Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Things I know now

"Idealism is what precedes experience; cynicism is what follows." ~David T. Wolf

I like to think I am in the second quarter of my life. You know, the one where we all hope to live to be 100. Granted, I seriously doubt I will live THAT long, more like mid-70s, maybe 80s. Considering that I am 38 - that basically allows me to live my current years, twice and some change.

With that being said, the first 38 years have been game changers and ball breakers. I have laughed, accomplished and succeeded, and I have failed miserably and fallen flat on my face.

I thought today about the future. My niece is 5 years old, and in approximately 13 short years she will be out on her own, embarking on adulthood. THIRTEEN years. They go oh-so-fast. In 13 years, I will be 51 years old. That just seems further away, but in reality - it is not. Just 13 years ago I was 25. It seems like yesterday.

With all of that being said, I thought, "What if something were to happen to me, and I was not around for my niece's graduation? Or what if I was incapacitated in some random way? What advice could I give her?'

Then it hit me, while I still feel like 25 was yesterday, perhaps I should share the little bit of experience/advice I have garnered over the years. I know I am only 38 - but that still equals life experience.

Things I Know Now:

1. Always say, "Thank You." The one thing I never take for granted, is the kindness someone bestows on me. No one in this world has to do anything for you. Techinically, it's all up to you. Always repay people with a simple Thank You and a smile. But mean it when you say it - because at the end of the day, all people really want is a little gratitude and an ounce of validation.

2. Say NO, if that's what you really want to say. Don't ever feel like you HAVE to do anything. People are not going to like you more, or have respect for you - just because you do everything they say. Authenticity is key. If you have gone too far and need a break, or if you are uncomfortable with a situation - just say NO.

3. Don't believe everything people tell you. Find out the truth for yourself. Don't be afraid to ask questions or get verification. Seek to understand. Then decide.

4. Don't ever let someone make you feel less of a person. Someone's opinion of you should NEVER matter. Sure, words hurt. Sure, your feelings will be hurt from time to time. But know that God made you perfectly. The only opinion that should matter is your own.

5. Never depend on another human being for your necessities in life. Now that you are an adult, move forward and put a plan in place. Nothing is ever guaranteed, be capable of  taking care of yourself. If everyone else disappeared, would you be able to move forward and provide the necessities?

6. Always set goals. They don't have to be big, though they don't have to be small either. Nor does it necessarily mean you HAVE to achieve them perfectly. Just keep moving toward something. Nothing is worse than remaining stagnant.

7. One day you WILL get your heart broken. Though it may feel like the end of the world, you will go on... you will move on. The heart is an interesting organ - it has the ability to heal. Believe in your self-worth, know that every person you have given your heart to was put in your life for a reason. Concentrate on what you learned. Think about what that person may have learned from you. Then let go, and move on.

8. Money will come and money will go. It's just math.

9. Put God first. Honor your mother and father. Find time to rest and refocus. Call your Auntie Cole. Love yourself. Choose healthy options. Keep pushing forward. Take the path less traveled, it's a heck of a lot more interesting.

10. Never judge a person based on the way they look, or what they believe in, or how much money they make, or where they live. Try to see their heart. Open your mind and eyes to this big world. THAT will make all the difference.

11. Read often. Listen more. Focus on the beauty of the world. See the blessings God has bestowed on you each day. Show gratitude. Learn forgiveness. Practice patience. Leave a legacy.

12. One day you may experience something devastating. Do not lose hope. Remember, there is always someone there that loves you. Seek true friendships based on common interests and compassion.

13. You will make mistakes. Some may be small, and some may very well be life-changers. Don't live with regret. Acknowledge the mistake, and toss it out. Move forward.

14. Passion. That is the most important word I have ever learned. Have passion for life, for art, for food, for music, for dance, for conversation, for love, for knowledge, for everything you do.

15. Never stop learning. At the end of the day, when everything else is gone - there are 2 things people can never take away from you - the knowledge you have gained, and your imagination. Use both wisely.


SharleneT said...

Very well said, Nicole. I hope she heeds your words. Now, come on over and enter my give-away celebrating my 100th follower!

Leanne said...

I would like to print these out and frame them. Seriously. Great things to know, Nicole. Be proud of the person you are, and know that I am blessed to know you. Great great GREAT post.

Dizzy C said...

This is such a lovely post, Nicole.
Wonderful insights to share with any teen.

I too have been thinking about the last 25yrs or so. My daughter is sitting her GCSE exams in the same hall I did 28 years ago.

I have been thinking back and hoping that she will not have to face some of things I have had to, but know deep down that she will have to face some challenges in order to become a woman.

Thanks for sharing this with us.


Anonymous said...

This is an amazing list of things we need to be reminded of, and some things we (or at least I) didn't think of.

Hope your weekend is amazing!

Kristy said...

I feel like age has brought me the strength it takes to really commit to the list you have above. It's like, you know all that when you are 25, but it takes experience to grow the balls to stand by it.

Kelly said...

All very good advice. I especially like no. 10 and no. 14 and.....

Anonymous said...

I'm really bad at saying please, but I'm a big believer in Thank You.


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