I must be honest when I finally sat down to list the 26 Things I learned in my 26 Years I ended up with well over 40 points that I wanted to mention… But because it was my 26th Birthday on the 17th of May, I decided to narrow the list down and expand on these points. How nostalgic…
As I write this post, my mind runs wild, up and down memory lane, collecting all the highs and lows I have had in the past 26 years. What a trip so far…
Here are the 26 Things I have learned in my 26 Years. So grab a cuppa’ of some sort and enjoy this fleshy yet exciting read…
1. Life begins at the end of your Comfort Zone.
Yes, this is true and I have seen what happens when I stay put vs when I dare to step out of my comfort zone. To be honest, some of my best personal achievements I reached, was because I took the leap of faith out of my comfort zone. Oh, the things I have learned about myself…good and, as much as it hurts to admit, bad things. It made me strong, independent, and less introverted – and may I add – a woman!
2. Try, try again.
If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again! So many times we tend to give up on something too quick. It is quite a sad realization of the current society. “If it doesn’t go my way, I want nothing to do with it!” Sound familiar?
I have had a few situations in my life where I had to try harder or even try again. And most of the time, it worked out as it was supposed to. However, it is also good to realize when something is just not meant to be and make a well-informed decision to let it go. Take care of yourself.
We have to realize that nothing good comes easily. We have to realize that we need to try and try again. Social Media made it TOO easy to compare our lives with someone else’s, but do we really see, hear, or even realize what that person had to go through to get where they are now? No! We don’t, because nobody really shares the behind the scenes of what they had to go through but only the final, well-done picture or story.
Take a moment, breath, and recapture your mind. Realize what is the actual journey that you are going to have to go through to reach that dream you have. And try, try again!
3. Keep a Journal.
This is one that I have done since I can remember. I mean I still have my first Lock and Key Diary of when I was a teenager, where I wrote all my ideas, dreams, and notes on trips and… oh! that name. My crushes’ name – that time – big and bold across the whole page! I have it all stored away in my memory box. I am sure that if I read it now…my little self would be soooo embarrassed! (Blush Emoji!)
This is something you can store away and read again later in life. This way you can see where you came from, how you grew as a person, and what dreams you have achieved. I mean, I love knowing that I am a better person than I was yesterday or even yesteryear. Don’t you?
4. Dream Big.
And while you are at it…when you dream, dream BIG! Why? Because it gives you something to live for, something to look forward to. Have you ever reached a dream you had as a child? And how did it feel? AMAZING right!? So why not plan and dream big to feel like that again?
I also believe that if you dream big, it tends to give you that extra beat to make it come true. Nobody likes the old fashioned, Eat, Sleep, Work, Repeat Saga… We all have great and creative – in our own unique way – dreams that we would love to see come true. I for one love to see all the creative things people come up with these days…
“Why didn’t I think of that…?” Sounds Familiar? Yeah! To me too. So GO BIG OR GO HOME!
5. Speak Up but Stay Humble.
So you think that you are a good person. You think you do all you can for people around you. Sometimes, you even put others’ needs before your own. But, because you are the way you are…people tend to take advantage of your goodness to a point where you just cannot anymore, and you speak up! Guess what…All you have done for them in the past goes out of the window and this, the fact that you had the nerve to speak up and put yourself first for a change is what they remember. Because how dare you??? Does this sound like you? Well, what you read above is a little bit of me…
I put my whole self into all the opportunities that came my way… I almost lost myself in the process. I almost lost myself in others’ dreams… And for what? Well, I learned how to speak up! I learned how to stay humble even in the worst situations. I learned that losing my passion and dreams is not worth making enemies and burning bridges… I had the kick that I so badly needed at that stage. Why? Because if I didn’t ‘grow up’ and realize what I am worth I would spend my whole life building someone else’s dreams, losing myself and my passions, and my dreams in the process.
And No! Just because I stand up for myself it doesn’t mean that I am disrespectful to others, or self-centered, or even careless as some may think. I simply am balanced in my own ways. Still having the drive to do what I can for others…AND myself.
6. Pick yourself up. They don’t really care…
This may sound harsh at first. And yes, it is. People do not care about your dreams and goals. When I write this, I don’t mean that your friends and family don’t care about your dreams and goals…And now you think, Woah! Hanelize, this doesn’t make sense AT ALL…I get it…
What I mean by this is that yes, they will show interest in where you are or what you are doing, or even what you are working on. They will celebrate and be excited about your achievements…in the moment. They will even support you in your journey. BUT in the end…they don’t care about how you got to where you are!
And please understand that this is actually not their fault at all. Remember, they too have dreams and goals that they want to achieve. But do you know of all the struggles they went through? All the tears they shod? All the minor achievements within the journey they had? All the times when they felt they want to give it up? Or even when they felt AMAZING because of a breakthrough they made? And so forth…
Well… I don’t think so. Because I for sure know that my people don’t know about all the tears I shod. All the late hours I have put in to achieve my goals. All the times I felt like a failure or a nothing worth. Because I know that feeling sorry for yourself is not going to get you anywhere. And trust me, I tried… As bad as it is to admit it…I tried!
7. Breathe and Believe.
Breathe and believe…because nothing good comes from fiery and irrational reactions and behavior ever…and I mean EVER! You either feel horrible afterwards, because you let your ugly side show, or you realize that you were actually wrong, and who likes realizing that they were wrong? Not me!
Breathe. Breathing in itself is a trait you have to master. Breathe before you act. Breathing exercises are known to calm the mind. And when you breathe you give yourself a chance to relax and REALLY think about it. And subsequently, you will react in a much better and more acceptable manner.
Believe. Believe that everything happens for a reason. Reasons you might not understand just yet, but you will figure it out eventually. So many things happen that we don’t understand. And to be honest, in these times my worst self emerges because...it is now out of my control and chances are, it will not work out as I planned. But if I remind myself, that whatever is happening is happening for a reason and actually has a silver lining, I tend to react MUCH better to a situation.
8. Laugh daily.
I am sure you have heard the well-known advice to “Get a man that makes you laugh!” And I can truly back this advice. I found myself a man that makes me laugh daily! Never mind daily, he can even make me laugh in situations where I am furious at something or someone that I even forget why I was that angry in the first place. With his humor, he got me to deal with some personal problems and situations that I wouldn’t have been able to deal with on my own.
“Laughing is, and will always be, the best form of therapy.”– Dau Voire
So do yourself a favor, LAUGH DAILY, and see how you feel in a couple of weeks.
9. If it takes you less than 5 minutes, do it.
This is something I picked up on sometime in my life, and I have to be honest, it makes things so much easier. We tend to leave things for later too often. And because of this, it all piles up and snowballs and eventually you HAVE TO do it because there is no other way and now you HATE it because you HAVE TO!
And I don’t mean big things like studying again, or making big purchases or so, I mean small things… for example washing and folding AND packing away the laundry. Now I understand all this doesn’t take just 5 minutes, but break it up. Putting the laundry in the washing machine and switching on the machine – under 5 minutes. When the machine is done, hang the washing – under 5 minutes and when the washing is dry, fold and pack away the clothes – under 5 minutes.
See, it is THAT SIMPLE. The floor needs sweeping? Don’t wait, just do it. There are so many small things that we could just quickly do and this way you know everything will get done. You will feel much more organized, and you won’t have to face a day again when you need to for example clean THE WHOLE HOUSE at once, because most of it is done…
10. Take Photos.
Take as many photos as possible, backup precious photos, and even develop some as well to hang up – this is on my to-do list as well. Photos are precious jewels that we can save and savor for many years to come. They tell stories, capture emotions, and remind you of the experiences and feelings you had at that time.
How much of your last trip can you remember? Probably only the main activities. But what about that great beer you had at that quick stop on your way to the main event that you have forgotten all about, but shared on your Instagram? Or the smell of the ocean you experienced when you were on the boat on the way to the snorkeling point? If you look through the photos of said boat trip you might stumble upon a photo of a cave and you would immediately remember that funky smell that came from that cave… Do you get what I am saying? Photos capture the WHOLE experience.
