24 Things

I turned 24 today. In the spirit, a newly favorite song, Small Victories:

In a tradition I’ve seen on others blogs I’ve come to appreciate, here are 24 things I’ve learned in life…

  1. Pretty much everybody is afraid of the dark for some reason.
  2. Try to get 8 hours of sleep at night.
  3. Learn to be diligent with what you’ve been given.
  4. Try to be thankful too. If you’re in your early 20s and things haven’t gone your way, it can be hard, but even more important.
  5. If you want to travel on a missions trip, pay for it yourself. You’ll learn more and respect about a place and its people if you’re investing out of pocket to go there.
  6. It’s okay to travel far away without being on a missions trip though. (Learn a little bit about western hero complex from a book about international development - culturally we tend to be overbearing and sometimes destructive in our desire to ‘change the world’)
  7. While we’re at this culture thing, don’t define people in the majority world by what they don’t have - spend some time seeing what they have that you or I don’t - there’s so much to learn in people, we really should start there…
  8. Don’t get too attached to things, they’re much more fragile than you.
  9. Everybody needs a mindless, relaxing TV show to put on in the background for a relaxing evening. (See: Arrested Development, Top Gear, How We Got to Now, any cartoon Seth McFarlane has made)
  10. Make up some goals and dreams that you can make happen on your own. Then do them! It can do wonders for your confidence.
  11. It’s good to have well informed and your own personal political opinions. It’s not good to consume or break relationships over them.
  12. Sometimes, relationships do need to end. It’s tough, but at times the healthiest choice to make.
  13. Try finding another culture (current or historical) and enjoy some art from it. Learn some of the principles behind their work. (Mine isn’t actually Bollywood, it’s old Persian poetry)
  14. If it’s not a burden, try to shop for things that will last longer and create less waste. Not only do you save money in the long run, it tells businesses that durability is a good aspiration to pursue.
  15. Give people plenty of space to make mistakes. (I learned this on a narrow, twisty highway in Lynchburg… Just let the crazy minivan behind you pass at 90mph, if they crash, you didn’t)
  16. Being creative is a really great attribute and tool for communicating ideas but an unforgiving and unsatisfying thing to idolize on its own.
  17. The “American” or “western” way of doing things doesn’t always mean it’s the right way of doing things - villagers in Nepal can live as long as we can, without the infrastructure we credit our longevity to. (Disclaimer - I don’t mean to exclude countries where lingering issues limit life expectancy, but Nepal’s stability and ability to account for basic human needs in many cases made for a good example)
  18. One of the challenges of being a programmer is seeing real world problems and thinking that understanding them is the only thing it takes to solve it.
  19. The best way to start learning to code is online, for free! There is no ‘certificate’ in front end web development that will land you a job.
  20. Spend some time in the woods, in the desert, on the water. It’s good for your soul blah blah blah. I think it’s just fun to go grill jalapeno sausages and eat pringles in the woods with friends overnight. Whatever is outdoors and not a screen. The screen will be there tomorrow.
  21. The half-second before you are sure you will die is much less scary than the 10 minutes before where you thought you might die. (Sorry if this is blunt - learned via experience yet lived to tell the tale)
  22. Miracles happen. In the “science was bent a little bit, and an exception was made just for you” sense. I think it’s sad that believing in miracles is frowned upon and everything needs a secular explanation.
  23. Pray for God’s grace and mercy. And do it everyday.
  24. And as other great men have said… “The days are long, and the years are short.”