I was just reading a devotional this morning about the meaning of life; how that in itself is a mystery to many and how we all decide that based on our experiences. But amid the differences, I have discovered that we all have in common, so many things we wish we’d know about life earlier.
A lot of people live with regrets. Damn, sometimes I think back to some things I said or did and freeze in shock for a nanosecond. I cringe to remember these things and I know you know what that feels like. But it’s human. We make mistakes so we can grow and so others can learn and not go down the same path.
For every mistake I’ve made, there have been so many more I have avoided thanks to some wisdom from a book or another human. So, here’s me contributing my quota and hoping someone reads this and tick off a few things on their list of things they wish they’d known sooner.
Here we go:

1. Just because it works for everyone doesn’t mean it would work for you

When my cousin (let’s call her Ola) was much younger, her family advised – nay, ordered – her to become a lawyer because it was the “family profession”. She took it up and I knew she wasn’t happy.
A few years later, I saw her and, not surprisingly, she looked miserable. Ola confided in me that she was frustrated as a barrister. She worked at a top-notch law firm and was making good money, but she wasn’t living her best life; she wasn’t shining.
I just told Ola it might be time to give her passion a chance. Turns out she’s a brilliant artist! Her parents had always talked down her paintings as a fruitless hobby, but it brings her the greatest fulfillment today.
While we may not know all there is to know about life, we know there are tons of roads. It would be a mess to do something just because someone else is. And at the end of the day, as so many of us must have figured out already, the most memorable folks are hardly those who took the conventional route.

2. Confidence is non-negotiable

Confidence is a key ingredient in life. For some, they just seem to be brimming with it. For others, it’s almost non-existent. I would be somewhere in the middle.
As a Christian girl, I used to confuse confidence with pride. Today, I know that it’s an acknowledgment of the gifts God deposited in me and the mandate I have to do everything He wants to do with them, through me.
Lacking confidence robs you of opportunities for however long you allow it, and some you might never get again. You don’t want to be on your deathbed thinking all the impact you could have made, and didn’t.

3. Don’t look to relationships or other people to make you happy

Ever heard the saying “Happiness is a choice?” Well, much like everything else in life, you need to learn to take responsibility. Regardless of what classic rom-coms tell us, sex, friends, and relationships, are not responsible for our happiness.
If you put all your expectations for happiness on people or relationships, you’re setting them up for failure and you for disappointment.
Barring any medical issues, at the end of the day, it’s up to you. I’ve seen people with so much spending all their time worrying and others with so little celebrating their small wins and staying happy.
When you’re happy, thriving relationships and friendships become a huge plus, and you don’t suck the life out of everyone around you all because you unconsciously expect them to be responsible for your happiness.

4. Don’t be so quick to spend

Our wants are endless; that’s why some people use a scale of preference to determine how to spend their money.
Take a look at where you spend most of your money and ask yourself if it’s really worth it. Many young people spend too much on fizzy drinks, alcohol, coffee, drugs, cigarettes, designer clothing, etc.
Here’s what you can do to prevent yourself from spending too quickly: be patient and wait a few hours. If you can wait for a few hours, try to wait till the following day. If you can, then it’s most likely not so important and you can do without it.

5. Take more risks

What’s life without risks?
Life is a potpourri of excitements, disappointments, tears, and laughter. Want a life without risks, so you don’t get hurt or disappointed? Guess what? You’re gonna get hurt or disappointed anyway, and then you’ll miss out on the excitement and unexpected discoveries that come from some risks. Bland. No spice. Uneventful.
A friend once told me of her grandmother, a school teacher who lived all her life in the house. When she was younger, her neighbors invited her to hang out with them, go for picnics and tours, and have fun. But she didn’t because her parents were strict and taught her to stay at home. Her husband also wanted her to stay at home and she did just that.
When this grandmother was dying, she wished she went out some more, enjoyed life a little, and took more risks. However, it was too late. She died at 76 with no fulfillment.

What’s that popular saying again? Live a little!

Author's Bio: 

Mary is an Editor at the online women’s magazine, AmoMama, and is passionate about improving quality of life for the African girl child. When she's not writing, you can find her reading, catching up on one of her favorite series, or just enjoying the hermit life.