt this year. Some I learnt by observation and some by experience. Some had to be learnt the hard way. I made mistakes and I’ll make them again. It’s life. You continue to make mistakes as long as you live. New ones and sometimes old ones-even after you’ve learnt your lesson and written a blog about them! It’s only human. Try not to make the same mistakes again but if you do, it’s okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Have a cupcake. And just grow.