I love these lists. Yes they are a little overdone and cliché, but whatever, I love them and decided to write one. I recently turned 31 and thought it was fitting to make my list consist of 31 things I've learned about life thus far. This is way harder than you think, to come up with your own authentic list with your own points. I do enjoy that there are some common themes on lists like these. They are usually the most obvious and also the most overlooked. I always talk about how much I've learned from my cancer diagnosis and its aftermath, how its taught me so much about myself and about life and that I am actually grateful for everything that's happened. It's like I got schooled in the lessons of the universe. Here are some of the things I've learned thus far....
31. Take risks. Go against the grain. Don't let the fear of failure or the fear of what other people will think, say, etc. deter you. I quit my job without anything else lined up because I knew deep down it was the best thing for me. At the time, I was in the middle of medical ordeal/breakdown and my body, mind, and spirit needed some time to heal. I had to put myself at the top of my list. Nobody at the time agreed, everyone thought I was crazy.
30. Be honest. Lets keep it real people. I don't mean in the simple form of don't lie (don't do that either), but more of say what you're feeling. Say what you think. Learn to say no. Speak up. Let it out. Be upfront. Don't be an ass about it, but keep it real.
29. Be yourself. Be weird. Get weird. Be all you and be all in.
28. Stop whining. This life is pretty damn amazing if you stop and look around and it's usually not as bad as it seems. You're allowed to vent it out and maybe throw yourself a little pity party, but don't be a whiner. Stop with the why me.
27. Meditate. So many benefits to this. So powerful. Make this part of your daily routine. Start small, try a few minutes a day. There are some great guided meditations to start with. There is no right way to do it, just put in the time and do it. The benefits are endless.
26. Treat yo self! Spend more time and (in some cases) money on you! It's ok to indulge and it's ok to splurge sometimes.
25. Trust your gut! You know what I'm talking about. It's always there, try to listen to it more.
24. Put down your phone!! Look up. Look where you're going. Look at the beautiful surroundings. Look people in the eye. I am just as guilty as you are, but that is why I listed it and I am trying to be more mindful. One of the greatest things we can give someone is our time and attention.
23. Health is extremely underrated. Invest in your health. Take care of your body. Take it from someone who has dealt with some serious health issues, the first wealth is health. Notice and appreciate it and do your part to maintain it.
22. ___________. Good for the body, good for the mind, good for the soul. Mine is surfing. What's yours? Whatever it is, do more of it. We all have one. It can be getting outside for a walk or run, dancing, cooking, whatever activity gives you that restorative, refreshed feeling. Do more of it.
21. If you focus on what you have, you will always have more. If you focus on what you don't have, you will never have enough. Be happy with what you have, I promise you it is enough. Money, power, things, status, etc. does not equal happiness. I don't know why, but it seems people have a hard time truly understanding this one. Or they'll agree with that statement, but still live life to the contrary. At the end of the day when this ride comes to an end, none of that will matter. Again I say, be happy with what you have, I promise you it is enough. And so are you.
20. Be accountable for the role you play, the decisions you make, and the outcomes they have. Stop with the blame game and don't make excuses. Give a shit. About your own life. For you.
19. Stop caring about what other people think. Because it doesn't fucking matter.
18. Stay present in the now. Don't get wrapped up in all the exterior noise and nonsense that life has to offer. Nothing is guaranteed. All we have is this moment, right now.
17. Attitude is everything. This is so damn true. You'd be surprised how different things would be with a little change in perspective.
16. Get outside. Travel. Explore. Nature nature nature. Whether it's your own neighborhood or a grand adventure in another country, get outside! Walk. Move. Explore. "If I'm an advocate for anything it's to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else's shoes, it's a plus for everybody. Open your mind. Get up off the couch. Move." -Anthony Bourdain.
15. Tell people you love them. Make sure your loved ones know this. Not in the quick, "Love you, bye" at the end of a phone conversation (do that too), but make sure they really know what they mean to you.
14. Give back. Volunteer. Give yourself to something. Giving is always better than receiving. This is one I am trying to do more of myself.
13. Be kind to yourself. Negative self talk is toxic and we are our own worst enemy. You are doing the best you can.
12. Don't underestimate the power of sleep. It is necessary and needed. Our most optimal levels are when we are well rested. This one is straight science, not just my personal opinion.
11. Drink lots and lots of water. Always. Your body will love you for it. Several years ago my cardiologist told me how important it is to drink a big glass of water in the morning after waking up. It helps rehydrate everything...your body and even more so, your brain! I've never forgotten what he said and I slam a bottle of water almost every morning.
10. Trust the process. The struggle is usually part of the process so don't fight it. The struggle is proof that you are there, showing up and are working to make it/you better. (This leads directly into....)
9. Trust the timing of your life. This can be incredibly difficult, but I believe it to be true. The universe has our back, it's just sometimes hard to see it that way.
8. Learn to reframe the word failure. This one is huge!!! Make mistakes. Learn from them. Grow from them. Be humbled by them. You don't suck, you're not dumb, you are capable. There is a lesson in there somewhere, find it! Failing at something can be one of life's greatest launching pads if you let it.
7. Forgiveness. This one is so huge. It usually goes hand in hand with letting go of anger. Both of which are absolutely toxic to your own well being. I came across this quote online years ago and I have never forgotten it, "...I felt that I had the right to be angry because of all the things they did to me. It took me a long time to learn that holding on to bitterness and resentment did me more harm than the original incident. When I refused to forgive, I was the person who was hurting... I learned that forgiveness did not mean that I condoned another person's negative behavior. Releasing my resentment let me out of prison... I forgive, I let go, and I fly free."
6. Never stop learning. We are always a work in progress and that is totally okay, in fact, that is the beauty of it. There is always more to learn. Never stop challenging yourself. Never stop growing. Never stop exploring.
5. Be open to change. Life will not go as planned, so it's best you get comfortable with that now. On the flip side, if you want things in your life to change, then you are going to have to change. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
4. You never really know how strong you are until you have to be. It's true, give yourself a little more credit, you will surprise yourself.
3. Family, friends, relationships... Care for them, cherish them, make time for them, foster them. It's a two way street. When it comes down to it, those relationships are EVERYTHING.
2. It doesn't get any easier. Relationships, friendships, work, self care, time management...life. It doesn't get any easier as we get older. But everyday you have a choice. The power is in your hands. What you make time for, what you give power to, what you're willing to let go of. "The power is always in your response, never in your circumstance." -Mastin Kipp
1. Be thankful. Everyday. Wake up in the morning and be thankful. Do it again the next day. That mindset is seriously life changing.