Happy birthday to me! Yes, you read me right– I am now 23 years old. And to celebrate, here’s the second-half of the 23 lessons I’ve learned in my (now) 23 years of living (if you haven’t read the first half, click here):
12 – Wean yourself off the daily cup of joe
For years, I really let my caffeine addiction get out of hand, and it was only when I switched over to tea for two months that my sleep schedule finally normalized. Now that I’m back on coffee, however, my bad sleep schedule reemerged. So for those of you coffee-reliant folks, maybe it’s time to reset the effect of caffeine on your system. Your body, mind, and wallet will thank you.
13 – Be okay with being alone
I’ve never really had a problem being alone, but the biggest excursion I’ve done on my own was travel down to Baltimore for Otakon one year. Even then, I only took the Acela down and missed my crack of dawn return trip. Whoops.
14 – Be mindful of others
I think it’s in our natures to be self-centered (you know, with the Cartesian theater and all), but we should strive to do more than what will benefit ourselves. Open your eyes and turn your heads once in a while. You may notice someone who needs a seat on the bus more than you.
15 – Appreciate the little things
We’re conditioned to weigh the bad things in our lives more than all the good things. But your attitude can change a lot! Just give life a chance to show you how beautiful and lovely it can be. Laugh at every joke, and smile at every baby and dog.
16 – Don’t sweat the small stuff
If it’s not a big deal, don’t fret too much about it. Unfortunately, growing up, all I did was sweat the small stuff, so it’s still a pretty deeply-ingrained habit that I’m still struggling to change. But there’s a difference between not sweating the small stuff and being totally apathetic, so don’t go too overboard with “not sweating”.
17 – Listen
Sometimes we need to shut our mouths and open our ears to what other people are saying. It makes a really big difference in the long run, because when communication is actually a two-way street, the relationship between people improves. Remember, it’s not about just hearing what somewhat has to say, it’s about actively listening.
18 – Take the lead as necessary
Don’t automatically shrink in fear when a professor or your boss’s boss asks for opinions. If you feel strongly about something and no one else wants to be the first to speak up, it’s your chance to take the lead. I recognize that not everyone is comfortable with doing this, but I’ve (admittedly) broken the ice in what would otherwise be very awkward situations. Sometimes all you need to do is think up what you’re going to say, turn off that sensor for danger, and dive in.
19 – Read
I used to be quite the little bookworm, gnawing on every chapter book I could get my hands on when I was in the first grade (pfft, showoff). As soon as I got into high school though, I stopped reading as often as homework piled on. Only now, after I graduated college, did I pick up my reading habit again. And boy, did I miss losing myself in magical worlds and learning about all sorts of interesting, worldly things.
20 – Silence is okay
Apparently many of us fear or dislike silence because we’ve been conditioned to having background noise day in and day out. Hence our anxiety when there’s silence between two people. But for one reason or another, I’ve never had so much of an issue with silence. If there’s nothing to say (or if I’m too sleepy to think of anything to talk about), then silence is golden.
21 – Give your thanks
I thank a lot of people in a given day– people who hold the door for me, the train conductor when he or she takes my ticket, when people step aside for me to maneuver around them, even when another driver lets me turn first at an intersection. There’s nothing wrong with showing your gratitude, no matter how insignificant it seems.
And while you’re at it, thank your parents for everyday things too, like when they cook you dinner! A little gratitude certainly goes a long way.
22 – Take responsibility
The biggest mystery to me is the bystander effect, especially in the workplace. If you notice something wrong, why not report it? It’s not as if you’re personally taking responsibility that the faucet in your kitchen is fixed, but the least you could do is report it, right? Even that is too much for some people. All you need to do is just speak up. The worst that can happen is duplicate reporting, which bears no dire consequences.
23 – Question everything
Okay, so this gets me into more trouble than I want to admit, but I think this is one of the most important life lessons everyone should learn. With controversy of all types floating around, especially with the accessibility of the internet, it’s crucial to read into each topic to look into as many different perspectives about the topic as you can.
Too many times I see people preaching and sharing articles on Facebook without wanting to engage in meaningful and civil conversations. Don’t be just sheeple. At least look outside of your filter bubble occasionally to see what the opposers have to say. You’ll not only broaden your own mind, but you’ll be better equipped to formulate a good counter the next time someone uses that argument against you. And who knows, maybe you’ll change your opinion.
And you know what? Maybe you should question the past 23 lessons I spouted at you. Did you ever consider doing that?
Brain poke of the day: So how’d I do in my 23 years? Are there any lessons that I didn’t mention (that I may not have learned yet)?
Thank you all for your readership and support. Stay rad~
In case you missed it, read the first half of this list
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Kaz. CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay.