My beloved grandmother, may she rest in peace, used to carry an old notebook with her wherever she went. She would fill the notebook with beautiful thoughts and advice she got from wise people. Throughout my childhood I would see her writing things down in that little notebook. I always thought they were her secrets, but when she was on her deathbed, she called me over and shared her old notebook with me. The pieces of advice I found in that notebook changed my life, which made me want to share them with you, in hopes it would do the same. These are the things my grandmother taught me before she passed away…
1. Accept things with love and understanding
No matter where you are, or what you're doing, always believe that there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Never expect, assume, or demand. Do the best you can to control your circumstances, and learn to accept that you can't always control everything. Once you've done all that is in your power, if it's meant to happen – it will.
2. Life CAN be simple
Even though you often feel like life is too complicated, it can always be simple. All you need to do is focus on one thing at a time. You don't have to do it all, and you don't have to do it right now. Be present, be active, do the best that you can. Whatever you put into life – life will hand back to you, with interest.
3. Don't change for other people
Make people accept you the way you are, or not accept you at all. Always say what you really think, even if it's not the popular opinion. When you're true to yourself, you add beauty to the world – beauty that was missing. You should stay in line, just make sure it's YOUR line.
4. You're not who you were – and that's okay
You've been through a lot in life. You've studied, been hurt, and changed. Every day we learn something new which changes us in some way or another. Sometimes we realize we're not who we used to be, but that's perfectly normal. Everybody changes. In your life, people will point out the changes, and all you need to do is tell them "Of course I've changed, and so have you. Everybody changes."
5. Everything that happens is for the best
Be it significant or otherwise, joyous or sad, anything that happens will end up being in your favor. Everything that happens to us builds us and helps us grow. Life will take you places, show you things, heal you and make you into a better person. Don't be afraid to try or even to fail, in the end, everything is just a small part of life's larger plan to turn you into whom you're supposed to be.
6. Choose happiness, not wealth
Many people live their lives believing that money will make them happy, but the pursuit of wealth is devoid of meaning. Every choice you make, be sure to consider your happiness, not your bank account. In this way, when you've reached old age, you'll know the true value of things, not their monetary value. In the end, you'll understand that the best things in life are things that money can't buy – love and friendship.
7. Decide to be positive
One of the most important things you should understand about life is that if you're not happy, it is not the circumstances that are to blame, but your decision to be unhappy. Every time life places obstacles in your path, give life a big grin, accept the obstacle's existence and overcome it with joy. Make the decision to be happy, stand by your decisions and do whatever is in your power to keep them. This is the true secret to happiness.
8. Give the people you love your full attention
We can get used to being surrounded by loved ones and start taking them for granted. When you ask someone close to you how they are, don't accept an "okay", look into their eyes and ask them about their day, and how they feel. If you feel that you only have friends that remember you when they need something, don't worry, be happy that you're a source of light and hope for them.
9. Learn to set a loved one free
At times, we need to set a loved one free to allow them to grow and evolve. Every little sprout must leave the greenhouse and be planted in a larger pot to grow to its full size and bloom. It is not what you do for your loved ones that will help them grow, but rather what you taught them and how they use that knowledge.
10. Sometimes, you need to leave people behind
Sadly, not all our friends help us become better people. In some cases, friends can keep us stunted, not out of malice, but because they want to keep you down at their level. Learn to tell when this happens and stick only to friends that help you grow, lift you up, and inspire you to be who you really are.
11. Some things you only understand when you're older
In the end, people will judge you according to your actions, that's why instead of trying to impress and please everyone, follow your heart and do what you want to do, without fear. Remember that it's better to remember something and say "I can't believe I did it!" rather than "I wish I did it…"
12. Stop looking for a happy ending
We humans tend to search for some happy ending in whatever happens to us. We want a sense of closure and completion, but sometimes it's simply not how life is. If you feel like you've been searching for that happy ending for too long, you may need to, instead, search for a new beginning. Never be afraid to leave everything and start anew, you still have time, no matter what your age may be. Aspire to make the most out of whatever time you have on this planet.
This was my grandma's advice to me. It's changed my life, and I hope it'll be able to do the same for you. Rest in peace, Nana.