Friday, November 1, 2013

Lessons from 25

I recently had a birthday. I can no longer say I'm in my early 20's. At first thought, that stung a little bit, but I'm over it. Age is just a number. With it being my birthday and all though, it gave way to some serious reflection over the past year. 25 was a pretty great year, full of a lot of necessary life lessons. So for the mere fact of putting it in writing and passing it along, here's a bit of the wisdom I've gained in my old age....

  • Find the friends that, more than anything, keep you honest. Honest in your ambitions and in the way you treat other people. Honest in the way you're living your life. They are your safety net for when you're feeling really lost in what you really want and I feel like at 25 that happened a lot for me.
  • Make room for those friends by starting to let go of people in your life who have less than your best interest at heart. I'm not saying be mean to them, but stop wasting time trying to fit them into your life when that time is better spent on the people mentioned above that really make you a better person.
  • On the topic of friends, don't underestimate the value of your parents. At this point they are the perfect candidate for best friends.  Not only do they love you unconditionally but they've been through their 20's (and 30's and 40's and 50's) before so they can give pretty sage advice. They actually know what they are talking about. Plus, you can call and complain about the same stupid things over and over again to them and they are happy to listen because they are just happy that your calling. 
  • Figure out if what you think you want is what you really want. Not what your parents want for you, or what your friends think you’re good at, or what sounds good and makes sense. What would you wake up every day for, regardless of pay or circumstance? Not the thing that you could do, or that you think you should do, but the thing you must do, that will make this whole strange life experience make more sense every day. Figure out what you need to do to work towards a life that is really yours. It’s scary and is often a bumpy road, but what’s the alternative?
  • Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Even if you aren't where you thought you’d be, this is not the end.  In the words of good old Winston Churchill "It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps the end of the beginning" 
  • Stop looking for answers all the time and get used to living with questions. At no point in our lives will we know all the answers and at no point in our lives will there stop being questions. So we better get use to it and figure out a way to move forward in spite of it.
  • Never grow up! Nowhere, is there a rule that states you must become more boring with age. Let go of your self-imposed boundaries every once in a while and eat cake for dinner or play hooky from work or build a freaking fort in your living room. Too often we get caught up in our mundane schedules and are too busy to really enjoy life.

There's a lot more where this came from but we'll leave it at that for now. Lets hope I can learn to actually put these into practice through 26.

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