21 years old

Reflections of 21

Reflections on 21 years.jpg

It's so hard to believe that I have a 21 year old daughter.  This blog post is dedicated to her.  


(Her birthday was yesterday, so I'm sure she won't be reading this until MUCH later today) which is also kinda funny because at this point she and her roommates (who I'm sure are all sleeping in too, after a long night of birthday celebrating) are pretty much the ONLY people reading my blog.  Thanks gals- GO Slugs!

I realize the idea of writing a note my "younger self" is not a completely novel idea.  It's been done before.  I'm going to attempt to reimagine it and hack it and well, who doesn't want to have a chance to tell their kids the things that they wished they'd realized sooner?

So here goes, my 21 lessons I'd share with my younger self (but that my daughter and son can have instead):

1.  Somebody somewhere is taking their last breath.  If you're still breathing, there is still the opportunity to enjoy life and make a difference.

2.  #firstworldprobs is a REAL thing.  The stuff that trips us up is often so ridiculously unimportant.  Make sure the stuff you're sweating is worth sweating over.

3.  Happiness is a choice.  No matter your current circumstances, no matter how bad it feels, you can choose to be happy, right now-this very moment.

4.  Don't make money the main goal.  Of course live responsibly (a very subjective word) and set goals.  To whom much is given much is expected.  If you are able to work hard and make good money, do so.  It allows you to do more for others which is the greatest gift you can give yourself.  People that live for money alone are typically douche bags.

5.  Schedule in time for people and experiences that you enjoy.  Both are more important than things.  Working for things alone, will take up your time.  Time that could be spent on experiences and with other people.

6.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Believe it.  Every single person brings a unique gift to this world that only they can give.  Because of this, respect yourself and respect all others. (Even those you don't like very much)  We all have a purpose and we all make mistakes.  It takes all types to make this world go 'round.

7.  Everyone should go to counseling or life coaching at some point. (Or at multiple points) There is nothing that compares to having someone listen fully to you, without any agenda, that is totally impartial.  It should be mandatory at all stages of life.  Investing in you is never a waste of resources.

8.  Dream big.  Believe in yourself enough to go after the dreams that stick with you.  You will never regret failing.  You WILL regret never having tried at all.

9.  Nothing is a waste of time.  There is a lesson to be had in everything you do.  If it's not obvious, look for it.  It's there.

10.  Embrace the things that scare you.  If you push through the fear, those are the things that are often the most memorable and hold the greatest reward.

11.  Don't worry what others will think.  It just doesn't really matter.  Do what is right.  Do what feels right to you.  Follow your gut.  Pray about it. Don't let others interpretations, misunderstandings, opinions get in the way of what's right for you.

12.  Travel far and wide.  Don't be afraid of the world.  Don't make it a checklist of places to see.  Take your time.  Embrace local cultures.  

13.  Leave your mark.  Make the world a better place.  Daily.  Whether it's by giving your time where needed, smiling at strangers, containing the road rage when you feel it, giving money to the homeless, loving on a pet, listening to a friend, letting a teacher know how much you appreciate them or doing something you really don't feel like doing.  Leave your mark. 

14.  Practice these 5 words "Hi my name is ____________"  When in doubt, surrounded by new people or strangers, in an uncomfortable setting, when you feel out of your league, open your mouth and say those five words.  And then smile.  It's a game changer.  Don't wait for others to reach out.  You can do it and it will not fail you.    

15.  When all else fails, do a time step.  There are moments in life when everything just feels wrong.  Things can go sideways rather quickly.  The time step thing is literal and also figurative.  Literally it is impossible to feel bad when doing a time step.  It is a happy, calming little jig.  A little bounce, a little rhythm, a little swing of the arms, you will just feel better. Figuratively, you can "dance" your way through anything.  Nothing is forever.  A time step will keep the time and help time pass, until you get to the "other side" of what is troubling you.  It's a way to feel the pain of the moment and move through it in a way that is manageable.  It's the equivalent of making lemonade when life throws you lemons.

16.  What you think, affects how you feel, which determines what you do.  This is a universal truth.  Think about it and always try to be aware of what you're thinking.

17.  "Make sure you're always happening to the world, never the other way around." ~Dan Sullivan  This is a good one that I just recently learned by listening to Brooke Castillo of The Life Coach School.  It was so good it jumped out at me.  Don't let the world or life just "happen" to you.  You be the one to "happen" to it.  Take the reigns.  Choose.  Make decisions.  Every non-decision is a decision for something else.  I can't.  So good, I just can't.

18.  Create.  Just create.  Everyone needs a creative outlet.  The medium used will vary.  It may be paint or dance or music or inventions or you name it.  Creating things allows your spirit to express its true self and soar.  You will learn so much about yourself through the process of creating.

19.  There are no right answers.  If you're looking for the "right answer" you are imposing outside opinions on your options.  Choice is a very individual thing and it is also very fluid. Choose.  If it is not the direction that you want to head, change directions and choose again. There is no ultimate destination that you will arrive at.  The path and journey along the road of life is what matters.

20.  Too much of a good thing is just that...too much of a good thing. Case in point-Disneyland.  My family has loved going to Disneyland over the years.  We probably went at least once a year (sometimes twice) for at least 12 years.  The last time we went, we saw it for what it was (or had become).  An expensive rat race with long lines and impatient people everywhere you turned.  (Sorry if you're on your first go 'round with D-land)  We wore out the novelty of it.  All things in moderation.  All things in moderation.

21.  Never stop learning.  There is always something new to learn. Always a way that you can expand your experience and grow.  Read books, blogs, travel, take classes, get a mentor, watch people, ask questions and stretch yourself outside of your comfort zone.  Learning comes in all shapes and sizes.

*Bonus-I forgot one of my most favorite life lessons.  "A rising tide lifts all boats"-Author Unknown There is enough to go around. Whatever is "enough".  Wish well to those striving for similar goals as yours.  We're all in this together and we can get farther together.  Reach up for a hand up and reach back to offer a hand to those on the path behind you.