I imagine as we all sat waiting to be birthed into this world like stars in the sky, God sat us down and showed us our lives before we had even been conceived to our mother’s womb.
We made agreements with him; which souls we need to reconnect with, what kind of service we need to provide to our fellow humans, and which important lessons we need to learn along the way.
In eight weeks, I will be 30.
That number snuck up on me quietly. I had imagined the last year of my 20s being a little wilder (cheers COVID-19), but as I sit down to reflect not only on the last year but the last 10 years of my life, I realise I can navigate the terrain of this reckless beautiful mess with amusement and compassion toward my younger self.
I can join the dots that led me to where I am today. The meetings of new souls, the letting go of old souls, the loyalty of loving souls. The travel, the conversations, the heartbreak, the heart make. The tight-butt moments, stomach drop moments, and the almost-pee’d-my-pants moments. They sit now displayed in a pretty brown package with the bow untied, ready for you to dive into.
For those who are yet to experience the magical misery of their 20s, I wish that you enter it with a fire in your belly for all life has to offer to you.
My biggest hope for you is to trust your instincts and to love fiercely, and know you will always be protected.
Life lessons in year 20
>> Some people will doubt your decisions, but only you know your path. Sometimes, quitting doesn’t make you a failure, it makes you stronger for realizing something wasn’t working and for moving on.
>> Find a job that connects you to people and don’t be afraid of hard work. You are young, adaptable, and resilient. My days as an aged community carer opened my eyes to a different world. Community work teaches us how to be equally strong and soft.
>> Book the holiday! There won’t be many years you can party all night and wake up a few hours later bright-eyed and beautiful. Money is circular and will come and go. But the memories you make on that holiday will last a lifetime.
Life lessons in year 21
>> How other people treat you does not have to be your story. You are not a victim of your own life. You are the leading star, and you have power over your role.
>> Value your best friends and their care toward you. Lean on them when you’re in trouble—they have your back and can see the things you can’t.
>> You actually have to consciously listen in the lectures and answer the given essay question to pass the course.
Life lessons in year 22
>> You are young, active, and vibrant. You don’t need to do squats in your room to cancel out the peanut butter and banana on toast. Enjoy your food without regret.
>> Foreign places can feel like home when you are connected. Cultural differences may be vast, but deep down we are all here seeking love and to be loved.
>> Don’t bleach your hair pink—it will fall out.
Life lessons in year 23
>> Be discerning with what you ingest to keep the body and mind balanced. Importantly, don’t ever take medication to delay your period so you can go in the sea. Those tablets cause chaos with your hormones, it isn’t worth it.
>> Don’t look for validation or applause outside of yourself. It never comes as hard and as loud as you’d like. Be your own applause. Take yourself on treat days. Reflect and glow in your own achievements. Expect little from others, and send gratitude to those who do outwardly support you.
>> There will be conversations with strangers that stay with you forever. Don’t keep your cards so close to your chest all the time. Bare your truth, own your truth, and never settle for less than your truth.
Life lessons in year 24
>> Talking money, we all have to make choices about how we spend it. A tap and a click is easy, but when cash is in your hands, it’s a lot harder to spend. Give yourself an allowance and draw the money out in notes if you want to save hard.
>> Spend time in the lounge room with the TV off. Make dinners for family and enjoy them together. This old tradition is sacred.
>> Sit with curiosity watching younger family members grow. I adored being there again for my little shadow—my sister, who is eight years younger than me. She had changed so much during my time away at university. She didn’t have it all figured out yet, but it was amazing to watch her put the pieces together in my two years living back home.
Life lessons in year 25
>> You are safe to be seen and loved again, even after heartbreak. Some loves are temporary but equally important. Find the lessons in them and let them go when they no longer serve you.
>> If you are struggling at work, don’t be afraid to speak out and ask for help. Don’t label yourself incapable or lazy if you take time off to fill yourself back up. When we aren’t operating from an overflowing cup, we give too much of ourselves. When we have nothing left to give, we cannot be of service to our community. Let go of the stigma around mental health. We all have a mind, and we would all do better for learning how to look after it like we do our bodies.
>> You are empowered to navigate this wonderful world. You can learn to ride the subway in Japan where all signs are in Japanese. You can abseil down an overflowing waterfall and get out alive. Learn to love the highs and lows equally of travelling. Embrace the turbulent unpredictable weather, the language barriers, the sickness—it will make your stronger and a terrific storyteller.
Life lessons in year 26
>> Embrace the power of manifestation. Get clear on what you want and write it down. Operate from a place of gratitude and take action to drive your intentions to fruition.
>> When you move to a new country on your own, be a “Yes” person. It is only by saying yes to every opportunity, you can pinpoint what feels good, and then direct your energy from there. It’s okay to burn the candle at both ends for a short time—your body is running on more adrenaline than usual and you can handle it.
>> No opportunity meant for you will pass you by. So back yourself. Be bold and apply for the job you want. The worst that can happen is a “No,” and you’re already sitting in a worst-case scenario by not applying.
Life lessons in year 27
>> When you have navigated any big life changes, it’s okay to take a year to simply sit back and enjoy what you have accomplished. We do not need to operate in a mode of striving all the time. Take small weekend trips, grow plants, take coffee with friends, see live music. Think simple and enjoy the life you have made for yourself.
>> God leads us to His Love when we are open to it. Simply having faith has transformed my life. A deeply grounded spiritual practice helps us lead with love and compassion instead of distrust and confusion over life’s challenges.
>> Trust in the kindness of strangers. On a road trip in Tasmania, we were almost out of luck finding a camp spot for the night when I noticed a young woman on the beach playing the guitar. My intuition led me to approach her and ask if we could share her camp spot. We ended up drinking beers and drawing constellations in the sky all evening.
Life lessons in year 28
>> It’s okay to lose contact with friends who were only meant to come into our life for small chapters. It doesn’t make either of you a bad person. We cannot maintain authentic relationships with every friend we make. So we wish them well on their life’s path and stay close to those who nourish our souls.
>> Small talk does have its place sometimes. Striking up a conversation with a passerby can really boost your mood—be brave and give it a go. You might even find love out of it…
>> Really tragic things happen to really good people; and we will feel extremely distressed. We are allowed to feel it, but un-attaching ourselves from another’s tragic life event can be one of the most difficult tasks, especially if you are highly sensitive. We do not need to hold everyone else’s pain. Learning to separate our pain and their pain will set you free.
Life lessons in year 29
>> We are often asked by God to teach others what we most need to learn. We cannot help another before going through the sh*t ourselves. Get curious about your struggles and don’t hide away from them.
>> The year of deep rest. The year of surrender, being under some of the strictest lockdown rules in the world in Melbourne. Sometimes, making peace with the situation we’re in eliminates excess hurt, frustration, and anger. We cannot change some of our external circumstances, we cannot change the loss of freedoms that have been temporarily taken away from us, but we can lean into love and those who love us—the constant during the chaos.
>> No matter how bad it gets, someone always has it way worse than you. Look up, smile, and be kind to people.
>> Strengthen your compassion muscle by putting other people’s health in front of your own desires. Act with humility in such a way that when all is behind us you can say, “I followed the rules out of love for others despite my own circumstance.”
I am still manifesting a lockdown-free birthday at the end of November. Until then, I’ll be soaking up what’s left of my 20s and sitting with the decade that is coming. Sending love.