What I Wish I Knew When I Was Younger
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Even though I can learn from my own life, I thought I could share a few lessons with you too.
These are just a few things I wish I knew when I was younger (in no particular order).
You will not be able to do everything in the world.
Being as young as you are, you think you have so much time left. You think you’ll learn all the skills out there and achieve many different things. But time flies quicker than that and by the time you realise this, you may not have accomplished what you really want to accomplish. Think about what you have achieved in the last year. It should give you an idea about the trajectory your life is currently taking.
Understand and accept that time is limited and you won’t be able to do everything. Pick and choose carefully what you want to do with your time. The friends you hang out with, the books you read, the videos you watch on YouTube, etc – if you’re going to spend time on these, pick the worthwhile ones.
Don’t try to be perfect.
Done is better than perfect. Except for your religious rituals of Salaah, Hajj etc, everything you do doesn’t need to be perfect. Trying to be perfect can occupy a lot of mental space and deter you from moving ahead with your projects. Don’t waste time fixing everything single thing. Start, keep going, don’t stop and get things finished.
Not everyone will like you.
This is a big one. It took me forever to understand that you cannot be everyone’s friend. If you lead an honest life true to yourself and your values, there will always be somebody who won’t like it. Don’t lose yourself in trying to please everyone. People who dislike you are not worth your time, attention and friendship anyway.
Success lies in obedience to Allaah.
Maybe you think you don’t have time. Or maybe you think you will ‘quick fix’ your life later. Remember ‘later’ may be too late. There is nothing that you can achieve through disobedience to Allaah that you can’t achieve through obedience to Him. Success and help come from Him Alone.
So clean up and fix your life now. Do what pleases our Lord. And everything will fall into place beautifully in ways you never imagined.
Get things done sooner.
Don’t wait for the best time to get things done. You don’t have forever. Aim to achieve a few things every year. Divide your yearly goals into monthly milestones and form habits to align your life to achieve these monthly milestones. Don’t wait forever to start your own business, eat healthier food, get active or declutter. Just get started and keep moving your life forward.
Friends come and go.
You might think that she’s going to be your best friend forever. You can keep in touch with them (thanks to social media!) but life gets busy and you may end up connecting less often. Based on what you are doing in life right now and who you meet often, you will continue to make new friends and your circle of friends will morph and keep changing.
There is nobody who never failed. You will fail. And it’s actually good to fail often as long as you learn from each failure. Take failure sportively and try again and again.
Think of it as a game: You fail. You try again. You fail. You try again. And again. And again. And then, you LEVEL UP. You fail at this level. You try again. And fail again. And try again. And then, subhaanAllaah, you LEVEL UP again. And so on.
Grades don’t matter as much as some people make them seem so.
There is so much emphasis on getting an A+ all the time. But what really matters is whether you pass and graduate or not. Your grades aren’t the focus when you attend interviews. People will hardly ever ask you about your grades in the future.
Nobody owes you anything.
Your parents, friends and the other people in your life don’t owe you anything. Don’t expect and wait for anyone to come and save you. Everyone has their own responsibilities and things to do. You’re responsible for your own life. Own your mistakes, fix your life, take care of yourself and live it. Be your own superhero and save yourself.
This world is just a drop compared to the ocean.
Don’t get distracted by everything this temporary world has to offer. Now itself, align your life to meet the needs and wants of your Hereafter. What is your game plan to achieve Jannatul Firdaws? How are you going to achieve it?
It’s not always going to be sunshine and rainbows.
Things won’t always go your way. Life is supposed to be like that. And that’s ok. You’re not in Jannah yet. You’ll go through failure and heartbreaks, and pain and sorrow. You might even feel like you’re dying, but don’t worry, you won’t. You’re stronger than you think. Don’t let anything put you down. Do the right thing and keep going.
There’s no end to learning.
Don’t quit school. Learn and learn more. You can never know enough. Enrol in courses that matter to you and keep the flame of learning alive.
Ask for help when you need it.
Don’t feel shy to ask for help. Nobody made it without help. Asking for help doesn’t dilute your awesomeness. You will still remain an utterly worthwhile human being.
Romantic love is overrated.
Don’t let movies and the media fool you into believing that your significant other is going to take you on a ride on a rainbow every day. Relationships aren’t as rosy and come with ups and downs. The honeymoon phase does seem to have some sort of expiry date. You can definitely work to keep the relationship alive. But this guarantee doesn’t come with the package.
I really do hope you’ve benefitted from this list, even if just a little.
What are some of the things you wish you’d known earlier in life? Please do share whatever comes to mind.