This is a special blog entry <3 hopefully filled with inspiration (or at the very least, some thought-provoking or mildly interesting thoughts) for those reading!
In lieu of my big 3-0 (so cool!) which is rapidly approaching (in just 24 hours!), over the past week I have been giving some serious thought to (and jotting down) what I feel are 30 relevant life lessons of my own. Lessons that I personally have learned via my own experience and journey thus far throughout the past three decades I've spent on this planet. I am sure that of course, in the coming years I will learn many more incredibly relevant lessons. But for the time being, these made my list as the most powerful (as well as fun) ones.
I hope you might find some of them moving or important as well :-D
With love and wonderful wishes,
1. Life is literally what you make of it. You can choose to find good, excitement, to be grateful, and happy. Or not. There will always be struggle and disappointments, things and people will hurt you, and there will be setbacks and challenge. There will also be numerous things to be happy about, excited and grateful for, things worth enjoying, smiling about, and looking forward to. The choice is yours which of those things you tend to focus on more.
2. Find good friends (this sometimes takes a fair amount of searching), really good ones. And once you do, hold on to them. Put in the efforts (and yes, it does take some) to maintain those great friendships. They will be one of your most valuable life assets. This goes for wonderful, truly good family members too.
3. On the flip side, have the guts to let go of the not-so-good ones. Its the only way to make room for the better ones.
4. Take care of your body. You will feel WAY better when you do (happier, more confident, more energetic, more able-bodied, less diseases and illness, and thus less struggles within your future). We tend to take our good health for granted, simply because its there. We don't have to worry about it, so we don't pay attention to it. Often until its too late. Heart disease, stroke, cancers, obesity, etc. The list of (mostly preventable) diseases is long. Take care of yourself now, or you will regret it later on.
5. When people tell you who they are, listen. And believe them.
6. Have the balls to go on adventures. It will expand you as a person, big time. And make you much, much happier within your life. Adventure leaves you with amazing/fun/worthwhile stories to share, it makes you more confident, teaches you resourcefulness, makes you a more interesting and varied person, expands your mind and provides you with a more fulfilling life.
7. Have the courage to speak what is in your heart to those who matter to you. You will rarely regret it. What you may regret? Having been too afraid (or angry) to do so, and then missing the chance.
8. Love is more then just a feeling. The initial burst of passion, excitement and exhilaration dies down at some point. Therefore, love is also a choice. Its a choice you make every day. We choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to treat with respect, to be loyal, to work out problems and to show up within the relationship. Relationships can take work. Sometimes its easy, sometimes its very hard. But its a choice, and its a worthwhile one.
9. Enjoy the little, wonderful, but still special things in life. Tea with a friend, a delicious dessert, finding oneself lost in an incredible book or movie, a genuine compliment, the glowing feeling you get after having exercised, attending a great party, spending time with a wonderful person, learning something new and feeling excited about it, etc. The list goes on and on. All of these seemingly things, they add up to a lot.
10. Do not harbor grudges or hold on to anger towards those who hurt you. Its pointless. And it only harms you, not them.
11. Always keep your heart somewhat open to the potential of miraculous possibilities.
12. Have some goals and dreams. This gives your life a sense of purpose, direction and excitement. And do not just talk about them. That is a recipe for waking up one day, finding oneself 50 years old and full of regret. Take actions towards the life you want too!
13. Celebrate whenever possible. Life is short. Make it fun and fantastic. Birthdays and holidays, go all out! The memories and joy that this brings you and those celebrating with you will make this worthwhile.
13. Give it all you've got, while you have the chance.
14. Remembering friends and loved ones birthdays is a little thing you can do that makes a big impact on that person.
15. Have in your arsenal 5 books that you absolutely love (and could read again and again). The books can be any type (fiction or nonfiction), on any topic or genre (science, drama, philosophy, romance, memoir, etc), as long as it captures you and you love it. These will be invaluable throughout your life. To pick up in times of boredom or loneliness. To take as your companion on an incredible travel adventure. To recommend to others. To revel in yourself, as well as to discover life lessons in.
16. Drink lots of water. You will be shocked, after doing this for a week, the difference in how you will feel. More energetic, less irritable, less headaches, more alert, etc. Its a very worthwhile habit to quire that will improve your day to day life (via your moods, your looks, your skin, and how your body feels).
17. Never stop learning. Idiots are always sure about every damn thing they are doing or feeling within their life. Intelligent people are always wondering, self reflecting, curious and continuing to learn.
18. If you're not excited about it, its not the right path.
19. Live less out of habit, fear and laziness and more out of curiosity, direction and intent.
20. There is no faster way to repel people from you (whether family member, friend or romantic partner) then coming across in any of the following ways: judgmental, pushing your opinions on others, thinking you know more then everyone else, being a poor listener, or being overly self centered.
21. We teach people how to treat us by what we allow. Do not repeatedly allow someone to take advantage of you, lie to you, take you for granted, etc. No matter how much you love them. Love yourself enough to not accept it. Its a recipe that will only end with you feeling miserable and heartbroken.
22. Tea + something sweet + great conversation with someone you care about = relaxing, sweet (pun intended) and a fantastic time.
23. Taking a bit of extra time to dress in a way that's both attractive and flattering is well worth the effort. It puts pep in your step, makes you feel great, and this shows when others look at you. Its a positive thing all around, and yes, it does matter.
24. Having at least one thing you do that gives you feelings of passion, fulfillment and happiness is super important to your overall contentment within your life. It can literally be anything (gardening, pottery, learning languages, swimming, reading, cooking, writing, studying chemistry, snowboarding, whatever). Just find something. And yield the results you'll feel in terms of joy (once you find the right passion that is. And you will know, because it will fill you up with happiness and the time will FLY while you're doing it).
25. Material things make you happy for a short burst of time, but this dies out once the novelty wears off. Invest more in experiences. These give you happiness that lasts well into the future, and throughout your life. You will feel excitement and happiness while looking forward to the experience, joy during the actual experience itself, and then contentment while reveling in the memories which you will look back on for years to come (both through telling your stories to others and enjoying them nostalgically). Investing in experiences = major rewards.
26. Relationships are incredibly complex things. Do not ever think you are the better judge of someone else's relationship, no matter how much they have told you. There are still hundreds of moments, words, nuances, special moments, dreams, times shared between the two people, as well as feelings, that you cannot possibly know or fully understand as an outsider looking in.
27. A number of vastly underrated things that are actually the BOMB: afternoon naps, giving in to a major food craving (and then the taste of the food once you eat it), looking through old photographs, receiving an especially warm embrace from a great friend, finding an incredibly awesome song that has you hooked, " " same thing for an incredibly awesome book, running into someone randomly with whom you were once quite close, a Popsicle on a hot summer day, the season finale of a gripping TV show you've been watching, feeling butterflies (for any number of reasons), and a GREAT nights sleep.
28. Have at least a handful of recipes that you can prepare like a boss (meaning, you can cook these dishes fantastically ;-)). This will be another skill worth having in your arsenal, and you will reach for these recipes a number of times throughout your life. And will always feel SO great and incredibly relieved to have them (as well as when you wow those you've cooked it for).
29. If something both intrigues you deeply but also terrifies you, believe it or not, I would venture to say its very worth doing. Almost every single time I have wanted to do something but have been incredibly scared to take the leap and do it (such as: moving to a totally different country where I knew no one, skydiving, telling someone I love and cherish them, traveling somewhere new and completely alone), I have ALWAYS been glad that I did it. The rewards and great after-effects far outweighed any fears or minor obstacles I may have run in to (both of which are things that are temporary and pass. And then you are left with the AMAZING experience you had).
30. We very often do not realize the true value of moments until the have become memories. Try not to forget this. Be present. Surround yourself with the things you love, and discard the rest. And be in love with your life. Every minute of it.
What are some of the most important lessons that each of you feel you've learned in your lives thus far?