In the past 30 years, I’ve seen and been through some interesting things, to say the least. But there are several things that would have made my life easier, had I known or learned them sooner. Below is a collection of 30 things that would have made life easier, had I learned them sooner. I hope that you take some of these lessons and thoughts to heart, as knowing them now has helped me so much!
1. Your Parents Are and Were Always Right
You’ve got to give the people who’ve been through more in their lives some credit. They’ve seen things that you will never see, and lived through events in their lives that have paved the way for your future. Trust their judgement, learn from their mistakes, and make sure that you listen to them, always. That doesn’t mean that you won’t ever have to learn something on your own to make sense of the situation in your life, but think about where they are coming from, or where they’ve been when they offer you advice. Before my mother passed away, she told me that if anything ever happened to her, I would have to live with my grandparents – and that would be the hardest thing I had ever done. She was right, I did in fact end up living with my grandparents after she passed, but where she went wrong was WHY it would be the hardest thing I’d ever done. It wasn’t because they were terrible people – quite the opposite actually. It was because they had raised children in the 60’s and 70’s, and it was 2001 – and I had a bad attitude about parenting styles because my mother was so lenient with me. It was hard because I was in denial that she would ever die, and because I would not accept their “rules” for my life. After some time grieving, and a few hard fights with my grandparents, I got over my distaste for being forced to live with people who didn’t understand “today’s ways”, I learned who my grandparents really were, and was able to spend time with them, learn from them, and really grow into a person who values the thoughts and opinions of those who have been further in their lives than I. Those people are the foundation of my family, the rocks and the guardians. I love them for everything “they put me through” with their different parenting styles, and I value everything they’ve taught me.
2. Learn From Your Mistakes
Or you are bound to repeat them – this is SO TRUE. Unfortunately people often learn this the hard way, as I have. There have been several mistakes I’ve made in life, including thinking that I can fix or change people and situations that are just not true. It has come crashing down, caved in my lap, or been a disaster every time. And every single time, I’ve thought to myself “Wait a second – I’ve done this before. I should have learned / known better”! People are not perfect. We’re bound to make mistakes in this wonderful learning journey we call life. But if you take a moment each time you screw up to learn from your mistakes – you made them for a reason after all – because you didn’t know that “lesson” before you made the mistake, you will begin to cherish those lessons you’ve learned and recognize the error in your ways!
3. Be a Fool While You Are Young
And then cut that shit out. Seriously, you should not be running around like a teenager and acting like an idiot when you are older. Be responsible for yourself and your own actions. Be responsible for your belongings and decisions in life. Think about the potential outcomes, risks, and circumstances of your actions, and act according to your age. Surround yourself with people that are of the same mindset as you – life is not a constant party, but there are plenty of times for parties throughout life.
4. Don’t Fear the Doctor
People generally fear going to the doctor for one of two reasons: Pain or Fear…and it isn’t fear of pain, it is a genuine fear of what the doctor may say. We need to learn to face the truth, no matter how much we don’t want to believe or hear it. If you are overweight, suspect a serious illness, or have a habit that is very unhealthy, TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR about solutions and resolutions to the problem. Doing so is the only way we can begin to actually get healthy. Face the truth and take necessary actions to be the best and healthiest we can be. It sounds much simpler than it truly is.
5. Be the BEST Self You Can Be, and Constantly Strive to Be Better
Nobody is Perfect, because there is no such thing, but you should always strive for Greatness. Whether it is through personal achievement, career development, or overall well being – BE YOUR BEST SELF ALWAYS! It will bring you great joy to know that you yourself are as good as you can possibly be. Set goals for yourself to be better about things you know you’re aren’t the best at, and actually work towards it. I have a very bad habit of cutting people off while in conversations because I simply cannot hold my thoughts and opinions in. I am working on that. I also need to learn how to be more graceful in every aspect of my life. Think about what you should be working on in order to be your absolute best self?
