What were you like as a kid? How have you changed and how have you stayed the same?We start out as a unique lump of clay on a wheel which gets moulded by the hands of the environment around us. I have been influenced by family, friends, partners, authors, bloggers, films, religions, history, taxi drivers and even strangers. So I am going to share my top six revelations which have shaped me to who I am now at 24.
Your journey through life will look very different to mine and you have learned and will continue to learn your own lessons. I sincerely hope that you will reach out and share your insights with me as I have with you so that we can help each other to grow. In fact why limit it there? Share your thoughts with anybody and everybody! Today we talk constantly and so much of it is needless chit chat – small talk. I think it’s about time we started big talking. If not now, when?
My Six Most Vital Lessons
1. Learn to be alone and to like it.
As children we rely on our families, as we grow up we often rely on our friendship groups and/or partners. As I think back, being on my own has been bordering on painful in some cases. My whole being ached for company and instead of resting in this ache and dealing with it I would concoct a plan of how to find someone, anyone to mask the fear of having to understand myself. If you can’t stand your own company you will look to others to fill a void within you. If you don’t love yourself you can’t fully love others. So I challenge you to make a checklist of things to do on your own. Start small with going for a walk and build up to travelling solo or going out dancing on your own.
2. Life is the journey not the destination.
So many of us live miserably in order to get somewhere. How often do you hear phrases like “It’s only another 3 years until I finish my degree”, “I’ll be happy once I move back home”, “I’ll keep struggling on another 6 months and then I’ll have enough saved to go travelling” … Realising that I was living with the sole purpose of getting somewhere (rather – sometime) was what made me quit my degree and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I am now living my dream without wishing to skip forward in time.
3. The things you own end up owning you.
Stop buying, you don’t need it. The less you have the more you appreciate and the more you can focus on things that matter – the immaterial things. Nature, human connection, creative pursuits and the joy of breathing, thinking and moving. We start to trick ourselves that our possessions define us and that is a dangerous situation. You are so much more than the clothes you wear, the way you decorate your home and the car you drive.
4. Wherever you are be all there.
I used to think think and think, all the time. I was so god damn proud of my efficiency and multi-tasking that I wasn’t truly living. I would walk from the bus stop home and I wouldn’t see the droplets playing in the puddles, hear the birds or smell the musky soaked tarmac. That small walk would go by as a gap in my memory along with most of my days. I could write down in my diary all the things I did but there was a distinct lack of feeling. I was a human doing instead of a human being. Connect to your senses and soak up the moment – see, hear, feel, smell, taste.
5. Accept whatever life throws at you.
Resisting is a drain of energy and a total waste of time. Two years ago if I smashed a plate on the floor I would most likely cry and feel my whole body tense up rigid with anger, this feeling would linger on into my day. Now I can take a step back and realise, ‘ok, that happened’ and deal with it. Other examples are: being late on the bus, no one coming to a yoga class, a friend standing me up, forgetting my coat in a downpour and feeling unmotivated. Accept and make the most of the situation you have.
6. Everything is cyclical.
It is a very western belief that situations should keep getting better and better and that death and decay are bad. In reality we live in a world of cycles. Some we can see in nature and in our bodies and others progress under a veil. Death and destruction leaves space for new growth. If everything was predictable, polished and sterile life would be dull. We need chaos, we need flux and pain in order to grow strong roots and create soulful lives. I am not the same person today as I was yesterday and who knows who I will be tomorrow. Dark days will come and I will grow through them knowing the light will come again.