Turning 25 isn’t a big accomplishment (my mom did the hard stuff), but it’s been a big year. This birthday somehow feels different than others; I’ve never been one to acknowledge my birthday in a way that didn’t include karaoke or drinking a “couple too many beers”.
However, if nothing else, I’m a reflective human being, basically to the point of absurdity. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned, unlearned, and relearned this year is the power of sharing; of being open. I’m working on it. Making space comes in all forms – for me, I need to write. For most of my life, this opening came through writing in complete submission to the moment, the pen dragging across the pages to help remember thoughts that sometimes end up too illegible to read. So here we are; a typed-out collection of legible tidbits so that I can return to these words and hopefully add more lessons.
And yeah, maybe I’ll look back at this list in 10 years and feel completely different. Either way, reflection is important. Experiencing is important. When paired together, you can adventure through life in a peculiar and curious fashion:
Your world is as big – or as small – as you make it.
We as individuals have the power to create unparalleled changes in the lives of others, good or bad.
Others, in turn, can make unparalleled changes to the way we see and think about life.
Traveling will turn you inside out, muddle you up, and spit you back out with a completely new perspective.
Love is the greatest gift we’ve been given.
Our smallest choices can create society-wide change; we just have to belive it’s possible and act with intention.
Anything is possible with a little risk, a little drive, and a lot of hard work.
The greatest adventures lie within the unknown; this is the place where real life and magic mingle.
Books are our gateway, our refuge, and our salvation. Knowledge is powerful, language is beautiful, and sharing is everything.
Dogs are just great.
Kids are, too. I’ve learned more about life from working with kids and the elderly than anyone else. The three most important lessons from both the young and the old?
- Speak your mind
- Cuddle often
- Tell those you love that you love them, always. Without hesitation. Even with a mouth full of food. Just do it.
Speaking of our elders, listen to the stories that your grandparents and parents choose to share. Ask for more stories. Ask them about their experiences, their choices, and their curiosities.
Time really does move faster the older you get; and as I’m starting to figure out, the more you truly enjoy your time.
We have one planet. ONE. Earth Day is every day, guys.
Nature is fun, and interesting, and beautiful. You can learn so much about yourself and the world around you just by walking 20 minutes a day.
Small talk is hard, so ask the right questions.
Listening is much more important than being heard.
Don’t put anything, or anyone, into a box (not literally, guys. But still, don’t put people in real boxes, either). People will always surprise you, in the same way you surprise yourself. Because we’re all human, duh.
Current events can be intimidating and disheartening. Stay informed and stay active in the world, and do what you can to make it even a touch more bearable for someone else.
It’s easy to get caught up in your own belief system and expect it to reflect in everyone else. It can’t, and it won’t. Listen to others and keep your perspective open, always.
It’s worth it to take risks in love, and in life. Take the chance at having your heart broken, sit with the pain when it’s there, and savour every moment when it’s the last thing on your mind. You’ll learn SO FRIGGEN MUCH either way.
Beer is also good, and it’s crazy to see just how big a community can grow through sharing and caring, folks.
Follow your curiosities to their deepest pulls.
Do what makes your mind and heart full. I don’t care if it’s dancing or playing WOW or bodybuilding. Shia was right – JUST DO IT.
It’s okay to want to be alone. Just recognize when that feeling lingers too long, or when solitude is no longer serving you.
Mistakes are good; they’re fun, really. Who doesn’t love that feeling of, “I don’t know what the f*ck is going on, BUT NOT KNOWING IS GREAT.”
Not knowing is freeing; especially when you realize that we never truly know and we’re all just running around doing stuff that makes us happy or doesn’t. Then you realize that this means that you can do the stuff you WANT to do.
We all have our problems, in different scopes for different folks. Loneliness, depression, and fear in another is the same as yours; so do what you can to help someone else.
You’ll have messy points. When they do, embrace them. You’re your best in a mess.
Don’t hesitate to follow your intuition. Not your anxieties, that deeper, right-in-the-belly gut feeling. Most of the time, it’s right, and following your gut feeling paves the way for community and beautiful coincidences. You know yourself better than anyone else.
As above, trust yourself.
Finally, lean into love. The true, soul-filling, adventurous, challenging, helps-you-grow kind of love.
One last thing. Speaking of not knowing, no one really knows anything. Just be a good person and try to do good for the world around you, in whatever capacity you can on any given day.