I turned 22 last month, and around my birthday I usually look back at the year and see how things have changed and what I’ve done in the last 365 days. One thing’s for sure – I learnt so much this year, some new, some old that I just needed to remind myself of, and some I never thought I’d need to learn. These are 22 things I learnt in my 22nd year of life:

1. Be a little kinder than you have to be.

2. Don’t over think. I know you’re probably rolling your eyes because you know it isn’t that simple – but we need to at least try not to worry about things we cannot control and try not create these scenarios in our heads about future possible occurrences – it’s incredibly exhausting to the mind and soul. Just try and be present, always.

3. People are temporary. Friends will come and go as we all grow and change – even when you thought that person would be in your life forever. That drift is okay and we need to accept it and be content with the time we had with that person. And don’t get me wrong, change isn’t easy, but it’s good and all part of the journey.

4. Its okay to be unhappy. Happiness is a goal to many (including myself), and this year I allowed myself to feel unhappy, if the feeling was there, but did not allow it to control me. ‘Cause as much as I try to, being optimistic and happy all the time is difficult, so it’s good to remind ourselves that it’s okay to not always be happy.

5. Read more. Just give yourself time to go into another universe and allow novels and poems to impact your life.

6. Be spontaneous. This is something I still struggle with, because I enjoy things being structured and planned. But a little unexpected adventure will be good – so try it out sometime.

7. No one in the world is like you, and that’s exactly what makes you so freaking marvelous!

8. You matter more than you believe you do.

9. Stand up for yourself and the things you believe in.

10. If you expect everyone to be like you, and to have the same heart as you – you’re going to be very disappointed. But don’t allow that to change who you are.

11. Keep learning and educating yourself.

12. If someone is in your space and they are affecting you negatively, remove them out of your life. The people in your life should lift you up and bring something positive to your space – you have complete control over that.

13. Listen to more music. It creates an outlet for emotions you may not understand or know how to deal with. Music will always be there, for both the good and bad.

14. Do what your head and heart tells you will make you happy – and if that doesn’t work out, you’ll then know what will actually make you happy.

15. It’s okay to cry. In fact, I encourage crying to just release those bottled up emotions.

16. Save money, when and if you can. We’ll be thankful for it later.

17. Respect your fellow human. You may not understand them or agree with them, but the least you should do is respect them. And if you see someone being disrespectful, speak up!

18. It’s okay to be selfish sometimes and do things for yourself. You are important and at the end of the day it’s you and only you that you have – remember that.

19. Be grateful for what you have, no matter how small.

20. Absolutely no one has this life thing figured out, it’s different for everyone, so following your heart and making the best of it is probably the best idea. (And listen to your guardians, they only want the best for you and are usually right, even if we don’t always want to admit it).

21. Put your phone down now and then. Social media and technology can be so toxic and disruptive. It’s important to take a breath and remind yourself of what’s actually important to you.

22. Keep smiling. It has helped me through so much.

I’m excited for what the next year in my life is going to bring, and you should be too. Let me know in the comments below some of the lessons you’ve learnt this year and what you’re looking forward to in 2018.

#KeepSmiling

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