My year of 25 has been a transitionally interesting yet challenging one. With 26 right around the corner, I’ve experienced a unique sense of growth over the past year; one that has allowed me to feel more confident in my own skin and optimistic about the future. It’s led to an insane amount of reflection and a compilation of 25 insights and lessons learned that my fellow peers who are going through the mid-life crisis thang may be able to relate to.
1. Never underestimate what you’re capable of. Most of the time, it’s a lot more than you think. We’re all insecure at times, but it’s important to work through that doubt, no matter how hard it might be.
2. Never settle. This is a tough one that I’ve battled with for a while. At some point you realize your true potential, which makes you look at life from a different perspective, which leads me to my next point…
3. Choose your company wisely. I find this to be more crucial the older I get. There are far too many negative people who get pleasure out of manipulating their way through life. And the unfortunate thing is that they’ll do pretty much anything to take you down with them. Do your best to steer clear of them; it’ll save you emotional agony in the long run.
4. Don’t trust easily. This is probably the one thing I personally suck at, but am slowly learning. It goes back to my last point about letting the right people into your life. If you open up too quickly, there’s a chance you’ll get taken advantage of. It’s never a bad thing to keep an air of mystery until proven trustworthy.
5. Never stop exploring. If you’re able to travel, do so as much as possible. Even if that means adventuring to a new part of the city you live in. It’ll bring a new perspective to everyday life and will open new doors and opportunities in ways you never imagined.
6. Dating will probably suck. Most (at least some) of the time. Especially in a big city. You’ll probably date more assholes than not, but the upside is it’ll really help you understand yourself and what you’re looking for. Don’t let it discourage you, but rather spin it into a positive learning experience.
7. Never take your family for granted. You’ll come to realize this after going through certain experiences where you find you need someone genuine and trustworthy to turn to. No one will be as honest (and loving, even if tough love) as your family.
8. Never take life for granted. Take time to look around and reflect on things to be grateful for, rather than what’s missing. Truth is, we “Never understand how little we need in this world until we know the loss of it.”
9. Be excellent. No matter the task at hand, aim to be the best. Others will take notice. And remember, it’s never too late to be better than you were yesterday. As Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
10. It’s important what others think, but only certain people. And when I say this, I’m talking about mentors and those who will help you grow and improve. Forget the rest.
11. Quality over quantity. Always. No need to elaborate.
12. Have a plan. It’s important to have some sort of plan in place when it comes to the future. Whether it’s saving money to buy an apartment/house, or even your next travel destination. It’s imperative to set a goal and work toward it every day.
13. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Theodore Roosevelt is absolutely right. It’s important to constantly be in a state of self-improvement, but it becomes dangerous when you start to compare your life to others. Find your purpose rather than living vicariously through someone else’s.
14. Never lose your childlike curiosity. This is the secret to long-term happiness. There are so many amazing discoveries to be made in this world and we should never stop pursuing them. There’s always something new to learn, a new place to see and new people to meet. It’s literally a never-ending journey.
15. Never judge others. As cliché as it sounds, you honestly don’t know what they’ve been through. At any given moment, your life could take a turn and put you in a situation you’ve never imagined, negative or positive.
16. Take care of yourself. Mentally, physically and emotionally. Protect yo heart.
17. Stop explaining yourself to others. Those who truly know and believe in you won’t ever ask you to.
18. Good things never come easy. Take time to acknowledge the importance of patience when working toward a goal. This applies to jobs, relationships, weight loss, etc. If it’s too easy, it won’t be worthwhile.
19. It’s never too late to pursue your passion. As Lao Tzu once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
20. Less is more. Working toward a minimalist lifestyle can help maintain a clear head and will help you focus on things that really matter.
21. Question everything.
22. Always step out of your comfort zone. It’s what makes us grow and keeps us resilient. After all, resiliency is what gets us through everyday challenges. After all, “Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.”
23. Everything (okay, most things) is in your control. Of course unexpected shit happens that we can’t control like death or loss of a job. But, the way you react to everyday life is within your control. From the moment you wake, you have the ability to decide how you’ll react to every encounter that day.
24. Embrace the unknown. More likely than not, if you talk to someone 15-20 years older than you, they’ll admit that they’re still figuring it all out. Truth is, life will always remain a mystery and as mentioned before, there’s always something new to learn. Embrace the thrill of uncertainty and run with it.
25. Never get ahead of yourself. No matter your achievements or level of success, it’s important to stay humble and remember where you came from. Remember, “Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”