Sometimes it's important to stop, take a moment, and reflect on the lessons life has taught you over the years. I'd like to share some of the things I've learned about dreams, fear, work, marriage, children, health, travel, and giving.
Here are my 33 life lessons in 33 years:
1. Someday is today. Deferring your dreams leads to inactivity. Intentional action is the key to living your dreams.
2. Time is the only currency. You only have about 30,000 days on this earth, if you're lucky. Use your days wisely.
3. Start with baby steps. "A thousand mile journey begins with a single step." (Lao Tzu) For any big dream, take baby steps first to get you warmed up for the long road ahead.
4. Practice makes progress. You won't be perfect, but you'll make progress. Work on your dreams daily, keep practicing, and the results will follow.
5. Live your life. Don't compare yourself with others. Trust your gut, follow your heart, and be who you are.
6. What you fear most is what you should be doing. All the resistance you're feeling is the universe's way of saying that this is the thing you should be pursuing the most. Listen closely to your fears.
7. Once you leap, it's not that scary. Facing your fears is like taking a leap of faith. Once you take that leap, you'll discover that it wasn't that scary after all.
8. "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional." (Buddha) Pain, mistakes, and hardships are all part of the process. How you react to it is the difference between success and failure.
9. Do what you love. Life is too short to do things you don't like to do. Fill your life with work that you love and living on purpose will come naturally.
10. You are the sum of your five closest people. Surround yourself with people who you love and love you. These people will challenge you, help you grow, and make you wiser.
11. Money doesn't buy happiness. You don't need much money to be happy. Happiness starts from within. Invest in your happiness by doing fulfilling, purposeful work.
12. Do your work every day. Half the battle of doing meaningful work is just showing up. So show up every day and get to work.
13. Great work takes time. 10,000 hours is the new benchmark for mastery. Make sure you put in your hours each day and the results eventually will be extraordinary.
14. Your wife is always right. It doesn't matter if you're right and she's wrong, she's always right. You'll never win a fight in your home, ever. Accept it and move on.
15. When in doubt, listen to your wife. Women innately have a magical sixth sense. Seek your wife's advice as much as possible.
16. Let go of your ideals. Perfect body, awesome personality, smart, funny, independent, etc. Ideals of your spouse are just that...ideals. Love your spouse for who he/she is, just the way he/she is.
17. Love unconditionally. Love with your heart, mind, body, and soul. Give your love freely, share it generously, and love your spouse through thick and thin.
18. Honesty is the best policy. The truth is the path to true love. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
19. Be grateful. Children come and go in your life, and the years of being together go by quickly. Enjoy your time with your children, while you have it.
20. Be patient. Raising children can be the ultimate test of your patience. Remember to stop, slow down, and breathe. Then you'll be better prepared to deal with the stress of raising children.
21. Be kind. Threats, ultimatums, coercion, and bribes produce short-term gain, but long-term pain. A better method is to be nice to your children. They'll be even nicer back to you.
22. Be present. Your children need to see you just as much as they need to be seen. Be there, look, listen, and love.
23. Eat healthy. You are what you eat, so eat less sugar, sodium, preservatives, and unnatural products and more fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.
24. Exercise regularly. Your body was designed to move and be active. Walk, run, hike, swim, or bike. Just do something, and do it every day that you live.
25. Sleep consistently. 1/3 of your life is meant for resting and recharging. Don't treat sleep as something you can sacrifice to be more productive.
26. Stay balanced. Too much of anything--good or bad--isn't healthy or sustainable. Balance is essential to healthy living. Take breaks when necessary.
27. Just go, but go slowly. Don't wait to travel and once you start, don't rush traveling. Move slowly and purposefully to realize the true meaning of your journey.
28. Love the journey. The journey is more important than the destination. Love your travels and your life by appreciating all the steps--good and bad--along the way.
29. Travel for yourself. Traveling is not a race to check off countries or activities on a bucket list. Your travel is for you. Go to places you're drawn to and at a pace you're comfortable with.
30. Every day is a travel day. You don't have to leave your country's borders or get on an airplane to travel. Travel is seeing the world, your home, and yourself with new eyes, and you can do this every day of your life, no matter where you are.
31. Give, then give some more. Be generous with your time, energy, presence, words, money, and resources. Helping others is an act of love, in which God's grace becomes most evident. Spread as many blessings as you can in your life.
32. Be a little nicer to others. A smile, a "hello," and a "thank you" can go a long way. Issue them often. Life at the core is made of all the interactions and connections--big and small--that we have with others. Be extra nice and bring out the best in yourself and others around you.
33. Empower others. Own your story and share it freely to inspire others to live their dreams. Let your light shine so you can brighten the lives of others.
This post originally appeared on LiveFamilyTravel.com. Images courtesy of author.
Cliff Hsia is a father who is determined to live a better than normal life by traveling the world, slowly and purposefully, with his wife and two young daughters. He's currently on a gap year of world travel with his family. He writes about travel, family, love, happiness, faith, and everything else that life throws at him.