I by no means want to sound like an arrogant 30-year-old who thinks she knows everything about life and dishes out unsolicited advice. But I have to admit that with time and experience come self love, acceptance and wisdom. And I’m here today to share some of my ideas with you in the hopes of motivating some of you and giving some perspective. This life is an expert at giving you the good mixed in with the bad, the unexpected, the deserved and sometimes the things you don’t feel you deserve. I’m here to tell you that whatever happens to you, whatever you might be going through is happening for a reason. The ones who know me, know I am not a religious person, quite the opposite, but I believe in karma. And yes, karma is a b***h sometimes but it helps you grow, evolve, get better, gain perspective and succeed.
I know it sounds ridiculous if I tell you that my 30th birthday was eye-opening for me but it was just that. I started thinking about all that was still missing, all the things I wanted to do over the years but never got around to doing, about all the plans that were still just that, plans and dreams and about that annoying inner clock that is telling you: Toto, you’re not 20 anymore. So, like any good, slightly spoiled, cry-baby child, I called my mother, a strong woman with an exceptional talent of talking shop when it’s needed (and being analytical about it, like the engineer she is) and she just told me: stop being so hard on yourself, you have matured so much over these past 10 years. Put everything into perspective and think about what you’ve gained, not what is still to come. But what did I gain?
- People who try to shame you, have much bigger inner demons and issues than you think. Ignore them!
I am a plus sized, foreign woman in a foreign country, a fact that has brought me face to face with some pretty critical people at times. I’ve been called fat here and I’ve been called fat in Romania. I have been laughed at, discriminated and treated like an inferior person by many ignorants. And you know what? I can’t even be bothered. Somebody who isn’t able to contradict in an acceptable manner, who regards you in such a superficial way, does not deserve your attention, is uneducated and bigoted. I for one know what my worth is (finally) and want to live my best possible life.
- Sometimes parents really know best!
Oh boy, I just know my parents are going to read this and have a glass of wine over this admittance. But it’s true, about 80% of what they told me and advised against over the years has been right. While you are still developing your intuition, they can see some things coming for miles. I miss my gramps giving me insights on so many things and telling me what to do. So yeah, we live and we learn, we adapt and get smart in time.
- Kill ‘em with kindness but if they have 9 lives, change tactics!
I’m all for catching more flies with honey, it’s my preferred method, but if someone keeps coming for you in a nasty way, don’t hesitate to state your opinion in an elegant way. One of my flaws was always letting people walk all over me because I was too kind, too well mannered and maybe afraid of what they would say. No more, it’s my right to be annoyed if I take the time and make the effort to be nice to somebody and they are rude in return. It’s my right to say what’s on my mind if I think a situation is not beneficial to me in any way. It’s my right to ask for my due and it’s only natural to fight for what I believe in. But I always do it in a way I can be proud of and you should too!
- Confidence really is key!
It opens up endless new avenues for you if you don’t become cocky. Don’t confuse the two. It’s one thing to show your worth and it’s another one to go around tooting your own horn. Confidence will develop in time and make your life so much easier. And if you don’t feel it yet, fake it ‘til you make it!
- You are the key to your own happiness and you need to take care of yourself!
You’re tired and unhappy with your current situation? Change something and do it fast. I was on the verge of a burnout three years ago and I feel it creeping up on me right now. Take time out of your week to do something for yourself or you will lose perspective and focus. Believe me, nobody will give you this time back, use it wisely!
- Those f**kboys you keep allowing in do leave a mark on your confidence and your persona!
One failed relationship more will not kill your ego? Well, it might. While we can’t predict what will happen when we meet somebody, it’s time to maybe think long-term and figure out what we want from a relationship. Please don’t get me wrong, to each their own and live life to your fullest but if you are the type to invest, do it wisely. Don’t kid yourself and know your worth before you let somebody walk all over your heart. If it does come to that, have a shot of tequila and move on without blaming that failure on yourself! Put the blame where it belongs.
- Appreciate the here and now!
We are thinkers, therefore planners. But don’t forget to live in the now because of all that planning you’re doing. Enjoy each moment to its fullest because it really is true, who knows what tomorrow will bring. And do the things you like, don’t always compromise for the sake of others.
- Friends come and go, only some remain! Above all, there is family!
The hardest thing for me, my kryptonite, friendships. The people you cherish the most might hurt you, while the ones you don’t, are there for you in unexpected ways. I’ve lost tiny pieces of my heart to some people and I have come to regret it. It’s better to have 2-3 real friends than to have a ton of them but be all alone at the end of the day if you need support. Don’t forget, it’s quality over quantity! And never forget, the ones that are there for you unconditionally are your family members so give them the spot they deserve.
- We work in order to be able to live and not the other way around!
If you are your own boss, my sincere congrats. But if you’re not, remember, it’s not your company! Give 100% of you, it’s only fair, but don’t give it 130%, it’s not worth it if you won’t be repaid for your efforts. Be it money, vacation days or other benefits you aspire to, be sure to get your slice of the cake before going above and beyond the maximum you should do! No medal can give you back the time you lose in your youth. Travel more, smile often and try to be happy!
While I can go on and on, I think these are the most important aspects that have shaped my last 10 years, living alone abroad and learning so much about myself and the people around me. But the most important thing I want to leave you with is number 10:
- BE KIND!
Life is unpredictable, I can tell you that. You never know where you might end up so be kind to the people around you who deserve it. Inevitably, we all come to a point in life when we depend on the kindness of somebody else (that’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way) so get there knowing you have been kind and deserve the kindness that is coming your way.