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Six things I learnt before I turned 26

Happy (belated) birthday to me! I've spent the past few days recovering from the long food coma that comes from numerous lunch and dinner outings. I put on two kilos in a week... it's true when they say your metabolism slows after 25.

But like every birthday of past years, it's a good time for reflection of what has been and what could be to come of the next year. More so when you're clearly unable to deny you're in your mid-20s now. But I'm in many ways proud of what I achieved in myself in the past 12 months, in what could be summed up in 6 neat little lessons I learned.

The world is getting smaller but there's still so much to see.
I travelled to 18 different countries in the past 12 months. It's hard to believe I would get the courage and chance to explore, and I feel ridiculously blessed that I was able to see so much from a collective 5 weeks of holiday I took. But while it can be so easy to jump from one country to other sometimes, the planet is bigger than you could ever fathom, with endless experiences available. I feel as an Aucklander where life keeps within its sheltered little bubble, going overseas allowed me to get a taste of what it's like to be outside of my comfort zone, in places I don't really share a language with. There's always something new and unfamiliar to experience. And the joy of exploring what's new also makes you value the meaning of familiarity and home.

It's worth waiting for the things you want most. 
I waited an entire year without a holiday in order to go to Europe, and while at the time it felt ridiculously long, it was more satisfying knowing I was working towards something that I felt I was earning to deserve. In many ways, you can take a lot of pride in that. The same can be said about saving your money and reconsidering going out to parties or buying drinks in town - the value of many $10 ciders can eventually add up to a plane or concert ticket, by far a better experience than a hangover.

Consider all possibilities.
You can't say yes to everything in the world, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't say no. There's a reason why people say to go with your gut feeling and what brings peace to your heart. Book smarts and street smarts don't lead to mental wellness. And what the head may say doesn't mean it's the smartest move to make. In those times, pray, meditate and I will go with what I feel satisfies my soul.

It's easier said than done to let go.
Even in the most inconvenient timings can something good happen, even if it is a good life lesson to be learnt. It's difficult to do in a world that prides itself on the idealistic and perfected, but in the small little mistakes we make is the opportunity for something you never knew would happen.

Work with people, not on people.
It's really easy to want your way but sometimes we seem so self-involved in our own wants and needs that we forget those that are there to support us. The older I get, the more important it feels like to be present and focused on working well with those around, as opposed to those who demand what they feel they're entitled to.

Most importantly, don't kill the dream.
Just because someone says no doesn't mean it's over. I think that if you always stay true to your character, your beliefs and what you know is right - there's less of a chance you'll fall. Work for towards it, don't idly wait for it.

Here's to a sweet 26 years!

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