I turned 32-years-old, and celebrated my birthday in the most ridiculous manner possible, I started thinking about everything I’d learnt in my 20s and how much better my life is for those lessons.
So here are the 20 things I wish I’d know in my 20s:
1. There is no difference between your work and your life. It’s all just living. Make sure you enjoy it.
2. Sleep is awesome. Don’t be one of those knobs who jokes around about sleeping when you’re dead. Everything is better with sleep.
3. You will die one day. Realise this, internalise it and use it to make sure you never waste another day, week or year wishing you were somewhere else, doing something else. One day all you will wish for is that day, week or year back.
4. Your health is the single most important thing. If you’re not alive, you can’t do anything.
5. How you feel about your physical appearance is directly linked to how you feel mentally. You can look exactly the same physically in two moments but feel hideous in one and fantastic in the other. Work on yourself internally first and you will become more attractive than you ever thought possible.
6. Managing your expectations is one of the keys to a happy life. The closer your expectations are to reality the happier you will be.
7. Stop worrying about what other people think, no one actually gives a shit. They’re too busy worrying about what other people think of them to have even started considering you yet.
8. You can choose what success means to you – Success doesn’t have to be having some high flying career, lots of money or 2.4 children and a house. You get to define what success is for you. Working out what you think that is will transform your life.
9. We all make mistakes. As long as you learnt something it’s not a failure. It’s just part of the journey.
10. You get to choose every day who you keep in your life – sometimes you should exercise that choice and cut people loose.
11. Everything happens for a reason. Whenever something bad happens you can crumble and wail about how unfair life is, or find the reason it needed to happen to make your life better in the future. And by find a reason I mean create a reason. You can always turn something bad into something good.
12. People matter. Even small human interactions lift our spirits. Never get too busy or important to talk to that random stranger on the bus, at your office or in the street. You may create some of the best moments of your life.
13. Money won’t buy you happiness – if you find yourself getting more and more involved in money and the things it can buy, whether that be clothes, beauty products or sports cars, there is a large change that needs to take place in your life. Something else is actually wrong that you need to focus on fixing. You’re trying to buy happiness and that isn’t not going to work.
14. Everyone envies someone. Looking at that friends’ Facebook profile thinking how they’ve got it all together and wishing you had their life? I can bet you someone is doing the same with yours right now too.
15. You don’t have to have a plan. Some of the best things in life happen when you don’t have one. Do what makes you happy and the rest will follow.
16. You can choose not to be affected by the actions of others. If someone cuts you off, is rude to you or wrongs you in any way you can choose whether you give them the power to ruin your day by getting angry and feeling wronged. Or you can choose to carry on with enjoying your life.
“Choose not to be harmed – and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed – and you haven’t been.”
17. If it’s not a fuck yes it’s a no. For relationships, work, how you spend your days – everything.
18. You don’t need a partner to prove your worth, you can prove it for yourself. Relying on someone else to make you happy will only lead to unhappiness.
19. Never stop learning. Learning is one of the most important things you can do for your own sense of fulfilment. It will cause you to grow and the more you grow the better you can help others. Stop seeing learning as something you just had to get through at school in order to move onto your proper adult life. Learning is essential to your happiness.
20. Be ridiculous occasionally. Life should be an adventure. Next time someone suggests doing something ludicrously silly, or when you think of something equally stupid, ask yourself “Why not”? If no good reason immediately comes to mind, just do it. Now.
Life is what we make of it. Almost all misery in life, we create for ourselves. The same with all joy. We can’t control everything that will happen in life. Hell, we can’t even control most of it. The only thing we can control is how we react; the beauty we chose to see in the world around us, the things we chose to focus on and what we do as a result of those events.
I wish I’d known sooner that creating a wonderful life is simply a choice. Are you choosing to make yours as wonderful as possible each day?