For those of you that know me personally, you will know that I just turned 30. So, I thought it would be a great time to take stock in all the major life lessons that I learned in my 20’s, if not for my personal enrichment, to wax intellectual. Hopefully, you will appreciate and learn from all the failures in my life from which these lessons were derived.
There is a secret to success. It’s working hard with passion. I’ve met a lot of people in my 30 years on this planet we call Earth. These people run the gamut in terms of intellect, race, social status, locale, etc. The one thing in common that all the people who have established themselves have in common is diligence. I’ve heard people talk about “some stupid guy” that “hit it big.” Well, I’ll tell you about that “stupid guy” right now that it wasn’t just luck. It wasn’t that he/she was destined to succeed because of their pedigree. It was work. They put in the effort and hours when their dream wasn’t going anywhere. When no one believed in them. When they only had themselves to rely on. That’s not to say that all the other factors didn’t contribute, but no one gets anything just for being them. It takes effort.
It matters who you hang out with. If you surround yourself with people who are unmotivated, utterly satisfied with mediocrity and perfectly content being stagnant, that’s exactly what you’re going to be. Yes, be happy with who you are, but surround yourself with people that earn your respect through their accomplishments. Like most, I’ve learned that there are a lot of talkers out there. They tell you about their big plans and how they’re going to be superstars and then they wake up, they’re 35, still working at Macy’s trying to hide clothes under racks to get that employee clearance discount. Be a doer, not a talker.
Romance is infinitely better when you have the right balance of common interests. I was like most (men and women). Most of the relationships I’ve had were short flings that lasted about as long as the physical attraction lasted. Along the way, I learned a lot, mostly that if you’re going to be spending a lot of time with one person, it’s all about having a lot of shared interests. They say opposites attract, they don’t say opposites stay together. In my opinion the more divergent a couple’s worldview, interests, friends and families are, the shorter the relationship tends to last. There are some that I know have been in lengthy relationships with people that are completely divergent from them in terms of these factors and invariably, they all go their separate ways saying that it should have ended ages ago.
Money does matter. It won’t buy you happiness per se, but not having money will definitely give you stress. Let’s be real, you, living in your parents’ basement and painting is great, but if you can’t turn that into something that you can survive on, that’s going to be a problem. No one is saying that you need millions to be happy, but worry about where your next meal will come from, and if you’re going to have a roof tonight doesn’t help you in the happiness department. For all those looking for a number, a study showed that $75,000 in the US is the magic number. Past that, it’s just all icing. Personally, I LOVE ICING, but to each his/her own.
You are alone. No one is going to help you. I know that sounds kind of pessimistic and utterly emo, but hear me out. I think that a lot of people nowadays rely on others and have mistakenly put this support into the need bucket as opposed to the want bucket. That means that a generation of young adults are growing up and being taught that they should always rely on others. This is a defeatist ideology. It turns a benign support system into a crippling crutch that enables mediocrity. My advice is, envision yourself as an island. Set out to do everything yourself. Yes, people may help you along the way, but don’t expect or rely on it. That way, when they don’t help you, you won’t be disappointed or affected. Remember, they have their own shit to take care of too.
I think that’s about it. I would love to drone on about this, that and the other, but most of these lessons are ones that we all inevitably learn. To cap it all off, I just want to add that I am thankful for all the experiences I’ve had up until this point. I am looking forward to the next 10 err… 5 years. Here’s to everyone getting another year older. Cheers.