Another birthday come and gone. As my Dad eloquently put it, "you've entered the second quarter of your life - getting old son."
(I'd have to disagree with him there as I'm only getting started)
Although I may not be as old as others, I've had my fair share of experiences. Lived overseas for 3 years, travelled to 27 different countries and had a long-term relationship.
I've been jobless, in debt, lost, scared, depressed and aimless.
I've been comfortable, elated, focused and invincible.
There are many things I've learned along the way. Through the highs and the lows. Here are 26 of them.
1. Take nothing for granted.
It wasn't until I moved to London when I realised how lucky I am to have grown up on Sydney's Northern Beaches. Some of the world's best beaches a walk away. You really don't know how good you have it until it's gone.
2. Experiences beat things.
I'm not a minimalist by any means. I like certain nice things. But, there are a few values which resonate such as the idea that experiences are worth more than material things. Things tend to depreciate while experiences stay with you forever.
3. Goals give you direction.
Having something to aim for gets you out of bed in the morning. Don't aim for the goals of others. Actually sit down and suss out your life, what you're capable of and what you want to achieve. Then, set goals in place and crack on.
4. Be happy in your own company.
I am as content spending a day alone compared to spending a day with friends. This, I believe, is useful.
5. Wake up early.
Rising up at the crack of dawn makes the days longer. You still have to get your 8 hours so this means going to bed earlier too. People (me) are generally much more productive in the mornings compared to late at night where Netflix binging is more appealing than writing an article.
6. Be nice.
This is obvious and shouldn't be a life lesson. But I value it and it's my blog, so it is. Be genuinely nice to every person you encounter. Only positive outcomes can come from being a nicer person. People will want to spend time with you. Your thoughts become your reality. Think nice things and act them out.
7. Make your bed.
It sets the tone for the day of doing the little things right. And even if you have a crap day at least you've done something positive.
8. Help as many people as possible.
Karma always comes back around. If you make an effort to help every person you encounter, I guarantee you'll be successful in anything you do.
9. Gratitude is a skill.
Practice it daily. In the morning write (or just think) of three things you are grateful for. Feel them. Do the same at night. This takes one minute and sets up your mindset for the day. You begin to notice the many great things happening in your life. The small things you'd usually disregard.
10. Breath intentionally.
Something I picked up this year is one single breathe can soothe a storm.
Angry? Breath. Stressed? Breath.
It may not solve the problem, but you can be damn sure you'll be in a better headspace to solve it after a few breaths.
11. Lift weights to build self-worth.
Weight training is the best thing I've ever started. It's become my career and life and has nothing to do with my body image.
You gain a satisfying amount of confidence by having control of your body in space and the ability to perform physical feats. When you set a PB in the morning, you bet it will resonate throughout the rest of your day. You always know where you sit in terms of weights. You know who you are now, and with gradual improvements, you can see where you'll soon be.
12. Lift weights to develop discipline.
The only way you'll ever get leaner, bigger or stronger is through consistency. Consistency requires discipline. The discipline developed here extended well beyond the gym and into your life. Your attitude, work ethic, mindset and success all benefit due to the skills, habits and routine you gain from lifting weights.
13. Travel opens your eyes.
See other cultures, meet people from all over the world and experience different traditions. There's a lot more wondrous experiences to Earth you won't find in your hometown. Go and explore.
14. Create stuff.
Write, draw, paint, build... Whatever you are drawn towards. 2017 was the year of writing for me with 2018 positioned to be even more so. Creating is meditative in nature as you're not bound by any laws. You are free to make what you please which provides a type of freedom unfound in any other areas of life.
15. Learn the basics of money.
Whether you like it or not, money rules your life. You spend over 50% of your day working for it and more than that thinking about it. Make time to learn about investing, super, tax and saving. Don't rush into big financial purchases. Be careful of debt. Start saving now.
It's a complex topic and there are thousands of books you could read. Since you only need to understand the basics, it's really not that difficult. Make the time now and in 20 years you'll be praising me.
16. Get a coach.
There are people out there who have done exactly what you want to do with your life. And they want to help you do the same. You can save yourself a huge amount of time and endless headaches by hiring a coach.
Every time I feel as though I'm making progress in life, I've had a coach.
17. Always have at least one book going.
I tend to have a fiction and non-fiction book going at all times. To me, reading is a non-negotiable. Non-fiction books give me a chance to learn from people a hell of a lot smarter than me. Fiction books are good ol' fashion fun. To not read leaves an incredibly large gap in knowledge, writing skills, vocabulary and creativity.
18. Say 'thank you' properly.
Look the person in the eye and mean it when you say it.
19. Make yourself indispensable.
In whatever your job you should aim to overdeliver wherever possible. Bring with you an attitude and work ethic which make your employers life easier. Go beyond the call of duty. You will be noticed and you will be rewarded.
20. Never stop educating.
If you're not growing, you're dying. Always look to further your skill, hone your craft and bring more to the table.
21. Invest regularly in a good massage.
You've only got one body. All those creaks, niggles and moans can kinda ruin your day. A massage every now and then keeps the motor chugging along smoothly.
22. Get good at something.
Not only good, be the best at your thing. Practice it, study it, live and breath it. Providing something of value to the world, where your quality is towering above the rest, will provide you with all the work, satisfaction and money you'll ever need.
23. Time block like a badass.
If you want to get something done you have to make time for it. Time blocking is how I write. I set aside a certain amount of time and for that period do nothing but write. No distractions (no socials, web browsing or phone) and no excuses. You can time block for exercise, family time and anything you desire but tend to put off.
24. Listen to audiobooks while driving or walking.
A hack to be ten times smarter and more productive. I still listen to music but much of my driving and walking time is spent listening to audiobooks or interesting podcasts.
25. Surround yourself with the right people.
It's true that you are the average of the people you spend the most time with. Life is more exciting being spent with people on the same wavelength as you, who you can bounce ideas off, push to improve and lean of for support.
26. Learn to count calories.
Mastering your physique requires knowing how to count calories. It doesn't mean you have to do it forever, but you must understand it.
26 years down and I'm only getting started. Here's to the next 26 being as fun-filled, adventurous, successful and fun.