25 Things in 33 Years for My 20 Year Old Self to Pass to My 4 Year Old Niece

I always seem to see the lists that are 25 things I’ve learned in 25 years working at such and such or 40 things I’ve learned in 40 years of living. Or how about the 20 things I’d tell my 20 year old self? 30 lessons for my 2 year old daughter?

Pick a number, create the list. Well, I’ve decided that all of those options are so amazing, that my list shall incorporate them all! Here are 25 things I’ve learned in 33 years that I would totally love to tell my 20 year old self and will certainly pass on to my 4 year old niece:

1. Being curious has served me better than being naturally talented at anything.

2. Vacationing by yourself can be extremely relaxing…even with a fully packed itinerary.

3. Talk to strangers. You can hear some really interesting stories.

4. Move. Away from home, out of state, to a place you’ve never been. If you have baggage, its amazing how it lightens the further you get from it.

5. Always go for the job that you think you are just a little unqualified for. You’ll learn. And you’ll kick ass at it.

6. Read. Just in general, read stuff. Books, the internet, table signs, door signs, closed captioning…all of it. Find something you enjoy reading and read.

7. When you buy your first set of dishes, buy them in white without anything ornamental. You probably won’t have money to buy a new set anytime soon, and the plain white will stand the test of time until its time to buy new.

8. Smile. Even if you’re not happy. Smiling can make people like you, it can make you feel better when you feel lousy, and its also a great cheek workout.

9. You don’t have to like everyone and everyone doesn’t have to like you. But we’re all in this together, so at least try to be kind and respectful. Everyone’s got a thing they’re working through.

10. Find something you’re passionate about and do it. Even if you don’t get paid for it. Even if others look at you funny.

11. Make your bed everyday. No matter what, you need to face the day. Besides, your sheets will feel better when you go to sleep that night.

12. Learn one karaoke song that will surprise everyone in the bar. Even your friends you came with.

13. Don’t leave soda cans in your trunk in 100 degree weather or in the freezer. They will explode in both cases.

14. Sometimes, even when you do everything right, things will still turn out wrong. Fail fast and pivot.

15. When people are hurting, they will say things that oftentimes make no sense, that are mean and that are cruel. It’s not their fault. Forgive them. The pain takes over the rational parts of their brain. But that doesn’t mean you have to listen to it.

16. Do what you say you’re going to do. Follow through is an excellent method for building trust. It will get you far.

17. Quit if it’s not any fun.

18. It’s always personal. We’re human beings. So its never just business or just a joke.

19. Don’t eat fat free food. It may be fat free, but its not random chemical free. And yes, you will die of something anyway, but at least live enjoying what you eat.

20. Working out sucks. For so many reasons: Gasping for air, gyms are soul sucking enterprises, workout equipment can be bad for your body (my knees are talking to you, treadmill), and so on. But find something active you enjoy.

21. Learn to enjoy your own company.

22. Get an expensive haircut and embrace your hair as it is.

23. Don’t type or speak in text lingo. You’ll sound ridiculous, uneducated, and immature. “You” is only two more letters than “u”. You can do the extra work of typing those two letters.

24. Find someone you admire and learn from them. There are so many brilliant people with so many diverse backgrounds that your opportunities to gain knowledge and grow are endless.

25. Do the thing you’ve always wanted to do. It changes everything.