Play me first.
I turned 25 this past weekend. In retrospect, I took a good look at my 25 years of living and felt perpetual gratitude for the life that I have and all that I’ve learned so far.
And so what have I learned? Here’s a thing or two.
1. Don’t find yourself, create yourself. We have the ability to become whoever we want to become, and to materialize the kind of lives we want to life. That’s a power that we can cultivate. The person you think you are, the kind of life you have right now, isn’t all that there is. You won’t always be this person, you can change, you can be better. You are meant to do great things, create yourself to become that person.
2. True love. That doesn’t mean to need, or to attach, or to keep them to be happy. It means you love the person with every imperfection, every skin crease, every hair strand left on the pillow, every tear drop left on the pillow sheet, every breathe, every molecule of theirs, without judgment, without the need to change them, without the need make them better. And that also means learning to let them go with grace and knowing and trusting that when they are set free they will always come back to you with more love to give in return.
3. The meaning of happiness. We search for happiness all our lives, through presidents on a bill, degrees framed on walls, shiny fast cars, beautiful naked bodies, little boxes with little rings, and white picket fences. Perhaps they do make you feel happy, for a little while. Then you feel empty again. Just like a bucket with a hole on the bottom being filled with water. You can fill it with as much water as you can but when the water stop running, and the splashes are gone, and stillness comes, it’s empty again. Genuine happiness isn’t a goal and you can’t find it through anything that is tangible. It’s a state of mind that keeps you in the present moment wherein you are happy and grateful for everything in your life no matter what you have, where you are, and who you are with. To acquire this mental state you have to learn how to live in solitude and learn how to love yourself. You have to learn how to let go of all that is tangible and embrace the abundance of love and beauty the world is offering around you. You will find that happiness has been within you all along.
4. Your parents are who they are for a reason, love them regardless. Always give them love. No matter how many mistakes they have made, no matter how many you have made, no matter how much they have wronged you, or how much you have wronged each other. Because of them you have life, and because of you they have given up theirs.
5. Giving is better than receiving. Whether it’s gratitude, a rock, a flower, or food, or love, or a pair of shoes, or inspiration, it is always better to give. I have learned and am still learning to be less selfish, to be more selfless. I would rather see someone smile because I gave them something than smile because of what I was given.
6. Traveling the world is one of the greatest things you can ever do for yourself. It will shatter all illusions, stereotypes, and notions you have of the world and the people in it. You will unlearn, learn, and relearn things you will never discover through a book, a classroom, or a degree. It will humble you, shake you, wake you up. It will seep into your pores and find its way to your heart, and it will find it fast. The veil over your vision will come off and you will experience things that fringe over magic. And you will never ever be the same again in the best way possible. So do yourself a favor, and just buy that damn plane ticket.
7. Our struggles make us. I’m grateful that I had gone through major depression. I’m grateful for knowing what it’s like want to die every single day, and to never wake up breathing ever again. I’m grateful for every adversity, every obstacle, every bleak moment of hopelessness, roads of darkness. Because of it I have gone through my biggest transformation. It bruised me up, left me bleeding, left me on the floor begging for mercy wishing I could cry the life out of me, left me on the very edge of a cliff, left me in the darkness when I thought I would never see light. And eventually, I did. I actually made it through, back then I really didn’t think I would. But something beautiful happened to me. I’m still alive. And this is the strongest, bravest, and happiest I have ever been in my entire life. And so I’ve learned, to always trust my struggles.
8. Meditation will change your life. It changed mine, and it saved me. My depression went away. It’s not just listening to a song and chanting a mantra. It’s not just sitting cross-legged or lotus or savasanas. It’s finding the unearthly silence within you, the empty space that you are made of. It’s the rising of inner spaciousness within your insides, exploding into nothingness and being one with the cosmic pulse. It’s in small bursts of clarity, of unearthly beauty found in moments of unadulterated bliss, fleeting moments of sudden enlightenment, known as Satori. You will find steadfast happiness and love within you, more than you can ever imagine. But quite frankly, no words will ever explain. Every single human being is capable of meditating, we were all born to do it. And you need to experience it for yourself.
