Once upon a time, there existed a blog-publishing platform named Posterous that shut down shortly after it was acquired by a major tech company.
With the deletion of the platform (including all blogs), my writing days pretty much came to a halt. Longer and more thoughtful pieces were replaced by boatloads of 140-character tweets and occasional Facebook status updates and notes.
As much as I LOVE powerful and succinct tweets (the ones that we can learn from and become a better thinker/writer/human as a result), my need for some mental depth (via my own self-expression) has been stirring.
Going through some emails, I found this post that I had written back in 2010 called “23 Things I Know at 23 That I Pray I Remember at 43.” As I was reading through my list, I couldn’t help but ask myself “Wow, what happened to the post-23-year-old me?” Oh wait, I know. I lost myself, more than once too. But hey, I’m back now. It took some time, but rebuilding anything the right way will always take some time.
I thought it would be fun to repost this old list. I’ll check back on it every once in a while. I hope you enjoy it!
Last year, a friend of mine from the college days wrote a blog on the things he learned since graduating (Update: the link no longer works). Inspired by his piece, I decided to come up with my own list.
I, too, thought I knew it all after graduating. I mean, come on. I studied, I got along well with people, I was able to talk intelligently on the subjects I knew, I kept my eyes out for things and I even had amazing mentors from the real world. Bzzzzzz. Wrong. I especially didn’t know anything about any of the stuff that really matters in life, like the importance of people, the serious effort it takes to maintain relationships, listening, love, and so on.
So here it is, the 23 things I’ve come to understand that I hope I will remember 20 years from now:
- At the end of the day, what matters most is people. It’s your relationships with people.
- A positive internal/external environment is absolutely vital for your growth.
- Striving for perfection paralyzes, destroys motivation and causes unnecessary suffering when expectations are unmet. Instead, just do your best. Do your best every time and naturally you will get better.
- Have no regrets. Every experience is a learning experience.
- Asking for help is neither a sign of weakness nor inferiority.
- Pay particular attention to the people who inspire you. Learn from them. They make you want to be a better you.
- You really are the people you surround yourself with.
- There’s so much you can do and learn in a year. It’s never too late for you to remake yourself.
- The darkest moments in your life will test what you’re made of. Hope is what will get you through all of it. Don’t lose it.
- The best relationships you have are the ones you can learn and grow from. The other party seems to sincerely have your best interest at heart. Be grateful you know them and reciprocate (not because you have the obligation to, but because it represents who you are and what you believe in.)
- The smallest act of kindness can mean a lot to the person receiving it.
- When something (or someone) breaks your heart, it means you have the chance to dream again. Do it.
- Don’t be a slave to fear. It’s hard, I know, but try not to be.
- The way to learn from others is to listen to them — to truly, truly listen to them.
- If you don’t “value” your time, you end up “losing” your time.
- If you judge, you have no time to love. It’s true.
- Appreciation is what will make it harder for you to feel inadequate in a society that will push you to want more even when you don’t really need it.
- No one can “complete” you. They can only bring out the best in you.
- When you experience something experientially, that’s when you know it’s real.
- People don’t reveal themselves because they’re afraid others will walk away. Stay, SWB. You need to stay.
- The status quo is one big, freaking scary monster. But that’s okay. Impossible is nothing.
- Words alone are nothing. However, when coupled with action, they can become POWERFUL.
- Remember to take care of yourself.
- Bonus: Your real friends are those who are there for you in times of (bad) health.