But most important – BACK.UP.PRECIOUS.PHOTOS. Read this article to understand my ‘feels‘ on this!!!
11. Have a Gap Year.
Now sorry for my readers above 18… this doesn’t apply to you. Maybe it could if you are planning on a gap year from work…Is this even a thing? I think we should make it a thing… #gapyearfromwork #gapyearforover20s However, if you are 18 or younger…have a gap year, work abroad, on a train or a Cruise ship or whatever.
I didn’t plan on having a gap year after school, and I ended up having a gap year against my will…due to looong soppy reasons that I am not going into today, or maybe even ever… And I can kick myself today because I was mad at everything and everyone because of this. So much so that I didn’t tap the most out of that year as I should’ve. Until today, I think “What if I knew of all the opportunities I could seize during my gap year. Like working on a cruise ship or train…” I have heard of so many great stories over the years of some people that did this. And as an individual that loves traveling, this could have been the best opportunity ever.
So go ahead and have that gap year if your journey allows for it, because I can almost assure you that you will learn so many precious life lessons during that year, and maybe even discover who and what you really are. This way you would definitely be able to make the best decision on where to next in your journey. Have fun, and enjoy the in-the-moment events…
12. Self-care is important.
Sadly, this was one thing that I realized way too late in my life. But I am happy that I have and that I realized Self-care is important. I am not one for ‘faffing’ and make-up but I had to push myself to ‘faf’ a little over myself. Because as stated in point 5 I tend to give my all to others and forget about myself.
On the other hand, I couldn’t tend to my self-care because of the long hours and type of work I have done. To keep it short, I worked on several Horse Farms and Centers. This is probably not an excuse but it was back then.
Now I have an office job and I love purchasing some of Avon’s greatest self-care products, including Creams, Masks, Bubble Baths and so many more. Sundays are scheduled for a little self-care Sunday, a little me-time. When I AM ALLOWED to take a loooong, steamy, bubble bath with candles and a glass of wine and good music. After this, I feel like Wonder Woman. And in my opinion, every woman has to feel like Wonder Woman at least once a week… even more often if possible!!
13. Have a Schedule.
If you are anything like me you LOVE color coding everything. For me it is just easier to quickly distinguish what is next if I look at my calendar, and see different colors – For example, Hubby has a color, Work has a color and activities has a color.
Having an updated schedule is important as it ensures that you are organized and ready for the next thing on the to-do list. This also prevents double bookings and feeling like an idiot when you need to cancel one event because you double booked. Now you need to decide which event makes the cut…
And just like that, everything is unorganized and out of control… This is not a nice place to be at. So do yourself a favor and get a Mobile App on your phone – there are so many to choose from, that suits your needs so you can stay up to date easily and quickly.
Declutter. Everywhere and everything. I cannot stress this enough as I had to organize, re-organize, and maybe even re-organize again because I didn’t implement decluttering in my schedule from the start. Sometimes I still struggle with this.
And I mean, de-clutter your closet – which is one of the hardest to do because well…”I might wear that again one day!”, your Kitchen, your Hard drives, and your photos. I don’t even want to know how many duplicates I have stored of some of my photos because this is an area where I fail to de-clutter and organize regularly. And now, I am stuck between “Do I just leave it?” or “Should I book out one whole day to organize all my photos?” Because trust me, if you leave it for too long it does tend to take a whole day to organize photo files or albums on your PC or Hard drives.
So implement de-cluttering in your schedule, regularly from the start in any area of your life. Social Media, Work, Home, Garden and so forth.
15. Break Away Sometimes.
Yes, it is OK to break away sometimes. And I mean for vacation or even from a job that doesn’t serve you or your goals and dreams well. It is time you think of yourself for once – in a non-selfish attitude of course…however, remember that you are allowed to be a little selfish SOMETIMES, and you are also allowed to say No! if you want to.. re-evaluate where you are and where you want to be. Are you heading in that direction? Or are you heading in a direction to help someone else succeed? Because you should be heading towards your own goals and dreams.
