As my 30th birthday approaches, I have been reflecting on what my 29 years of life have taught me and what I wish I knew when I was younger. For those still in their teens and early 20s, these are my 7 tips and bits of wisdom that I hope you may benefit from.
1. Find Your Passion
Many people don’t know what they want to study when they enter college, and it takes some time and exploration to figure out what one is really passionate about, especially if you have many different areas of interest. It is perfectly OK to have many different interests and to explore different causes. You don’t have to only have one cause you care about. However, it does become challenging to juggle it all, so when you find what your passion is, develop yourself in a way that helps you set the stage for a life of happiness, helping others, and doing what you are good at along with what the world needs. While you are in your teens and 20s, you have more energy and time for that exploration than when you settle into a full-time job or start a family. Talk to people who inspire you and who have a career you are interested in so you can learn and find out enough to steer towards the direction you want to go.
2. Find Your Voice
We feel that as young women and young men, we are not allowed to speak up, because we don’t want to stand out, we don’t want to come across as pushy, we don’t want to annoy people, and we don’t want to upset our families. We are afraid to speak out, thinking it will turn people off or push people away, but if anything, it helps you to find your place in the world and discover the people who are meant to be in your life. When you see injustice happening, speak up. Never be afraid to stand up for what is right, especially for those who can’t speak for themselves. Be a voice for the voiceless.
Never be afraid to stand up for what is right…
Whether you care about the environment, human rights, gender equality, or any other cause, don’t be afraid to let your voice be heard. It is especially important for you to do so when you are in your 20s, because then you are able to start building your network and becoming a leader in your chosen area of interest. Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself, your rights, and what you want out of life.
3. Find Your Courage
When you have big dreams, some people will tell you that your dreams are too big or too crazy, but that’s because they don’t have the courage to follow their own dreams. It’s easier to stay in our comfort zones, but venture out of it, whether that is telling someone how you feel, going on a big trip across the country or overseas, taking a chance on a job or with what you want to study. Be brave. Follow your heart. Be courageous. And live with no regrets.
4. Find Acceptance and Self-Love
The time you waste being hard on yourself and hating yourself is time you can never get back. It has taken me almost my entire life to get to this point, and it has caused me a lot of missing out on great experiences and meeting people because of being self-conscious and comparing myself to others. It was difficult for me to find acceptance from others because I didn’t accept myself.
I have always been curvy and have pointed out my flaws to myself. When I point things out to my friends, though, they are not able to see the self-perceived flaws. Honestly, most of it is in our heads. We are harder on ourselves than we are on other people. Don’t waste your life hating yourself and hurting yourself with negativity and hateful words. You deserve to love yourself and take care of yourself. If there are things you can change, work on them, and if there are things you can’t change, then learn to accept them. Love yourself as you are, at this exact moment. Confidence is attractive.
5. Find Time for Yourself
One of the quickest ways to get burned out and to feel drained is to constantly do everything for everyone else and put yourself last. Those of us with big hearts always want to take care of people, but we often forget to take care of ourselves. Self-care is important, so start a habit now, before you turn 30, so you can live a longer, healthier life. Make time to exercise, find hobbies you like, tap into your creativity, spend time in nature, and take breaks from electronics and social media. If you have never tried yoga or meditation, take a class. Often, one of the ways I find time to de-stress and relax is through prayer. The greatest sense of peace I have ever found is in sujood (prostration). Whatever it is you do for self-care, make time for it, do it consistently, and make sure you nurture yourself, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
6. Find Your People
They say your vibe attracts your tribe. Find people who will be supportive of your goals and dreams and helping you to be the best you that you can be. If people bring heartache and drama into your life, cut off those toxic relationships and replace them with those who will be nourishing to your soul. The true friends you make while you are younger will be with you for a lifetime, and you can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep. Do your friends leave you feeling uplifted after you spend time with them or do they leave you drained and depressed? Make sure the people you are with contribute to your well-being.
7. Find Your Faith
It is easy for us to look at faith as an ATM machine, where we only turn to God when we need something. Make sure that you are finding time every day to talk to God, to thank Him for the blessings he has bestowed upon you. Take time to not only learn more about your religion, but also read about other faiths and make friends with people who follow different spiritual practices. This will help you to grow spiritually and as a person. Your faith is what will get you through the hardest times in your life, so use your time to strengthen your relationship with God, and ask God to send you the ones who will help you to be the truest version of yourself and lead you closer to Him.
I can honestly say I am looking forward to my 30s and what life has in store. I still have more to learn and more room to grow, but no matter what happens, I know I have God watching over me and beautiful people by my side.