21 Lessons I Learned by my 21st Birthday (part 1)

Updated: Jun 2, 2020

I have a personal tradition of writing and sending myself a FutureMe email every year on March the 30th. The date is insignificant, and it truly doesn't matter because every year, without fail, my mind forgets about it. I can say that this year's email is one of the most pleasant surprises I've gotten since quarantine started.


This past March 30th, I cried when I received and read what I had of course forgotten about. It touched me when I recalled that my past self had indeed compiled the 21 lessons she had painfully learned or reinforced during the year. I won't share the entire email for the wish of it remaining a personal treasure, but I'll give you the 21 lessons she so kindly reminded me to never let go of.


 

1. You are the love of your life

Let's seriously stop romanticizing the terms better half, other half, media naranja... We are a whole, and I honestly think that the best gift you can give anyone is your independence. And then the "task" of finding someone to call the love of your life external to yourself is just made easier.



2. You can get to France on your own... and if you haven't already, each passing day marks a step closer to that goal

I have the life goal of someday returning to France, either because of work or simply pleasure, but doing so on my own with only my hard work to back me up. Someone once told me that happiness lied in thinking "I'm happy today, because I'm a day closer to eating pizza again." You don't know when the exact time will be in which you get to enjoy a pizza again, but it's a given you will. If you really commit to whatever goal you may have and apply this same mindset, there really isn't a difference between pizza and your goal. They're a given you continue to get closer to.



3. You must nourish to flourish

Flowers don't bloom if they're not watered or given the right amount of sunlight. Humans are no different if you describe them in simplest terms. Take the time to learn what your personal plant needs to grow (what kind of nutrients, amount of water, spot in the sun...) and then become an expert botanist at it.



4. Hate is the easy route. Avoid it. The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.

Anyone can hate someone and "move on." Do you really? I don't think so. But what very few people can do is forgive, let go, and still continue to love.



5. Under any circumstances should you believe not only what you hear or see, but most importantly what you think.

I don't think it's a secret that most times, our brains trick us into self-sabotage. You know those situations in which you think everyone noticed you had a lipstick stain on your teeth, but nobody really did? Those are mind-made. If we are taught to question everything that doesn't seem truthful, why don't we question the negative voices inside our own heads, those same ones that keep us from following our heart's desires and limit us from success?



6. The power of manifestation is so grand. Remember to wish it so hard that the Universe won't have a choice other than to grant it to you. This kind of fervor wish includes actions, though. Take them.

Never, never, NEVER underestimate the power of manifestation. Seriously. Our brains are much more capable than we think. I believe that humans don't really need to continue to develop better technology to do things for us, but instead focus those research efforts into understanding and further unlocking our own brains. It'll take us places. If you're interested in content about manifestation and the techniques that have worked for me, like this post.



7. If something isn't a tiny bit frightening, it's perhaps not worth it.

Fear, I think, is a really good sign, because it means that you are exploring areas outside of your comfort zone. Make an ally out of it.



8. You are the dove keeper AND the dove.

I once read something about a dove keeper and a dove. The dove keeper protected and taught the dove everything he knew, at which point the dove would choose to stay although there might not be anything new to learn or choose to fly out the window with all of its newly acquired knowledge. I always thought I was the dove keeper, meant to protect, give, and be okay when people leave. But we all deserve to be the dove as well: to feel safe, to feel enriched, and to be given the choice. I believe the better role is the combination of both. To love and be loved freely.



9. Remember "The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck"? Reread it if you must, in order to choose what's worth giving a fuck about wisely.

This book changed my life and sometimes I forget its teachings. They don't teach you those in school, I'm sure. If you haven't read it, do yourself a favor and do so. Or any book, for that matter. I used to read at least one book a week when I was younger, but then the world somehow made me believe I had bigger priorities. But now I see that reading is one of the most enriching self care acts you could invest on, for those books become limbs to your body.



10. Sad people can't fix sad people. And they shouldn't.

In reality, fixing someone is nobody's job, but their own. But I wrote "sad", because I've felt sad several times in my life, and somehow still managed to think that someone needed my help more than I did. And sure, there are a lot of people less fortunate than myself that could benefit from what I have to give, but what use would I be if I was miserable too? The most selfless act is making yourself a priority at times since that's the only way in which you can truly give quality support to others.


 

I decided to break the lessons into two parts, so I did not overwhelm you as you read. I believe these lessons are simple and might already be in your own box of life lessons, but we sometimes forget them and need a kind reminder, as my past self wisely did by sending me that email. And if you haven't turned 21 yet, I am positive you'll learn double of what I know now by the time you do.


Thanks so much for making it to the end, and I'll see you next Friday with the second batch.


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