As I get ready to say farewell to my 20s, I have decided to share the nuggets of wisdom that life has taught me throughout the years. Sitting down and thinking about what I learned showed me that it’s hard to narrow it down to only 29 things. Below is what I find most important and what I wish didn’t take me almost 3 decades to grasp!
1. You Are Not That Important
I know it seems like the world was only made for you and it’s hard to picture how anyone survived before you were born, but trust me when I say, it never has been nor ever will be all about you… The sooner you let go of your selfishness is the sooner your life starts to have purpose.
2. Need and Want are Two Separate Words
I could’ve handed you a laundry list of all the things I said I needed before this wisdom took root. And guess what? It was all junk, junk, and more JUNK!
Need: oxygen, water, food, shelter, sleep
Want: Everything else
3. Fear is a Waste of Time
Ugh…. this still is hard to fully practice and is irritating how easily fear can creep into our minds. Yet the older I get the more crucial it becomes to accept this truth. Fear is going no where. We will all live with fear whether you’re in a peak or in a valley, but respecting that you are the one that calls the shots is key. I have found that once I do something that scares me, afterwards I don’t know why I was afraid. Our minds are so powerful and have the ability to free us or deceive us. But we always are the ones that give it permission…
4. Food is Medicine
With all the diets out there I’m sure you have experienced one (or ten) that make you want to give up thinking about food & calories forever, but my friend that is not the way . If you think of food as medicine (sometimes very tasty medicine) you will be more likely to consume the correct amount to aid you. Not too much nor too little, but like how Goldie Locks would suggest… just right. Coming from someone who has both loved and hated food, simultaneously, I truly believe that our food issues would go away if we started to LISTEN to our bodies and pay attention to the “symptoms” we are showing by treating them. Learning about what food does to our bodies is incredibly helpful for a multitude of reasons, it turns the produce section into the pharmacy.
5. Think Before You Swipe
Please refer to my How Minimalism has Changed Me Blog for all the benefits of this, but GOOD GREIF. Don’t mindlessly spend money on stuff that does not matter. I promise you, you will regret it EACH TIME. Think long and hard about why you want to spend your hard earned cash. Matter of fact- stop using a card altogether if you can help it. It’s simply too easy to waste all your money when you aren’t physically counting it in your hands. Don’t let a paycheck burn a whole through your pocket. Just because you have some money in the bank does not mean you have to spend it! Don’t be like how I was.
Put the card down.
6. Be Kind to Yourself
You know that voice in your head that makes you feel like a waste of flesh, blood, and bones for just existing? Shut it up. Let it go. Be nice to yourself. It’s an essential thing to do to get through life in one piece. Be gentile with your shortcomings and allow your successes to feel successful. You owe yourself that. Support yourself and listen to yourself. Be your own friend.
You need you.
7. Sarcasm is Not Sexy
Stop acting like you have life all figured out and that you’re oh so clever with your biting comments and icy demeanor. It’s not cute. Irony at someone else’s expense is cruel. Be vulnerable enough to mean what you say-
let your guard down.
8. Say Yes More Than No
Stop making excuses and believing those excuses are valid. You’re just afraid. Please refer to # 3. If you say no too many times you’ll find that years have passed and nothing has changed. You’ll find yourself filled with coulda, shoulda, woulda’s not realizing that your can’ts and won’ts led you there.
9. Exercise is a Necessity, Not a Chore
Does anyone truly like to sweat? I mean, sometimes I enjoy it because I know I’m working, but that took a long time for me to find the pleasure in looking like a shiny hot mess after yoga or a run. Truth is, we need to balance out the strength in our minds with the strength in our bodies whether we like it or not. Stop waiting to feel like it– just do it. When our brains gain more muscle, the body should follow suit. We need to exercise purely to balance out our mood- the 6 pack is just a perk 😉
CAUTION!! If you have read this far and do not currently hold a passport, stop what you are doing and start the process of obtaining one. It is alarming how many people never explore outside their country or even their home town. Don’t let that be you. And if you are thinking that you have no reason to get a passport because you have no plans to leave the country anytime soon, know that once that passport is in your hand it has a domino effect. It will literally open more doors than you could imagine! Do not just travel online, get up and move out the door and see where your feet take you.
You may surprise yourself…
12. Stop Listening to People
A camel is a horse designed by a committee. Think about that… If you let too many people have a say in your life- it’s not your life anymore. Sure, a lot of people that should on you mean well, but are they in your head? Do they know what you want out of your life? Moreover, do YOU know what you want out of your life? It’s wise to tread carefully when considering others opinions because if you don’t pay attention –
you end up living their dream.
13. Listen to People
Don’t fully shut people out though…
The truth in knowing is knowing that you know nothing. A wise man doesn’t need advice and a fool won’t take it. It’s all about balance and having discernment. Remember point #1? People have been around way before you so, nothing is new under the sun. Humble yourself to those more experienced than you while maintaining integrity.
14. Date Yourself Before Anyone Else
I don’t care if you are a guy, girl, or alien – it’s not smart to think you need someone in order to feel complete. In fact, it’s a recipe for disaster. I found that I would run to the next romantic interest because I was looking for acceptance and approval from someone else because I wouldn’t give it to myself. Would you date you? Seriously… baggage and all? It’s fine to be open to what is out there, but to actively hunt is not healthy. Live life and your actions will take you to where you should be, next to who you should be next to. You have to be patient. A relationship won’t solve your problems.