6. Learn When to Walk Away
Sometimes people and situations are just not worth your effort, pain and heartache. You’ll know when you encounter something that is just not worth it, so why not recognize that and rid yourself of it? You do not have to go through your life accepting everything and just dealing with it. If it is in your control enough to do away with it, then do it! This applies to people in your life as well. If someone is toxic or costs more energy and heartache than they are worth – get rid of them. It may be hard, but in the end you will look back and realize that it was totally worth it!
7. Be Happy and Satisfied
Constantly wanting more than you have, or something different than you have is not healthy – but it is common, and is sort of becoming “The American Way”. Be satisfied with yourself, the person you’ve become and where you’ve gotten thus far in your life. Force yourself to be happy and it will actually happen. Things may be tough, or there may be situations that are not so pleasing throughout your life, but there is absolutely no sense in wasting time being unhappy. If you can remove the anger points or things that displease you in your life, remove them. If not, find a way to work through it or deal with what is bothering you so that you can move on. Don’t WASTE your life being negative.
8. Stress is Not Worth the Side Effects
Many people don’t realize this, but stress can actually kill you, and if it doesn’t, it has rather nasty side effects. A few years ago I was stricken with a gut wrenching pain right below my sternum. Pain would literally double me over and drop me to the floor. Something was wrong!! I went to the doctor and he recommended I have an ultrasound on my galbladder. Thinking the worst, I rushed to have the test. The results came back and my doctor wanted to see me again. UGH I thought, what could it be!? My doctor told me that I had a picture perfect gal bladder. That absolutely nothing was wrong with it. “What is causing this then?” I asked. In response, he then asked me “Well, are you drinking a lot of coffee, not sleeping well, eating terribly, drinking a lot of caffeine, smoking, worried a lot. or really stressed out?” “That about sums up my life Doc.” I said. To which he replied “Then stop it. You are hurting yourself, and nothing is worth hurting yourself that much! Take a deep breath. If you are not going to be worried or stressed out about it a year from now, let it go. It is not worth it.” YIKES! New words to live by: “If you are not going to be stressed or worried about it a year from now, why worry yourself to death about it right now?” You will figure out whatever it is, resolve the situation, or it will be completely out of your hands and will work itself out one way or another. Don’t hold on to things that hurt you. Change your lifestyle for the better.
9. Cherish Your Family
Even if they make you mad sometimes, they’re yours. Treat them with respect and cherish the moments and the memories you make with them. We are not guaranteed another day on this Earth, and many times, the people we love are taken from us way too soon. Even if it is a long painful process, or they have grown old and tired, we are never ready for it. Cherish every moment and value those that mean the most to you. Listen to them, and give them the time of day that they deserve in your life. And put down your damn phones and pay attention to your kids – they will not be kids forever!
10. Trust in Yourself
This includes trusting your gut. You were given the ability to have feelings for a reason. It’s an instinct, a gut reaction. Things make you sick or feel sick for a reason. You worry because you probably should! Trust these emotions, they are generally based on past experiences and instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s most likely because it ISN’T.
11. Understand that You Go to Work to Make Money, Not to Make Friends
Thinking that everyone has to like you, or that you have to be friends with everyone you work with can be exhausting and detrimental to your career. It causes you to loose focus on the real reason you are there, and clouds your judgement. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have people that you genuinely like or get along with in the workplace, maybe even a true friend. But not everyone has to like you. It is OK if they don’t. (That doesn’t mean that you don’t have to be pleasant in the office.)
12. Don’t Give Toxic People the Attention They Seek
You know toxic people, and you probably spend too much time complaining about them behind their backs to realize that the negativity they bring about is hurting your life and your mindset. You should let these people know your thoughts, tell them when their words and actions hurt or are morally wrong to you. If it becomes so bad that you never have a single positive experience or thought regarding that person, recognize that they are not a permanent fixture in your life and you don’t have to deal with it. See #6.
13. Don’t Let People Hurt You
Pain from the harm of others is sometimes unavoidable because you can’t predict the future. But you should be smart about those you choose to share your life with. The saying goes “Don’t touch a hot stove more than once” for a reason.
