1. Tragedy – If you have avoided tragedy up to this point in your life, you are in the minority. I count myself lucky in 21 years.
2. Travel – Travelling brings a greater perspective of who you are and where you come from. But don’t “travel for the sake of travel“. If 35 degrees of heat was the highlight, it was a wasted trip. Go somewhere interesting and have an experience to remember and a story to tell.
*Side note: Go to Berlin. It’s got deep history, incredible nightclubs, a young culture, the best beer in the world and it’s cheap.
3. Avoid planning – Planning months in advance and counting the days is a recipe for disappointment. Instead of ‘planning’ on having a good time, drop everything and do something on impulse. This is why nights out organised at 10pm are the best.
4. Spending money – To get the best value, buy experiences. Travel somewhere, see a concert, or try something random. Experiences live longer in the memory and actually, are often free. The novelty of everything else fades away quickly.
5. If you use it daily, it’s not a waste of money – Overspend on things you use everyday. You will be constantly reminded why it was worth it.
6. Ireland is a great country – Emigration is high among Irish people, but if you talk to people abroad or those who immigrated here they say we have great people, history, food, culture etc. If you want to ‘escape’ to improve your life, you are just as likely to do that closer to home as you are further away……. Our weather is still miserable though.
7. Stay fit and healthy – Most people think you need to run the roads or lift weights 4 nights a week and eat chicken and vegetables to be in ‘in shape’, ‘toned’, ‘healthy’, whatever. Take an interest in what you eat and try a new foods until you find the ones you actually LIKE, then stick to those. Simple food swaps are what will make a difference. 90% of diets fail because they use an all or nothing approach for short term goals. The goal should be to enjoy everything you eat and all exercise you do. Keep variety to avoid boredom.
8. Don’t ‘hate’ something you have never tried – This is acceptable for an 8 year old. Try new things as often as you can.
9. Social media generation – We are the first generation who had social media since early teens so we all have too many Facebook ‘friends’. But try not to judge someone on that ridiculous status they put up yesterday. There is no substitute for face to face conversation.
10. Don’t fear change – I moved cities when I was 13 and changed friends, school and hobbies. Initially, I feared the change but it worked out for the better. For those moving away it’s worth remembering that your friends will still be your friends in 5 years. It’s easy to pick up where you left off.
11. Be able to prove everything – Write it down, take a picture, keep a record. If you can’t prove it, people will not believe you. The reason for this…..
12. People lie all the time – They lie about what drink they had, what movie they went to see, how much money they made. If you know someone like this just nod then forget.
13. Educate yourself – Some things are best learned by doing but read up on topics you actually want to know about. Read some books, articles and blogs. Ask questions too, people love giving advice.
14. Don’t do a work placement – Your free time is the most valuable thing you have. Use the time to educate yourself. 80% of what you learn on placement is learned in the first 6 weeks. DO NOT give away a year of your life for a £1650 badge that says ‘Industrial Studies.’
15. Take your own advice more often – More often that not, that ‘feeling’ or ‘instinct’ you have is right.
16. Don’t assume future scenarios — If you think ‘by this time next year…..’ you just put things off and don’t do them. If there is something you want to do, plan how you can do it in the next 6 months.
17. Talk to strangers – People who shared your upbringing will not teach you anything new. Meet and talk to people of different religions, ethnic backgrounds, personality types, and sexual orientation. You will see things from another point of view and the most interesting conversations come from these people.
18. Get to know your family – Someone will ask you one day what he/she was really like, and if you don’t have an answer, you will regret this.
19. Give stuff away – This usually feels better than keeping it for yourself.
20. Show some initiative – Opportunities never fall perfectly. If you want something you must make the first move.
21. Life is neither a problem to be solved or a game to be won. Enjoy the ride.