16. Know Your Worth
This is so important. It is so important to know your own value, but to not become arrogant about it. You really are unique, lovely, and special despite what others may have wanted you to believe. You wouldn’t have been given the opportunity to life if you did not have something to offer. Deep inside of you, past all the doubt and confusion is where your treasure lies. It is simply waiting for you to take the time, dig, and find it. You are sitting on gold my friend, know that. Act accordingly.
17. Save Money
Good Lord! Just do this. It has taken me FAR TOO LONG to get with the program when it comes to saving and I really don’t want you to make the same mistakes I have made. One of the truths of life is that you don’t know what will happen. It’s crucial to have some savings for a rainy day. Once you start respecting your money, it grows. You can take that to the bank!
18. Chase Your Curiosity
What did you like to do when you were a kid? Play with dolls? Collect bugs at the park? Ride bikes? Did you get paid to do any of those things? Did it stop you from doing those things? So why the heck is it so hard for you to have a hobby or passion outside of watching Netflix or drinking with friends? Follow what your curious about despite if anyone else holds that interest. You are starving yourself of your own creativity when you deny what strikes your fancy. Don’t starve yourself.
19. Accept Being Different
The curse of adolescence is the urge to fit in. What a racket. You spend your younger years trying to blend and then as you get older you wonder what makes you unique… How ironic. It’s not a sin to be a little odd. Besides, being different is relative. If you are really into Sailor Moon, for example, and you find a bunch of other scouts that share your same passion- you’re not so different anymore, are you? It’s your responsibility to find those that don’t make you feel like an outcast, but like an insider. They’re out there, I promise.
20. Stop Trying to Change Others
I am so guilty of this and I have to actively remember not to do this each day. Man, it’s hard. If you are like me, the changing part comes from wanting the best for the other person. But wait my friend, what gives you the authority? Even if you are right in your suggestions to the person, it’s their life. I know it is hard to let go or watch someone damage themselves, but we all have free will. They will transform in the way that they are supposed to. And maybe they need to stay in an unfavorable season for them to see the truth that you were trying to tell them. But again, it does not help to try to control others or change them. They are not yours to change. They belong to themselves.
21. Take Your Life Seriously
You want something out of life then work to get it. You think that you should be in a certain position or have a certain luxury, that’s up to you. You have to take your life seriously and realize that you are on borrowed time. Tomorrow is yesterday’s today. When you accept that only you hold the responsibility to make things happen that’s the time to start making things happen. Don’t wait, there is no point.
22. …But Not Too Seriously
Don’t let responsibility make you rigid. That is a trap. You can still laugh, relax, and enjoy the little things as you strive to move forward on your journey. In fact, you have to to make yourself sane. Life is meant to be lived each day. Make living a priority, whatever that means to you.
23. Organize Yourself
Clean up your sh**! No excuses.
Making the effort to declutter your things and put them in order lets you have a grasp on what your things are. It lets you take control over that aspect of your life which will positively effect everything else. It’s necessary to have a clear head. Stop being lazy. Clean out your closet and pull the stuff out from under your bed.
Get it together.
24. Get Out of Debt
The sooner you do this the better. Trust me, you do not want to be attached to anything that you don’t love. I don’t know about you, but I’m not fond of my student loans. That is a relationship I want out of ASAP! Just think of the freedom you will have financially when you pay off certain bills. Think about how nice it will feel to spend money on what makes you happy as opposed to throwing in an endless pit guarded by trolls. Gross.
25. Appreciate Where You Are
Don’t be ungrateful. You are where you are now because that is where you are supposed to be to learn what you need to learn. So, pay attention. Every place on earth has something to offer, has some value to it. If you put your blinders on you will miss the lesson that is there for you that will advance you to the next step. Think of a video game- you can’t move to the next level unless you get what was necessary on the previous one. Life is no different.
26. Don’t Assume
Stop judging a book by it’s cover. Sure it may give you clues to the content, but you won’t know until you open up the book and read. This goes for everything. When you ASSUME it makes an ASS out of U and ME. Don’t be that guy. Approach what is new with innocence not prejudice. It makes you look dumb and 9 times out of 10 you will end up embarrassing yourself.
This takes humility to do, have humility.
27. Don’t Blame
It’s easy to think Woe is me, my life is so hard, no one else has it as bad as me. Too bad that’s not true. If you are in an unfavorable situation- you put yourself there. Maybe not consciously, but you did. No one else is in charge of your happiness, but you. Be honest with yourself. Stop trying to pawn your responsibilities on others. That’s not fair and you wouldn’t want someone to do that to you.
28. Be Flexible
I don’t mean becoming a yoga master (even though that’s cool) I mean allow things to change. Allow your direction to have twists and turns. Accept if you were wrong. Let life happen and have an open mind. We plan and then life happens. I bet your reality looks way different then you thought it would 5, 3, or even 1 year ago… join the club. That is the juiciest part of existing- surrendering to the voice that guides us. It’s freeing to know that we only have so much control. Relish in that truth.
29. Welcome Failure
The REAL F-word…
Most importantly know that if you attempt these different suggestions mentioned above you will fail. Not always, but it will happen. It has to. It has to in order for you to actually grow. Don’t be afraid of the word fail. It’s inevitable. We all do it and if you think hard about all the times you experienced a so-called failure, it taught you loads more about yourself then you would have found out on your own if you avoided that attempted thing. There are no mistakes, my friend. Every failure makes you more valuable because it offers you something to teach someone else. Failures are gifts in painful packaging. So go out and fail fantastically and in doing so, you will fall into your success.