If I could sum up my 24th year, I would call it ‘The Year of Lessons.’ Some of these lessons have been pleasant, easy, magical and surprising. On the flip side, there have also been horrendously difficult ones to learn and heart wrenching ones to come to terms with.

But the one thing they all have in common is they’ve taught me something about myself and this unpredictable world we live in.

With one final look back, here are 24 lessons my 24th year taught me…

  1. Time means everything
    One of many things I often said to my friends and former bf. You can’t put a price on the time you spend with someone, which makes it a precious privilege we often take for granted.
  2. Go Back to Basics more often
    Sticking all of my loved ones under one roof with good, fresh, home cooked food, music and drinks, was the best idea ever to celebrate my 24th. Sometimes stripping it back to the very basics is all you need.
  3. Don’t write off love
    I thought it would be impossible to feel that rush of passionate and unconditional love and believed I was destined to that “out of convenience” love. Little did I know that this wasn’t the case.
  4. If your instincts are telling you something, pay attention
    It is so easy to ignore those worrying gut feelings and focus more on what’s happening in your heart. But if your instincts leave you with even a shadow of a doubt, listen up and stay alert.
  5. Players have evolved
    As you get older, you realise that players no longer have a certain look or attitude. In fact, the most humble and respectful personality could be masking something much more deceptive.
  6. Do more of the things you love
    Whether it’s in your career, or a hobby, life and time is too short to be doing things you don’t love. Why’d you think I started Habibi Lifestyle? It’s so important to enjoy what you do.
  7. Surround yourself with people who love you
    It sounds so clich√© but only when you’re faced with hardships do you realise how crucial it is to have positive, supportive and strong loved ones around you. See who they are, keep them close and repay them in their time of need.
  8. Broken trust hurts every time around
    If I could liken the feeling to anything, it would be a sharp slicing sensation, which is numb at first, but after it’s subsided reveals an excruciating pain. It’s not something that you grow immune to, because in most cases trust is going to be broken by different people. If it’s the same person consistently, then that brings me on my next lesson…
  9. Whoever is meant to be in your life, will be there
    …and if they leave then frankly, that’s their loss.
  10. Prayer and solitude is such a comfort
    There’s a certain tranquility I only get at the Mosque. Being left alone to your own thoughts in such beautiful surroundings does wonders for the soul.
  11. Patience is everything
    Everything falls into place with a bit of patience
  12. Girls, regardless of their age, will always be girls
    It’s easy to get dragged into pettiness and down to levels you didn’t even know existed. Refrain from that and leave it to the pros.
  13. Whenever dealing with issues to do with relationships or money, always stay classy
    It always seems to knock people for six when you’re not red-faced and ready to throw down like some possessed banshee.
  14. Exert your intelligence
    There is nothing more attractive in this world than someone who can humbly bestow knowledge on people out of the desire to educate others.
  15. Stand by your morals and values
    The big bad world will be filled with people who will challenge your values, lead you astray from your morals and manipulate you into being someone you’re not. Don’t let them.
  16. It’s okay to have a crush on fictional characters… that means you Harvey Specter
    No explanation is needed whatsoever for this.
  17. Sometimes the stereotypes are true
    I hate stereotypes just as much as the next person and even though you try and look past what you hear, sometimes you can’t overlook that fact that people are destined to live up to that. I suppose it’s in their DNA.
  18. Live a life with integrity
    I never want to be the reason why others are going without or others are suffering whilst I rejoice in comfort and luxury. Integrity doesn’t stop at a person’s character, it extends to their work, their passions and their attitudes.
  19. Never underestimate a good cup of tea
    I make it a point to know how everyone takes their tea. It doesn’t have it’s intended effect unless it’s just how the individual likes it.
  20. A clean slate is not always a bad thing
    During my 24th year, I lost two important things to me and I thought, how on earth am I going to cope? For a while I thought, how did this even happen to me. But then as each day goes by, I suppose I’ve been given a clean slate at probably a good stage in my life. Instead of seeing it as a detrimental loss, maybe this is the baggage I need to shed in order to go on to better things. We should appreciate it when we’re handed a clean slate. Imagine how many people are wishing for that.
  21. Mothers are like lionesses
    I always knew my Mum had it in her, but seeing how fearless she is really makes me proud that if I’m going have that kind of courage and strength, it’s going to be from her. (I get my chilled out, laid back vibe from my Dad, if you’re wondering)
  22. Don’t change who you are to please other people
    If you need to change everything about yourself to fit in and be accepted by others, then it’s fair to say, those people don’t truly care about you. As corny as it sounds, people who accept and love you for you, won’t require you to change, because they’re already graced with the perfect version of you. (Altogther now, “awwww!”)
  23. What is meant for you will always be
    Whether it’s good or bad, we are destined for whatever is written for us. All we can do is accept what is meant to be. Mum’s words of wisdom… she has a point.
  24. Live your life by your own motto
    Whilst it’s great finding a quote that reflects your current mood, there’s nothing quite like living by your own motto. Sure we can all “laugh at the confusion” and “dance in the rain” but what’s the point when everyone is doing the same thing. Be original in your aspirations and how you live your life. Me? I prefer to “live a life that would make great literature” and by God’s grace, that’s exactly what I’m doing.