14. Ditch the Drama Queens
First, are they dramatic because they think they are cool, because the situation matters exponentially to them, or because they don’t know any better to know that they are acting like a fool? I have a few people in my life like this, and I’ve come to realize that one of them simply doesn’t know any better and the situations matter to them in that way. The only problem with it is that the person can’t see PAST the situation enough to realize that when they get over it, they will just be on to the next instance or recurrence of the same situation, which is one hell of a roller coaster to live on. Well I want off the damn ride. But my friend sincerely doesn’t realize that this behavior is wrong because she has never lived a life without things like this. Another acquaintance of mine thinks it is cool to be overly dramatic. I am off that damn ride and it feels so good.
15. Find Your (Few) Truly Good Friends
When I count the friends I have that honestly and truly matter to me, I have about 6. That’s it. 3 of them have been my good friends for most of my life (so long I want to stop counting because it makes me feel old!) Others have recently come into my life, and they are the ones that could end up going if situations were to change. But those original 3 – those will be my sisters for life. I love them with all my heart like they were my family and I would do absolutely anything for them. Everyone else is just acquaintances. You know how you are 😉
16. Always Make Time for Yourself
Yes, it is extremely important to make sure that your kids have their lunches packed, that homework is done and that the elements in your life that need your attention – I get it. But throughout the week, don’t forget about yourself. Whether it be a hobby, getting your nails done, or simply reading a book – spend time on yourself doing something you love for an absolute minimum of an hour a week. Allow your creativity to flow and your brain to relax from this crazy life a bit. JUST BREATHE.
17. Learn When to Say You’re Wrong and Admit Your Faults
There is a saying often used for marriage advice that goes something like this (to a wife) “Learn How to Admit When You are Wrong”, and (to a husband) “Learn how to say: You’re Right” and that is supposed to end all marriage fights. Not really true, but funny nonetheless! Knowing when to admit your errors, or when your wrong is a big step in “Growing up” (yes, that thing that no one ever wants to do!) I have fought many points in my life, only to find out that I was in fact incorrect…Knowing when to say that you’re wrong, or admit that you’ve made mistakes is very important though. Using this correctly will gain a tremendous amount of respect from your peers, coworkers and bosses, and will help put your mind at ease when you’ve made BIG mistakes so that you can put the error behind you and work towards a resolution. Practice with me: “I was wrong.” “I messed up”. See, it isn’t so bad!
18. Don’t Be Upset When Things Don’t Turn Out the Way You’d Planned
If you could plan out every moment of your life, and it went exactly as you planned, what would be the point? Uncertainty and random circumstances are the beauty of life. They bring about reasons to stop and think, and things to learn about. When you over-plan situations, you set yourself up for failure and getting your hopes up. You turn yourself into a monster of expectations, only to have those expectations and high hope blown to pieces. Plan the details, but leave the rest to the world…it will take care of itself. Wait for the unplanned, and cherish the moments, lessons and memories that are made from those elements that didn’t go as planned!
19. No One is Perfect at Life – We are All Still Learning
If we all came into this world knowing everything, there would be absolutely no point in living. We are here on this planet to learn things, to make mistakes, to overcome adversity and obstacles, to create amazing things, and bring forth great ideas. Everyone has opinions on how to do things “right”. If you’ve ever played golf with someone who plays more than 3 times a year, or know anyone who has ever been pregnant or raised children, you understand what I mean. Everyone has their own experiences, lessons, and thoughts about how things work. Make your own opinions based on your life and experiences. The others are just suggestions.
20. Other People’s Baggage is Not Your Baggage
Just because that guy you’re dating had a bad break up with his last girlfriend and she was a real bitch doesn’t mean that he should be afraid of you, or that you are a crazy bitch and will hurt him. Yes, people can bring lessons they’ve learned from past relationships and experiences into their relationship or situation with you, but they do not need to project these past experiences onto you, and they are not your problem. If that is the case, then that person needs some time to pause and realize that not everyone is that way, and not everyone will treat them that way. You are totally different, and you deserve to be treated as such.
21. You Can’t Change People
Face it, people don’t change unless people want to change. There is a common misconception among women that we can take any man and turn him into a great creature. This is simply not true. (Sorry Ladies!) Find someone you can be happy with and that you want to spend your life with, not someone that you want to spend your energy trying to change. Either accept them as they are, or move on – you’ve got better things to do with your time.
22. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
Help Help Help! I am not a super woman! I’m a control freak – I get it, trust me. It’s easier to do it right yourself then to ask for help and possibly have it done wrong. But you cannot simply do EVERYTHING. It’s just not possible. So ask for help! If they do it wrong, two things happen: 1. It’s done – so figure that part out. 2. You have a learning moment, that maybe they need help understanding how it was supposed to be done. They are not you – so don’t expect things to be treated the same way you’d treat them because they think differently than you do. Remember that saying, “Teach a man to fish”?
23. Nothing good happens after 12am – So Get Some Sleep!
And nothing good comes from drinking alcohol in the form of a shot. Let’s get real. See #3. Drinking yourself into an absolute stupor and staying out late all the time is foolish. You are not a productive member of society, you are a dumb ass who is not responsible for yourself. Not to say that you shouldn’t go out and have a great time, but overdoing it all the time is not reasonable. You as a human being need a good amount of sleep to refresh your body, and reproduce the energy you need for the next day. To hit the reset button and start your morning on the right foot. Sleep is important. Over drinking, being irresponsible and not sleeping enough is harmful to your well being. Smiling however is not harmful 🙂
24. Seek Constant Education and Challenges
What is life, if not a challenge? The second I am not learning something new or being challenged in my career, I’m done with it. I’ll need to move on. I’ve generally had this mindset throughout my career, and thankfully have been allowed to move on to bigger and better projects as I’ve mastered those tasks, products and methods. Because of this, I am constantly learning, being challenged, and am always thankful for the lessons and things I’ve learned throughout the process – but always eager to learn more! What’s next for me? Who knows! But I know that it will be something I’ve never done before, and something I’ll learn a lot from!
25. Don’t LIVE Your Work
If you make your work your life, you’re making your life into hard work. Spend time for yourself, for your family, and your social life. Work can wait till tomorrow. Don’t miss out on those moments and memories that you could be making because you are constantly overwhelmed at work.
26. DO NOT MULTI TASK
Contrary to popular belief, it is actually NOT productive at all to stop what you are doing and start doing something else. Single Tasking and completing the task you are currently working on will ensure that you put forth every idea and amount of energy and thought you’ve got on that one task, and will product a much better outcome of the task. Don’t believe me? Google it!
27. Be Passionate About Your Work
If you aren’t doing something you love, it will become actual WORK. If you love what you do, you will do it better, with more passion, and you will not go through your life with the feeling of an unfulfilled career path. Contrary to popular belief, money cannot actually buy happiness, so if you are not happy in your career, change it! Nothing will feel like work if you love it.
28. Normal Isn’t a Real Thing
Look around you and then tell me what the definition of normal is. Being like everyone else is boring. Being yourself is gratifying and wonderful. Give it up – you will never be normal. Weird is what sets us apart. Who knows, that weird thing you do may just be someone’s favorite thing about you!
29. Be Honest – Always
Lies take a lot of energy to keep covered up. Be honest with yourself, your peers, and your spouses, and your life will be so much more pleasing and satisfying. You have nothing to hide. You are amazing. You are human. And believe it or not, you make mistakes. Be honest with others, and they’ll return the favor and treat you with respect.
30. Be Happy & Satisfied With Where You Are in Life – No Matter What (This is the MOST Important!)
Once upon a time, a co-worker of mine had her 31st Birthday. I being of a ripe age of 24 asked her what it was like to be officially in her 30’s. I will never ever forget what she said. “It is very sad for me, because when I hit 30, I realized that I wasn’t where I wanted to be in my life yet…that I had a lot of work to do to get there, and I wasn’t sure where to start. It was confusing and really unhappy.” That answer has stuck with me in such a strange and life transforming way. I can give her the full credit she deserves – because I made sure that I was EXACTLY where I wanted to be when I turned 30. I make sure that I am proud of my achievements every single day. I am happy for everything I’ve learned and worked so hard for, and love every minute of “where I’m at” right now. I do not have a perfect life by any means. But I’m where I want to be right now, that is for damn sure!