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  1. You CAN change your mind.  At 18, no one has all the answers (well no-one I knew when I was 18 did), but we feel like we should, and worry that the decisions we make now will affect us forever. That’s not true, it’s okay to start on one career path/life choice, to change your mind later.  Everything you do and experience helps you grow and learn in one way or another.
  2. It’s okay to make mistakes.  Even big ones.  The most amazing things can come from really unexpected places, so if your plans get knocked out by a ‘wrong’ move – be open to the unfolding of what happens next. It could be the start of an exciting adventure!
  3. Expectation is the mother of all disappointment.  If we attach importance to desired results, or the behaviour of other people, then we also set the possibility of being disappointed. However if we explore life with an open mind, and curiously enjoy the unfolding of the moment, we will find we are much happier.  Regardless of the results.
  4. Every purchase you make is a vote for the kind of world you want to live in.  Large corporations would like us to give no thought to the practice that goes into the production of the goods that are at our fingertips. Currently consumerism and convenience are king. Whether the goods we can easily consume were produced in an environmentally friendly way, or by ethical means is of no concern to the majority of people. Whether child/slave labour was used, or harmful chemicals and high energy processes doesn’t cross most people’s minds. It is our responsibility as consumers to make our purchases consciously.  This took me until the age of 35 to fully realise.  Now I buy Fairtrade, Organic, re-usable, locally etc.  Sometimes this means spending a bit/lot more, or buying a bit less. I think the earth and the people who inhabit it are worth it. J
  5. You are never alone.  Feelings of loneliness/separation and isolation are common in human beings. But this separation is an illusion. You are connected with everyone and everything. Quantum Physics now proves this (check out the film “What the Bleep, down the Rabbit Hole”) This concept may seem difficult to understand (I had no clue about this at 18).  I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a spiritual path until I was around 25, and I didn’t really find the right one until I was 35.
  6. Everything will pass (good and bad) so relish every moment, and when it’s gone, let it go with love.  This is actually one of the founding principles of Buddhism. When we keep this awareness in our minds, we enjoy the good things more, and don’t mourn their loss.  It also gives us strength to get through the difficult times, knowing that these too will pass.
  7. Love your body.  Society and the media create an idealisation of what we are meant to believe the female form should look like.  Many women measure their self-worth by these ideals.  Remember your body is a vehicle, not an ornament. It’s the vessel through which you can experience joy, so make joyful use of it, rather than loathing it.  This includes treating your body well, putting healthy things in it – because you only get one body!
  8. Love your environment. Capitalism will try to get you to favour wealth and accumulation of ‘stuff’ rather than looking after the one thing which sustains us all.  The planet.  Try counting your money while you are holding your breath, and then decide which is more important. Encourage those around you to love the environment too. You need it to last longer that the older generations do!
  9. Read these 2 books – #1 ‘Focusing’ by Eugene Gendlin – the best ever Self Help book I have read (and in my line of work I have read A LOT), it helps you to release emotions, negative feelings, blocks and learn how to deal with problems. #2 ‘Conversations with God’ by Neale Donald Walsh (don’t worry, it is not a religious text) – when I found the right spiritual path for me, this book turned up and change my view on everything!
  10. Be yourself – the point of life is for you to know yourself as all you want to be.  Not to live up to expectations of other people. If they want you to be something other than what you are, do you really want to deny your true self for their benefit? If deciding whether to do something or not, ask yourself “Is this going to take me towards or away from the person that I want to know myself as?”
  11. Wear what makes you feel good.  Don’t worry about what’s “On trend”. You are told what is ‘on trend’ in order to encourage you to keep buying more and more.  This means you buy more than you need to and then have to work harder than you really want to in order to pay for the stuff you don’t need!
  12. Feel the fear and do it anyway.  The best things usually involve some kind of deep breath or gritting of teeth.  If the idea of it scares you, it’s probably a good indication that it’s something worth doing!
  13. Laugh, laugh, laugh – especially at yourself. Life is meant to be lived lightly, and there’s always humour even in the darkest of situations. Try not to take any of it too seriously.
  14. You create your life – When I was 25 I read a book called “I could do anything if only I knew what it was” – it set me off on a path for a career change I hadn’t previously thought was possible.  It’s really easy to look at what’s around us, decide what we believe is possible with this information and limit ourselves as a result.  The truth is, it’s up to YOU what you can and can’t do.  You can create whatever you choose, if you allow yourself to believe it.  My favourite mug is one which has the wording “She BELIEVED she could so she DID!”
  15. Aim for balance – “I might die tomorrow!” was the mantra of one my best friends, when deciding to do something.  I also remember wishing I had that carefree attitude myself, because I was always much more careful with how I spent my money.  The truth is, you might die tomorrow, or you might not!  Death comes for us all at some point.  None of us know when, so it’s good to have both possibilities in mind, and create a balance between having fun now, relishing every moment as if it could be your last and at the same time having an awareness of what you may need to make plans for in the future and remembering to look after your body so it lasts the distance if you don’t pop your clogs in the morning!
  16. Avoid judgement – of others and of yourself.  Any judgements we make are an evaluation with our individual biases, rather than a FACT.  We never can be 100% sure of the reason for someone’s behaviour, so try looking at it from a different perspective, rather than assuming someone did/said something because of whatever reasons you’d originally come up with…
  17. Relationships can be hard work.  Hollywood movies will have us believe that we’ll meet “The One” and from that point on live happily ever after, and that will usually involve this person being a certain way in order for them to deserve our love.  Everyone is perfectly imperfect, so don’t look for perfection, instead seek connection, warmth and openness in your partner.  Be prepared to work together through tough times, and to celebrate the great ones! 
  18. Question everything and decide what to pay attention to and what not to (that includes these 18 pointers!)  Many things are written/said with a personal agenda or with a particular point to make.  Before taking anything on board as gospel, it’s better to think: “Does this work for me?  Does it help me to be the type of person I choose to be?”
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