I've been 27 for a month now, so clearly I'm an expert on the age. Here's what I have learned:
1. I am me, and I love myself. How simple, yet how hard it was for me to fully realise this until recently. I was always comparing myself to other people when it comes to anything - height, weight, hair, possessions, accomplishments, family etc and it's ridiculous. I am me, I am proud to be me, and I am different than my best friend, my mother, my next door neighbour, the celebrity on the magazine - and that is more than ok. It's hard to ignore all of the media telling you that you should be this way or that way, and looking at all of the things that people have and wanting the best for you and your family - but, at the end of the day, if I am happy with how I treat people, what I put out into the universe and what I get in return - I am doing well. Appreciating who I am for all my flaws and wonderfulness is not selfish, it is not vain - it is imperative.
2. My hobbies and interests are just as good as another person's. I used to think I should take up painting and drawing and swimming and be good at all the things that my friends were - now I have so many random things for random hobbies that are just collecting dust because I suck at them. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have a hobby or do something you haven't done before, but if I am not good at something (hello, painting) or do not enjoy something that is not a bad thing. My hobbies and interests, while they may not be another's cup of tea, are great for me. I used to be embarrassed to admit I enjoyed reading, sewing or running, or watching Pride & Prejudice on repeat - especially if the person I was talking to did not enjoy those things. Now I own my interests and don't worry if other people think I'm lame.
3. Being alone and lonely are very different things. When KC and I broke up for a few months, I experienced the deepest, darkest, most horrible part of my life. I cried every time I was alone because there was no one to distract me from the heartbreak. I had been through breakups before, and the long distance relationship gave me no shortage of alone time, but this was different. I had to re-learn to enjoy being alone without being lonely. Now, I love when I have some time alone to watch a movie or go through my closet. There's a quote I like by Wayne Dyer; 'you're cannot be lonely if you like the person you're alone with' and I think this goes hand in hand with the first 2 things.
4. Don't waste time on negative people or dying relationships. I'm a much more positive person now than I used to be, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that I have ended all the toxic relationships that were dragging me down. Sometimes the person and I grew apart and we kept trying to make it work, or we just never meshed well. Trying to force something to work when it clearly doesn't want to is stupid and exhausting.
5. A few great friends are better than 20 good acquaintances. I used to think I needed to have a lot of friends to be happy or important, but that's just not realistic, nor would I want it to be. I have about 5 really close friends that I absolutely adore, and then about 10-15 friends that I enjoy spending time with, and honestly everyone else is an acquaintance - and that's not a bad thing - I don't need to be everyone's best friend.
6. My gut is generally right. I have made some bad decisions because I didn't trust my instinct and I always regret it. I would rather trust my instinct and be happy with that bad decision than one I didn't feel right making. Things like my hair, wardrobe, my career, moving to another country or friendships. I know what's best for me, even if sometimes it's just a feeling. Trust yourself.
7. Listening is better when you aren't talking. I used to think that having a good conversation with someone was all about the yakking. I would walk away from a conversation and couldn't tell you the other person's opinion because it was all about me. Now, I listen, I ask questions and I actually enjoy talking to people. Before, I always felt like people were disinterested - and they were.
8. Treat people the way you would like to be treated. Seriously, how many times have you heard this in your lifetime? I bet one thousand gazillion times. It is the truest thing I have ever heard. I used to be a horrible customer, rude to people when I didn't get my way - I was a negative nancy and made people feel guilty, uch it makes me cringe to think about it. As soon as I started to realise that I get back what I give is when people started to be nice in return. Be nice, even when you don't want to be. Getting loud and cranky doesn't make anyone feel better.
9. People care about themselves, not you. Worrying what people think of me, why they did what they did - it's a waste of time. Most people aren't malicious and out to get me, and I can't please everyone. It's useless trying.
10. Eating right and exercising is so important. I feel better when I do, and I know the reasoning behind why I should. You know what they say, those who don't find time for exercise will soon find time for illness.
There you have it, my expert knowledge from my 27 years on this earth. Here's to learning even more as I grow older.