The truth is that we settle into who we’re going to become while we’re young. As Carlo Levi once said and Cheryl Strayed reiterated, the future has an ancient heart– we unravel as we evolve (another great truth Strayed once pointed out), and in fact, the word means just that, and at our core resides a great force that we build to dictate us. We are most open, most willing, most capable, and most hopeful, while we’re “young.” Before life has done it’s grand number on us for another 10, 20 or 30 years and we have all but lost our faith that we can revolutionize ourselves once again.
Because time makes us blind to ourselves. We accept that things are the way they are and if we allow them to become daily routine, well, they don’t just become that– they become our mindsets. They become our unchanging ideology. We are here to sculpt ourselves, and the farther we allow ourselves to settle into what we’ve created without protest, the more difficult it becomes to change as life so readily calls for. These are the things we have to realize about ourselves, and our lives, before it’s too late.
1. If there’s anything we should sculpt ourselves considering, it’s that we will never actually know the truth about most things. We can only call attention to our own truths, our own realities, our own understanding of what it is that’s in front of us right now. This is valid just for the fact that we are experiencing it, but other people’s accounts are valid as well.
2. Nobody should be written off because what they bring to the table seems ludicrous in comparison to what we believe.
3. We find the most happiness in the little intricacies of everyday life. In them will be the memories that we hold of people we lose, the most intense bits of joy, our day-to-day reason to be. Waiting for big change is fruitless, because when it comes, it will once more fade into an overarching backdrop that becomes nearly invisible to us. But the little things will remain.
4. That person you’re fawning over but whom does not know you exist? They won’t be there forever. They, in fact, are currently weighing their own romantic options and are going to start making decisions for their own lives, if they haven’t already, with you excluded from the picture. You do not have forever to be so abruptly and spontaneously honest and romantic with hopes that things may work out in your favor just for the sheer fact that most people will, within the next decade or two, pair, partner or marry.
5. Nobody is thinking about you as much as you are thinking about you. Realize that everybody is just trying to be aware of themselves and stop thinking that everything everyone does is about you, and for you, and was done to spite you. Not only is it false, it will just make you angrier and even more attuned to your own self-interest.
6. Being busy is an excuse.
7. People are pretty simple creatures in the fact that if they truly want something, they’ll go to every length to get it. If someone wants you, you’ll know. Anything else is an augmentable detail of how convenient you are to them.
8. If there’s only one mindset that matters it’s that everything passes.
9. Change is the culmination of alterations so small you barely recognize them. This is how the work gets done, and stays done. The big picture will change when the smaller parts are revolutionized, part by part.
10. Your youth is not the only plausible time to make rash, reckless decisions, but it will very possibly be the time that will yield the least consequences of doing so.
11. Blaming your unhappiness and dissatisfaction on anything other than your sheer lack of will to change is not only erroneous, but it cheats you out of yourself. There will always be alternative avenues, help to seek, changes to make, ideas to reinvent. It’s just a matter of getting up and doing so.
12. Loving something and attaching yourself to it are two very different things, but their lines are usually blurred. It’s only when you are separated from that thing (or person) that you will be able to realize it, and it’s often important that you do before you’re too far deep to come out irreparably changed.
13. You are human and you always will be and the only way to combat the humiliatingly real flawed reality of yourself is to be honest about it.
14. Intelligence is not measured by exams, creativity not by output, desire not by action and honesty not by circumstance.
15. You do not have a guaranteed life span of another 60+ years. Though it feels that way, and to be cheated out of such feels like an offense to you, it’s not. You don’t necessarily even have tomorrow, and you’ll realize this with crippling suddenness when you lose someone you also thought was also guaranteed the same.
16. Trying times are usually wiping the slate clean for a personal renaissance. Wait for it.
17. You can spend your life lamenting what you look like or you can learn to work with what you have. You can spend each meal out with friends counting calories in your head or you can be awed at how absolutely delicious something is. You can torture yourself or not. You are the only one affected by your inner dialogue with yourself. It doesn’t make people think of you differently, it doesn’t make you cooler, smarter, more lovable or more wanted. It makes you someone who cheats themselves out of the whole of an experience.
18. You need not continue to define yourself as you once were defined by others.
19. There are no “beginnings” or “ends” in life. It’s a constantly flowing, evolving experience. There is no waiting period and acting period. You kid yourself by thinking that “you just have to get through X period of time before you can do this and that.” It puts off the reality that you can’t enjoy yourself now, and the truth is, if you don’t learn to find happiness now, you never will. You will always be waiting for the next “tomorrow.”
20. You’re never too old.
21. Your best bet is to spend your money on experiences, not things, though the latter is grippingly tempting.
22. At every single moment of your life, even this one, you are faced with a choice. Do or die. Wait or act. Hope or trust. Cower or believe. And as I said before, much like the overarching picture of your life is just a series of choices and tiny revolutions, as is how you are deciding your future will be. Though the little voice that tells you all the reasons you shouldn’t and can’t feel happiness is a resilient little demon, it does not control you more than you let it. The problem is that most people appreciate the security over the risk, and it’s in their deep security that they find the least satisfaction, time and time again.