25 THINGS I’VE LEARNED IN 25 YEARS
Today is my 25th birthday. I’ve made it 9125 days on this spinning earth and now I write to you. In actual fact today feels like any other, except I’ve been bombarded with messages and call from the ones that I love. That’s a great feeling, it is one of the many beautiful dimensions of love. This morning I woke up early and meditated for a few minutes to clear my head. I then went to clean up a bit and shave my unruly facial hair. It’s my quarter century might as well look the part right?
On my 25th I wanted to share some things I’ve learned during my time spent here. Call them life lessons if you will:
- Know yourself. This is the first item on the list because it is the most important. It’s a very simple mantra but very few of us actually know ourselves. Our lives have become dictated by our parents, our families, our friends and society. Knowing yourself means being comfortable with the person you are and the person you want to be. It’s more than personal likes and dislikes, it’s finding your own inner peace. Work on knowing yourself and you will have a better control over your life and surroundings.
- Family is everything. Spend more time with them. As I get older this realization becomes more important every single day. You must value those relationships you have with your fam, they are the link to your past and the people that will be standing next to you in your future. Tell them you love them and mean it.
- Keep a hobby or sport. Take care of your body, it’s your temple. I mention hobby and sports specifically because the idea of exercise can be quite boring. If you have some type of hobby or sport that you’re involved in you will be much more eager to stick with it. For me futbol is a great outlet for me. I love playing the game and it helps me take my mind off of things.
- Stretch first. Growing up I hardly ever needed to stretch. I could show up to one of my football games 5 minutes before kickoff and run straight on to the field ready for the action. Those times are long gone. Stretching is important to get your muscles warm and make sure you don’t injure anything while you play. Take my word for it, spend some time stretching before AND after a workout. Your body will thank you in time.
- My mama is an angel. Everyone says it but I know this to be true for an absolute fact. I know unconditional love because of her and she helped me become the man that I am today.
- Fear only exists in your head. A wise man once said that all human emotions boil down to fear and love: everything we experience in life is a derivative of one or the other. This holds some merit yet many times we allow fear to ru(i)n our minds. It holds us back and blocks us from seeing what’s on the other side. And most of the time they are rudimental fears like fearing what someone will think of you. To hell with fear, live your life how you want.
- Don’t forget where you started. Each person and place that you’ve encountered in your life has played some type of role in where you are today. They have helped you grow as a person whether it was through a positive or negative light. Do not forget them. I’m reminded of this every time I go back home to Bermuda. Although I’ve been away for a while now I recognize that my thoughts, actions and ideals all stem from my upbringing on the island and I’m thankful for it.
- Invest in experiences, not things. During my teenage years I spent a LOT of money collecting sneakers. I had a collection of the rarest of the rare (Nike SB Melvins anyone?) and spent hundreds of dollars in the process. My main satisfaction was stunting on other so-called sneaker heads. Did it really help my life in any way? Not in the slightest. I learned early on that “things” are only good for so long. There’s always going to be a better, faster or flashier model. It’s much wiser to spend your money on experiences, which leads me to my next point…
- Travel. Explore the world for as long and as often as you can. I really mean it, travel is the simple cheat code that can change your outlook on life in a few days. It helps you confront your own viewpoints and expands your mind to the viewpoints of others. The different cultures, languages and people will also inspire you in your own workings. You might come back home with a new vigor for your business or a new series for that television show you wanted to write. Travel is a magical experience, go ahead, book that ticket now. If you have the means, travel. If you don’t have the means, work this year on getting them. Travel alone if you must, but travel.
- Drink more water. Want to hear a little secret? Try drinking only water for the next week and tell me how you feel afterwards. It is the single most important thing you could put in your body and sadly we do not drink enough of it. Water rehydrates, replenishes and fills your body with nutrients. It’s not a coincidence that over 60% of our bodies are made out of water, it is essential. Cut out the soda, drink more water. You will feel healthier, have more energy and probably drop a few pounds.
- It’s okay to say no. When you really don’t want to do something, you can say no. When you disagree with something someone said, you can say no. A lot of times we do not want to offend the other person or hurt feelings but saying “yes” to everything is not helpful for you or the other party. It’s okay to say no. People are not going to hate you if you say it and if they do they were never your true friends in the first place.
- Your word is bond. Keeping your word is a golden virtue. If you say you are going to do something then do it. If you know that you cannot commit to doing something, don’t say a word. It’s a pretty simple formula but we have all been guilty of promising things we cannot keep. Your word is bond, treat it as such.
