8 Things I Learned at 28

Hey everyone!

So guys. I am turning 28. Twenty-what?

Yup. Twenty-eight. And I feel like I am finally qualified to say some stuff about the twenty-eight years that I’ve lived. I have twenty-eight years worth of experience in being Sophie. (Yup, add that to my resume.)

Today my friends, I’m going to share some of the thoughts that pop up in my mind every now and then, things that I tell myself to remember. Maybe sometimes you have the same thoughts. Let me know!

1: I won’t live forever

And I don’t mean this in a morbid way! Back when I was younger, I thought I could take my time to get to where I want to be. I could always start tomorrow, or next week, or next year. Now that I’m older… I realize that it isn’t always the case. If I push things off, there is the chance that I’ll never do them, ever.

I’ve always loved stories and I’ve always wanted to be a writer. But if I want to write novels and eventually become good at doing that, I have to start today.

2: Time is currency, spend it wisely

Related to that, time is precious. Money we can always earn back, but time? Each second we spend is a second that we lose. Because of this I try to spend time on activities and people that I love, let go of things (and sometimes people) that don’t do me any good.

3: Let go of what does not serve me

Speaking of letting go, you know what is the most useless thing to hang onto? Other people’s opinion of us. And that is because what people think of us is completely outside of our control.

I used to be preoccupied by other people’s opinions of me all the time. But you know what. Now I just zap it away. *BZZZZTTTTT*

See? There. Zapped away 🙂

4: It’s okay to be quiet

I am an introvert. No matter how many personality tests I do, no matter how I try to force myself to socialize and actually talk to, like, actual people, I can’t change who I am. I can’t change the fact that I feel most at ease, most comfortable, most energized when I am hanging out by myself in my own head.

And I used to have a problem with that. Because society (at least Western society), has this weird belief that extrovert = good, introvert = antisocial, which by the way is simply not true.

You know what I learned? It’s that introvert are super, duper effing awesome and the world can’t run without us.

Psst……… I really can’t fit all that I have to say about introverts in this post. For more about introverts, click here.

5: Friends are important

No matter how much of an introvert I am, no matter how much I love curling up on the couch with a book, no matter how I prefer the comfort of my home compared to braving the outdoor elements, I kind of need people 🙂

6: Exercise is good for me

You know that kid that was last picked during gym class? That used to be me. I hated gym, and I was terrible at it. Exercise? No thanks!

But as I grew older I found forms of exercise that I loved. I won’t ever be a fan of team sports but I love long-distance running. I don’t like weights but I love pilates and recently got into rock climbing. I love that exercise gets my blood flowing and leaves me feeling great.

And now? I’m kind of a fit person. Woohoo 🙂

7: Become great at what I love to do

Story time: Back in the day, I did a global health internship in Switzerland. When I asked one of my mentors about her key to success, she said “Find what you love to do, and become good at it.” Although I never fell in love with global health, that was a phrase that stuck in my mind again and again.

In today’s world, there is a hyper focus on hiding or fixing our weaknesses. What about improving upon our existing strengths? JK Rowling didn’t become a top-selling novelist by leveling up her crocheting skills (I made that up, it is possible that she rocks at crochet.) Isn’t it a better use of our time to become even better at what we already love to do, what we are naturally inclined towards, what we are already good at?

8: Sometimes, I just need to rest

I am the type to sacrifice sleep in the name of getting things done. My heart often doesn’t feel at ease unless every box is ticked on my to-do list!

But often, as is life, the to-do list is never ending and there is always more that we have to do. When we are tired, my friends, that is the time to sit back, take a warm bath, get a massage, watch some mindless YouTube videos, and rest our minds and bodies.

What are some of your top life tips? Any introverts out there? (And any extroverts? You guys are awesome too!)

45 thoughts on “8 Things I Learned at 28

  1. Jenn @ the Bibliofile says:

    Happy birthday! These are all great tips — I think the top thing I’ve learned is to try to be the best version of yourself and who you want to be and not the best version of someone your parents/friends/bf/anyone else thinks you should be 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Thank you Jenn! That’s definitely a great point that we want to be the best version of ourselves, instead of trying to fulfill other people’s expectations. Wishing you all the best for the new year 🙂

      Like

  2. Marie says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY SOPHIE ❤ I hope you're having / had a fantastic day and I hope your 28th year will be incredible ❤
    This is such a great post and all of your lessons here are so inspiring… this makes me feel like I need to get some writing done, actually, haha. I think that last lesson about having to rest sometimes is something I really need to keep in mind, too, haha 🙂
    Happy birthday again!! ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Thanks Marie! I celebrated my birthday this weekend and it was truly wonderful 🙂
      Haha same here in the writing department. It’s been busy these days and I haven’t been writing as much as I would want to, however after making this post I definitely want to get back to writing again. Hope that we’ll both get some words down!
      Yes, rest is really important for our bodies and our brains 🙂
      And yay! We’ve made it through the holidays 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Norrie says:

    Happy birthday!

