Life Lessons with Sarah-Elizabeth…
Or something like that. Today I turn 21 years old and apparently, I’m a “proper” adult now, so these are the lessons I have learnt in 21 years of life so far…
1. It’s important to have a sound belief system and values.
This is probably the most important lesson I have learnt in my life so far. Having a sound (healthy) belief system and values is extremely important as it is these things that shape your soul and who you are as a person. For me, it’s my faith in God and the belief that he is real and he created the world. My faith is the basis of my core values and it is the compass to my life.
2. Having different opinions doesn’t mean you can’t be friends.
Like I said in my previous point, I am a Christian, and that means my opinions and values don’t always align with everyone I meet. I don’t think I have ever had a problem being friends with people who have different opinions to me, but I have had to learn to respect their opinion and that not everyone has to have the same opinion as me on everything. On a more light-hearted note, it is hard trying to convince some of my friends at the hostel that Smooth Peanut Butter is still counted as peanut butter.
3. Your attitude towards people, things and situations is very important.
Oh man, this is such a big one and it is still something I battle with every day and know I will continue to battle with for the rest of my life. The same goes for each one of you! How we control our attitudes towards people, things and situations is an extremely important lesson to learn. The most exciting part of this lesson was figuring out that I can control my attitude and find the good in every situation and how to control my emotions. Not saying that I have complete control over my emotions or anything, but I have definitely matured in that sense
I don’t know why I ever thought this would be a good idea, it was almost like a mid-mid-mid life crisis. Apparently, I didn’t learn my lesson the first time, though, it was something I had to do twice. Both times resulted in a trip to my hairdresser.
5. Be spontaneous and just say yes occasionally.
I’m the sort of person who likes to have everything planned out and stay in a routine. This year, however, I have learnt to be more spontaneous and just say yes to more opportunities as they are presented to me. Some of my Core Memories”, as they would say in one of my favourite movies, “Inside Out”, are created by these spontaneous decisions and moments.
6. Never skip lectures or tutorials.
Being spontaneous and just doing something on a whim, however, shouldn’t extend into your study. I learnt that lesson a bit late in my first year of university. Skipping lectures and tutorials is never a good idea as it is so hard to catch up!
7. Re-reading books or re-watching movies is always a good idea.
Okay, so I may be half saying this to justify having read the Harry Potter books and watched the movies at least 20 times each. But seriously, there are so many details you pick up when you re-read or re-watch things. Sometimes they are mind blowing and other times you start to see the sneaky and clever foreshadowing of a writer.
8. Expect change.
Change is a continuous thing. Seriously, nothing never changes, sometimes we just take a bit longer to catch on. Languages change, cultures change, relationships change, you change! I think you get the point, expect change, and choose a good attitude to go with it.
9. There are different types of friends and they stay in your life for different seasons.
On that note of relationships changing, friendships are a big part of that. I have had and still have many friends in my life due to moving around a lot as a child, but relationships change even when you are still living in the same place. I believe that God puts some friends into your life to teach you lessons, and some He puts in there for the long run. Coming to terms with that has helped me to move on with my life and focus on what’s with me and in front of me while learning from what’s behind. Shout out to all my friends past, present (and future). We are helping each other grow!
10. Learn to master at least one skill.
I wish I was the sort of person who can focus on one thing and make themselves the best they can be at it. Unfortunately, I’m not, and instead like to dabble in many things. Although in thinking about it, singing is the one thing that I have consistently tried my best at and I am continuously learning more about my own voice and how to sing better. That’s why I chose to study music! Knowing that there is at least one thing in the world that I am really good at is a great self-esteem builder. I believe it’s important for everyone to have that one something that they are really good at!
11. Always be open to learning new things.
Having one thing you are good at is important but it is also really important to be open to learning new things. For example, I have had to learn how to play the Bass for our ensemble group after one of our classmates left, just as others in our group have had to learn to play the drums or the guitar. Another way to do this is by being open to learning about other cultures and people in general.
12. Sometimes it’s good to act like a child.
When I say this I mean relaxing and just having fun! And that means without alcohol and partying it up on a Friday or Saturday night. Do something like taking a football or giant frisbee down to the park with a group of friends and just spending time with each. Or go somewhere that normally only kids go to and just enjoy yourself!
13. Don’t lose sight of reality for a fantasy.
I love this quote of Dumbledore’s from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It always reminds me to focus on the real things and the real dreams for my life rather than the little fantasy world my brain sometimes likes to slip into.
14. Invest in Quality.
You know that saying “Quality over Quantity”? Yep, it is definitely a thing, especially when it comes to buying clothing and footwear. As a student, it is actually really hard to afford (and justify) buying a $100 jacket or a pair of shoes when you can get something similar for $30 at Kmart. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE Kmart, and sometimes you can get some pretty long-lasting stuff there. However, it’s not the same as having something that will last years rather than a season. I just had to chuck out 2 pairs of boots that I bought at the beginning of Autumn from The Warehouse and Kmart. Case & Point.
15. Spend the money to go to the doctors, dentists and physio.
And anything else for your health as it is worth it in the long run. This is something that should be common sense but is something that a lot of people struggle with doing. For example, I wish I had gone to the dentists last year as my cavities would have been smaller and cheaper to fix! Thinking that you will save money by not going for the little things can end up causing a bigger and more expensive thing.
16. Bad habits are hard to break but good habits are harder to make.
This goes for anything and everything. Exercise, eating, technology usage, smoking, drugs, alcohol, speech, attitude and so many more habits that can be healthy or bad. Most have negative effects on ourselves but some have negative effects on the way we interact with others. Deciding to break these habits is the easy part, but making a good habit is the hardest part.
17. Living with other people is way different to living with your immediate family.
Whether you are living with friends in a flat, student accommodation or other family members, it is always going to be different to living with your immediate family. Just remember that it will take a little while to adjust to the way other people live and finding a common ground for harmonious living. Okay, I think I sounded a bit like a hippie then. Give yourself time to settle into the new routine and don’t let the little things get to you. Living in a student hostel has taught me many life lessons in itself, along with teaching me how to live with others.
18. Lemon water is the best thing ever to drink.
Okay, so this is definitely just my own opinion, but I love to drink water and adding fresh lemon juice to it not only gives it a nice flavour but has health benefits! Lemon water is good for digestion, it gives you some vitamin C, naturally, can lead to clearer skin, freshens your breath, and as a hot drink with honey helps fight viral infections (which is why singers drink it a lot for sore throats).
19. Explore and appreciate the beautiful things in life.
There isn’t really anything else I have to say with this lesson I learnt other that when you can’t seem to find beauty in the usual things, look for the unique.
20. Be courageous enough to stand up and speak out about what you believe in.
Most of the time people will respect you more for that than going along with the crowd to fit in. You were born to stand out!
21. God’s hand in my life isn’t as obvious today as it will be when I look back.
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and there is something to be learnt from every situation. As a Christian, I believe that God has a purpose for my life and he will use both the good and the bad to work in my life even if I can’t understand why things are happening at the time. This is a lesson I have to remind myself of every day and will continue to do so until the day I die.
Do you have any lessons to add to my list? I’d love to hear about something that you have learnt in your life.