32 Life Lessons I Wish Someone Told Me 32 Years Ago

Today marks the 32nd anniversary of the day of my birth. While I haven’t found any birthday to be of much significance since the 21st, birthdays are still important celebrations in my family; and combined with Facebook calendars, that means that this day simply won’t just pass on by (despite my wishes to the contrary).

While I may still be considered young, I have lived a fairly experienced thirty-plus years. Much of this I won’t go into specifics on here, just yet, but if you should know anything about me, I’ve learned a lot. Some would say, and I wouldn’t argue, I have come about much of this knowledge the hard way…but, we’re nothing if not capable of learning from our past.

That said, I decided to go all Buzzfeed-like on this site, and compiled a list of the 32 most important life lessons I have learned in my life to date. Most of this isn’t earth-shattering, mouth-dropping, The Secret kind of stuff– in fact, it probably won’t change your life or tell you anything you may not already know. But hey, I’m not charging you for it, either.

  1. Try not to burn bridges. But, if you do, make sure you go back & make amends later on. You never know who you’ll run into again.
  2. Don’t spend your whole life wishing you were someone else. You don’t know how hard they may have it, too.
  3. Dogs are the greatest pets anyone can ever have. This is fact, and not open for debate.
  4. People who say “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” don’t understand the definition of either. Rest is important for staying healthy & productive.
  5. Enjoy family time, because they won’t be there forever.
  6. Love what you do for a living, but don’t let it become your whole life. Have hobbies, friends, and other things to do outside of work.
  7. You may not believe that everything happens for a reason, and maybe it doesn’t, but that doesn’t mean others can’t feel that way.
  8. Company parties and outings are not the place to show how much you can drink. Moderation = no embarrassment the next day.
  9. Diet Coke isn’t going to make you fat. That Double Whopper you’re wolfing down with the Diet Coke will. I have lost tons of weight drinking pop, and gained weight drinking nothing but water. Calories count, people.
  10. If you believe in religion, fine. Religion is a guide for living a moral life. If you hurt or deprive others of happiness because of religious beliefs, you’re doing it wrong.
  11. Constantly telling others what they should do is a great way to be alone. Most people want guidance, not instructions.
  12. If you’re going drop money on electronics, go all-out. Cheap TVs, smartphones, & laptops will only cause more frustrations than they’re worth.
  13. You can’t change someone, no matter how hard you try. Accept them, or move on.
  14. There’s nothing wrong with an art-school degree. I have one, and I’ve been pretty successful professionally. And, I had a great time getting here.
  15. Follow your dreams, but have a back-up plan. Most of us do not become rock stars or astronauts, but that doesn’t mean you can’t shoot for that.
  16. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. It’s not a sign of weakness– it’s a sign of willingness to learn & grow. And people like that.
  17. Loaning friends money is a great way to become ex-friends. Avoid at all costs (unless you wanted them out of your life anyway).
  18. Being roommates with friends is another way to ruin a friendship. I don’t recommend it.
  19. There’s no reason to be rude to service workers, cab drivers, or the homeless. What goes around can often come back around– twofold.
  20. Listen to people who have more experience than you. They’ll often show you how not to do things, as well.
  21. Be nice to the “nerdy” girls. They’ll grow up to be the women you wish you were dating.
  22. Never underestimate the healing power of the sun. Get out when it’s sunny, and you may just feel a little better.
  23. Depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mental illnesses can be deadly, but there is hope. Get help.
  24. If you worry a lot about what other people think of you, stop. Chances are, they’re thinking about themselves, anyway.
  25. It’s true– money doesn’t buy happiness. But, people with no money are generally miserable. There’s a balance.
  26. Doctors aren’t evil, and they can actually help save your life. Don’t be afraid of going to one, and telling them them truth.
  27. My tattoos will look awesome when I’m older. Stop asking.
  28. If you’re only with someone because of their looks or money, it won’t last. Because those things never do, either.
  29. Superficial people aren’t worth your time. Don’t waste it trying to impress them.
  30. Try to live more “in the moment”. It sounds cliche, but too many of us are just “passing time” until the next big event. That time you “passed”? It’s called life.
  31. There is rarely ever a need for multiple exclamation points in a row, especially on your mundane Facebook status updates.
  32. Last of all, have fun. Laugh whenever you can. Life’s too short not to.