    Some words to live by for sure! 🙂
    I’m also an introvert, and it’s perfectly normal for me to be quiet, haha. So when others are quiet, i just think, “ha, another introvert!”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Margaret @ Weird Zeal says:

    I love this!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! ❤️ This is wonderful that you’ve learned so much about yourself in 28 years 😊 Some of these things are ones I’m still trying to learn myself, such as #4 and #6 – hopefully by the time I’m you’re age I’ll be as wise as you ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Thanks Margaret! Even though I am 28, part of me still feels like a kid haha. These are things that I relearn again and again from time to time 🙂 Glad that you can relate to some of these. Wishing you all the best for the new year!

      Like

  5. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    First of all happy birthday Sophie! 😀 ❤ I hope you've had a brilliant day and got loads of wonderful presents (including loads of books of course). Second of all oh my god that gif of the person letting go and falling made my stomach twist!
    These are some great lessons; I think of the main ones I learnt last year was that sometimes I just need to rest too. I have always sacrificed sleep in the name of doing other things (like reading or blogging or writing). Guess I need to work on that this year a little bit.
    Great post, and again happy birthday. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Whimsically Meghan says:

    Happy Birthday! 🙂 These are some really good pieces of advice. I really have to learn to not let others opinions of me bother me, but it’s sooo hard sometimes; especially when they don’t try hard to hide it. Working on it in 2019!
    I hope you have an amazing birthday 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. meandinkblog says:

    Happy Birthday— I wish you the best day EVER!! 💛
    This is a perfect post– all of what you have said is so true and I need to remember it more often.
    I am for sure an introvert and sometimes the fact that I don’t do what everyone else is doing makes me feel as if I am failing at society in some way. But you are right it’s completely ok.
    Fabulous post as always. Thank you for writing this– it was great!! 💛

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hello 🙂
      Aw thank you so much! It is perfectly fine to be an introvert, and no you are not failing at society! We all have different personalities and interests, and we are at our best when we do things that we enjoy, even if it is different than what other people our age is interested in 🙂
      Glad that you enjoyed this post! Have a wonderful week! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sieran Lane says:


    And I used to have a problem with that. Because society (at least Western society), has this weird belief that extrovert = good, introvert = antisocial, which by the way is simply not true.

    I come from Hong Kong, so we were fed a different kind of belief:

    Extroverts = loud party people who are unlikely to be successful in life

    Introverts = quiet and focused people who are more likely to excel in school and score a prestigious career.

    (Hong Kong is obsessed with money and prestige, tbh.)

    Interestingly, I believed I was an introvert for a long time, because I loved books and reading, and was antisocial for a while. Later, I realized that I’m happiest when I do get to talk to people, and that chatting with others energizes and revitalizes me.

    It’s really strange when I hear some writers assume that ALL writers are introverts, though. Lol. (I have a friend who is a fellow extroverted writer, haha.)

    Oh yeah definitely, time is precious. I need to spend more time reading and writing, lol. Gaining life experiences is good for enriching our writing, though. (I’m referring to my psychological maturity in stories blog post.)

    LOLL when I was younger, people’s opinions didn’t bother me that much. Now that I’m older, they totally do. 🤣 Oh dear! I’m getting less rebellious. (Maybe because, after transitioning and passing as male most of the time, there’s less pent-up impotent rage in me? Idk.)

    Facebook is the prime mode of communication between me and most of my friends, most of whom are not in my city. No wonder I keep logging onto FB! I don’t understand how I managed to live all those years before university with very few friends! Most of those friends before uni were also unreliable and prone to backstab you at anytime. Yikes. My life is thankfully much happier than that now.

    Yeah I agree in principle for focusing on your strengths. However, I personally have taken that to the extreme, and sometimes I still regret it. As a result of being hyper-focused on my strengths, I have stunted growth on many life skills that *most* people would consider common sense/ basic skills. Now I have to catch up to everyone else and hope people don’t think I’m dim-witted in everything outside of my specialties. 😂

    Happy birthday again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hey Sieran 🙂
      I absolutely agree that there are different cultural perceptions about introversion and extroversion!! Growing up in China, it sounds like my impression is similar to yours from HK. In China, people who are quiet and enjoy activities like reading, writing, playing musical instruments, etc, are seen as graceful, intelligent and educated. Meanwhile people who are extroverts are seen as partiers and slackers for lack of better words haha. I think this is rooted in differences in values between the Chinese mindset and the western mindset (using generalizations here). In China, students are taught to study hard and follow rules (a lot of memorizing). Here in Canada and other parts of the western world, there is the focus on self-expression and creativity (presentations, projects etc) in school.
      Yes extroverts can definitely be writers 🙂
      Nothing wrong with being hyper focused on your strengths, if that is what makes you happy. I do believe in growing our weaknesses if doing so would make us satisfied life-wise 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sieran Lane says:

        Yeah I heard of a Chinese phrase (don’t remember what it is) that basically means, “trying to be creative”, where it puts creativity in a negative light. I don’t think Chinese people are anti-creativity in general, but wow, I was shocked that they would have a phrase that expresses disapproval towards creativity…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sophie Li says:

        Wow that’s interesting. I mean, when I was a kid in China, there was nothing creative in my classes. The homework was all repetitive and formulaic. Even in art class, all we did was copy the teacher haha. I’m not too surprised that the Chinese would have a phrase like that haha 🙂
        However that being said, it was 20 years ago when I went to elementary school in China, so maybe things have changed! (Haha that makes me feel old :’) )

        Liked by 1 person

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