I turn 28 soon. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I’ve somehow aged when the world is holding still.
There’s a part of me that feels cheated. I don’t want the new age if I didn’t get all the time that was owed to me to do and be and change the things I wanted to.
I’m more aware than ever of the amount of life left at to-be-continued, the conversations that have to happen in person, the projects that need a certainty this climate cannot offer.
But this stillness has also brought afloat many truths that were lost in the chaos of my life. So perhaps, in a way, this year gave me the space to grow into the person I was ready to become.
These are some of the biggest truths I’ve stood witness to over this year:
1. After a certain number of years, everyone will have a past (or several parts of their past) that isn’t in the picture anymore. Some of those doors are best left shut because they’re simply not relevant any longer.
2. Being a sensitive feeler means that it’ll take you time to establish certain boundaries. Give yourself and those in your life time to understand how to go about it.
3. Friendships can have strict boundaries and be extremely close. The closer ones are often harder to have boundaries in, but they’re still necessary.
4. Hold people to high standards; to the best possible versions you see of them.
Those who wish to and can, will rise and meet you there. The others will show you where they’re at. Either way, you learn their truth.
5. Limit the energy you spend on trying to decode someone else’s inner life.
6. In tense personal interactions, practice asking—is it your feeling you are holding? Or theirs?
7. Let people earn your trust. You don’t have to always assume the best about everyone. You’re allowed to trust your instincts about people.
8. There will be people who don’t give you a fair chance. They’re not your people and those are not your chances.
9. Release fear constantly. And pick up something else in your toolkit that helps you focus and act.
10. Generously share resources, ideas, and openings for valuable opportunities like this world depends on it. Because it does.
11. It’s up to you to unlearn the deeply discriminatory systems you’ve been raised in. Sexism, racism, homophobia, casteism, ableism, fatphobia. Keep kindness and justice at your core and make conscious unlearning a part of your routine.
12. You are allowed to speak without knowing everything. You are allowed to make mistakes. And you are allowed to keep learning as you show up.
13. Look for what’s true over what’s right, and let go of moral policing your decisions.
14. As you evolve, your new normal will feel soft, scary, and uncertain.
Give yourself time to settle into it.
15. Life won’t be easy. If you have the resources and capacity, it’s up to you to make it worth it.
16. Sometimes what’s true in a moment will be a decision that doesn’t pan out too well in the future. That speaks more about life’s strange ways than your decision-making skills.
17. The best planning is often a fine balance between knowing when to prioritise long-term and short-term goals.
18. Work on how ever much you can at a time. The rest will fall as seeds that’ll grow into something larger someday.
19. Success is a singular definition for everyone. And it’s alright if you need to keep redefining it for yourself.
20. Celebrate yourself; both the small and big victories. Even if no one else understands, even if no one is around to join in, take time to deliberately let the feeling of joy and accomplishment sink in.
21. Knowing isn’t central to being.
You can build and grow and evolve without knowing how it’s happening or what exactly is happening.
22. Do the things you love that are too weird for a mainstream narrative. Those will often be the spaces that you can unbecome in, removed from the noise in your life.
23. There are times you’ll need to look for an anchor and times when you’ll need to look for oars. Check in with yourself to make sure you’re using what you need.
24. Sometimes you will pick up a truth and turn it in your hand and observe it for months. And then you will put it back down and go on with your life. Maybe it isn’t your truth. Maybe it isn’t time for you to use it, yet.
25. Losing someone you love also means grieving a self that you will no longer be. Allow yourself that layered grief.
26. Don’t judge grief or try to control it, it is too mighty. Let it show up when and how it does. Trust its dance. It will subside in its own time.
27. Belonging is a feeling; some of us have to learn to hold it.
28. No matter how much you meditate and introspect, you’ll need distance to be able to frame your story about a particular time. Don’t be too quick to label your experiences, because many take a while to unravel their true purpose.