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With my birthday only five days away, I thought I’d do a little post on what I have learnt over my 21 years on this earth (even though I feel so much older than I am!):

1. You don’t need a lot of friends. Even if you can count your closest friends on one hand, as long they are the kind of people who only love you, heal you and lift you higher, that’s all you really need for a lifetime.

2. True beauty outshines everything else you put on the outside. The older I get, the more I am convinced: If you have a beautiful heart, you will always be beautiful, no matter how little or how much make-up you wear.

3. It’s important to follow your dreams, but remember to take care of the people you love along the way. When you’re young, it’s fine to be ambitious. But the more I live, the more I realize how important it is to not lose sight of the real meaning of life as well. To me, it’s about walking humbly with God and loving your friends with all you are. It’s about learning to fall in love with yourself. And it’s about having the courage to follow your heart, choosing kindness instead of bitterness and being free to be yourself.

4. Giving is truly more rewarding than receiving. It’s true when they say that you can never become poor by giving. That’s why it will forever be one of my favorite things to be the hostess, buy gifts for people and also why I love Christmas so much.

5. It’s always important to be kind to yourself. If you are depressed, remember that even getting up out of bed is enough. If you are hungry at 12am in the morning, please eat. And always remember to say nice things to yourself, too.

6. Life is much too short not to follow your heart. As cliche as it is, it really is true. Telling someone you love them first, quitting that job you hate or travelling overseas by yourself all take courage – but it’s all worth the risk.

7. The older you get, the less you care about people’s opinions of you. After a while, you realize that you have no control over what people think of you and 100% control over what you think of yourself.

8. Being rude or climbing over people doesn’t get you anywhere. Trust me. They may be on top for a while, but the proud are always humbled.

9. Trust your instincts. There have been many moments where I look back in hindsight and think, ‘I’m so glad I followed my gut instincts.’ If I didn’t go through with them, my life would have been so much more different, and not for the better. They’re there for a reason, so take the leap of faith and trust them.

10. Happiness is a choice. I used to be that kind of girl who thought that my past, my possessions and the people in my life determined how happy I could be. I blamed everything for my depression. But, a huge epiphany I have come to realize with age is that my happiness is something I can control. It is not dependent on external influences, but comes from my attitude. I can choose to mope about life, or I can choose to learn from it, let it go and move on to higher and better things.

For my birthday this year, I am having a dinner with my closest friends on Saturday and having a family BBQ on Sunday. I am also very excited for my first solo trip overseas to Europe in two weeks. Thank you October for being wonderful!

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