30 Life Lessons over 30 Years

Today is my birthday and yes I’ve turned the notorious, dirty, thirty.

If I felt any inkling wiser due to my age I might offer some guidance to those in their 20s and remind them to enjoy them. I don’t feel older, certainly no older than I was yesterday and I don’t really consider myself wise, but my 20s have taught me a few things.

They say you become a new person every seven years meaning every one of your cells has regenerated within that time frame. In seven years, I have changed my hairstyle probably ten times or more, I’ve bought new clothes for each season for each of those years, and I feel I have learned decade worth of life lessons. I want to share a few with you now.

Photo by Josh Szeto taken November 2012

Photo by Josh Szeto taken November 2012

30 Life Lessons I’ve learned over 30 Years

  1. Be kind to yourself, there is no harsher critic then the one you face in the mirror everyday. When you are in your 20s you will probably never look as good or feel as good as you do now. Enjoy it. Stay up all night partying, work the next day, eat the things you love.
  2. Be good to your family, they will not be around forever.
  3. Take risks. On school, on love and travel. Dream crazy dreams and let them unfold in the most grandiose way you can imagine.
  4. Spend time alone. You will never get to know yourself if you don’t live by yourself once, or at least travel by yourself. Being alone and being lonely are two very different things, learn what the difference is.
  5. Be kind to strangers. Your Mom probably told you to not talk to them, but you have instincts, use them. Not everyone is bad and eventually if we all start ignoring everyone, you will miss out on some pretty rad people.
  6. Find your strengths and cultivate them.
  7. Find your weaknesses and accept them, if you can, improve upon what makes you uncomfortable.
  8. Eat well. Take this however you want. Eat for your health, or your taste buds.
  9. Never be cruel to animals or children. They never forget the bad things and will always remember your kindness.
  10. Devote time, no matter how small to a charitable cause. Even if it’s just helping a stranger to their door, or as big as volunteering your time to your community.
  11. Learn to cook.
  12. Learn to clean.
  13. Get a hobby.
  14. Read. For real, I want to see libraries in my future.
  15. Be political. Try and figure out what government actions affects you and the ones you love and be proactive. At the very least, vote with a clue as to why you are voting. But vote every time you have the chance.
  16. Exercise. You don’t need a gym membership but ride a bike to school, or walk to the mall. Fresh air and sunshine cleans up most issues in your life.
  17. Seek education. Whether your version is self study of your interests, night classes, university or apprenticing. Having an interest in bettering yourself is and attractive and admiral quality.
  18. Travel. If you never leave the place you were brought up in you will never understand and sympathize with the ways of others.
  19. Don’t criticize others. You are not them, you do not brave the same challenges from their past to their present.
  20. Keep your friends close. In my 20s I made more friends than I kept over the long haul but it’s a time for change. If you aren’t good at making new friends makes sure that the ones you have know how much you love them.
  21. Say ‘I love you’ only when you mean it and say it as often as possible to the ones you love.
  22. Money is not everything. Stop dwelling on what you don’t have money for and start making plans for the money you have today.
  23. Don’t ever pity yourself. You are going to have bad days. People will break your heart in one way or another. You might have body image issues, or fail a class but learn from it and move on. In the end that is all you can do.
  24. Don’t stress about the future, but don’t ignore that it’s coming either. If you feel like you need to make a change do so, you can always change your mind later. What is going to happen is going to happen no matter how prepared or unprepared for it you are.
  25. Set clear expectations for roommates, friends and lovers. No one is a mind reader and even if it’s difficult for you to tell them what you needs are. Otherwise, in the end when you are fighting because you reached your boiling point, you will always hear this yelled back at you ‘why didn’t you say something before?’
  26. Experiment with your style, with your views and beliefs. You will find what works, what is comfortable, and things that will last the test of time.
  27. Don’t compromise your beliefs once you have them, but don’t push them on others either. Conversation should be used for sharing information not for beating others over the head with it.
  28. Apologize when you are wrong, and don’t gloat when you are right. You can’t control most of what happens to you but you can control how you respond to it. If you respond poorly, speak up about it and mean what you say.
  29. Don’t be afraid to say ‘No’ when you don’t want to, or can’t or won’t do something. Honest is the best policy.
  30. Love with all your heart, but don’t love someone who doesn’t love you will all their heart back. No one should waste the precious moments of their life on others that don’t appreciate their love and affections.
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