- Women are the most beautiful creations on God’s green earth. Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, Spiritually, women are incredible. They can motivate and push you towards heights you’ve never known. Women can help you understand what it means to be vulnerable. They can comfort and recharge you and their love is unmatched. Women are, at times, also the most confusing but that’s something us men might never figure out. Guys: don’t be afraid to love!
- Do not settle. Relationships/Jobs/Friendship etc: DO NOT SETTLE. You will regret it in the long run and it could end up hurting you more than you think.
- Spirituality and Religion are two different things. I was fortunate not to have any one religion drilled into my brain growing up and it allowed me to find my own path to understanding the unknown. I have great reverence and respect for many of the world’s religions and I think you can find truth in every single one. Spirituality exists outside of religion and it’s a person’s own connection to the unknown. There are no boxes or rules or regulations. They are two separate things and although they can co-exist it’s important to note the distinction.
- Chase your dreams. Steve Jobs said it best “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” Yes, you are going to die one day. That should be the single biggest motivator in your life to take a chance. I can assure you that you were not put on this earth to work 9–5, pay bills and die 60 years later. Life is too short, go for it.
- Art should be timeless. I truly believe that we are all artists. We each work in our own art forms and strive to create masterpieces in our work. When I think of great artists, I think of people like Sade and Bob Marley whose music stands the test of time. I can put on their record today and get the same feel and energy of when it was first released. If you are a creator then you should also seek the same vibration. Your art, your creation should feel timeless.
- You are the company you keep. The easiest way to predict your life five years down the road is to analyze the five people closest to you. The five friends who you talk to the most and hang around. If they have nothing going for them in their own lives, chances are you are not too far behind. This is not to say you should abandon the friends you’ve made along the way just be careful about the company you keep. On the other hand, goal-driven, productive and ambitious friends will push you to your limits. Choose wisely.
- Read more = Learn more. Over the years I stopped reading the news. I stopped watching mindless television. I stopped following blogs and reading articles that did not add anything to my life. Have I missed much? Nope. Instead I’ve gone back to an old past-time of mine, reading books in the flesh. I don’t care much for ebooks but give me a paperback or hardcover and I’m good to go. Books give you knowledge like no other. You get a peak into the minds of people that have been dead and gone hundreds of years. You can learn from their mistakes and improve on their faults. Do yourself a favour and read more this year, trust.
- Look people in the eye. The ratio changes every year but we all know that body language says more than our words do. Since most of our communication is non-verbal I have always been able to pick up on people’s vibes fairly quickly. It helps you read people and situations before anyone utters a word. And nothing speaks louder than our eyes. Looking someone in the eye shows the person respect and also lets them know you are interested in what they have to say.
- Throw your life plans in the trash. Those picture perfect plans we had for our lives at 16 never seem to add up. Life is a roller coaster and it throws us on a loop every once in a while. Those plans we had end up scattered on the floor while we try to pick up the pieces. In these times, we must remember that the world doesn’t owe us anything. Life is a journey and sometimes things will not go our way. Plans are subject to change. The best thing you can do is value the journey over the destination. Besides, life is more fun that way.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Life is a series of valleys and peaks. I recently watched an amazing video where Lauryn Hill calls them periods of learning and mastership. It’s easy to get caught up in the small things, “He cut me off, what an idiot!” and that pulls your energy away from looking at the bigger picture. Our minds are racing constantly throughout the day and it’s often bombarded with the smallest of details and problems. Don’t fall into the trap (meditation helps)! You’re on the road to greatness, stop sweating the small stuff.
- Remember to floss. Flossing is important because it might prevent you from getting dentures a few decades from now. Although I’m only half-joking with this one I really wanted to say that you should work on getting comfortable being truly alone. Undoubtedly in life you spend the majority of time with yourself. (Flossing is a good example because it’s just you, floss and the mirror.) You have to learn to love yourself. Flossing is a good start.
- Laugh. Kids laugh on average 300 times a day. Adults laugh on average about 5. It’s no wonder that kids are more creative, more loving and more confident than most adults. They laugh constantly. As adults we really need to start laughing more. Life is meant to be enjoyed and laughter is a sure way to enjoy it. Stop taking life too seriously, laugh a little.
- I’m so awesome. And you are too! Now it’s time to start living the life you want. Do what you love and surround yourself with the people that you love. We only get one chance at this, there is no restart button. Live the life you love and love the life you live!