27 Things

Singalilwe Chilemba
4 min readDec 17, 2019

I was going to wait to post these lessons when I turn 30 — which seems like a good age to begin assuming you can tell people how to live their lives — but I decided I was ready to impart my wisdom at the ripe age of 27 because I probably won’t miss any groundbreaking realizations sometime in the next three years, and if I do we can always revisit the list and make the necessary adjustments.

While most of these may simply be common sense, I think some of it at least, bears reminding. So here we have it — 27 things I’ve learnt at 27:

  1. It’s important to prioritize your mental health over everything else in your life. If something isn’t serving you, deal with it the best possible way that your situation allows so that it is no longer affecting you negatively.
  2. Nurture good friendships. Everyone needs a support system
  3. Trust your instincts. They are usually right.
  4. Invest in a rainy-day fund for emergencies. Saving is hard but you don’t have to wait for the illusion of financial security. Start early with as much as you can manage.
  5. Meditation is good for the soul.
  6. Actively practicing gratitude adds a new dimension of goodness to your life. Celebrate where you are and what you have so that you’re not missing out by always focusing on where you could be instead.
  7. Figure out what your main motivation in life is. This will define your personal values and that will influence your career, the people you surround yourself with and how you live your life. Don’t be afraid to change things drastically if your motivations change — as they will.
  8. Shoot all the shots — for jobs, opportunities, friendship or relationships. Life is too short to waste time hoping for things instead of actively pursuing them. Rejection sucks but you get over it in time and you’d be surprised the things that actually work out for you.
  9. Tell the people you love that you love them more often.
  10. The honest truth is that there is no one waiting to grant you permission to live the life of your dreams. When you know what you want — figure out how to make it work. It’s up to you to see it through because no one will do it for you. Don’t listen to anyone who says it can’t be done — it’s better to try and fail (and to try again) than not to try at all.
  11. It’s okay to ask for help. None of us can do it all alone.
  12. It’s easy to get lost in the sea of other people’s opinions. Take everything with a pinch of salt. Even people who mean well can be blinded by their own biases and won’t always have the full picture. You’re the primary person who has to live with the consequences of your choices so be mindful of the advice or opinions you accept.
  13. Sometimes you will do things that you are ashamed of. Own your experiences and forgive yourself.
  14. Go at your own pace. It will look like other people have this life thing figured out better than you do but focus on your own journey. However long it takes to get wherever you want to go.
  15. We can’t all be extraordinary. Being good enough is good enough.
  16. Be kind to your body. It’s doing the best it can.
  17. Actively challenge the negative things you believe about yourself that are holding you back. They are usually a smoke screen created through socialisation and conditioning. Break them down and set yourself free. It will take time, but it is necessary work.
  18. Feel all your feelings. They are all part of the experience.
  19. The only type of sex worth having is good sex. Figure out what that means and feels like for you and make it known.
  20. Your choice in a partner (or lack thereof) is no one’s business but yours.
  21. Address your childhood trauma and give yourself room to heal from it.
  22. Take care of yourself practically: make time for regular check-ups at the doctor, see a gynecologist, go to the dentist, keep fit and stay healthy.
  23. Sometimes the hangover isn’t worth it.
  24. Forgive your parents. This may be difficult for a lot of us — but they are also just people who survived their own traumas and occasionally make mistakes. Mostly, they have your best interest at heart.
  25. Figure out what you believe in (or don’t) by yourself. Even if it looks different from what’s expected, it should be personal and fulfilling to you.
  26. Self-acceptance is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Stop waiting until you lose the weight or achieve that goal — learn to love yourself exactly as you are in the moment.
  27. You will die eventually and nothing else will matter. Do the things that are meaningful to you in the short time you have. The best part is that you get to define that for yourself.