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18 Things You Should Learn by the Time You Turn 18

18 Things You Should Learn by the Time You Turn 18

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    By the time you turn 18 you realize that there is little you can do to predict or control a) bad weather and b) bad hair days. Here are 17 other things you’ll probably have realized by the time the 18th year of your life comes around. My 18th birthday is one month away and here are some of the things I have learned along the way…

    1. You realize that a smile is indeed a very powerful and contagious infection and that all of us benefit from catching it every now and then. By the end of 17, you’re thinking, if no one else wants to start this amazing virtuous circle of smiling that brightens up everyone’s day- too bad for them- I will begin, with my smile. (Even if you didn’t think about this by 17, you got it now. Smile!)

    2. You’ve realized by now that your favorite childhood novels, movies and music are forever going to be your fairy godmother and fond-memory-bank occupants. (How can I ever forget Harry Potter and Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide?)

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    3. I’ll-pretend-like-I-don’t-know-you is a real phenomenon. People you said “Hi” to and who spoke so happily to you only yesterday may ignore your today like you’re a total stranger. In that case, 18 years of wisdom says, wave more to them more crazily and say a louder, ‘Hi!’, until they can’t pretend any longer to be straight-up strangers. (If they still want to ignore you, they’re just missing out on your awesomeness.)

    4. By 18 you realize that life is really, really short and unfortunately people you care about actually do die. This just gives you a million more reasons to say ‘I love you’ whenever and however you can. It is important to take on the practice of saying ‘Thank you’ for every moment you breathe and every second that you are able to love and live in this world.

    5. By the time you turn 18 you realize how important it is for you to turn 18 because you’re (more than mildly) frustrated with all the consent forms that you have to beg and plead your parents to sign before you’re permitted to do practically anything with your life.

    6. Heartbreak has happened, and sadly, will happen. But there’s nothing that a mint chocolate chip cookie ice-cream can’t fix right? (Wrong. By 18 you have to digest that there are some things that neither pralines nor mint chocolate chip can fix.) But then not everything in life needs be fixed, its okay that some things are imperfect. Leave the unfixable pieces behind, and move on.

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    7. By now you have realized that humans aren’t as smart as we like to think. Though science and religion give us many explanations, neither legendary geniuses nor anyone else have been able to answer the actually important and totally confounding questions that dictate the world around us. These questions include: What happens after death? Why are we here? Why is there evil in the world? By now we’ve figured out how most adults handle these defeating questions: by pretending they don’t exist. Now comes our own turn to decide how we’re going to handle them.

    8. If turning 18 (like me) and STILL haven’t gone out on a real date (like me) you might slightly despair (like me). Well, you’ll also realize you shouldn’t. By 18, you realize that 18 is not the end of the world (hopefully); you got your whole life ahead of you, for more awesomeness, for true love, and for everything else.

    9. If you want to feel loved, you’ve got to first believe that you are worthy of love and happiness. And by 18, you should have realized: You are worthy!

    10. It is tiring and totally not worth it to pretend to be someone you’re not. By the time you turn 18 you realize that life is hard, and sometimes intimidating, but if you just be yourself, you can handle it so much better and more easily. (Then of course,  “just being yourself” does take a lot of courage)

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    11. Reaching out for help can be a difficult thing, but it isn’t wrong, and man, it does help tremendously. By 18, you might begin to realize that vulnerability is actually a beautiful thing and there’s nothing wrong in feeling insecure. You can make some of the best connections with others by reaching out for help when you need it.

    12. By 18 you realize that success need not be just measured through the common standards of fame, money, power and popularity. You realize that there’s more to life, like enjoyment, like screaming at the top of your lungs in an open ground at 4 am, like baking cookies for a midnight breakfast, like speaking to your absolutely cute crush for the first time, like laughing awkwardly with your best friends. All of this counts as success too!

    13. By 18 you understand that your drawbacks, awkwardness, and insecurities are completely normal and that everyone feels the same way. These characteristics make you the uniquely amazing person you are. You learn to embrace both your light and dark and be equally proud of them both. (Or at least try to begin on that incredible journey of self-love).

    14. You are kind of missing your childhood, slightly apprehensive about taking the responsibilities of an adult, and sort of nostalgic about end of school days. Remember all the days spent learning to ride the bike and playing teacher to imaginary students? (Well, I still play imaginary teacher…but that would be for another article)

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    15. You know by now that there are some mean people in the world, or some who love bathing in negativity and pulling you down in that unproductive spiral of gossip and sulking. Of course these are fundamentally amazing people, so try to show them light if you can. If the task defeats you, shake off the cynicism and import your own sunshine into the world. That’s the simple recipe to make life happier for everyone.

    16. You’ve realized that nobody ain’t goin’ anywhere if they are not ready to work hard. The odds of a person winning a lottery is pretty close to zero and by 18 you know how challenging yet totally possible it is to reach your dreams. Seventeen years of Earth has taught you life is no easy business; till now your parents may have sweated it out so that you could live well and now its your turn to take to the hard work and live all your dreams.

    17. And finally, through all this accumulated wisdom, you might realize how difficult it is to practically implement things we know too well in theory and in our thoughts. What sounds great in theory is tough to gain the courage or wisdom to get going…from asking someone out to starting a small online business, taking the first step can sometimes be the most difficult.

    But that’s the real challenge of life, right? To act on the wisdom and thoughts whose implementation terrifies us… or at least to try.

    Featured photo credit: just1snap via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on September 10, 2019

    7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

    7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

    Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

    Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

    This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

    One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

    Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

    Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

    1. Gratitude

    Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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    The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

    Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

    So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

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      2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

      This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

      For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

      What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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      Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

      3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

      This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

      Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

      An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

      Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

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        4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

        According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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        There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

        5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

        Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

        Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

        6. Rise Earlier

        The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

        For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

        So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

        Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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        7. Listen to Uplifting Music

        Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

        Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

        It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

        Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

        More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

        Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
        [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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