Quarters in college were such a hot commodity because without them you couldn’t do your laundry, you had to annoy everyone on your floor, beg the front desk RA’s, and ultimately wear no underwear for a few days until you could find enough to do your laundry. Obviously going to the bank was simply out of the question. Oh, the mind of an irrational college freshman… I surely don’t miss it.
I have a quarter for you that will remain of value no matter what age you are. A quarter century worth of wisdom that is. Turning 25 sounded monumental for some reason. Much older than 24 and definitely the age I told myself I would have it all figured out. As I get older I start to believe that every year is the year I told myself I would “have my life together.” What does that mean anyway? Now I have realized no 25 year old on this planet has it all figured out and only humor, liquor or empathy will get us through this tumultuous time in our lives.
On yet another long weekend road trip I had an abundance of time to think and reflect. Birthdays always remind me of the best there is to life and just how much I truly have to be grateful for. I feel obligated to share what I have learned in my quarter century on this planet but not in a list of course. That would make me a hypocrite. So, I will give you 25 snippets of wisdom I have gained from my short but incredibly meaningful existence, a few of which are still unanswered questions. Kudos to those who will still read it despite the lack of bolded headings and condensed thoughts.
First and foremost, life is hypocritical but that does not give you the right to be a hypocrite. Life has a funny way of contradicting itself. People tell you to act one way, give you great advice but they don’t follow through themselves. You learn lessons (at least you think) and you will inevitably make the same mistakes. But that also leads me to my belief that whatever you look for you will find. If you expect the worst out of a situation that is what you will get. If you look for good people, that is who you will find yourself surrounded by. There is enough of everything and everyone to go around in this world; you determine what you are surrounded by.
If you are lucky enough to have good people in your life, be grateful for them and show them your gratitude. Don’t just assume they know how you feel. Never underestimate the power of a handwritten thank-you note. They will never go out of style. I believe in them, which is another one of my keys to success and happiness; BELIEF. One of my favorite quotes was and always will be, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” It could sound trite to some but it is 100% accurate, you HAVE to believe in yourself and your life or there is no one else who will.
Before you read any further I want you to realize I recognize most of this wisdom sounds cliché. But I am clever enough to know, clichés exist for a reason. There is a reason everyone says them but not everyone believes them. It is the manner in which you describe those clichés and the conviction you put behind LIVING those words that make one person’s words more powerful than the last person who said relatively the same thing. Actions speak louder than words but sharing your words is an action within itself. I am sure many people say, “Oh, I could write that. I think the same thing. I know that.” Well, why my friend, haven’t you written it yet? Sharing your words is an action and living by them, well that is credibility. That’s your story.
I learned there is a fine line between EVERYTHING in life. Funny and rude, fun and irresponsible, compassionate and obnoxious, chill and lazy. Approach all situations with manners, empathy, and the realization that only about 10 people will cry at your funeral. I heard that fact while listening to a leadership presentation. Why waste your time on what other people think? There is a small chance they will be relevant to your life in the long run. With that being said, never change your life plan for someone else. My mom gave me this advice when I was a freshman in high school and it really stuck with me. I never have and never will. When you refuse to settle for circumstances and you refuse to accept the skin that you are in as permanent you will lead a joyful life of self-discovery. Never stop growing. Every single person you ask would tell you they are “too busy.” No one believes they AREN’T busy so life has to be about priorities. Time passes anyway; you might as well fill your time with things that matter.
When it comes down to it, life is simple. But it is so simple and humans are so complicated, things that seem like they should be common sense aren’t common at all. Common sense isn’t common so here’s a bit of mine. Change the toilet paper roll. Don’t prop it on the holder or stick it on the back of the seat. That’s just lazy. Don’t wait until your last pair of underwear to do laundry. Smile at strangers and hold the door for them. A smile from a stranger can turn someone’s day around. Don’t be hungover for important life events (still working on this). Read as much as you can. Buy the ticket. Take the trip. It is worth every penny. And remember, Chill. Out.
I have been dealt a hand or two in my lifetime I honestly did not know how I could ever survive. But I did. Most importantly, I learned that hunger, heartbreak, and grief strike everyone. We are all vulnerable. The grass may seem greener on the other side but there is so much more to our lives than how they seem on the outside. Never underestimate the power of kindness, patience, communication and intentionality. Life is not something we can watch from the sidelines. If you want to be happy you have to go out there and make it happen realizing that happiness is not going to look like what you thought it would.
Potential is useless. Our actions make us who we are. You have to take your philosophy, your past, your dreams and especially your present and let them propel you forward into a human being you are proud to be. In a quarter century I have learned the value of plenty but the key is not forgetting the value. Taking the value in your heart and transferring it to those around you. I learned the value of hard work, compassion, quarters, manners and absolutely refusing to settle for mediocrity. I hope my words have added value to you and I can only hope that my next quarter of a century is as exhilarating and stimulating as this one. Cheers mates! Xx