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…
- Pretty much everybody is afraid of the dark for some reason.
- Try to get 8 hours of sleep at night.
- Learn to be diligent with what you’ve been given.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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’)
- 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…
- Don’t get too attached to things, they’re much more fragile than you.
- 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)
- Make up some goals and dreams that you can make happen on your own. Then do them! It can do wonders for your confidence.
- It’s good to have well informed and your own personal political opinions. It’s not good to consume or break relationships over them.
- Sometimes, relationships do need to end. It’s tough, but at times the healthiest choice to make.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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)
- Being creative is a really great attribute and tool for communicating ideas but an unforgiving and unsatisfying thing to idolize on its own.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- Pray for God’s grace and mercy. And do it everyday.
- And as other great men have said… “The days are long, and the years are short.”