By Nellie Umutesi-Vigneron

Life does not come with a manual!

As kids, we are taught to go to school, get good grades, earn a living, have a family and try to live our lives the best way we can.

Our parents raise us, guide us, advise us and try their best to protect us from harm. Our closest friends are on speed dial in case our world crumbles and we are at a weak point.

But let’s be honest, neither our parents nor our friends have the answers to life’s big questions or solutions to life’s challenges… They are trying to figure it out for themselves as well.

Life is not a clear cut path. Many twists and turns, many agonizing decisions we have to make, many unexpected blows and joyous occasions… that is what we call life!

Here are 5 lessons I have learned during my short 34 years on this earth (and many more lessons will come along the way, I am sure!)

  1. Happiness is an inside job. Cliché right? Well it’s true! Ever lied to yourself and said you will be happier when ___________ (insert anything: meeting the perfect companion, being recognized for your professional accomplishment, that new pair of shoes, the great friends, a child, etc) to soon realize that we are either still left wanting more and dissatisfied? Just like any new toy that quickly loses its novelty, the new career will soon become a boring job where we perform the same task day in and day out. The new companion with whom we fell madly in love with and who could do no wrong, has now become enemy #1 and that cute little thing he or she used to do has now become annoying. The new precious and angelical child has taken over and life now looks like a series of diaper changes and sleepless nights. I am not saying that we should not desire any of this. I am saying lasting happiness is unrelated to what is going on in our external world, but an related to what we choose to feel inside.
  2. Life is meant to be lived: travel, laugh (at yourself sometimes), hang out with friends, read, try something new. Our lives are here and now, not in some distant future. Every moment is meant to be lived to the max because once it is gone, we can never get it back. So do the things you love doing. For me it is traveling and trying something new, discovering new places, eat new food.
  3. Trust in myself! Nothing wrong with asking for advice and I sometimes welcome them, but who knows me better than me? Most times, I have the answers, I know what my next move should be. I trust that only me knows what is best for me.
  4. If you think it, it will happen! Ever thought of someone that you have not talked to in a while and all of a sudden they call, send you a message on facebook or their name come up in a conversation? It’s happened to me and I love it! The same holds true when you are thinking of something negative or positive…you will surely attract it!
  5. Trust God. I am not overly religious, but I know that prayer centers me, calms me down and reveals to me what needs to be done.

What are some of the life lessons you have learned so far?  Share away!