Today is my 32nd birthday. I’m now 32. THIRTY-TWO. WOW. It really feels weird to say it out loud, not because I’m getting older, but because 32 sounds more official, more “adult”.
Every year, I learn more about myself, especially this past year. I’ve done a lot of thinking, a lot of introspection, and the conclusion is that I have changed. I’m not the same Imane who was in college, not the same Imane who used to live in Morocco and definitely not the same Imane who packed her life in a suitcase 5 years ago and came to Dubai. So today, I wanted to make a list of the 22 things I would tell my 22-year-old self who just graduated college, with all the doubts and uncertainties, not knowing how her life would look like in 10 years. Here we go.
- If you don’t take care of yourself, no one is going to do it for you. You come first, it’s okay to be selfish sometimes because no one else would know how to take care of you better than you.
- If you want something, work for it. Hard work will pay off. I know you know that already, but this will be your moto in life, don’t listen to people who will tell you “it’s about luck”. It’s not.
- There is no harm in being an introvert. It doesn’t mean you’re anti-social, it just means you enjoy your own company. It’s okay if you have very few friends, it means you like quality more than quantity. Enjoying your own company will make you discover the thing you will enjoy the most in life: solo travel!
- It’s okay to say NO. You don’t always have to say yes to be nice, boundaries are also important for your own sanity.
- Your time is precious, spend it with people who matter. Even if you choose to spend it with yourself.
- Don’t be so hard on yourself. Learn to let go. You won’t always have it your way, and when it will happen give yourself a break.
- Find something creative you enjoy and keep doing it. Writing will make you the happiest, and through it you will make the most beautiful encounters (wink wink).
- Get out of that toxic relationship. He’s not worth your time and ending it won’t be the end of the world.
- Self-confidence will come from within. I know you’re struggling with acne and weight problems right now, and it is difficult for you to be confident today. Trust me, in 10 years you won’t care if your skin looks perfect or how your body looks. You will love yourself and your body dearly and it will show.
- True friendship exists. If you’re wondering, your best friend today will still be your best friend in 10 years.
- Please learn to cook, you will need it. For the love of god, just make an effort to learn some stuff. It’s really embarrassing not to know how to cook when you’re in your thirties.
- You are stronger than you think you are. You will leave your family, your friends and your country. It will be hard, there will be tears, but you’ll make it.
- You will get closer to your siblings, and it will feel AMAZING! I know that one is hard to believe, but your siblings will be your best friends and your heart will be full.
- Treat your body right. The older you get, the harder it will be to stay in shape. So hit the gym!
- It’s okay to cry. You’re a crier. I know that, you know that and trust me a lot of people around you in the future will know that. Don’t be ashamed of it.
- Time is a powerful healer; you’ll get over that heartbreak. Oh you will, sooner than you expect.
- You are not a tree, if you don’t like where you are move out. Spoiler alert: you will!
- Life is too short to spend it living the expectations of others. You will realize that a little bit later, and it will be quite the journey for you to understand and finally be who you really are.
- You can’t please everyone. So don’t make that your goal, you have better things to do with your life.
- Learn how to ride a bike. Again, it’s embarrassing not to know how to ride a bike in your thirties.
- Learn how to accept a compliment, it’s not a trap. People are nice by nature, if someone tells you something nice just smile and say thank you.
- Dreams do come true. Remember all these things you’re dreaming about right now? Going to Ireland? Scotland? Riding the ferry to Alcatraz? The San Francisco cable car? Live Queen concert? You might not believe it but they all come true in the next 10 years.
Today, I’m blessed for who and where I am, the past 10 years have been an interesting journey to say the least. I’m not done yet as life is a never ending journey, but today I’m more peaceful than I was 5 or 10 years ago. I’m grateful for being able to do what I love for a living, to be able to have passions to pursue and to be surrounded by loving friends and family.
Here’s to the next 10 years!