I’ve just finished reading ’21 Lessons for the 21st Century’ by Yuval Noah Harari and it got me wondering what I’d put on my own list of life lessons.
I may only be nearly 36 at the time of writing but between moving home several times, parental divorces and remarriages, stints in mental health hospitals and having a job that’s allowed me to travel and meet some incredibly interesting people from movie stars to millionaire entrepreneurs, I reckon I’ve lived a little and have something to offer in terms of wisdom to pass on.
It’s a new school term at the time of publishing this list and maybe you’re embarking on a fresh start yourself once the kids go back to school.
Or perhaps you’ve a teenager going off to University, or someone you care about is making the leap of getting married.
Life doesn’t have a rule book and most of us are making it up as we go along.
We tend to follow certain patterns (school, work 9-5, get married, have kids, retire……) but only because that’s ‘the done thing’.
But what if you wrote your own life story? One that wasn’t biased towards the conventions you’ve grown up to be ‘normal’?
I found it too hard to choose, so here’s 23 life lessons I’ve gathered over the last 35 years or read them below:
The more we rely on technology the less we value human interaction and this directly correlates to decline in emotional wellbeing. Technology is an incredibly fantastic tool, but it’s just a tool. Don’t fuck with a hacksaw.
The day you not only realise but truly believe you don’t have to copy other people, you are free.
Whatever happens in politics don’t forget the politics of you. Most people who vote don’t have nearly enough of an understanding of the complexities of politics an economics to be allowed to vote. But you can always start with you, and being the best person you can be.
Laws are nothing but a figment of someone’s imagination.
Boredom is a precious commodity. The mind flourishes in white space and I’m envious of people who manage to not fill it with crap.
90% of paper currency carries traces of cocaine. If you think there isn’t one person within 200 meters of you right now with Class A’s on them (not including bank notes) you’re mistaken. It’s an underworld. You can’t see it but it’s there. Is that a good, bad or neutral fact? Well that’s for you to decide.
Who says you can’t? You let your kid go to the supermarket dressed as a superhero because you can’t really see why not. Want to live on a farm, start your own business, audition for a movie part or take a road-trip to Wales at a day’s notice? Why not?
There are many people very happy to live a normal, average life, set by cultural conventions. That’s fine. If you want to, that’s fine. If you don’t want to, also fine.
When someone is angry, crying, drunk, or in any other highly emotional state, listen to what they’re trying to say, not what they’re actually saying.
The people who mind don’t matter, and the people who matter don’t mind.
The vast majority of people won’t change. But you can change how you respond.
Religion is like Harry Potter. A fantastic work of fiction that brings joy to billions of people. And that’s mostly a good thing.
Only fools know everything.
If you think looks don’t matter a lot then you’re forgetting the fundamental instincts of homo sapiens’ ‘survive and procreate’ life plan.
Most people give up too easily.
Lists about how to live your life should not involve flossing your teeth. No one lay on their death bed wishing they drank more water and flossed.
If your partner says they’ve never once considered being with someone else, they’re lying. But if they tell you they’ve thought about it, it shows true trust and honesty which is what at least 42% of relationships are missing and therefore end in divorce.
If they judge you, it says more about them than you. Their problem. Each to their own. Open your mind.
You will never be able to persuade everyone. See the Flat Earth Society for a good example.
Age is meaningless. I’ve met 10 year olds wiser than 70 year olds. I’ve seen 80 year olds fitter than 18 year olds.
Regret nothing. Everything you have seen, tried, done; the good, bad and stupid. The dangerous and the boring. It’s all been the story that’s shaped who you are today. Whether you like who you are today or not, it’s all just stories and lessons on a journey. You’ll regret the things you didn’t do way more than the things you did.
The clock is going to keep ticking and the calendar pages turning whether you like it or not. You can choose to do something today, make a change or do the thing you wanted to do, or not. In 12 month’s time you will either have grown as a person and experienced life, or not. It’s up to you.
Perfection is an impossible destination. But life can be pretty effing good.
How about you? What would you put on your life lessons list? Come and let us know in my Facebook Group here where I help Mums like you live a happier, healthier life even when running a family makes putting yourself first nigh on impossible.