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Rev. James Martin, S.J.

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12 Things I Wish I Knew at 25: Spiritual Learnings on My 50th Birthday

Posted: 12/30/10 10:28 PM ET

For a lark yesterday, on my 50th birthday, I Tweeted 12 things that I wish I had known at 25. Or more accurately, 12 things that, had I put them into action, would have made my life a lot easier. Some are bits of advice that wisdom figures have told me and took years to sink in. Others are the result of some hard knocks. A few are insights from the great spiritual masters that I've adapted for my own life. Maybe a few will help someone you know who's 25. Maybe one or two will help you.

1. First up: Stop worrying so much! It's useless. (I.e. Jesus was right.)

2. Being a saint means being yourself. Stop trying to be someone else and just be your best self. Saves you heartache.

3. There's no right way to pray, any more than there's a right way to be a friend. What's "best" is what works best for you.

4. Remember three things and save yourself lots of unneeded heartache: You're not God. This ain't heaven. Don't act like a jerk.

5. Your deepest, most heartfelt desires are God's desires for you. And vice versa. Listen. And follow them.

6. Within you is the idea of your best self. Act as if you were that person and you will become that person, with God's grace.

7. Don't worry too much about the worst that can happen. Even if it happens, God is with you, and you can handle it. Really.

8. You can't force people to approve of you, agree with you, be impressed with you, love you or even like you. Stop trying.

9. When we compare, we are usually imagining someone else's life falsely. So our real-life loses out. I.e. Compare and despair.

10. Even when you finally realized the right thing, or the Christian thing, to do, it can still be hard to do. Do it anyway.

11. Seven things to say frequently: I love you. Thank you. Thank you, God. Forgive me. I'm so happy for you! Why not? Yes.

12. Peace and joy come after asking God to free you -- from anything that keeps you from being loving and compassionate.