(or — 10 Lessons I Have Learned the Hard Way) 10. Thank Your Parents They made you, they love you, and unless your parents are drug addicts or abusive jerks, you really should give them a call (like, right now) to tell them how much you appreciate them. Being a parent is probably the most undervalued job on the entire planet and it really shouldn’t be. 9. Be Nice to Children and Old People Must I elaborate on this one? Apparently I do. It’s cool if you don’t want kids – I’ve seen enough bad parents in my life to know that not everyone should have kids, especially if you don’t want them. But even when children are literally the most annoying, noisiest, and irritating creatures running around, you should still be kind to them. You were a kid once, you know? As for old people, they’ve done a hell of a lot more living than you have and you really should appreciate their wisdom and knowledge. Both children and old people are people, for pete’s sake, and there’s nothing different about them other than their height and/or number of wrinkles on their faces. Be good to them. Actually, we might as well just call this one “Be Good to Everyone.” 8. Be Humble
Please see #2 and #1 for more details on what this looks like, but being a humble person is what will draw others to you. This doesn’t mean you have to be self-deprecating or in denial about your awesomeness, but rather that you are able to accept complements gracefully, admit to your mistakes, and live out an understanding that you are in a state of constant flux and growth. Others will appreciate this realness in you. 7. Take Risks – What’s The Worst Thing That Could Happen? Nothing good in life comes without a bit of risk. Nothing. Want to fall in love? You have to risk getting your heart smashed to smithereens in order to find the right person. Want your dream job? Then call / email / show up at the office of the person you want to work for and risk getting turned down. Maybe they won’t turn you down. Want to travel the world? Go risk getting your passport stolen. Remember that everything in life is risky, but in the immortal words of Modest Mouse “it’s hard to remember we’re alive for the first time – it’s hard to remember we’re alive for the last time.” This life is it guys – go get ’em! 6. Forgive & Move On Forgiving someone is tough, especially when you think they might not actually deserve your forgiveness. Moving on is equally as tough because we are a naturally grudge-prone species. If you find that you can’t forgive someone and really just forget about it, then maybe you shouldn’t be in that relationship anymore (platonic or otherwise). However, you first need to learn how to tell the difference between something that should be forgiven and something that really wasn’t okay and needs to be forgotten… forever. 5. Get Up & Then Get Up Again Inevitably, we’re all going to take a few knocks in this life. Actually, we’re going to take a lot of knocks. Learn how to process these setbacks with grace, maturity, and the understanding that nothing is ever really a failure. And then get up back on your horse and try again. 4. Surround Yourself With People Who Love You My only New Years’ Resolution a few years back was to put good people in my life who could build me up, and who I in turn could build up, too. It was awesome, guys! I opened myself up to a lot of wonderful people and found that I built a community of people who truly valued supporting each other and accepting said support for themselves. We can’t go through this life alone – find good ones to journey with you. 3. Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself Kind of like #6, you also need to learn how to accept forgiveness. You can’t sit around in a big pool of regret and self-pity for forever, so at some point you need to sit up, say that everything is going to be okay, and move on. Others will forgive you from time to time, and you really need to also be able to forgive yourself. 2. Give Everyone the Benefit of a Doubt – i.e. Unless Otherwise Explicitly Stated, It is Not About You So that barista gave you the stink eye? Your friend is being cold and distant? Your boyfriend/girlfriend didn’t text you back right away? Chances are, these things have nothing to do with anything YOU did. Most people are in their own self-centered little worlds and they really aren’t thinking all about you every second of the day. Give people the benefit of a doubt. Maybe the barista had a really late night and coffee’s just not cutting it. Maybe your friend got in a fight with her parents and she doesn’t want to talk about it, but she can’t stop thinking about it and therefore she’s not hanging on to each and every one of your words. And maybe, just maybe, your gf/bf’s phone died / they’re at work / they’re in the middle of a conversation with someone else and don’t want to be rude by texting in the middle of it / they’re driving / they forgot their phone at home / they didn’t hear the buzz of their phone / etc. / etc. / etc. Seriously, 99.99% of the time, it’s not about you. Realizing this will relieve a ton of stress and insecurity. 1. You Have Nothing To Prove Stop living by others’ expectations of you. Nothing will make you more miserable. Furthermore, train yourself to not feel the need to insist to new people how cool / smart / fashionable / fun you are. These are obvious things and they will come out naturally as you get to know the person. Be genuine, be yourself, and if that person isn’t in to you, then no big. It’s like #4, you only want people in your life who want to be there anyway. Just be true to yourself in all things, be proud of that, and remember that others’ opinions of you (your personality, success, choice of lifestyle, etc.) is the least important thing in the world.