Self-help and Inspiration

I turned 37 on Sunday, here’s 23 random things I wish I’d known back when I was 27

1. Time doesn’t feel the same.

They’ll tell you we all have the same 24 hours, but the days can get longer and the years shorter.

You really don’t have as much time as you think.

2. Setting boundaries feels a lot like being selfish. It isn’t.

Your first responsibility is to yourself. To making sure you are refilling the cup from which you fill the cups of others.

3. You will pay a hefty price for not living life as society demands

But remember that society and community are not the same. Society is a large, transactional force; community is association. You can withstand societal pressure by building and nurturing a community.

4. You cannot have it all.

The tragedy of life is that we want multiple things but often they run counter to each other. The choices you have to make will demand sacrifices – career takes time away from family, great art comes at the cost of security.

Our options aren’t free.

5. Hedonism isn’t bad in itself.

However, it can be a sign that you have so little faith in a good future that you’d rather enjoy the laughs of today to carry you through tomorrow’s tears.

Moderation isn’t boring. It’s an understanding that you exist beyond the present moment.

6. The way you word your goals matters

“I want to be married by 32” and “I want to have a partnership that allows us both to flourish ” seem to be the same goal. But it’s possible to achieve the first without it serving the need expressed in the second.

7. You are more than your ego.

More than the narrative you carry around of yourself. You have a shadow caused by emotions and thoughts towards things within you that you can not bear to confront. If you don’t confront it, it will control your life and you will think it is fate.

8. The more you read and learn, the more you realize just how difficult it is to have an original thought.

So much that we think we have pulled from thin air is actually distilled from ideas expressed before we set foot on earth. That’s okay. Originality can come from reuse.

9. The same way you suddenly become aware of your phone as a machine when it stops working well, we often only appreciate our bodies and our health when there’s something wrong.

Happiness is 9/10th a factor of health but we seem to only notice when it’s failing.

10. We all desire to be desired.

These social media platforms have gamified that. So we feed our need with the needs of others. Their cheers and adoration.

There is no satisfaction here. If you remember that, you’ll be more forgiving and take yourself less seriously.

11. You’re going to hurt people that you care about.

A few of them won’t forgive you and you will lose them. You will be an ass, selfish, petty, narcissistic, and short-sighted. Sometimes you will realize this. More likely others will. Those that call you out; Keep them around.

12. You will often judge yourself and the causes you agree with by your intentions. You meant to do good.

You’ll then judge others and their ideologies by their actions and effect on others. When you realize that the world is doing the same to you, you will be more objective.

13. Write.

Write often and write about what you care about. This isn’t just to put your thoughts into the world but to allow you to think clearly. Vague notions in your head may make sense and give you a false sense of knowledge. Write so that you know how to think.

14. If your parents are with you, watch them closely. They hold signs of your future.

As we grow older we become more like them than we choose to admit.  If you can find it in you to love them despite their failings, it will be easier for you to love and forgive yourself someday.

15. No one really knows why we are here.

We aren’t even sure if asking ” Why” even makes sense. However, it’s pretty evident that ” to be happy” isn’t the answer. Happiness is but one measure, but not the only one. A meaningful life and a happy one aren’t always the same.

16. Don’t spend more than two weeks without speaking to a toddler and to an elderly person.

These are the bookends of your life at best. Reminding you of the things that mattered at the start and that remain important in the end.

17. Good and evil are useful categories but the real world has very few if any examples of pure cases of either.

No. Instead you will do well to confront the evil you are capable of doing. And as you wrestle with those demons, maybe you will be measured in your judgments.

18. If you are especially clever, you can rationalize your feelings.

And fall into the trap of thinking being rational and feeling emotion are antithetical. What a sad victory indeed to think you have conquered the world by becoming unable to feel it. Don’t stunt yourself.

19. Compound interest is amazing.

It works for money, but it also works for skills and habits. The cliches are true. Every time you do something beneficial, it becomes a little easier to do it the next time. Every action is like a vote for the kind of person you want to be.

20. Don’t get lost in the infinite.

You’ve planned, talked and dreamed about what you want to do. Good. But now you must take the leap. There is no limit to the things you won’t know. The best time to act was yesterday. The next best time is now.

21. Do not get lost in the finite.

Becoming a cypher in the crowd, just acting out the paths laid out for you by society. If you take the beaten path, by all means, own it. You needn’t be a rebel just to be different. But reflect on your life and then commit. Whichever way you go

22. Freedom is terrifying

So much so, that people chain themselves to ideas, institutions, ways of being once given a taste of it. Freedom is hope when we feel trapped but a burden when granted. Ask yourself always, what you want to do with it. Especially early in life.

23. The words from Epictetus in the image should be ever before you whenever you think yourself a loser for lacking in surplus or style.

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