Since I’ve been back from my most recent backpacking adventure, I’ve been working my way out of my “post travel depression” and am working my way towards, “Kick some ass and take over the world” mode.
I think some around me have noticed. I’ve become more motivated. I’ve become more honest. I’ve stopped doing or dealing with things that irritate me.
If you’re not happy with who you are or what you are doing. Change it, whatever IT may be. Every decision I have made has led me to where I am today.
Now I’m 24! With my 24th birthday today, I’ve decided to make a list of 24 life lessons I’ve learned in 24 years of life
- Live a life of earning not taking – Growing up I loved talking to old people. At birthday parties I would talk to the grown ups. If I saw old wrinkly people I would ask them to tell me stories of how they grew up. I loved it. A consistent trait that I noticed were that the happy old wrinkly people all talked about earning their living.
- Find a couple of things you enjoy and splurge here and there – It’ll keep you sane. I spend most of my money on travel. Aside from bills and loans, I make sure to budget money for beer and cereal. Why cereal? I don’t know, I just love it and there are a lot of different types. As with beer.
- Take Naps – We never appreciated them as kids and our grandparents love em. I trust most old people, so I’m trying to stay ahead of the game. Power nap it up! In moderation of course, don’t sleep the day away
- “I can’t afford not to” I can’t afford not to have a good day. When I first started working retail there was a customer that I would see every week. Every week I would end the transaction and conversation with, “Have a good day” and without hesitation, even if he talked about how rough work was, he would smile and say, “I can’t afford not to.” Every single time
- Avoid being stagnant Always have goals and always be moving towards something. Fill your time and make it enjoyable. My grandpa never stops. He’s in his 70’s and always doing something. He’s a stubborn one. I remember one time a couple of years ago, he attempted to pick up a fridge and put it in his truck to move it somewhere. Ended up breaking a few ribs in the process. Damn guy didn’t want to wait, had to keep moving. (be safe but keep moving)
- Test your body – A healthy body is a healthy mind. Push yourself, make sure you’re still alive every once in a while. I wasn’t prepared to tackle 25 miles on foot earlier this year but I did. I was sore for days, but man was it a good sore.
- Don’t be afraid to dream – Create a vision for your future, whether it’s immediate or not. Knowing that you’re making your way towards something far better and greater is an amazing feeling. I’m still ironing out the details but I already have my perfect day outlined.
- Love all aspects of live, the good, the bad and the ugly – One of the truest statements I’ve heard. It (life) goes on. Remember that. Whatever happens today will be a story for tomorrow. It goes on.
- Take a risk – At least well calculated risks. I was the interpreter for a cocaine deal that involved packing into a taxi, driving cautiously and speedy in an unknown city (to me) with all passengers trying some blow (coke) and making a freakishly fast exchange with a random bicyclist and then being thrown out back by the starting point. This was probably stupid, but it was risk I took for one hell of a night and good story.
- Eat a mango – I don’t know why this is a lesson. I just love em and you should too.
- Read read and read – fiction or non-fiction. This will open your mind up to new ideas, thoughts, words and knowledge. Knowledge is power.
- If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything – I watch too many movies, but I know I heard this in one of them. How true it is though. You don’t need to have an opinion on everything. Find something that you are solid in and hold fast to that truth, your truth.
- Be open to experiences I grew up a hermit. I would stay inside and get lost in Gary Paulson books and nintendo games. As I grew up I realized I wouldn’t grow much by doing that. I started becoming a yes man. Even if I didn’t want to or didn’t think I would like it, I started saying yes. It’s shaped me up to be who I am today. There isn’t much I would say no to.
- Eat the world – I saw this as a recent trending topic on twitter actually. Seriously though, eat and taste everything. I love my cereal but you better believe I’ll try anything once. Snakes? yup. Intestines? yup. Tarantulas? yup. I may not like it, but I don’t know that yet.
- Realize that not everybody will understand you and what you do – This has been one of the hardest for me to accept. I see my journey and my life so easily and so simply. It’s hard for me to accept that other people don’t look at life that way. It’s alright. We are all here to find our own truths and path in life.
- Listen to music – This is my own truth I’ve come across. Not always, sometimes quiet serenity takes precedence over music. In a lot of other circumstances, listen to music. All flavors of it. If you want to get to know a place and it’s story, find the music coming out of it. That will hold the raw truths.
- Get over other people – People will do what they do and it might not jive (I like that word) with what you do or who you are. That’s fine, get over it. If they’re not directly messing up your life then forget about it. Move on, don’t let their existence be a weight on your shoulders. They’ll end up becoming unwarranted excuses. Excuses don’t exist.
- Get some sunshine – I know vampires are cool and all but step outside for a minute, some color will do you good. Literally, sunshine colors you up, helps the skin (in moderation) and is a proven positive mood enhancer. Have you looked at an Oompa Loompa, dancing and singing and making candy and stuff? That’s all sunshine ;)
- Define your own success – Every person and every generation is different. My grandparents and great grandparents were all about making it to America, the land of opportunity. They made it, I’m here. My generation is all about that college degree. Like I said before, it’s a good route if you were made for it. If not, you define your own success and achieve it.
- Ask Questions – And be open to answers. I’m not saying believe everything you hear. If you don’t believe it, ask more about it. How else can we learn and grow if we can’t admit that we don’t know everything. Ask a question.
- Be open to love – A bit cheesy I know, but really. I’ll admit that I struggle with this. I’m so comfortable with where I am now and the simple dating lifestyle. The idea of love or a more serious relationship is a difficult one to grasp. I’m trying to be open to it though. Take a look at my travel romance story.
- Smile often – Life is difficult…blah blah blah. I know I know. I had it rough to, let’s talk about it and get it over with. Then we can smile again. You might start smiling and learn to like it. You might realize that it makes life better. Heck, people might like you better than before. Maybe even that one girl or one guy will like it and like you. Be like Nike and just do it, smile.
- Imagine like a kid, Act like an adult – Remember when we used to build forts and castles? We would rule empires and dream up unbelievable landscapes and realities. What happened to that? We’re adults, that means we can actually start making that stuff happen! Travel, build skyscrapers, learn to fly a plane. This is an incredible time we live in, take advantage of it.
- Avoid negativity at all costs – Negativity never helps anybody genuinely achieve anything good. This is a big one for me. I’m one of the most positive people you will ever come across. Ask around. If I’m in good company and laughing, I’ll stick around. Once the negativity starts, I’m gone. Negativity is more contagious than happiness because it’s so easy. Happiness is a choice. Try to stick with that choice.
Welp, there are my 24 lessons for 24 years of life. I hope that some of these will help some readers out there.
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Cheers and happy days