And, trust me, I understand that it is easier said than done. But small steps are also enough. It all depends on you and how quickly you want it to change and improve. If you are unsure of what your dreams and goals are, head out, go on vacation, break away to somewhere where you can reconnect with yourself. Learn what your needs are, and come back with a plan of action.
16. Invest in yourself.
Invest in yourself doesn’t mean you have to pay thousands upon thousands on the greatest degrees out there. It means Time, Self-Care, and maybe sometimes a little money. You need to realize that you are the most important to you…and it is necessary to spend some time improving your skills and knowledge to grant yourself the best life possible.
Yes, you can go out and ask around for people or companies to invest in you, and congratulations if you strike a great deal, but for many of us, this is not a possibility. We need to improve ourselves and never stop learning. Keep on learning new skills, skills that will serve your goals and dream the best. Skills that you maybe wanted to learn your whole life.
For example, I wanted to learn how to Write Calligraphy with an actual Calligraphy Pen, I haven’t yet but I assure you I will as soon as I can. But this skill is all for myself. I might not even use it for anything other than scribbling a few Calligraphy words just because I can…
Just do it, you are worth the investment.
17. Keep it Simple.
Now, this would probably not be for everyone, but keeping it simple is a lifestyle I am trying to create and live. I haven’t been keeping it simple always, as I easily ended up hoarding unnecessary things, just because it was beautiful or “Because I might use it again one day…”
In today’s world, it is just too easy to live a cluttered life in any aspect of our lives because we want it all! I mean I am a SUCKER for email newsletter subscriptions and freebies, that I had a very cluttered Inbox, not long ago actually. Because I wanted all the ins and outs and all the freebies just to stay current. But at a stage, I couldn’t handle all the notifications and unread emails anymore that I decided if I receive an email that is actually not necessary or relevant to where I am headed at ALL I am going to unsubscribe right there and then. I have been doing well, by the way!
I am trying to create a minimalist home together with a minimalist life as well, and throw out any unnecessary items very quickly these days because 1. I don’t have space to store it, and 2. I don’t want to have the space to store it because it is irrelevant to what I am trying to create.
So yes, I haven’t mastered this yet, but I am trying and I am loving the transformation I am going through. Keep it slow, steady, and simple. We CAN function on way less…
18. Work hard, Play Harder.
So this is a phrase we are all familiar with. And as fun, as it is to say out loud…it is also true! If you work hard at creating and improving your business, you are bound to be able to work for your self, build a team, and get the business running smoothly. And with good business comes good money. If your business is doing well you will definitely pick the fruits of it. And if you are clever with your money you will be able to give yourself the life you always wanted.
Take us for example, Hubby and I are both hard at work getting our businesses up and running. And we are hard at work planning new and exciting add ons to our businesses. Soon we will both be able to work from home, all the time, and even have some spare change for a little bit of traveling in the mix, as our play is Travel. But we can’t play if we cannot get the businesses running smoothly.
Yes, at first it expects LOADS of sacrifice to get you where you want to be. And this is where the weakest businessmen/women fail because it.is.just.too.hard! and they give up. But just imagine how you will feel when you have a successfully running business, AND you are able to live your ultimate life? Amazing right? It is also so so important to remember why you started!
19. Jack of all Trades, but Master of None…
Yeah! This does not work…AT ALL. Together with my “Pleasing everyone else around me” personality comes the dreading Master of None… I have tried being a jack of all trades for well over a year because I thought I was different and I will be able to make it work. Yeah, in all honesty, I wasn’t different, and couldn’t get it all done…
In actual fact, where it got me was at a point where I had to decide to cut back on some of the things I am involved with and keep doing – funny enough – what I always wanted to do. Design and Create. I started to specialize in designing and I have been loving it since day one. Now hubby and I have a business we are building, which requires loads of designing and creating. What a way to spend workdays!
