Twenty One Life Lessons for this Twenty First Year of Life


Twenty one has had very little to do with alcohol and very much to do with soul searching.

  1. Courage comes masked in several forms, and it is the most important virtue you carry. Celebrate your courageous decisions daily and acknowledge that what others see and what you feel may sometimes be separate values.
    Courage can come as:
  2. Despite the contrary attitude against this: what others say about you when you are absent, matters. Leave behind the best reputation you can for yourself, but understand that it may not always be the most accurate representation of you who are. Regardless, be remembered for your kindness, radiance, and ability.
    We die twice as humans: once, as our bodies fail to sustain life, and twice, as we are thought of for the last time on Earth by another soul.
  3. Dwell less on end results and more on journey’s. From every given situation and scenario there are happy moments. Hang on to those and focus less on where things have ended, if not ideal.
  4. You can never change the beginning, but you can always change the end. Unhappy? End it.Dissatisfied? Alter it. Lost? Go in another direction.
  5. Wishes are empty, actions are definite. Stop wishing, and start investing your energy more in making decisions that will push you closer to achieving your goals, however small they may be.
  6. Forgive and forget those who have hurt, angered, upset, or forgotten you. Why are you so angry? Why can you not forgive them? Why can you not forget about them? Write them letters. Mail them to no particular addresses.
  7. Stop letting people call you Alli because it’s easier for them. When did you start hiding behind a nickname for their convenience? When did Alli replace Tiasha? Stick with T, it’s who you are. You did this summer, and it felt more honest.
  8. Stop nodding your head yes when you actually mean no. Just because thirty five other people understand doesn’t mean you do. Ask questions when confused, or even curious. Stop being afraid of being wrong and find the courage to be the one who asks.
  9. Celebrate how much energy was spent to put you here on Earth! Understand how much energy your body requires to function on a daily basis. Look at the particles that have to come together for your very being to exist. Consider all the moments that had to happen just as they did, in just the right order in order for you to come into creation. Look at how grandiose your very existence is, and appreciate it. 
  10. Stop fearing that you won’t be accepted; join more clubs and organizations at Maryland. Look at what you have achieved in the last year– look at how many new people you’ve met and friends you have made. Look at how much you have been accepted just as you are.
  11. Every individual you allow to be in your life has the potential and the power to hurt you. This ranges from mom and dad to your coworkers and internship mates. Words and actions and looks and stares and vulnerability hurt… but the chance to surround yourself with people of all varieties is the most sacred experience we as humans have.
  12. Celebrate your accomplishments more thoroughly. You work so incredibly hard and stress so incredibly much during the journey– and have absolutely no problem sharing the struggle– but spend so little time acknowledging the end result. You are worth the celebration when victorious. 
  13. Understand that your parents are human too, and that they they did the very best that they could. Look at the life you have cultivated as result of your parents immigrating to the US. Why are you so angry at them for sacrificing so much for you? Why have you claimed and believed that they did not love you for so long? Is it because they never said it? Think back. You know they showed it. 
    How often do you tell your friends you love them? Does it mean you do not love them if you don’t say it? Of course not. But say it anyway.
    How often do you hold back the notion of love because of some silly past insecurity?
    Your parents love you and for that, they deserve the world. Stop arguing with them. Stop hating them for the past. Start creating a future.
    Spend time with them. Love them. Accept them. As you age, they age as well.
  14. Embrace the notion that you are finally finding comfort in yourself. Embrace your confidence, and spread it onto others.
  15. Life works on a relative, sliding time scale. Believe that not every moment, individual, or instance is meant to be long lasting or permanent. Short lived things are just as important and meaningful. Remember your seventh birthday birthday candles? They flickered for seconds before blowing away as afterthoughts, but for those seven seconds they were everything. The embers that people leave behind are just as important.
  16. Celebrate the culture you were born into. Stop being ashamed, and hang onto the pride you have recently rediscovered. You are from a beautiful place that carries beautiful history. Learn about it, ask about it, and spread information about it.
  17. Leaving people behind in your past as you move forward (i.e. cutting people out) doesn’t make you a bad human. Sometimes people don’t deserve forgiveness, or the chance to bring their bad energy back into your life. Your journey forward is simply that– yours.
  18. Believe in the best in people, right up until they give you a reason not to.
  19. Fear is dependent upon your desire to acknowledge its existence. Remove the power away from the condition.  
  20. Introduce the men in your life to your parents.
    *make sure the men in your life are worthy of being introduced to your parents.
  21. Who you decide to become this year can be radically different from the person you were last year — the person that you were last month. You are whatever current version of yourself that you choose to be and that is all the grief you are allowed to receive about changing. Growth is absolute.

You made it to twenty one when there were moments you didn’t believe you would make it to the next day. You have been beaten and bruised, but you have  also made it. This is a gentle reminder of all the insights you have found.




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