Last updated on January 25th, 2022 at 07:31 am
I am a quarter-century old this week! Happy birthday to me! It’s crazy because when I still feel like a 17-year-old girl floating through life but my body is physically ageing. I heard that there’s not a defining moment where you feel like your age and so far, it’s been true for me.
The only downside to having a birthday in early September is because of labour day weekend. It can be hard to celebrate with my family and friends since some of them would go on a trip before school starts. I would say that’s the only downside to having a birthday in early September. Other than that, everything’s great! It’s usually not that hot (since it’s summer/fall) and I never have to take a test or exam on my birthday. I would hate that.
To celebrate my birthday, I have created a list of what I have learned so far in life. Instead of clumping everything together, I have divided these into sections: travel, self, relationships, school/career. I debated whether or not to include the travel section, especially with COVID. However, I know we will get through this and these are things I’ve learned while travelling that I want to share with you.
1. Always buy a bottle of water after security. There were times where there were no water bottles left on the plane and if you’re on a long-distance flight, that would suck.
2. Buy a power bank. They are lifesavers especially for those who travel a lot. There’s nothing more annoying than running around trying to find a outlet and not being able to move from a spot because your phone is charging.
3. When I was in the UK, I got to travel a bit in Europe and there were all these budget airlines. The one I liked most was EasyJet but beware. These budget airlines charge you for everything even a seating fee. By paying a premium fee, you can sit in the first few rows on the plane, are one of the first people to board, and one of the first people to get off as soon as you land.
4. When travelling, stay near a shopping area. I love hitting all the famous tourist attractions but also want time to walk around the streets to shop. When those attractions close around 5 pm, I can go back to my hotel and rest for a bit before heading down to walk around some more (I love buying souvenirs like snacks and/or t-shirts).
5. Strike a balance between taking pictures and enjoying the moment. I started taking photos of my trips about two years ago. In the past, I would get annoyed at people who are always trying to take pictures of EVERYTHING but I can see the appeal now. I look back on those photos and wouldn’t even remember as much as I do if it weren’t for them.
6. Do more things by yourself whether that’s solo travel, solo eating or even watching a movie by myself. I’ve travelled by myself several times now and I quite like it. I can set my schedule and do whatever I like without considering someone else.
7. Be careful of what you say. I grew up in a household where my family is really blunt. I always forget a lot of people didn’t grow up like that. I’m working hard on thinking before I speak.
8. When it comes to getting advice, talk to people who are similar in some way but also different because you can get a fresh perspective. You want them to understand you but provide some sort of insight that you might not think of.
9. Drink more hot water. Studies have shown that hot water aids digestion and has other health benefits. It’s best to drink on an empty stomach.
10. Always carry tissues in your bag. My friends tend to make fun of me but hey! You honestly never know when you need them. There were many times where my friends asked me for tissues.
11. Floss and don’t forget to put on your Invisalign/retainer every night. No one likes going to the dentist/orthodontist more than they have to. I know I don’t.
12. Improve your writing skills. Writing is key when it comes to making your blog successful. I was a pretty bad writer in high school but thankfully, I’ve improved since then. It’s one of the handiest skills and you need to write in every job.
13. When having a bad day, I like to watch videos of people less fortunate than me. Some people might feel even worse/guilty but it has the opposite effect on me. It is very humbling and makes me grateful for the position I am in.
14. It takes effort to be close to anyone including family. I keep in contact with my extended family by hanging out in person, calling, and texting them.
15. I have a somewhat love-hate relationship with my birthday. When you’re younger, you don’t really think about your parents getting older but they are. Always set aside time for them.
16. Just because they are family doesn’t mean I will get along with every single person and that’s okay.
17. When you fight with someone, you see his or her true colours. Even if it’s someone you’ve known for years. It tells you a lot about them and how they deal with things when it doesn’t go their way.
18. My girlfriends are so important. People always focus on romantic relationships but I can’t tell you how many times my girls have been there for me. Female friends are empowering yet so underrated.
19. One on one time is the best. That’s when you get to know someone. Group hangouts are fun cuz there are activities you can do together like bowling but it can be hard to bond with someone with so many people around.
20. Go visit the universities you are interested in going to (if you can). You’re going to be there for 4-5 years. It’s good to get a vibe. Maybe after visiting there, you’ll realize you prefer to go to school in the middle of nowhere so you can feel the school community. If you can’t visit these campuses in person, then do a LOT of research. For example, if you care about university rankings, US News has an annual ranking for colleges in the U.S.
21. Study/intern abroad in a country you’re interested in, if possible. It can be a trial to see whether or not you like the country and can see yourself staying there long term. With a job, it’s a bigger commitment. Unless it’s a contract or an internship, you have to stay there for an indefinite amount of time. With studying or interning abroad, there is a deadline or if you don’t like it then it’s easier to go home.
22. If you don’t know what you want to do in your career, start figuring out what you don’t want to do. Brainstorm things you’re interested in and see what jobs are available within those areas.
23. Don’t underestimate the power of LinkedIn. For years, I neglected it but it’s honestly one of the best platforms to promote yourself. By adding more people, you can also access their contacts. If you’re looking for a job, it is the way to go.
24. Start early with LinkedIn. It’s going to take to build your connections/network. If you interact with a recruiter or someone from your internship, don’t be afraid to add them!
25. Also, if you can, try living in a dorm. When I lived at home, it was easy for my parents to figure out the solution to everything. When you’re by yourself, it forces you to be more independent. I found it to be an extremely valuable experience.
That’s it! It took quite a bit of time to think of things to write but compiling this list was super fun. I would do it again in a heartbeat. It’s time to celebrate my birthday with friends and family!
If you want to read more about me, check out 50 facts about me.
There’s also an updated version: 26 things I learned by 26.