Yesterday, I turned twenty-seven (in lieu of gifts, please send cake). Time has evaporated faster than I ever imagined it could. Now, I’m just a not-so-young, young adult who’s fond of nostalgia.
Taking some time this past week, I penned a list of twenty-seven things I’ve learned these first twenty-seven years of my life. I’ve always found the key to growing is first being aware. Once we are aware, we allow our ears to hear the lessons screaming all around us.
Here’s what’s screaming at me:
1. Some relationships are meant to be left in the past.
And that’s okay.
2. Create like crazy. It doesn’t matter what it is or what medium you use, just create.
3. Read. Read. READ.
4. Don’t be afraid to express yourself. In the past, I haven’t said things that needed to be said because I was afraid. Afraid of what others would think, afraid of what it would do to my relationships. Years later, most of those relationships are all but gone anyway.
5. If you try hard and believe in yourself, you’ll never have to worry about having leftover cake.
6. I’ll never regret the courage it took to move away for college. I found my way, my wife, and a best friend.
7. Almost all of the difficult circumstances I’ve experienced in my life ended up preparing me for greater opportunities in the future.
8. Don’t let anyone look into your eyes while you’re watching the ending of Toy Story 3.
9. Don’t wait years to forgive someone, you’re only hurting you. They don’t give a care.
10. You’ll never regret traveling the world.
11. “[W]e are more wicked than we ever dared believe, but more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope.” – Timothy Keller
12. Don’t enter your social security number into the website that says you’ve won a free iPod. All you’ll really win is shattered dreams.
13. I’m not going to say YOLO, but make an effort to discover new experiences. The couch will be there tomorrow. Unless a bandit steals it while you’re off on an adventure.
14. Learn at least one thing from every conversation, interaction, job, or task. Education is all around you, find it.
15. Trying to earn your way to heaven will make you act less like Jesus.
16. Have high standards for the content you share online.
17. Make fun of yourself or someone else will.
18. Bring an extra pair of pants to the 2004 Summer Concert Blowout (pun unintentional).
19. I found a great spouse and that’s why I’m here today.
20. No one’s ever sang karaoke and not regretted it.
21. Please don’t ever, ever pop your collar. It may seem cool High School Wade, but it too is shattered dreams.
22. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with video games, but if you’re not careful, they’ll eat your life away.
23. Relationships would be much easier if we adjusted our expectations.
24. Give away as much money as you can.
25. That arrow on the dashboard points to what side of the car your gas tank is on.
26. Limit your close relationships and pour everything you have into them.
27. Life won’t turn out like you planned. Thank God for that.
I tossed a few thoughts around about the best way to end this piece. I eventually decided on a quote from one of Robert Frost’s more popular poems. It’s one I’ve been constantly drawn to over the years:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference