I wish I had the perfect recipe and could douse you all with a concoction of a timeless and magical potion for lifelong happiness. I’m hoping that many of you already live happy and fulfilling lives, but in my opinion, there’s always room for improvement. So since I can’t provide miracles, but can instead provide experience, I’ve come prepared with some interchangeable core essentials. Here’s a list of what I’ve come up with when drinking a bottle of wine on a Monday doesn’t work:
1. Discover your sense of purpose and your relevance to the world. Use it wisely and live your daily life with this in mind.
2. Pay off your debt. You have no idea the freedom it will bring you! For many of us, student loans are inevitable, but drowning in bills as you begin your adult life will undoubtedly eat away at your soul. A second and third job might mean a lack of sleep and social life for awhile, BUT it sure beats drowning in money problems and selling your soul to the devil (or the government in this case) for the next 10 years. Here’s how I paid off $40,000 in just 18 months.
3. When it comes to family, friends, and significant others, don’t forget to love wholeheartedly. If you find yourself unable to, then you’re investing your time in, and spending your time with the wrong people. Get away quickly rather than trying to convince yourself.
4. Be thankful. Every single day. Every time you open your eyes to a new day of life on this earth. And learn to appreciate every moment of the beauty surrounding you.
5. Realize that people will undoubtedly hurt and disappoint you. It won’t bother you as much if you have substandard expectations of people ahead of time.
6. …And… learn to forgive those who have wronged you. Not for them, but for yourself. You’ll rest easier by loving more and hating less.
7. Embrace your independence. Know how to survive on your own mentally, emotionally, and financially. Know that there is a BIG difference between being alone and being lonely. And know that contrary to popular belief, there is more to life than always being in love. (Back to back relationship’ers.. I’m talking to you).
8. Save and spend wisely, but be a little reckless at times too. Remember… you can’t take your money with you when you die. SO.. go ahead and splurge on a the #1 combo at the movies, on a fancy anniversary dinner, on jumping out of a plane or on that long-time imagined vacation overseas. Don’t let all of your hard work sit in a bank for years to come for no apparent reason. Get out there and enjoy the life you’ve worked so hard to create while you are young enough and still physically able to do so. *Note: this is much easier once you pay off that high interest debt that keeps accumulating by the second. Something to keep in mind :).
9. Try to be as non-judgemental as possible. It’s human nature to judge, but at least be mindful of this quality and try to be open-minded and accepting of those different from yourself. Believe it or not, we all have similar wants, needs, hopes, and dreams for the future, and you’re only limiting yourself by discriminating based on race, sex, age, ability, religion, education, sexual orientation, etc. And I can personally guarantee that you’re the one missing out on a wholllleeee lot of amazing people by being a self-centered, self-righteous, and ignorant asshole.
10. Never EVER let money be the driving force of your life. You’ll be amazed at how freeing a life without this need will be. There is a whole lot more to life than stressing over finances.
11. … So… don’t feed into consumerism. Fancy belongings will only give you temporary happiness and will never fill the emptiness like good experiences and good people will. For me, nothing beats a (many) good beer(s), good food, good football, good music and good company. Find out what yours is and make it happen.
12. See the positive in every negative. Being negative not only affects you, but affects those around you as well. Try to be the person that lifts people’s spirits, instead of shatters them.
13. In the same respect, be realistic. Life isn’t a constant succession of endless rainbows and butterflies. The earlier you accept the ups and downs as an inevitable part of life, the quicker and easier you’ll be able to move along.
14. Shatter societal norms. Live life to your own accord. Dance to the beat of your own drum. Traditional American lives aren’t for everyone and that’s okay. Do it anyway.
15. Remember that being overworked and unfulfilled will get you nowhere. Live in a way that you’ll look back on and say, “I had quite the amazing life.”
16. Let go of those who have let go of you, and hold on like hell to those who haven’t. And never ever settle in your quest to find people who truly deserve to be a part of your life.
17. Travel, explore, and truly experience new cultures. You owe it to yourself to see what life is like somewhere else. And you owe it to yourself AND others to broaden your view of the world.
18. Trust that most people in this world are good and let this be your driving force to meet new people and constantly learn from them.
19. Take risks and do things that scare you often. You will never learn, change and grow otherwise. You will simply adapt to a boring life of comfort, and that’s not really the point of life now, is it?
20. Surround yourself only by people who help to make you into the best version of yourself. Look for: The people who bring out your wild side. The people who make you cry from laughing uncontrollably. And the people who love and support you unconditionally.
21. Get an education. Not for the outcome of a life sucking corporate job afterwards, but for the education itself. Never underestimate the power of learning and how it will change your life.
22. Donate your time, money, and/or your skills to those less fortunate than yourself. It will give you a wake up call you so desperately deserve.
23. Never rely on anyone for your own happiness, but instead be willing and able to create it for yourself. But always, always accept the help of friends and family when you need it. Pushing people away in times of sadness will only make your life more difficult. Trust me on this one. Just open up.
24. Eliminate the things that make you unhappy. Seems simple, but it’s easier said than done. Don’t like your job? Quit. Don’t like your relationship? Leave. Don’t like your home? Move. It really is as simple as that. Be strong enough to move on and push forward from the things that no longer serve your live purposefully and positively.
25. And last, but DEFINITELY not least, be driven, be motivated, and find something in this crazy world to live for. Be humble, be kind, be thoughtful, be intelligent, be understanding, and be UNIQUE. And always, always dream big.