So I just turned 26. A quarter of my life’s gone by. And as I’ve just entered the silent passage of the late twenties that no one really talks about, I wanted to take this time to write down some lessons I’ve learned in the first quarter of my life. So, in no particular order, here are 25 big and small one’s.
1. The older you get, the smaller your circle of friends become. But while you’ll lose friends, if you look in the right places, you’ll gain a few good people that you can call family.
2. Don’t assume where other people are coming from. Whenever you do that, you end up playing either the victim or the villain and that doesn’t benefit anyone.
3. Invest in skin care. The earlier, the better. Especially eye cream, sunblock, and moisturizer. I wish I did.
4. If you find that one person who you’d want to tell both the silliest and the most serious things to, don’t let them go. Build with them.
5. Kindness goes a long way. You’ll never know where people will end up, or when you’ll need to call in that classmate from your Philo 101 class to put in a good word for you. But in the same breath, don’t be kind to use people in the future. Be kind because it’s the right and decent thing to do.
6. Everything is temporary, only God is eternal.
7. Invest your money in something long term. It doesn’t have to be a lot. It doesn’t have to carry high stakes either. Just start investing as soon as you can. Your 70-year-old self will thank you.
8. You may not see the benefits of exercise right now (i.e. expensive, time consuming, etc), but when you start working, health is everything. A sick person cannot perform at his/her maximum potential. A sick person ends up under forced rest.
9. Take advantage of sleep, teenagers. Don’t stay up late because you’re hooked on social media. Facebook will still be there tomorrow, and your older and dark circled-self will wish you took advantage of the sleep you had in high school.
10. All the truth you’ll find in the world always ties back to God’s truth.
11. Invest in the right relationships. If there are three kinds of women I wish I’d invested in more when I was much younger, it would be a mentor, a peer, and a mentee. Will write more on this another time.
12. Try not to read too much into it what guys say or do. Unless he tells you straight up that he’s interested and serious about pursuing you, they’re either just a friend or someone probably not worth thinking about. (Also see #2)
13. It’s okay when things don’t go your way. He has something better planned anyway.
14. Fill your closet with key, quality items. Not those trendy jeans that will be outdated in a few months. You’ll save more money in the future, and you future self will thank you for it!
15. Choose to love and forgive. You may not understand or agree with this right now, but it will save you from so many heartache and hangups in the future. Forgive because He has forgiven you.
16. Chances are that you’ll barely use what you learned in college in the real world, so don’t beat yourself up for not getting that grade. But, at the same time, strive to be excellent in school. Not for the grades, but so that you have more opportunities to serve your classmates and reach out to them.
17. Pray. Never stop praying. Prayer is the best thing you could ever do for yourself, your loved ones, and even strangers.
18. To add to #11, get a mentor in the aspects of life you want to develop. If you want to grow in your relationship with God, seek a spiritual mentor. If you want to grow in your craft, seek someone from the industry and intern under them over the summer. People are actually more generous than you think.
19. Half of writing is reading. Half of teaching is learning. All of leading is serving. To lead is to serve, as the greatest leader took on the position of servant on the cross.
20. If you want to have people in your life who will bring you closer to God, go to church.
21. No one is too young or too old to change the world. But you also can’t change the world if you’re too much of the world.
22. Try not to hold on to stuff, achievements, money, or people too much. You may be disappointed one day. Instead, invest in things of eternal value. Support a missionary in another nation. Pray for your country. Share God’s love to people. (Also see #6)
23. Don’t be afraid of asking questions when you’re unfamiliar with something.
24. There’s grace for good days, grace for the bad days, and grace for the days when you’re barely getting by.
25. God, the most powerful being in the universe, is also your heavenly Father. In Him, you are fully known, loved, and cared for.
Here’s looking at you, 26.