When I was a teen, I thought 25 would be an ideal age to get married – not too young, not too old. I thought closer to this age I should have some idea of what kind of a person I would like to spend the rest of my life with. And boy, was I wrong.
Marriage, in and of itself, is a beautiful experience that holds a pure meaning. And let’s face it, no matter how much you try to avoid the question, there will always be a time when you can’t help but wonder when your time will come, because everyone around you is settling down. But sometimes, it is as if we have a rigid formula on how to live and what age is perfect for every aspect of life, that the meaning of something might be lost along the way. It’s funny how the more you want something (the more attached you are to it), the harder it is to get.
So, no matter how old (or how young) you are, here are some reminders that there are so many opportunities out there to grow and plenty of remarkable goals to achieve other than (or in addition) to being married.
- Forgiving people, wholeheartedly and unconditionally, even when they haven’t officially asked forgiveness from you. Life is too short to be resentful and your heart is too crowded to be filled with hatred.
2. Writing letters and sending postcards to people who you haven’t talked to but thought about while you’re travelling. Hearts only grow fonder with distance when we make the effort to do so. People will appreciate what you give to them, especially if it is something unexpected.
3. Doing something beyond your comfort zone. Whether it be something as life-changing as solo-trips or volunteering abroad, or something as low-key as developing a skill that you haven’t had the chance to learn when you were a child.
4. Treating your loved ones to a nice trip to somewhere.
5. To be completely financially independent, without having to ask for money from your parents for help to pay your car and buy a house. And knowing how to pay the bills and cook on your own.
6. Finding a passion and sticking to it. Regardless of your circumstances, you’ll be consistent about it because you love it so much that it is something you want to do after you’d retire from a job.
7. Doing random acts of kindness every day to strangers. Give way to people on the road, especially when the traffic is heavy. Feed and save stray animals. Say “thank you” to everyone who does good to you and even to those who are bitter. Say “Salam” to people in the mosque. Smile more. The impact of these acts will never be lost and you’ll never know how one act of kindness might inspire others to do the same.
8. Pledge to eat healthier and take care of your body. When we’ll be much older, we’ll thank our younger selves for not constantly destroying our body with junk and artificial food. As most wise people would say: old age will be the determinant of how well one had taken care of their body while they were younger.
9. Love friends for who they are and not what they can offer to you. Love them broken, flawed and love them for their realness. Be the bigger person without expecting anything in return.
10. Reconnect with people whom you’ve missed and those that you haven’t kept in touch with. Learn to initiate and attempt to meet them again.
11. Reaching a point where you are willing to admit that just because you are becoming older and more mature, you are not always right. Human beings make mistakes. And just because someone younger than you points out a mistake, it doesn’t make them entitled and superior.
12. Prioritise feeding your soul and start making changes for the sake of self-growth and betterment. Learn more about your Creator and live according to what pleases Him. Dismiss the idea to be “ready enough” in what the society has portrayed to be; do it because it is between you and Him. And don’t be good only when surrounded by good; be the light in the dark and share the love without any judgement.
13. Make an important decision based solely on your evaluations and efforts, without the need for others’ approval. A few pieces of advice is great, but don’t be so caught up with other people’s words that you are not going anywhere.
14. Speaking good and not talking about other people behind their backs anymore. Listening more to your friends and being genuinely interested. Listen even if you have nothing to say.
15. Being in sync with your age, yourself and accepting that you are here right now. Stop wishing you could go back in time with zero responsibilities. Because seriously, who would want to go through another confusing phase in your life when you now have some things (not all) figured out? Don’t rush. You are going somewhere. You are not stagnant nor are you invisible.
16. Read more books and enrich your mind with different things. Be more interested in different topics and the current affairs of the world. Not so you can sound smart to other people, but because you are curious.
17. … Or if you’d like to be more official, go back to university when given the opportunity, but not because you want to earn more (although that’s a plus!) but solely for the love of knowledge.
18. Giving money to those in need even when you’re broke. Ever seen those heart-warming social experiments where homeless people are more willing to share money and meals with others than those who are able? Be like the homeless person who has the biggest heart in the world. Yes, let’s be that.
19. Dig some old stuff – as embarrassing as the memories are – that described you when you were a child and then a teen. Share the stories with friends and family.
20. Feeling genuinely happy about somebody else’s achievements without comparing them to how you are doing in life. Stop setting standards according to what other people have set for themselves and live according to your pace. Just because things are not working out for you right now, rest assured you will get somewhere if God wills, when you’ve tried your best to change your situation. Relax!
21. Learning how to say “no” to certain things and investing more time in people and things that matter to you the most.
22. Learning some basic things about cars (getting tires fixed, checking the batteries and knowing what everything means when there’s a flash on the dashboard) without the help of the experts in the family.
23. Learning to draw the lines between treating yourself because you deserve it and spending irresponsibly, purely based on your desire.
24. Defining yourself as more than your intelligence and credentials, but how you treat other people regardless of their backgrounds. Make people feel loved and included.
25. Growing the first strand of grey hair. This is out of your control, obviously. A strand of grey hair could be a reminder that you are on a path towards wiser years. Most of all, it is a reminder that our time in this world is finite and that every second count.
Have you achieved any of these yet? Continue the journey and stay adventurous!