9. The universe won’t give you what you want, but what you need to be the person you’re meant to become and to live the life you are meant to live.
10. The world doesn’t owe you anything.
11. Everything is impermanent and the only constant is change. We’re afraid of change because we like to stay in our comfort zone. We like feeling secure and acting as if things will always be the same. Life isn’t like that, never was, nor will it ever be. Learn to embrace change and to adapt quickly along with it.
12. Not giving a shit about what other people think will liberate you. I don’t see the point in impressing people we don’t like, with things we don’t need, and living a life we don’t want. People only do that because everyone else is doing it. And they think it’s the normal thing to do. Well, fuck normality. This is your life, do whatever the hell you want with it, do whatever the hell makes you happy and get rid of the excess baggage.
13. True friends are the ones you feel unbounded with, you can be your complete self around them. You’ll know because you won’t feel judged, manipulated, and it feels genuine. It’s almost effortless when you stay connected without even trying hard, no matter where you may be. It’s true what they say, friends will always come and go. The real ones will stay. And the real ones are the people you grow with, the ones who help keep you grounded, who will help you reach your potential, and the ones who aren’t afraid to show you your own imperfections to help you become better, and vice versa. Those are the real ones.
14. We are much stronger than we think we are.
15. Stability isn’t always a good thing. It doesn’t appeal much to a gypsy soul like me. I’m not planning on “settling down” anytime soon. Even when I do have a family of my own I wouldn’t want to settle down somewhere, I’d take my children traveling with me, I trust they will have wanderlust in their blood as well. I’ve learned that the most beautiful and meaningful experiences come from uncertainty.
16. We should always conquer our fears. No how matter how big or small they are, we should do something that scares us at least everyday. Every time I have conquered a fear, whether it’s from jumping off a cliff in Thailand, to zip lining in Costa Rica, or attempting to ride a bike in Panama (yes I’m scared of riding bikes in traffic), I feel completely liberated from the illusions of my fears. It’s one of the best feelings there is.
17. Everyone in this world is creative, they just don’t know it yet.
18. Always be kind and expect nothing in return.
19. The law of attraction. There is an invisible law in the universe that attracts everything you visualize and radiate. If you give of negative vibes, negative vibes will come. If you give off positive vibes, positive vibes will come. You get what you give out. Also, if you visualize whatever you want every single day. And truly meditate on whatever you want to materialize, you will eventually get it. You can make your own reality if you truly believe in it.
20. Always live for the moment. The past doesn’t exist anymore. It only lives in your memory. The future doesn’t exist yet. It only lives in your illusions and expectations. There is no other time but now.
21. Nature will always heal. If I’ve had a bad day and feel the need to start over, I just lay on the grass and watch the clouds pass by. Or I’ll run on the beach and watch the sunset, even just seeing the ocean is enough. Or I’ll sit under a tree and meditate. Let nature heal you.
22. There is no reason for us not to chase after our dreams. Last year I decided to quit college. I couldn’t take the monotony anymore and loathed the fact that I was on my way to being in student debt for a degree that would probably land me a soul-sucking job I would hate. I didn’t see the point in pursuing a degree anymore. Looking back, it is absolutely ridiculous to me. I’ve learned not to waste anymore time doing something I don’t want to do. We have only 700,000 hours to live. Let’s not waste anymore time to not doing what we love.
23. Be inspired. Inspire yourself. Inspire others.
24. Stop worrying so much. When we worry, we attract negative energy around us. Worrying a cycle of fear-based thoughts that we don’t want to happen. There is no point in it. It’s hard to keep worries out sometimes, especially if you are buried with problems. But we’re not making it any better for ourselves if we keep doing it.
25. Be grateful for everything. Gratitude = happiness. Be thankful for everything you have, for the person you are, and for the live you are living. Learn how to be grateful for the bad stuff too. It’s tough to accept but it exists for you to learn, grow, to let go and be better. There is a reason for everything that happens. If you can’t see why stop looking, be patient, and continue to give gratitude. Then it will unveil itself gracefully.