25 Things I’ve Learned in 25 Years

Today is my birthday. Here are 25 things I’ve learned in these 25 years.

  1. Spend as much time in nature as possible. In the words of John Muir, “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”
  2. Limit wastefulness as much as possible, especially material things.
  3. Most of the time you need to just get out of your own way.
  4. Internal motivation is vastly more important than external praise.
  5. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Communicate your thoughts and feelings to people. No one can read your mind.
  6. Develop your personal manifesto, your life’s mission statement, your code, your vision. Whatever you call it, establish a set of principles by which you live your life.
  7. Remember that you are always a work in progress. There will never be an epiphany moment when you realize you’ve “arrived” at your life. You are always becoming and your identity is constantly unfurling with each new experience and each new stage of your life.
  8. Educate yourself on personal finance. Whether you like it or not, money is important. Plus it’s empowering to be savvy at managing your money.
  9. Grow plants. It will teach you to care for something other than yourself. And if you grow a garden, it will teach you how much effort goes into the food you eat.
  10. Make your health a priority. Take care of your body. Invest in it. You only get one.
  11. Fitness should be about what your body can do. The aesthetics will follow if you work hard and stay consistent.
  12. Read books. The tangible kind.
  13. Listen to children. They deserve to be heard more often than they are.
  14. Vote in local, state, and national elections. Always. (But educate yourself first.)
  15. You will make fatuous mistakes more often than you like. Shake them off. Move on. Whatevs!
  16. Tell your family and friends you love them as much as possible.
  17. Sometimes your life requires massive change, like choosing to move across the country when you’re 14. Do it. Even if it hurts.
  18. An unavoidable truth: you will turn into your parents in more ways than you realize. Embrace it.
  19. Get good at suffering. In the words of Marcus Aurelius, “If it’s endurable, then endure it. Stop complaining.”
  20. Don’t wash your hair every day. Or every three days…or every six. Dry shampoo is a godsend and your hair looks better dirty anyways.
  21. One of the hardest things to balance is not caring what people think and caring what people think. Just do your best.
  22. Buy a bike! And use it!
  23. Treat people as they deserve. Be patient with others but strict with yourself.
  24. Show up. Show up for your family, show up for your friends, show up for your life.
  25. Raise a little hell.

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