23 Things I Have Learned at 23



Before you say anything, I wanna thank you for wishing me a blessed birthday. Whether you don't know yet or you lose track of the calendar but yass, it's my birthday today and I turn 23. Happy birthday to me! Hihi. Another year older, another moment to be wiser. So let me tell you few things that I have learned during my time on earth for the past 23 years.


#1. BE GRATEFUL

In our consumerist society, we tend to focus on what we lack, or on what other people have that we do not, whereas gratitude is the feeling of appreciation for what we already have. More than that, it is the recognition that the good in our life can come from something that is outside us and outside our control-be it other people, nature, or a higher power-and that owes little or nothing to us.

The importance of gratitude is significant because when you start practicing gratitude you'll have higher levels of optimism, positive emotions and life satisfaction. It doesn't matter if the glass is half full or half empty, but be grateful for you have a glass and there is something in it. Stop saying that the grass is always greener on the other side cause now the grass is greener UNDER ME.

For me, being grateful is all about reconnect to God. It's basically to remember Allah in everything we do whatever state we are in.


#2. CREATE A STRONG SUPPORT SYSTEM

Find few loyal friends, stick to them. Their support are much more needed than your so-called boyfriend's. In life we want people who understand us and can be depended upon during tough times. We need people who will listen to us and give us honest feedback. Research has proved that having support system has many positive benefits, such as higher levels of well being, better coping skills and a longer and a healthier life. Social support can also reduce depression and anxiety. Giving and receiving support from others is a basic human need.
 
My support system for the last 5 years, last year on my 22nd birthday


#3. TRY EVERYTHING AND DON'T HOLD BACK

At this point in life you're gonna feel the urge to explore your creativity and ability, and it makes you want to try everything off and trust me, it will take the most of your time. If you're not careful you'll end up wasting your time. So choose wisely on what you want to master and be so good at it. Just do it! Try everything! Don't hold back, and get yourself dipped in the mud!

I tried writing poetry, started my blog, won poetry recitation contest, did one casting for shampoo commercial, model for photographer friend, enrolled myself in a hijab competition 'Sunsilk Hijab Hunt 2016', bought MIDI keyboard for me cause I was so obsessed to be a pianist, play recorder, I teach English for adults, and now kids also. Those assorted experiences had taught me many things and it gave me the opportunity to get in touch with and really know myself through things and it helped me to determine what I really want to do for the next year ahead. In fact, those sundry things I have done before has brought me into my determinant self right now.

#4. DON'T CHANGE PEOPLE

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drinks. I did try so hard to change people I care about because I don't want them to stay in the pit. You will meet people who don't like you and don't waste your worthy time trying to change their minds. Sometimes if you want an intimate relationship, there are some things you need to accept as they are. Why not just try to change your way of seeing things? Because when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change.



#5. DEFEAT YOUR BIGGEST ENEMY

Who do you see when you stand in front of the mirror? That's your biggest enemy. This enemy will always follow you everywhere you go. So beware of them. Train yourself to ignore it, because most times the enemy is a never-ending stream of unspoken thoughts going on in your own head. Stop trying so hard to prove yourself to anyone. Just be your best version and let your unique energy attracts its doppelganger.



#6. DIGITAL DETOXES

On January 2018 I decided to deactivate my facebook and instagram account. And it has been few months until I reactivated it back 2 weeks ago. I can't stress more of how good and relieving it feels to spend days without it. I guess it did feel good because since I'm living social-media free, I have much much more time to work on other better things. It made me spending my spare times with reading useful articles especially about self-development.

Yes you will feel withdrawals, you'll experience separation anxiety, out of place, but you'll get over it! You only will miss it for a week and then you move on. Unplugging from the digital world and getting outside will do your mind, body and soul wonders.
  
#7. HEARTBREAK SUCKS!

But it's worth it. How in the hell heartbreaks gonna worth it? Okay, think of it from a positive side. You love that person, but they don't love you back or don't want to fight for you. When you guys are separated, what's your lose? You lose someone you love. But they lose someone who loves them. After encountering few heartbreaks it taught me to reshape my ideal criteria of a partner and became more laidback about romantic relationship. So embrace the moments when you're at the rockbottom during heartbreak. Once you moved on, you'll be someone new with stronger vision and determination.


