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  • Kat

21 Tips for Turning 21

Adulthood is just around the corner! It is just a few days before I turn 21, and I’m proud to say that I like the person who I am becoming. Focusing on being and living as my most authentic self with my words, actions, and intentions projects my vision to help others connect with themselves as well. True connection with self is true connection for all.

Last week, I had the most wonderful opportunity to perform at my very first Pride Festival ever. Turning 21 during Pride Month right after my performance has never felt so right. I had a blast sharing the messages spurring from my heart, and having the most fun I possibly can on stage. It was a phenomenal time to be performing my song I wrote and published on Spotify back in 2020 for the Black Lives Matter movement and Pride Month, along with other compositions of mine. This incredibly meaningful, special, and magical day created such a cherished, unforgettable memory for me prior to my summer travels and final college commencement. To sing, express, and share my truth with the community who helped me become the proud person who I am today was truly such an honor!

You may listen to my performed original songs here, ​or under the “Podcasts + Features” section of my blog. ♥️

Katrina performing on stage at the ASUCD Pride Festival in the University of California, Davis.

Now that all my final in-person college exams ever are finally done, I’ve spent these past few days packing for my upcoming New Zealand study abroad internship program, and preparing for my other future passion endeavors. I am genuinely ecstatic for what is to come for my forthcoming opportunities I have this year, prior to my application submissions for psychology graduate school. Everyday is a second chance at something you've always wanted to do, towards your visions and dreams and aspirations.

That being said, I hope to share with you all 21 mental health tips as I am about to turn 21. With all of my past experiences, I hope you may gain some personal insight to live up to your fullest and most whole self, through the shared lessons I have learned over the years I have lived.



Katrina blowing bubbles at the Redwood Groves outside in Davis

1. As you grow up, remember to keep your inner child alive.

21: the age of adulthood. Growing up and entering adulthood entails this universal, underlying, grim sense that we no longer get to do activities that purely make us happy. But, adulthood is not supposed to feel boring. While pain is inevitable, the beauty of growing up is growth and freedom - we get to change how we want to change, shift our priorities, live as we genuinely want to live, exist with purpose, and optimize opportunities. Getting physically older while maintaining youthful energy for the heart will help keep you more alive with livelier days ahead.

2. Ask yourself: What does make you feel alive?

Do more of what helps you connect back with that feeling. Do more of what makes your heart fly and your mind tick with vitality. Naturally, you will like the person that you are becoming, when you do things that you love and love the things that you do. And the radiant energy you give off will let you gravitate towards the people who are meant to be in your life, to stick, and to stay.

Rainbow in the sky outside with text on top and bottom: "Don't settle for survival. Challenge yourself to keep on thriving. Keep being alive."

3. Expectations are pre-mediated resentments.

Attachment is not the same as connection. Releasing attachments and letting go of control will set you FREE. Rigidly sticking to outcomes is the path of greatest resistance, while lovingly embracing whatever comes your way is the path of least resistance.

4. Comparison is the thief of joy.

A flower is not ugly when another flower you perceive as “prettier” is right next to it. They are each beautiful in their own unique and individual way. People are just like that, too.

Personal close-up of a bundle of sunflowers indoors Kat got from her Pride Fest performance

5. Failures are never failures when you’ve transformed them into lessons.

When you learn from your experiences, you never fail. Instead, you grow. And we are all endless, ever-evolving, curious learners.

6. Healing is not a linear process.

I've mentioned this before, but I had to add this here again. Just because you thought you healed from something, does not mean your pain is no longer there. Healing from any pain is not about having it completely dissipate; rather, it is about learning to respond to your automated limiting thoughts in ways that serve you better. Gradually, your serving responses will help you regulate and manage your turbulence, into collective processes where you may contently overcome them. Know that this always takes time and patience.

7. Within the lens of your insecurities, never be afraid to prove yourself wrong.

Think you might get judged for saying how you feel? Do it anyway. Think you look ugly in a particular fit, but feel good in it? Wear it anyway. Think you won’t get through a particular dilemma or predicament? Keep on going anyway. You’ve survived 100% of the struggles you’ve already faced, so what makes you think you can’t handle the next? You’re still here, reading this due to your growth oriented mindset. You will and can face anything.

8. You are not your mistakes.

If you have messed up and cannot seem to move forward from a certain kind of challenge, know that you must never identify as your struggle. We often forget that we are so much more than what we believe to be.

9. In that same vein, we are our own worst critics.

Remember to go easy when you realize that you are being the hardest on yourself. For we also have the power to be our own best friends, supporters, and cheerleaders.

10 .The people who you surround yourself with often mirror the kind of person you want to be or are inclined to become.

Energy attracts - what you put out into the world will often come back to you.

11. Everything you seek outwardly, can be answered when you look inwardly.

Inner work is the best work to do. You have everything you need within yourself.

12. You do not need anyone else’s permission to validate your reality and your truth.

The only person who fully knows the whole story of all your experiences is you.

13. Learn to be okay with the moments where people misunderstand you.

Sometimes, people can only understand what is said to them at their level of perception. Invest your energy towards people that support and accept you as you are.

14. It never hurts to put yourself out there - you never know who you may meet in the process of dipping into the unknown.

Sometimes, you meet the best kind of people at the most unexpected time or in the most unexpected ways. Also, life is meant to be enjoyed. Never forget to have fun.

15. In all kinds of relationships, distinguishing the differences between your needs and your wants offers clarity for meaningful connection and understanding.

It also combats miscommunication and hinders future misunderstanding. This includes the relationship with yourself. That’s why it’s crucial to know yourself first, above all.

16. Prioritize your peace.

It's as simple as that. If it costs you your long-lasting peace, it is not worth it.

17. Look for the good in everything.

This is not about being superficially optimistic and happy all the time without accepting any other internal sensations. It is about tuning into your innate strength to see the positives in the mundane parts of our everyday lives, especially on the days when all you feel is the heavy weight of negative pain.

18. Be the observer of your own thoughts and the awareness behind your living.

Cultivating a mindful framework to think about where you place your focus on most, may help distinguish the thoughts that help or hurt you.

19. Let every feeling in, no matter how positive or negative it sits with you.

For whatever you resist, will persist.

20. To manage internal negativity, treat bad feelings like visitors.

Welcome them into the home of your mind, but don’t let them stay for too long, or else they will rob you of your peace.

21. I will end my last mental health tip off, with the latest analogy that I've reflected upon from my last college terms:

Everyday, you are a painter with your own blank canvas.

Painted vinyl record on grass and paint plate next to it. Vinyl colorful painting depicts sun shining with white daisies on ground.

You create the art of loving and living, with the potential and limitlessness of your own mind.

The paintbrushes you hold are the people you meet, who help and guide you in the creation and application of colors onto your canvas: the feelings within your internal world.

Colors will fade and you may lose some paintbrushes in some stages of your creative evolution.

However, you never lose the ability to create your art. You never lose your paint; you never lose your self-worth and indestructible value.

Plate with colorful paint on it and a black vinyl record next to it splattered with different pain colors, all surrounded by paintbrushes on a black table.

You will always have your own innate canvas to depend on, as long as you nurture it with the colors that you want to create, and the paintbrushes you want to hold.

Although art is subjective, it can never be ugly when it is authentic and true to the artist.

So in this light, and at the end of every day, never forget that you are beautiful, and you create beauty in the world just by being you.


~ That ends all the 21 tips I have as I am about to turn 21! And I know there will be definitely more to come, and more for me to learn. As always, I send so much love and light to you all. See you all later in my next blog post as I am in New Zealand! ♥️

- Kat <3

Instagram: @plantifullylivin


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