25 things I learned in 25 years

This week I celebrated my 25th birthday, which put me in a slightly reflective mood. Here are 25 things I learned in 25 years. Cliché warning!

  1. Failing doesn’t make me a failure. The only way to avoid failing is to stop trying, and this won’t get me anywhere.
  2. I fight for my friendships, but accept it when they die out. Throughout my life I’ll be able to keep only a few good friends, most of them will disappear at some point. I let them go and make the room in my life for new amazing people waiting for me out there.
  3. Say ‘yes’ to life!

    Saying ‘yes’ is much more powerful than ‘no’. I constantly step out of my comfort zone. It’s way better to regret having done something than missing out on new experiences. These three letters brought me to London, gave me amazing friends, let me travel the world and fulfil my dreams. These few times when I wished I had said ‘no’? They were valuable too, now at least I know what I don’t want.

  4. If I really want to say ‘no’, I do, no matter what others say. Everyone else is getting drunk? If I don’t feel like it, a short ‘no, thanks’ is fine. People keep asking me to do something for them? I still struggle with it, but I’m learning to be assertive and politely refuse.
  5. The vast majority of people are good. Trusting people, even strangers, makes my life much more pleasurable and easier. Yes, I did get hurt. But I still believe that one tear of sorrow for hundred tears of happiness is a pretty good ratio.
  6. My body is my friend. No, it’s not perfect, I’d like to change a thing here or there. However, I have ten fingers to type this post and a pair of eyes to read it, which I’m grateful for. Every day I try to accept imperfections and take care of my body, because, guess what, I won’t get a new one.
  7. Planning is overrated. I have dreams, even vague plans, but don’t stick to them at all costs as I used to. Best things in my life happened when I took the unexpected opportunities it offered.
  8. I spend my holidays the way I want. I used to be a “proper tourist”, running between must-sees, mindlessly taking hundreds of pictures and sticking to a tight schedule. Now I’d rather ignore the Louvre just to get lost in random neighbourhoods, possibly with locals I met ten minutes ago. Pictures? I don’t care. If something is truly amazing, I’ll remember it anyway, or find plenty of better pics online. If I forget, it means it wasn’t worth a picture. I prefer to stay in the moment and just enjoy.
  9. I don’t put all eggs in one basket anymore. Investing all my time and energy in one aspect of my life would surely backfire one day. A wonderful boyfriend? Great, but I don’t forget about my hobbies and friends. Exciting research project? Lucky me, now time to chat with my family. That way I make sure that even if something doesn’t go as planned, I still have plenty of valuable things in my life left.
  10. The only people who can make me cry are the people I have a deep connection with. I care about them, that’s why their words or actions may be so painful. Otherwise I just shrug my shoulders, this person isn’t worth a single tear!

    Hiking and camping in the nature – nothing could make me happier.
  11. There’s no one single way to grow up. Some 16-year-olds are proper adults, some at 40 still behave like children. I decided to take my time, it’s not a race! Instead of fighting my inner child, I just let it be. Yes, I sleep with a teddy bear.
  12. Comparing myself to others makes me truly miserable. I’m me, better in some aspects, worse in some, and mostly just different in general. I tend to compare myself to the prettiest, smartest and most successful, so I cannot win. That’s why for each negative comparison I try to find a positive thing in myself. Still struggling with it, but I keep trying!
  13. Families can be a pain in the neck, but they’re the people who shaped me and will be there for me, always. Always, no matter what happens. For my parents I’ll always be this little 10-year-old who needs to be taken care of, so I learned to just accept it, it’s not worth fighting against.
  14. Life without music, theatre and books would be really empty. A good song can make me smile in seconds, a visit to West End lets me forget about all my problems and a fascinating book puts everything into perspective.

    Teddy bear and books make the life brighter!
  15. Eating the cake is more fun than having it. Really, it’s not the last cake I’ll ever have, so I’d better stop delaying nice things in my life!
  16. Learning languages lets me understand other people better. I don’t mean it only literally, I’m talking about understanding their way of thinking. Did you notice that Germans tend to behave differently than Italians? Spaniards and Brits don’t seem to be the same? Since I’ve been digging into their languages, I see why.
  17. One can’t find many good news in the media. Wars, epidemics, earthquakes and hunger, everywhere. Since I stopped following, I’ve been feeling much better. I’ll hear about the important events and ways I can help the victims anyway, I don’t live on a desert in the end. Being bombarded by other people’s misery won’t make anyone happier, neither me nor them. Selfish? Maybe. But did I really do anything constructive with the bad news I kept hearing? Probably not.
  18. Science is not religion. I verify scientific claims, to distinguish between true discoveries and fake news. It goes without saying that while we can choose which (if any) god we believe in, science is the same for everyone, wherever we live, whoever we are.
  19. I try to avoid negative people. By negative I don’t mean people who are struggling (for example with depression), but those who don’t bring anything valuable into my life. Even if I don’t like someone, or they don’t like me, we still can learn from each other. However, if the only thing I get out of the relationship is seeing the negative aspects of myself and the world, it’s not worth it.
  20. People should be free to do and think whatever they want as long as they don’t hurt others. I don’t care what you believe, what you wear, who you sleep with or where you come from, unless you want me to. If we stopped judging others, life would be so much easier.
  21. All the time we change and discover who we truly are. Even if I can’t do or don’t like something now, I might enjoy it in a few years. Examples? I used to hate (and be terrible at) public speaking, now I do it all the time. I couldn’t run fifty meters, now thinking of a half-marathon. I wouldn’t touch peanut butter, now I open a jar of this delicious spread every day.
  22. You don’t believe in miracles? Just go to the forest, visit the seaside, look up to the sky. Nature is a true miracle and it took me a while to appreciate it. It’s beautiful, it works perfectly and we, human beings, shouldn’t mess with it.
  23. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. I didn’t believe that, but now I do. When years ago I got very sick, I kept asking: “Why me?!”. Now I’m grateful for the though experiences, because they taught me that I can survive anything.
  24. Things work out in the end. No matter how desperate the situation seems, I’ll survive. It doesn’t mean it’s good to be passive, but worrying too much isn’t necessary either.
  25. I look forward every single day. And week. And year. Who knows what the next 25 years will bring me!

2 comments for “25 things I learned in 25 years

  1. Alexander Kwiatkowski says:

    Really a lot of good principles to live by 🙂 Especially I can identify, comprehend and emphasize points 1, 12, 20 and 22. Good post though, thanks for sharing 🙂
    Alex

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