#8. CHANGE YOUR LIFE

Do something that is life-changing. Mine was traveling to London. Alone. For some of you it might be a trivial things to travel abroad alone but boy did it do something to me. The trip to London has given me opportunity to observe and learn the circumstances that I probably will never get inside my circle. And it brought me so many new perspectives about life (that people are struggling their own lives in certain way), relationship (that love is all around, embrace it) and self-love (I relied on my self only, there was no one I can talk to since the first day in London but in the end I thought to my self to not waste time there and made friends).

All the way from Jakarta to London, alone 
 It doesn't have to be something with extra money to change your life. You simply can just start from changing your routines because you don't have to change everything at once. Just trying one new change to your routine at a time can create progress.

#9. LET THE CLOCK TICKS

We are all rushing because we constantly compare ourselves to other people's success, so we don't fall behind. We are all rushing because we feel guilty slowing down. We are all rushing for success. But when was the last time you relaxed? There's no hurry, because we have time. Most times when you rush things you'll start feeling anxious and it keeps building up because you build some expectations in order to satisfy your needs. So if your expectations fall short, you panic or feel down and out.

So just slow down. Admire yourself and what is around you. If you can't, just say no. Don't add more things on your plate. One way that helps me quick to be slowed down when the anxiety kicks in is to take deep breath for 10 seconds, hold it for 5 seconds then release it for another 10. Do it 4 or 5 times continuously and you'll feel the difference in your head.

Unless you're working on a tight deadline at work, then dude don't sit down until you get it done!

#10.TAKE THE RISK OR LOSE THE CHANCE

Taking risk is more a matter of whether to follow the safe, proven route that would prevent us from having to stand out if we failed, or following your instincts about what you feel would be effective and exciting. Taking risk will create some changes in your life; it will get you noticed cause it's rare for people to take risk; it will make you feel alive. Taking risk also creates a higher standard once you see the result it offers. But the more important is taking risk teaches you more about yourself because the more success you experience within those areas, the more confident you will become.


#11. EMBRACE FAILURE

Everyone fails: Steve Jobs was fired from the company he founded, J.K. Rowling lived on welfare for awhile, Oprah was fired from a news anchor position, George Clooney has made quite a few terrible movies and Paul McCartney has written some bad songs. Failing is what success is built on, so embrace it and do not fear it. Failure means you're doing things- the more you take risks and make hard decisions, the closer you are to success.

#12. ONLINE DATING

There's absolutely nothing wrong with looking for love or someone to casually date through an app because as easy as it is to want to give up on the whole dating thing after a bad breakup or rejection, you may just as well end up meeting someone refreshing. You could just end up being pleasantly surprised. You will meet different kinds of people than you would in your everyday life and maybe your paths would have never crossed in real life. It might not have worked out with all of them in the end, but I can say that the people I met online were some of the most interesting and memorable people. I learned a lot from them and I am so glad our lives intersected, even if only for a few weeks or a few months at a time.



#13. EXPLORE YOUR FEELINGS

Every feeling has a message. Maybe that message is simply to allow yourself to feel the emotion until it dissipates. Maybe the feeling is guiding you toward some action. You should let yourself be so overjoyed or let yourself being so sad and cry that ugly face out. Let those feelings stay and process it, it will give you access to your own inner wisdom and innate creativity.

If something  persists-anger, fear, anxiety-simply ask it what it wants to tell you. Sit quietly and allow the answer to appear. When you feel peaceful, you have your answer, whether or not you like what that answer says.



#14. DON'T SAVE MONEY (SERIOUSLY)

Saving money is counterproductive. While it's true that you need to save some money, as repugnant as the idea may be, saving for an emergency, an unforeseen calamity and to create a nest egg for eventual investment are all valid reasons to save money. Warren Buffet and George Soros didn't become billionaires by sticking their money in a savings account with a local high street back earning minimal interest. They became billionaires by taking calculated risks. In other words, don't save your money but invest it.

