The most valuable thing I have learnt recently is to not expect too much from people. A wise old man said it in a video I watched, and although I can’t remember what the video was, something about it has really stuck with me.

I think it just sent me into a thought spiral of contemplation about how perhaps the most important thing when it comes to trying to understand other people, is the acknowledgement that every person has thoughts, feelings and lives that are as complex and profound as our own. It has caused me to take notice of my own actions, and realise when I am expecting too much of a person whose mind is probably far more consumed by their own worries and to-do’s than whatever insignificant thing I am expecting or hoping from them. Whether we like it or not, most people’s main concern in life is themselves, which is why, for example, you shouldn’t spend too long scrutinising over that embarrassing thing you said to someone. Because the fact of the matter is that they are likely spending far too much time thinking about their own embarrassing memories to even slightly remember yours.

Anyway, this got me thinking about other things I’ve learned in the past 20 years of my life, and since we are also about to transition into 2020, what better way to end off the decade than to pretentiously list a bunch of life lessons. I’ve already talked about #1 but let’s start with:

1. Don’t expect too much from people. Your head is often consumed with thoughts about your own life, and so are other people’s – don’t expect people to always be thinking what you want them to be thinking.

2. Changing yourself because of another persons influence is a good thing if you are doing so because they inspired you to grow. It only becomes negative when you are changing yourself solely to please someone else, and forgetting to consider your own wants and needs.

3. You don’t have to do everything right now! There is no urgency to fulfil every single dream and desire right this instant, there is plenty of time to be patient, and take your time with one thing at a time.

4. You have more time than you think! If you spend your productive time actually productively you can get a lot more done in a day or a week than you think (or you will have more time to rest), rather than using your productive time halfheartedly and spreading a task out for far longer than necessary.

5. Just because I consider yourself a positive and happy person, doesn’t mean I need to feel on top of the world all the time. Nor should I feel guilty for feeling sad seemingly without reason, it’s only human to feel a full range of emotions. And even if there is reason, everyone’s struggles are valid and you should never feel you can’t speak up.

6. It is important to be open to constructive criticism about yourself and welcome the opportunity for self improvement. The one thing we can never truly know is how other view us and our actions, so embrace circumstances in which you are able to learn and in turn become more conscious of how your actions are perceived.

7. You know the most now that you have ever known, but the least that you will ever know. And there will always be things other people know that you don’t. One thing that is amazing about people is the scope of individual experiences, knowledge, and thoughts that shape each person – so above all, listen to every person because you never know what you will learn or discover.

8. Don’t accept who you are as all you’ll ever be – welcome, embrace and invite change into your life and allow yourself to grow as time does. And try new things! Even things that you previously perhaps didn’t like, don’t let one experience define you for the rest of your life. Try it again!

9. If your attitude is heavily influenced by the people around you, be sure to remember the importance of selecting people to spend time with carefully, and make sure they are a positive influence!

10. Relationships and friendships aren’t as easy now as they were when you were little. During childhood and through school, friendships are often built around circumstance and convenience, and are often maintained by those same factors. Now, they take effort from both or all parties to develop and maintain, so don’t expect friendships to fall into your lap with no effort ever.

11. Also, friendships and relationships are important! No matter how much you think you are fine by yourself, or how much you enjoy your own company, healthy friendships and relationships hold a lot of value.

12. Make time for people and show your interest in friendships and relationships with them! If they can’t see that you are interested in spending time with them, they won’t bother.

13. Do everything intentionally! Even things you may see as a negative habit can become positive with intent. Watching Netflix is no longer procrastinating if you do it intentionally or plan it into your day as a valuable activity.

14. Commit to everything you involve yourself in wholeheartedly, or figure out why you can’t.

15. Clean your room and you’ll feel better! Unmotivated? Clean your room! Sad? Clean your room! Restless and can’t concentrate? Clean your room!

16. Work out what you want and do what you can to get there, without trying to base your goals and desires on a life that someone else is living.

17. A decision is the most important part of any endeavour. To decide to do or involve yourself in something is creating a mental commitment, which then allows yourself to fully immerse into it. Whether it be a relationship, a journey towards better mental or physical health, a job search, or a project you have planned, unless you properly decide to start, nothing will ever happen.

18. A relationship is about companionship and partnership more than anything else. Taking the time to listen to each other, understand each other, respect each other, communicate with each other, and treat each other as equals. It’s also about simply remembering that you’re going through life together now, and deciding to be there for the other person through thick and thin and trusting that they will do the same for you.

20. Plants die if you don’t water them, and so will you. Well, maybe not die, but if you don’t take care of yourself it’s easy to feel shrivelled up and burnt out. Moral of the story is, don’t work 7 days a week. Take time out to socialise and do things you love. Schedule it into your week – knowing you have that allocated time to look forward to is good motivation for getting things done, and planning ahead forces you to take the time out if you otherwise struggle.

20. There are some things that are simply meant to be, and you’ll know when they happen upon you.

I know for a fact there are more or even better things I could write but these are all the things I could think of at this time. I wrote this list almost as if it’s a letter to myself, maybe if I forget any of these things this can serve as a reminder, but otherwise I hope someone else can relate a bit or find some value in these thoughts, and to conclude, I look forward to learning even more with the commencement of not just a new year, but a new decade/phase of life – the 20’s and mine!

Posted by:Lauren Kathleen

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