Things I’ve Learned Over 27 Years

I am not a motivational speaker. I am not a master at life. I am not a counselor (maybe one day, though). I am not one to tell you the right way to do things. But I have learned a few things over the course of my own life that I know to be true for me.

  1. There are no excuses that should keep you from doing something you want to do. You are not getting any younger and the days move by a lot faster now that you have grown up. The simple things that used to excite you as a child can still excite you as an adult. Live each day like you might get hit by a bus, like you might get kicked in the face by a horse. Life is too short.
  2. As you grow up we forget to separate who we are from how we feel. There are consistencies over the days but we are never the exact same person that we were yesterday. There will be days where you will be more forgetful and days where you see the greatness in everything. There will be days filled with complaining and other days when you cannot reach your own standards. It is important to focus on the present; your state of being and your identity are two separate things.
  3. As often as you can make your days happy. Those who fill their days and nights with positivity will have good things come to them.
  4. If someone wants to be in your life they will make time to have you in it. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. If you hold mutual feelings, the effort both of you make should be equal. This is still a learning curve but it is the truth.
  5. Learn to laugh at yourself. When you fall down the stairs, when you spill coffee down your shirt, when you trip over your own feet and forget what you were just talking about. Accept it, you’re a crazy fool and it is okay, people will still love you.
  6. Gratitude goes a long way. You may not find yourself grateful for every moment in your life but there is always going to be something or someone you are grateful for. Receiving some form of gratitude will leave a lasting memory.
  7. There isn’t a moment in life where we shouldn’t tell the people we love that we love them. If someone has made a lasting impression; if they have gradually become an important person in your life, tell them. See point one: life is too short. You never know when that person won’t be around anymore, you don’t know when you will lose them or if they will lose you. Feeling loved, whether it is returned or not, is one of the greatest gifts we can give.
  8. Everyone starts somewhere. You should never be afraid of the career path that you are on or how long it takes you to get where you want to be. The life that you want will come to you on your own terms and not anyone else’s.
  9. People will leave you. You will lose your first love and many loves after that. You will learn the hard way that wearing your heart on your sleeve will make you vulnerable, but it is not something you should be ashamed of. Important people in your life will, one day, be gone from your life forever and it will hurt.
  10. The things that are meant to be they will happen. Eventually you will find your way back.
  11. No one really knows what the hell they are doing. When you graduate from high school and eventually, if you choose to, graduate from university there is no instruction booklet. Life isn’t linear. We are all living on different timelines and reaching for different goals. Success isn’t what it is defined by a dictionary or your parents, success is how you come to define it. Those who matter in your life and love you for who you are will stick around no matter how much money you bring in.
  12. Follow your heart. Your mind will give you a million and two reasons on why you should turn around. Your gut will make you queasy and tell you to watch your step. You will only be able to learn to love when you learn to trust in your heart.
  13. There is no short cut to growing up. You have to take your time. Cherish being a child and don’t lose some of your innocence. You have to put one foot in front of the other at your own pace to learn all of the lessons that come your way. They will shape the person you will become.
  14. You have to fall in love with yourself. Don’t get sucked up in the whirlwind of media, of what other people tell you. You are your own unique individual and no one can mold you into something you are not. Make time for yourself: take a long bubble bath and read books, watch TV, listen to music. Unwinding is therapeutic and it allows you to become more in touch with yourself.
  15. The answers to the questions that you have been asking yourself… yes, those. They will come to you with time, they always do. In the end, you will know what you are supposed to do.
  16. Life is hard – that is a no-brainer. What people don’t tell you is how utterly terrible it can be. Awful and brutal things will happen to you, around you and to the people who you care for the most. The worst things will happen to the best people and there, really, isn’t any stopping it. There is no way to sort out who tragedy will hit next, or why. However, I will tell you this, there is a strange sense of relief that comes with grief once you have come to accept it.
  17. With the hardness of life there is also so much joy. There are babies being born and puppies licking your face. Kittens purring and matting your belly. There will be fist kisses and first loves. There will be unexpected people coming into your life and they will change everything you have come to know. There will be family dinners and rooms filled with laughter. There will be whispered sweet nothings, road trips, forehead kisses and sweaty palms. Just be present in every moment.
  18. I can’t tell you enough how important exercise is. Dedicate one of your twenty-four a day to it. Your endorphins will be released and afterwards you will feel so good. Learn to love your body and the way it moves. The curves that you have developed and how to embrace the dimples, wrinkles, and rolls that come with age.
  19. Stand up for yourself. DO NOT let people walk all over you, I know it’s hard but don’t. It is okay to distance yourself from the people who just push you down daily. You have to show people around you how you want to be treated. You are enough and no one should ever put you down for being who you are.
  20. Money doesn’t buy happiness. Happiness is not calculated by how much you have in your bank account.
  21. You have to put your own needs in front of others sometimes. This is not selfish, I cannot stress that enough, it is necessary.
  22. Life will teach you more than anything you ever learn inside a classroom.
  23. Peer pressure is real and it doesn’t stop the moment you leave high school. There should be times where you say no and it be an acceptable answer. You do you. Look out for yourself.
  24. There are going to be things that come into your life that will make you have to risk a lot of things. It is okay to take risks. It is okay to look fear in the eye and kick its ass.
  25. Put down your phone, put your headphones in, and take a walk. Music and nature will always be a solace, they will always be the escape that you need. But don’t forget to take a book because you may need to take a break from your travels.
  26. Be good to people, even if they aren’t good to you. Always make time for your family and loved ones. Appreciate everything you have.
  27. Every flaw, everything that makes you imperfect is a gift. These are the things that make you priceless but worth every penny to someone. No one should put a value on your life because you are unique, one of a kind. It is impossible for anyone else to compete with you because no one will EVER have what you have.

Here’s to 27. Here’s to continuing to learn. Here’s to giving and taking. Here’s to loving and being loved. Here’s to being you and being me.

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