27 - I was a complete mess. I did a lot of things wrong. And I paid for them. And they hurt. 28 - I made a lot of hard decisions that finally started moving me in the direction of my goals. And, now, 29- I'm feeling really good about 29.
So here are 29 things I know for sure.
1. Look where you want to go, not where you don't want to go. I learned this mountain biking. If you look at a tree, and think, "Crap! I'm going to run into that tree." You're going to run into the tree. Focus on where you want to go. (And yes, I mountain bike like George of the Jungle.)
2. Be grateful. Always. And believe that you are lucky.
3. You're more effective if you make eye contact and don't mumble (even if what you end up saying is wrong). I used to get really nervous around my colleagues, and I would mumble anxiously. Now, when I start doing that, I clear my throat, remind myself that they asked me a question because they want to know what I think, make eye contact, and answer the question.
4. It's usually easier to do something you don't want to do than it is to not do it. Like the dishes. Or the trash. Just get it finished.
5. Find something you're good at. Then on days when you make horrible mistakes, you can think: I'm actually really good at painting with water colors or making the bed with army corners or whatever it is you're really good at.
6. Don't worry about what other people think, and they're probably thinking about themselves just as much as you are.
7. If you don't fall, you're not going fast enough. Or if you don't fail, you're not trying anything new.
8. Being good with money takes work, which I didn't know before now. Also, you should live below your means. I think Tolstoy said that.
9. Try to grow something: a plant, a garden, a career, yourself. In the Talmud, it says that on every blade of grass there is an angel that whispers, "Grow. Grow."
10. There is a time and place for everything; sometimes, it is not now.
11. "It's better to buy one expensive thing that you really like than several cheap ones that you only quite like." -Olivia Jones (Helen Fielding)
12. Sometimes being a mess is exactly what you need to be.
13. Regret is wasted time. Olivia Joules says, "Don't regret anything. Remember that wasn't anything else that could have happened, given who you were and the state of the world at the moment."
14. Keep everything in perspective. Nothing is ever ideal. Do the best you can do with what you have.
15. Smile back. Always be the person who smiles back, who waves back, and who sends a thank you card.
16. Standing up for yourself is not the same as being a bitch.
17. Be honest, kind, and tolerant, but not always in that order. You want to try to be all of these things, but I've learned that sometimes they counteract each other.
18. If it hurts (or makes you scared or sad), there's probably a reason.
19. Anxiety, depression, and OCD (and all other mental illnesses/disabilities) are real. Respect them.
20. Take care of your skin. I've always be bad about this, and I'm trying to be better.
21. Annie Dillard wrote, "The way we lives our days in the way we lives our lives." Don't use vacation to be who you want to be. Be who you want to be every single day. If that means you want to be a napper, take a nap every day. If you want to be a great dog owner, make sure you play with your dogs every day.
22. What Gretchen Rubin said is similar to Annie Dillard: "What we do everyday matters more than what we do once in a while." Obviously, it's important enough that it's been said well twice. It deserves to have two numbers in my list.
23. You don't have to spend a lot of money on food to eat really well. Soup is delicious, and it freezes.
24. Feed the people you love. My dad taught me this; if you love someone, feed them. If you have a party, make sure there's food.
25. That being said, my parents were right about some things.
26. Always put the big rocks in first. The important things. Have you heard Covey's "Big Rocks" speech? Make sure you take care of the most important things in your life. Then everything else will fit in. For me, the big things are walking the dogs, exercising, writing, and having dinner with Dan. Everything else falls into place: the grading, the dishes, the laundry.
27. Say, "Yes," more than you say, "No." I talked about this a few weeks ago, but John Gottman said something like, “Try to have 5 positive interactions for every 1 negative interaction.” He was talking about marriage, but I think it applies to all of our relationships. Positively answering and interacting with people more often than saying no or negatively interacting with people will makes life a whole lot easier.
28. Never stop learning.
29. Do at least one thing you love doing every day.