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I turned 30 just about three and a half months ago.

 

Guess what else I did?

I started this blog post, which quickly turned into an overzealous 6,700-word monstrosity.

Because if you’re a blogger who’s not writing a stupidly long listicle-based thinkpiece for your own damn birthday about all the stuff you think you can advise other people to do based off your own experience, then are you really even an online internet writing blogger at all?

But then of course the opportunity arose where I quickly decided to just move to a new town several hours away from where I was before, where I didn’t know a damn soul.

And so for awhile, I was like this:

 

I'm a lost chicken

 

And then I went on vacation to Costa Rica, so I was all like this:

 

Me probably drunk in Costa Rica

 

And then it was Christmas, so for about a week now I’ve been like this:

 

Water retention

 

To sum it up, I’ve been busy, I’ve been having a gay old time, and when I came back to my nearly 7,000-word blog post, I channeled the spirit animals of every single editor or business owner who has ever told me to “cut it down,” “stop with the superfluous sentences,” and “get straight to the point” in order to cater to the majority of people who seriously don’t care to read 7,000-word

Now it’s December 31st, 2016, and I am THRILLED beyond belief with how this year turned out for me personally, despite how the world at large saw 2016 as pretty much one of the worst years ever.

Anyway, this isn’t a listicle about me specifically, because really, nobody cares and I’m certainly past that point in my life where I feel the need to unapologetically parade myself and my accomplishments around social media as if it matters to other people.

Then again, it is sort of about me.

It’s about everyone though.

I don’t think there’s a single person who couldn’t benefit from the following short snippets of wisdom — all of which I’ve experienced or became aware of during my own vastly intense quarter-life crisis that lasted from age 23 to 29.

Read over them, think about them, consider how they might apply to your own life, and use them to move forward in 2017.

1. Figure out how to turn your neurotic need for certainty into an open-minded state of curiosity, and you’ll find that both fear and anxiety will loosen their grip over you.

2. What you think is already simple in life almost certainly isn’t at all. Simplify it further. Do it again and again until you can’t possibly simplify it anymore.

3. Forget about treating your mental, emotional, and physical health like they’re completely separate things. Because they’re not.

4. Learn how to be with yourself in silent solitude as often as possible. Surrender to the void. You will learn more about yourself this way than by any other way.

5. To develop genuine self-esteem, work on practicing self-compassion. Self-esteem comes from being kind to yourself — not from just from psyching yourself up by focusing on all your success or achievements.

6. The more something sucks, the bigger the life lesson. Get used to noticing your mind interpreting negative experiences as a threat to your sense of self and use it to remain aware of the reality that all “bad” experiences are really just opportunities for accelerated personal growth.

7. No matter how much you try to manipulate your self-image, you can never truly know how another people sees you or what they really think of you, so you might as well give up the charade.

8. Each person has a unique genetic makeup and past history of experiences that makes them far too complex to compare them against any other person. If you’re going to do any comparing at all, compare your past self to your present self.

9. Every person you meet who has something to say about what you should do or how you should be is a really reflection of themselves, their values, and their beliefs. Should you decide to take their opinion as feedback, know that it is just one perspective in a sea of limitless perspectives.

10. Related to the previous point, your judgment of others is a direct reflection of what you think about yourself and how you think the world should be in a way that serves you and your values best. The more you practice being kind and open to yourself, the kinder and more open you will naturally want to be toward others.

11. Realize that you probably don’t admire people for their success. You admire them because they allowed themselves to be deeply vulnerable, which most people are too terrified to do.

12. True personal growth has nothing to do with what other people can see (i.e. weight loss, lots of money, a super hot partner, perfect kids, a fancy house, and so on). It’s a change that occurs on an inner level that naturally dissolves all the perceived “problems” you think must be resolved through success and achievement in your external environment.

13. You’re never going to just finally find your passion because your passion is always growing and changing along with you. “Do what you love” may be a vague and cliché statement, but there’s truth in it.

14. All the education, books, tools, programs, courses, life coaches, therapy, and other resources in the world can’t help you get to where you want to be if you are subconsciously in a state of resistance to what you want. One of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung’s best quotes is: “What you resist persists.”

15. Emotional intelligence matters way more than I.Q. It’s great to be book smart, but you’ll get farther in life if you can learn to understand and be unafraid to feel your own emotions — as well as the emotions of others.

16. You are not separate from nature, so stop acting like it. Stop feeding your body processed junk, stop spending all your time in an urban jungle, stop bombarding your brain with Netflix and Facebook. You do these things and wonder why you’re physically and mentally ill, and you do it because you think you’re not a part of the same stuff that makes up everything on this Earth.

17. What’s the greatest gift you can give? Your presence. Especially in this day and age, giving someone your full, undivided attention — your physical, mental, and emotional presence — is the greatest form of respect, and truly, it’s what everybody wants.

18. The cruelest, nastiest people who exist on this planet are the ones who are hurting the most, and the way we help them starts with empathizing — not by retaliating or seeking revenge.

19. Getting one of those massive 365-day white board wall calendars is a good way to give yourself a humble daily reminder of your own mortality.

20. Question the thoughts that flow through your mind, question the stories it tells you, question everything that everyone else tells you, question everything you’ve been taught, question your deepest beliefs, and most of all question yourself. Why? Because you can never be too sure of anything.

21. Your self-identity is a clever work of fiction based on all your past experiences, told to yourself by your mind whether you’re conscious of it or not. You have the power to change it depending on your level of self-awareness.

22. Almost all advertisement campaigns thrive on making you think that you’re not enough. But you are and always have been.

23. Negative emotions are valid and meant to be felt; not to be suppressed or treated.

24. Money is entirely psychological. Whether you never think you have enough or you think you always need more no matter how much you already have, you will have just that. Money is just a tool that will get you more of what you already have.

25. Author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn once famously said: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If you really want to grow, you might just need a new squad.

26. Learn to marry honesty with kindness. Honesty is always the best policy, and not even a little white lie is really ever worth the smallest scratch to your integrity.

27. The key to happiness lies in your intuition. Intuition is feeling, and it’s up to you to interpret the meanings of its messages.

28. The key to a lifetime of unhappiness lies in going along with the crowd and doing what you think you’re supposed to because you were taught to do it. If you want to break down those barriers keeping you stuck in a state of unhappiness, you have to work on separating authentic desire from social conditioning.

29. Don’t take yourself to seriously. Don’t take other people too seriously. Don’t take the world too seriously. It’s such a simple piece of advice, but too many people are so uptight about their relationships and their goals and their zits and their retirement plans, they forget that these are all just stories that they’re making up in their heads. Relax, laugh a little, and figure out how to enjoy yourself while you work on these things.

30. The number one thing that most people regret on their deathbeds is that they spent their lives playing it safe and conforming to other people’s expectations. Dare to be different, dare to be bold, and dare to take risks so that at the end of your life, you won’t regret how you spent it.

 

This still turned out to be over 1,500 words.

Well, my painstaking wordiness should come in handy as I slowly (very slowly) shift my career from freelance writing toward becoming an author over the next 5, 10, 20, 25 years or however long it takes.

With all that I’ve been through already, I’m ready to suck so bad at it for years until I actually make it happen.

That’s the one bit of personal information I’m including in this blog post and 2017 — my 30th year — is the kickoff year I start taking book writing seriously.

Every single point mentioned above brought me to where I am now, growing as a writer and living my best life only after struggling and often feeling like I was moving backwards for 6 or 7 years.

Here’s to a beautiful and brilliant New Year.

May 2017 bring you all the hope, courage, and joy you need to start (or continue) realizing your dreams.

 

Image via Andreas Levers

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