I have encountered significant experiences in the time I’ve been around, and to celebrate turning twenty-one, I will share twenty-one lessons I have learnt and I am still learning:

1.Respect – The basis of all good decisions. Respect others, respect nature, respect God and respect yourself.

2.Persistence – Keep on keeping on. Especially when you can justify quitting. Suck it up and make it work.

3.Say ‘No’ – Make commitments only if you can keep them. Also, only do what you can give your all to and what protects your peace of mind. Otherwise, say no.

4.Say ‘Yes’ – Be receptive to opportunities and do the things that scare you, especially. Say ‘Yes!’ to adventure, to calculated high risk and to love.

5.Value relationships – Make and maintain deep connections and don’t burn bridges unless it is absolutely necessary to. Build a strong network, it means everything. Value your family especially, make time for them – they are your people.

6.Curiosity – This is one of those things we should preserve from childhood. Never be satisfied with what you now know. Seek more, learn more, ask more and listen more.

7.Grace – A moment of restraint can save you a much longer period of regret. Not every action or word warrants a response and it shocks your enemy when you maintain civility. It is also very ladylike. Take failure with grace by choosing to see it as a lesson.

8.StyleAna Wintour tells us that style is not about what you wear, rather, it is the way you carry yourself. Be bold, be authentic and carry yourself appropriately for the lifestyle you target.

9.Passion – What is it that makes you jump out of bed in the morning, excited and driven? Do not dim a light like that, it has been given to you to brighten your path. Be passionate about what gives you joy and satisfaction.

10.Service – We are an interdependent species and it is a blessing. Play your part and go out of your way to make the lives of others better. Even when it is uncomfortable or inconvenient. This is love manifested and the foundation of good leadership.

11.Excellence – Whatever you decide to do, do it to the best of your ability. Achieve greatly and consistently. Scale your heights.

12.Prayer – It is a great form of meditation and a personal favourite for stress relief. My Dad always says: “If you have time to worry about it, then you have time to pray about it”. It keeps me connected to my Creator and thus, to myself. Pray about everything.

13.Ambition – Push the limits of what you dream for and you will have pushed the limits of what you will achieve. Aim high, begin and read No. 2. No matter how far you go, remain grounded in humility.

14.Planning – Organising your time is a major key to getting anything done. Form a habit of planning for the day, the week, the next three months and the next five years. Prioritise and work accordingly.

15.Read – The concept of literature is one of the greatest gifts to mankind – an age old builder of the mind. Anything you can lay your hands or eyes on, read. Although we must be selective in filtering what we accept as truth, remembering that we are what we read.

16.Be in the moment – There is time for all things. When it is time to work, work hard. When it is time to dance, dance until you are sore. Absorb yourself in the here and now: soak in the sunset, smile at babies and old people, splash waves and never hold back laughter.

17.Be good to your body – it is your home. Stay active, feed it well and keep it clean. Really look at it in the mirror with eyes of love, marvel at how much it does for you, only let those who come to worship into this temple.

18.Patience –  I am slowly learning that good things come to those that wait. Trust the journey, it is leading you to exactly where you are supposed to be. Be patient with others and yourself. Wait on God, He will renew your strength and make you soar.

From the extreme left: Patience…

19.Friendship – true love and friendship are synonymous! This should be a source of guidance and acceptance. Be selective with your friends – are they positive? Wise? Do they embody values you appreciate? They are ultimately a reflection of yourself.

20.Forgiveness – Forgive people who have wronged you, and forgive yourself for the mistakes you have made and will continue to make. Do not bear the burden of hatred.

21.Love – The golden rule. Show and tell the people you love that you love them. Spread it everywhere, without restraint or discrimination. Love fiercely, freely and truly, and you will have lived a good life.

These lessons will be the mantras I speak and apply in my life in this twenty first year of life-ing. May God go before me with His love, mercy and abundance.

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—Tasha Teyie.