20. Travel Often.
“Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport.”– A. Nonymous
I have a map of South Africa that I purchased years ago to plan the ultimate road trip around our coast. It hasn’t happened yet but it is on my list! But the shocking thing about it is that it is ONLY a map of S.A. because I can truly tell you that I never thought I would be able to see the overseas. But as God would have it, I went to Indonesia, twice, in a matter of a year! Can you even understand my feels right now… I mean wow.
And as I always thought…the travel bug got me…and it got me good! I long to travel and see the world. Wonderlust. I have it. And I told myself that I will make my dreams come true. To travel, and travel often. The amount of things you learn when you are someplace unfamiliar is definitely the effort and the saving and the money worth.
21. Be adventurous and try new things
Now, this is a lesson I will treasure and remember always. Do yourself a favor and be adventurous. Try new things. That drink on the menu sounds interesting? Get it! That something weird people always say you should try…Try it! That adventure that makes your heart pump, even before you take part…Do it! You will never know what it tastes like, whether you like it or not, or whether that is the best thing you have done…ever…if you don’t give it a try. Don’t like it? Well, that’s okay! Now you know…
In practical terms, for example, I make a point of ordering the weirdest cocktail with the weirdest name on the menu wherever I go. And more often than not, I am completely satisfied with my decision. Go ahead, try it!
22. Count to Ten.
If you are anything like me, you have a temper that can run in red VERY QUICKLY! But there’s Patrick I have learned during my journey so far. As soon as I get angry or annoyed I quickly close my eyes and count to 10. It is amazing how this can calm the mind. And suddenly you are seeing the situation for what it is and you can handle it like a boss, without feeling bad about your behaviour…because you act in a much better manner.
23. Get involved and Participate.
Wherever you are, wherever you go…try to get involved and participate. You would be surprised the life-long-friendships you gain and the knowledge you build up when you get involved in your community, in your church, in your school, in your sport group…wherever you go.
I have gained so many true friends just by getting involved in my community. I have made some new and precious girlfriends at my Radiance Course that I am doing through Doxa Deo, Brooklyn. I am excited to get to know them better.
Have you ever heard about ” It’s the people you know!”…? Well, it is, because if you have dear friends and they have a yacht…it’s just a matter of time before they invite you to join them on the yacht. Now, HOLD UP! I’m not saying you should befriend people just for their possessions, but ey, there is no crime in being invited to great and amazing adventures by dear friends.
24. Have Pot Plants.
Now, you may laugh when you read this point, but the happiness and sense of achievement pot plants bring is REAL! Why? you might ask… Because when that pot plant grows and blooms…you kept it alive, and it is happy. I have killed so many pot plants in my life, and not with intention…but because I just couldn’t get it right…I mean it only needs sunlight and water right?
WRONG! Every plant is different. And that is why I say it gives a sense of achievement when these delicate beings actually grow. And yes, it may seem like a small thing…but add up the smiles it brings every time you see that beautiful flower – that you have grown – then it is not that small anymore. On top of this, pot plants lighten up any home. I have loads and I will be adding loads more as I go.
25. Drink Champagne
Yeah! It is more expensive but go for it. I understand that not everyone is able to afford champagne every time they go out because I am one of them. But why not splurge a bit on a special day like your birthday, hubby’s birthday, your anniversary, your wedding, your self-care Sunday…Whatever it is that you consider special. Because life is too short to say “Maybe next time!“
And psst! There are cheaper, affordable champagnes out there, you should just look around for it! No need to spend a fortune. Besides, it’s all about how you feel with a champagne flute in your hand as the bubbles entertain, right?
26. Live your life
The best thing you can do is to live YOUR life. Don’t let others determine the course of your journey. Don’t even try to live someone else’s life. And yes, it is easier said than done if you take all the influences around us into account. But I truly do believe that if you give yourself a chance to make mistakes, wrong choices, explore and learn who you truly are, the influences around you are just mere entertainment.
The 26 things I have learned in my 26 years taught me a whole lot about who I am. And I made loads of mistakes and wrong decisions but I also made some pretty smart moves as I learned more, and more about myself throughout the years. I can only be excited about the new things that I will be learning in the future.
AND THAT’S A WRAP. I hope you enjoyed this read. Comment here with some of your thoughts.