Photo: lifeonthewildsyed on Instagram

By: Fatima Syed

In October, I turned 28 years old. Although this arbitrary late twenties birthday might not be age 25 or 30, and is instead a random number placed in the middle of those two milestones, I chose to regard my 28th birthday as a special one. #FATMO28 took place following a successful second edition of the Toronto Corporate Fashion Show, and in the midst of marking FATMO Media Group’s first year in business. As well, I celebrated with a belated birthday trip to Los Angeles and Las Vegas, which was my first official vacation as an entrepreneur. All in all, I suppose 28 is not off to a terrible beginning, despite 2018 and 2019 bringing forward an assortment of challenges in the areas of business, career and life.

As I choose to treat the coming year as a remarkable and hopefully productive one, I would like to bring the same energy to inFATuated Blog. In honour of #FATMO28, we have launched UNFILTERED, our new “getting personal” section which explores the depth and evolution of today’s young professional mindset. In the coming weeks, look out for personal essays, anecdotes about life behind the scenes at FATMO Media Group and interviews with those who inspire us. To kickstart UNFILTERED, I invite you to dig deeper into my own life and career journey. Here are 30 life lessons that I personally believe everyone should try to master before age 30.

Happy reading!

  1. If it costs your dignity, it’s always too expensive.
  2. It’s perfectly fine to not be an ideal corporate fit for a job.
  3. It’s always okay to walk away from a situation which is no longer appropriate. In the journey to success, learn to recognize the exit signs, and learn to open your own doors.
  4. Your birthday should always be the biggest celebration of the year!
  5. Your friendships are the biggest investments you’ll make in your 20s.
  6. … But don’t forget to make other kinds of investments as well, particularly financial investments.
  7. A strong personality should never be toned out or tuned down for the benefit of fitting into a given atmosphere.
  8. If you’re going through an “unmarketable” phase of life, it’s acceptable to be uncool, quirky or different. “Remarkable” is just “unmarketable” with a few letters switched around, after all.
  9. Don’t lose your own voice in the pursuit of giving a voice to others.
  10. Embrace the spotlight and also embrace life backstage.
  11. Take things personally when the timing is right- true passion always fuels success.
  12. Be proud of your humble roots.
  13. Don’t “accept” failure. There is so much advice out there advising us to accept failure, which only promotes the concept of admitting defeat. Process failure, and mitigate your situation as quickly as possible to transform it into success.
  14. Find time and a budget to travel, explore, adventure.
  15. DO talk to strangers (after all, the only way to make new clients, business partners, contacts and friends).
  16. DO prioritize self-care and fitness.
  17. DO develop a strong personal brand.
  18. Understand that not everyone has massive amounts of good luck at all times- and if you currently don’t, accept that.
  19. Make it clear to those in your life that if they cannot stand up for you, they should not expect to sit down with you.
  20. Surround yourself with people who will celebrate YOU, and not just celebrate with you.
  21. Put that creative venture out into the universe today.
  22. Become a mentor even if you currently need a mentor yourself.
  23. Develop a signature personal style that makes you feel confident.
  24. Form solid business partnerships, and don’t burn bridges. Learn to build bridges instead.
  25. Take vacation time, especially if you’re an entrepreneur. You deserve the mental and physical escape.
  26. Don’t focus on being “mature for your age”. Focus on maintaining a young soul and youthful exuberance, despite the trials and tribulations of this life. You’ll go much further this way.
  27. Despite today’s aggressive “detox” culture, indulge in life and enjoy food. You deserve it.
  28. You’re not going to be everyone’s type. Just accept that personality clashes, lifestyle clashes and energy clashes are part of life.
  29. Be unafraid to stand out. Wear red lipstick. Wear spike heels. Wear neon jackets, ties or socks. Wear unicorn onesies. Wear whatever you like- when the situation is appropriate.
  30. Embrace the rollercoaster ride. Stability will eventually come to you. And even if it doesn’t, remember that a vibrant lifestyle filled with instability always leads to the best stories!

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