Advice from a 26-year-old
I am not the same person I was last year. I think I'm better at a few things, worse in some other areas of my life. One thing is for sure though: I've lost much of my hubris. I'm not nearly as confident as I used to be, not as sure of my future as I once imagined it. But that's the point, right? Everyone moves on, even from their dreams.
That's not to say that I'm quitting everything I've built for myself - not at all! I'm just saying that I'm trying to do something else on top of what I'm already doing. I've taken a scathing look at myself and realized where my real strengths and weaknesses lie. It hurt to be completely honest to myself but then how else can I move forward? Risk is always frightening, but it's how you know you're getting somewhere other than where you're standing.
I learned a few things last year while I was 25, and thought of sharing them with you now that I'm 26. :)
Surround yourself with beautiful things. We have gadgets and gizmos always stuffed in front of our faces. These are tiny windows that look out to the big wide world, yes, but why look through a window (exclusively that is)? It's ridiculously easy to live vicariously through other people's experiences and moments of insight, unconsciously thrilling as if they're ours. They're not. Unfortunately.
I suggest that you gentrify and curate your life. That is, uplift it and improve its quality to the best of your ability. It doesn't necesarily have to cost you tons of money but you can start with small things like changing that ratty couch you've had for a decade. Maybe placing fresh flowers on a table. Wearing clothes that are of good make and quality, instead of disposable fast fashion. I'm not saying you can't indulge in lazy living, ever, but you should try to rise above it whenever you get the opportunity.
Beauty can inspire you to be someone worthy of it.
Learn whatever you feel like. Last year, I learned yoga, paper crafting, watercolor painting, and how to play the ukulele. Why? I just felt like it. I've always had an artsy streak, yeah, but I mainly wanted to get my head out of the gutter. Work and the pressure that comes with it can be overwhelming. I wanted to not think about it during my free time, so I got busy with my hands. (And body, for a while when I practiced yoga.)
Learning new things also opens your mind to new ideas and perspectives. It's not the same as reading a book or watching a movie, I swear! Somehow, the newness is more personal if you set out to learn it and not just consume it.
Move forward. All of human innovation is directed towards making us as comfortable as possible. Did you watch Wall-E? Those milkshake-swilling, bone density-defying humans could very well be us in half a milennium. It's too easy to get stuck in a comfortable spot because why not? If it's good then why be somewhere else?
Because maybe, after a while, you'd be more concerned about preserving the status quo instead of actually being a happy person. Maybe you'd forget who you are, the ideals you hoped to live by, and the goals you promised yourself you'd reach one day.
I guess that's my most important bit of advice: stay on your feet, and walk.
Happy birthday to me, and my mom too, because she's the one who did the birthing. :P Thank you in advance for your awesome greetings!