Life Lessons | The Pursuit of Happiness

A few weeks ago, I started a list of things I’ve learned through having been there, done that (I think it was brought on by the horror of turning 21 and realizing how much older I am than when I first thought I was old – 14 year old me had no clue what she was talking about!). The list got out of hand, and weirdly gave me peace because it solidified how much I’ve changed and grown over the years, even though it feels like I’ve been in the same place.

Life Lessons by Hannah Law, age 21

  • Sometimes instead of worrying about what the future holds, do what needs to be done, now, as well as you can, and the future may fall into place.
  • Be prolific, you will eventually produce something good if you do it long enough. If you don’t, you’ll definitely get better at it.
  • Watching from the sidelines is NO FUN if you refuse to play because you’re scared of being bad or losing.
  • When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
  • Assessing every bad situation, from annoying to disastrous, in an objective logical manner can do wonders for growth.
  • Sometimes, there is no good v.s bad decision – there are just two decisions with two different outcomes. If you like one outcome more than it’s a good decision.
  • And sometimes you’re just left with two bad decisions and neither outcome is better.
  • Procrastination leads to pain – unless you thrive in the last minute (like me). In that case just make sure you leave enough time in the last minute.
  • The best way to make your day better is to make someone else’s day better.
  • It’s okay to like yourself, now, where you are, even if there are things you want to change about yourself.
  • If you hate doing something, make it at least a little more enjoyable. Play loud music while cleaning the bathroom – study in a coffeeshop – make yourself a coffee to take to school – have a bath after work. No need to make something harder for yourself than it already is, especially if you need motivation to do it a lot.
  • After highschool, you are in charge of what you share with the world. You’re not in a fish bowl anymore. If you don’t want people to know about your grades, love life, or anything else, you don’t have to tell them.
  • The definition of success is completely up to you and it may change based on all things- getting out of bed may be a success today. Getting all A’s may also be a success.
  • People have been through what you’ve been through. Nobody feels good all the time – Instagram is lying to you.
  • Being kind in the face of injustice or pain is so good for the soul.
  • You can’t hate yourself into someone that you love.
  • You’re allowed to eat; you’re allowed to reject food morality & “guilt”; you’re allowed to eat.
  • Aristotelian virtue ethics are the answer to everything – from personal dilemmas to career paths to relationships. Ask yourself “what kind of person do I want to be in this particular situation?”
  • No knowledge exists in a bubble – everything is connected.
  • Self care is absolutely freaking important and can include any and all things that make you feel good (chocolate), feel recharged (baths), or just make your life better (like doing laundry).
  • Creating beautiful spaces makes me feel incredible.
  • Understand how you work; are you introverted or extroverted? Seek out situations that recharge you, either social ones or alone ones.  If you are introverted, realize your strengths and let go of trying to conform to the “extrovert ideal”. (As an aside, read Quiet by Susan Cain – it will literally change your life)
  • Follow whole heartedly your interests. Listen to them. If you’re crazy about writing, reading, and philosophy, then maybe a BSc isn’t for you (ahem, me).
  • Don’t settle, especially in relationships. It’s okay to take the focus off men and onto yourself if you feel burnt out at the dating game. It’s okay to put the focus on yourself, period.
  • Call your mom!!!
  • If you will regret not going to get ice cream at 2am, not rocking that cute bikini at the beach, not seeing your friends, not going to class, not dying your hair, not switching your major, not going on that roadtrip, not making those memories – then do them.
  • Life is too short to spend unhappy.
  • Don’t be afraid to work hard and go all out.
  • “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul in fire”. Jennifer Lee
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