After celebrating 40 years of existence, I thought I'd share some tidbits of what I've learned. Let's start by saying:
You are going to die.
That means you're alive. Do something now, when you have the chance.
Youth and the Individual
"Youth is wasted on the young." -- George Bernard Shaw
- Being young is about me, me, me. That's okay, because we're just finding a way to navigate life.
- And so, we strive for inclusion, to fit in, to be accepted -- within ourselves and with our families and peers. Feeling the warmth of love and belonging eases the anxiety in each of us, the individual.
- We will identify with ideas, clothing, music, etc. to codify ourselves. I am going to be an astronaut. I wear Diesel jeans because it is trendy. That brand and its products totally defines me. Facebook is for old people and not cool, and I want to be cool. Blah, blah, blah.
- Along the same path, we branch out to connect with our peers. Religion, clubs, sports, band camp, racism, and any like-minded groups become vehicles for inclusion. Sometimes it's for something, sometimes it's against something. Everything makes sense and is absolute truth if we all agree, right?
- Puberty is a messy time.
- Education, education, education. Learn how to learn. Learn discipline and routine. Never stop learning.
- I'm glad I'm not young anymore.
Adult-ish. Maturity. Aging.
"You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him." -- Malcolm S. Forbes
- You are a speck of shit in the grandness of the Universe. When you pass away, life will go on. Hopefully, your closest friends will remember and celebrate what you meant to them. In a century, no one will remember you existed.
- Your 20's aren't for fucking up. Your whole life is about fucking up, learning from those lessons and fucking up less the next time. So, continue to fuck up.
- Stop worrying about what people think of you. They're probably not. They're probably thinking about themselves. Or maybe what you think of them. Silly.
- Hopefully, sooner than later, you'll realize that life is not about me, me, me. Speck of shit, remember?
- Moderation in everything. Don't be an asshole and don't be a pushover. Be assertive while listening. Drink some alcohol, but not too much and not all the time. It's okay to be selfish, while being too selfless isn't. Find a balance.
- Change is the only constant in life. It moves forward regardless of how hard you resist. Again, you are that speck of shit.
- Don't measure yourself by your age. It's just a number. Turning 30 or 40 has less significance than having your first child or losing a family member. Those are real life milestones.
- Life is comprised of stories to better understand it. Santa Claus, fairy tales, political narrative, advertising, etc. Be wary.
- Looking into a child's eyes can glimpse you life's simplicity. The need for a faster car, bigger house and more toys is a construct of our society. If you keep it simple, you'll see life's joy everywhere.
Money, Career and the Holy Grind
"Money cannot buy peace of mind. It cannot heal ruptured relationships, or build meaning into a life that has none." -- Richard M. DeVos
- Money doesn't buy happiness, but it matters. You need money to survive. Figure out how much you need.
- Strive for financial independence and the freedom to do what you want.
- Remember, employers give you money for your time and skills.
Relationships Matter. A Lot.
"You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." -- Jim Rohn
- If you have healthy relationships, you will have a healthy life.
- It's easy to celebrate life with strangers or acquaintances, but don't mistake them for friends.
- Cultivate relationships with those that matter, those that genuinely care about you. Embrace them with your whole heart.
- Poor communication and differences in expectations result in conflict. Speak clearly and listen intently.
- Be kind. Be empathetic. Be grateful.
- Manners do matter. Say "Please" and "Thank you".
- Take care of your parents. You've only one mother, one father.
- Don't be a dick. It's so not cool.
"The hardest thing in this world .... is to live in it." -- Buffy Summers
This post originally appeared on Medium.