I am extremely introspective on turning 25, thinking about what it means to have lived a quarter of a century. In order to understand where I have come from and how far I have come, I decided to make a list of things that I have learnt. Because each new day is an opportunity to learn.
In no particular order, here are 25 things that I have learnt in the last 25 years of my life:
(2) No matter how vivid your imagination, real life will always be harder, more unpredictable and involve much more disappointment than you imagined.
(3) You’ve probably heard it a million times before but here it is again: if you don’t stand up for something, you’ll fall for anything. We all need to believe strongly in something. Our beliefs are what shape us, determine how we act and how we interact with and get along with people.
(4) No one REALLY knows what they are doing until they’ve done it for a period of time. Even so, things change so rapidly that relearning is always necessary, preventing us from ever really getting a grasp on anything. To add to that: we as humans are really limited so in the daily 8 hour period we work we don’t get any substantial amount of work done. That’s why high-powered jobs require more hours.
(5) People can only judge you off of the information you give to them and we all have shortcuts to safeguarding ourselves from psychos so yes, first impressions TRULY count, and being too open about your weaknesses, insecurities or faults is a guaranteed way to lose at the friend-making and keeping game.
(6) Eye contact is so unbelievably key! The most socially successful people hold their gaze when answering questions. If you look at the other person in their eyes you will see so much of what they want to communicate and they will either have to look right back at you or look away, so they wont have time to scrutinise your twitches.
(7) Unless you’re perfect, which no one is, then there will only be a select few people who really get and love who you are.
(8) Relationships are no fairy tales. But if your partner is also your best friend you can very well act out a fairy tale because you would be so comfortable with each other that you could do anything.
(9) Christians aren’t perfect. People go to church because they are broken and nothing. If they were perfect they wouldn’t need God.
(10) God’s sovereign, no matter how much you try to control your own life, he’s going to override it. The greatest way to make God laugh is to tell Him your plans. Once you realise that all worries go ‘swoosh’ and disappear.
(11) Doing what you love takes a massive amount of courage. You need courage to get through the times when you’re broke. Courage to stand tall and believe in yourself when everyone else thinks you’re crazy. Courage to continue when the reward is nowhere in site.
(12) They don’t teach you how to be a grown up in school or university. Not at all. And most likely your parents have protected you from being exposed to the real evils and struggles of adulthood so for 99% of people adulthood would come as a shock to the system and between the ages of 20-25 life will change phenomenally.
(13) No one knows you as well as you know yourself and you will never really know who exactly you are. So when people tell you to be true to yourself they are actually saying to listen to your spirit. Which is where God communicates with us.
(14) Surviving life requires us helping others to survive. Having our cake and eating it all ourselves will never make us happy. Humans just aren’t made to be alone.
(15) Achieving something always requires an adjustment in priorities. Because in going towards a goal you always have to give something up. If that thing is more important than the results of achieving your goal, then nothing will change.
(16) People are always communicating the deepest desires to you. Many don’t know how to do this in words. So watch, listen and pay good attention to those close to you.
(17) There are many possible career paths you can take, contrary to what you were taught in school. But only the ones you were taught to work towards in school actually pay well.
(18) Make sure you laugh at least once everyday. If you aren’t laughing, you’re thinking too much. And if you are thinking too much you are stuck in your own mind, self-centered. If you are self-centered then you are limiting the possibilities you have to discover the world.
(19) There is much much more to life than being really really good looking! Seriously. Looks only get you so far. It is similar to talent. Spend more time developing your personality than you do developing your physical appearance. Your looks will attract attention, but your personality will attract commitment.
(20) Jesus died on the cross to save our sins. Yes. I’ve always known this. But it took me really long to understand that His greatest pain while He was on this earth was during the three hours before He died when He was separated from God for the first time since the beginning of time. This shows us that our greatest suffering is in our separation from God. Such a suffering is SO deep that it also affects God Himself.
(21) You always have two options in life: give up or keep fighting. Because life is an active journey, not a passive ride. We either go backwards or forwards. Giving up is easy for a second, but harder for the rest of your life. Guilt, regret, inadequacy is more painful than sacrifice, challenge and fatigue.
(22) Our greatest fears are usually hidden in the things that we don’t do or don’t ‘like’. If you don’t like being committed, it is because you fear commitment. Be attuned to these things so as to not mix fear with feature ie. not to think that something is ‘who you are’ rather than ‘what you fear’.
(23) Commitment is absolutely essential for a healthy life and spirit. Ultimately what God desires of us is commitment, and as everything else is a reflection of God’s will, in everything there is a need for commitment. So we must embrace it.
(24) Family, though they aren’t perfect, are one of God’s greatest blessings. Unconditional love, though not always as great at specific love, is one of life’s greatest phenomenons.
(25) There is no heaven on earth. But there is love, and that also exists in heaven — so we get a taste of heaven while on earth.
I LOOK FORWARD TO LEARNING MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH MORE! If you have anything you learnt that isn’t on this list please share…