#15. LIVE IN THE MOMENT

Stop worrying too much about the future. There's only a certain amount of things you can plan for, so plan for those, but then live in the moment. Wake up everyday and smile and be thankful for the present day. Since I started living in the moment, my positivity has skyrocketed.


 
#16. GIVE MORE EXPECT LESS

Give before you get. 

Give more and expect less. Because it's universal law, you will get what you give. The energy you put out is the energy you get in. You can give a smile, a dollar, an hour of your time or a hug. Even saying thank you with a little more sincerity and meaning can change somebody's day. A handwritten thank you card costs only a buck or two but it can make someone cry happy tears and brighten their day. I am not asking you to volunteer every weekend or donate 10% of your income (which a lot of successful people do by the way). I am asking you to give in small ways to anyone in need.

#17. AIME TOI TOI-MÊME

It's LOVE YOURSELF in French by the way. According to Google dictionary self-love (noun) is a regard for one's own well-being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable rather than narcissistic characteristic). Popular wisdom tells us that healthy self-esteem is a prerequisite for a healthy relationship-that without sufficient self-love, we're not capable of truly loving others.



There is actually ample evidence that feelings of worthlessness and self-hatred can interfere with relationships. People with low self-esteem tend to underestimate their partner's love and view their partners in more negative terms, perhaps because they don't believe that "a good person" could love them. It's not just that people lacking in self-love view their relationships more negatively-they may also enter more negative relationships in the first place, selecting and staying with partners who don't treat them well.

#18. LET IT GO 

Surrender to what happen, let the situation unfolded due times because what is meant for you will not pass you by. Trust the timing of God. Bad things happened and it may have sucked, but you can't do anything about it now. Holding a grudge will only hold you back in the future. Breathe in and allow all anger and tension leave your body.

#19. YOU'RE A GREAT CATCH

It's not your fault when you haven't met the right person who is partner-material yet. Sometimes it's the wrong person but just not the right time. Know that you're special, you're a successful person, who's intelligent and attractive. You definitely a great catch.



#20. YOU CAN AND WILL BE REPLACED

It's harsh I know, but it's true. Someone will always take your place either as the best friend, someone who will hold your old work position, someone else will be prom queen and yearbook editor. We all move on.


#21. CHANGE YOUR LOOK ONCE IN A WHILE

Truthfully speaking, even I can get bored with my self. I still love me though, but I like to play with my appearance sometimes. From long to short hair in an instant, getting ear piercing (it made me feel 'something') or dressing in different sense everyday. Change is what powers life, and I believe that embracing change slowly and mindfully can be beneficial in a thousand indescribable ways. Finding small, manageable ways to change yourself and improve your outlook builds confidence, creates peace of mind and opens you up to the possibility of more daunting changes. For instance, I believe that making relatively small changes to your appearance, body, grooming and personal style can utterly transform your outlook, attitude and self-image.




#22. PUT YOURSELF FIRST

If you always put someone else first, there's a tendency for others to depreciate you, to lose respect, because respect comes from an understanding that the person has her own wishes, dreams, and desires. To put yourself first is to ensure that you are looking after your mental and physical well-being. When you're being skilled at taking care of yourself it may improve your capacity to care for others; if you're not fulfilled, you're only able to see other people through the filter of your own needs. And studies suggest that not taking care of ourselves is unhealthy for those who depend on us.

The important truth is that if you fail to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally, you may find yourself facing an insurmountable setback. Energy, enthusiasm and motivation are not bottomless wells. What if you were unable to reach your goals because of your physical or mental condition? It's something to consider.



#23. DO NOT SETTLE, YET!

Not with boys, with jobs or with friends. Don't settle for mediocre because you're incredible. Here's the thing, when you don't settle, you're actually doing yourself and the other person a big favor. By not settling, you are allowing yourself to explore and know what and who you really want. You are giving yourself an opportunity to grow more and to turn into someone whom only the right person deserves. Also, you are giving other people a chance to find perfection and happiness in someone else who deserves them more at the moment. In other words, you both get what you deserve.


Which of those 23 things was your favorite? Let me know!

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