So the sister of a certain high profile human that I may or may not fancy whose name starts with an H and ends with an arry Styles wrote an article on her 25th birthday about what she's learned so far in her quarter century of life (not to get all dramatic, but Harry Styles might be the kindest human I've never met). And also sidenote: I really can't believe I've lived over a quarter of a century. I know most people live much longer than that, but it still just feels like such a feat, you know? It must be the word 'century' making me feel like all epic and stuff.
Anyway, said sister had some great things to say and some great life hacks. I'm not sure I have many of those, by way of life hacks I mean, but her blog post really got me thinking, what have I learned in my 27+ years on this earth?
Well, I'm still figuring that out. And honestly, I don't trust anyone who says they already have. But point being, I decided to write out 27 things that my life experiences have so far proven to me to be true. I'm not sure why but when I started writing, I wrote as though I was talking to my younger self. Honestly, I wish things were reversed and younger me were the one writing to older me. I bet younger me would have had some great nuggets of wisdom :)
Alas, here goes. Here are 27 things (Life hacks if you will? You probably won't because I'm not confident I know the definition of the word 'hack' in terms of life and none of these may actually qualify as hacks) that I've learned in my twenty-seven years living this crazy beautiful thing called life:
1. Life is going to try and turn you into a cynic. Don't let it.
2. Don't try to pop pimples that you know are unpoppable. Seriously, don't. They won't pop, and you'll just have an acne scar to show for it.
3. Genuinely read all the books you're assigned in middle and high school. You won't regret it when you're an adult. They're classics for a reason (I'm looking at you, East of Eden).
4. When you're stressed or upset, ask yourself will this be a big deal to me in 5 years? If the answer is no, then fight to let it go. If the answer is yes, then fight for it.
5. Seek to understand before you seek to be understood.
6. Learn to sit in silence. You'll appreciate the serenity and solace in the midst of this noisy world.
7. Write stuff down. Pen and paper style.
8. Have money directly deposited into a savings account before it ever has a chance of making it into your spending account. Then treat your savings as though they're Fort Knox.
9. Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God. (This is straight from Jim Elliott, but it's just so damn good).
10. Be generous. With your money, with your talents, with your time, with who you are. On that note, live simply. Stuff is just stuff. Don't ever let material possessions own you. We need far less than we think to live a joy filled life.
11. When you're in Pre-K and nap time rolls around - TAKE IT. For the love of all that is good in this world, take a freakin' nap. Adult you will regret every time you passed up the glorious chance for an extra snooze.
12. Ask. Ask once, ask twice, ask again until you understand. Ask the questions no one else dares to ask. Ask yourself the hard questions you may think you don't want to know the answers to. Ask the Lord what He thinks and what He's up to and what He says about stuff. Live a life of learning. You aren't inherently born with knowledge or understanding, so ask.
13. Don't be afraid to be the only one. Rosa Parks wasn't. Jesus wasn't. Juror 8 in the movie 12 Angry Men wasn't. (Thank you high school movies that were shown in class so you had no excuse not to watch them, unlike the books previously mentioned in number 3).
14. This nugget of wisdom is thefted as well from an anonymous genius**, but I think it's just brilliant: be kind whenever possible. It's always possible. Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
15. Never underestimate a child. In so many ways, they are far wiser than us adults.
16. Start exercising (apart from team sports) and eating healthy as soon as you can in life because the Freshmen 15 is no joke, my friend. And neither is that thing you hear about your metabolism slowing down in your mid-20's. It's just a fact. A sad, sad fact.
17. Relationships are worth fighting for. In fact, I'm not sure there's much else on this earth that's more worthy of being fought for.
18. On that note, you know how they say 'Show me your friends and I'll show you the man?' Actually, who says that? Was that Jesus? I'm about to Google it. Okay, so I'm apparently misquoting it, and it also was not Jesus who said that. I'm really not sure who said it first but anyway, I think it's pretty true. Surround yourself with amazing people. Not only will they make you into an amazing person, they'll make life pretty amazing, too.
19. Underpromise and overdeliver. (Heads up: you're not so naturally gifted at this).
20. Take criticism. It will help you grow. Posture yourself so others will feel as though they can even give you criticism. And when they do, receive it. Even if you think they may be wrong, receive it and weigh it. It may or may not be truer than you care to admit.
21. Make the next good decision. You don't have to make the next 10 good decisions, just make the next good decision. Life is a cumulation of your moments, not of your intentions.
22. Life's unfair. In both directions. The only thing that's fair is that it's unfair for everyone.
23. Quirks and idiosyncrasies aren't what you want in middle school but as an adult, it's the people who just own who they are that are the very coolest.
24. Celebrate what is praiseworthy in others. Everyone has an incredible story. Listen to it and celebrate it. Even people you think you don't like or that you just don't care for, if you take the time to listen, you'll have to admit they have a pretty incredible story. Anyone made in the image of the universe's Creator (i.e. every human on the planet, even the seemingly crummy ones) are a creative masterpiece. Celebrate that.
25. Vote. Not only will you get one of those cool 'I Voted!' stickers and feel all good about fulfilling your civic duties, it's a privilege denied to many. You honor those who can't by treasuring the opportunity that you can.
26. Don't start smoking. Or doing drugs. Or doing anything that just seems like a bad idea. I have no idea how you stop once you start. The people that do are just amazing. It's just easiest to say nope to dope (and other bad things) right out of the gate. Self-control is not overrated. Seriously, to be self-controlled in an indulgent world, that may be the bigger feat than making it to 27.
27. Floss. And wear a helmet. Just do it. Gingivitis and traumatic brain injuries both sound like the pits. Gingivitis I'm sure tastes like the pits, too.
27 and 1/2. It won't always be this hard. He's making everything new and everything beautiful in its own time.
**Everything I know, I've learned from someone else. Seriously.