Today, I turned 45… although, on most days, I genuinely feel about 15 years younger.
It was a weird thing yesterday, filling out a tour waiver here in Mexico and realizing it was the last time I could truthfully check off the 25-44 age bracket box.
It was even weirder because it was a day full of adventure, swimming with whale sharks, manta rays, and sea turtles with my 12-years-old daughter in Mexico.
I’ve never been one to make a big deal out of my birthdays. But this one seems somehow significant, as if I’m entering a new phase in my life and ongoing personal evolution.
Feeling strangely contemplative, I came up with these 45 pieces of advice I would include in a letter to my younger self:
1) You’re good enough. Anyone who tells you different is just a jerk.
2) If you want something, just ask. The worst thing anyone can say in response is no.
3) Patience and persistence ultimately pay off. But they usually do so very slowly.
4) Don’t let anyone ever tell you your dreams are out of reach. Only YOU know your full potential.
5) Dreams do come true. But dreams are nothing without action. Dream it, then DO it!
6) Fear is a wolf. Chase the wolf, and you’ll never be afraid of the things you once feared.
7) Smile more, worry less. Positivity is infectious, and happiness is a choice.
8) Life is called a “rat race,” but remember that it’s a marathon and not a sprint.
9) Don’t ever judge yourself in comparison to others. Instead, judge yourself against what you know you’re capable of.
10) Love is all you need. But sometimes even love is not enough. Know when to say “when.”
11) You can’t change anyone, except yourself. Conversely, be wary of anyone who tries to change you to suit their ideal.
12) Write things down. You’ll be amazed how many great ideas you forget!
13) Celebrate your victories in life… even the small ones.
14) It’s OK to test the waters, but don’t be afraid to jump in. Otherwise you may never know what lies beneath the surface of your fears.
15) Don’t worry about getting knocked down. Instead, focus on getting back up as quickly as possible.
16) The family you’re born with ultimately isn’t as important as the family you choose. Choose wisely!
17) The people who truly love you don’t see all the flaws you see. Learn to see yourself through their eyes.
18) The scars you can’t see are worse than those you can. Heal them, and you’ll heal yourself.
19) Don’t think so much. Sometimes it’s OK to just BE.
20) Happiness isn’t a destination, but a lifelong journey. When in doubt, just keep swimming.
21) Don’t look for a partner who makes you happy; look for someone who makes you want to be your best self.
22) Karma is circular: What goes around comes around. Put out into the Universe the positive energy you seek in return.
23) The road less traveled is not always easy, but it’s never boring.
24) Don’t wait to learn from your own mistakes. Watch, listen, and learn from the mistakes of others.
25) Once you admit that you truly know nothing, life’s real education begins.
26) Parenthood isn’t that difficult. Ask yourself, “What would I have wanted my parents to do?” And then do that.
27) It’s great to have goals. Just remember that there’s always more than one path to achieving them.
28) Nobody ever made history by playing it safe. Be bold!
29) Never stop learning. Learning= growth= youth.
30) Treat life as an adventure. On their deathbeds, people usually regret the things they DIDN’T do.
31) Enjoy the frivolity of youth while you can, for it will be gone sooner than you think.
32) You’re never quite as smart as you think you are, nor as rich or thin as you want to be.
33) Don’t let the highs get too high or the lows get too low. The key to happiness lies in the balance.
34) Never forget where you come from. Let the past keep you grounded and humble.
35) Don’t let failure get you down. Look for the learning opportunity in every bad situation.
36) If you don’t have a serious passion for what you’re doing, do something else instead. Life’s too short to work “just for the money.”
37) When a door closes, leave it closed. There’s always an open window just around the corner.
38) “I can’t” becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. In truth, you’ll never know until you try.
39) Listen to all advice and criticism that comes your way, but know when to ignore it completely.
40) Take your business seriously, but not yourself.
41) Take time to think before you speak, because you can’t take words back. In moments of heightened tension, think twice.
42) Happiness isn’t just the most important thing in life; it’s the only thing that matters.
43) Invest yourself only in those willing to invest themselves in you. Toxic people and “takers” will suck your energy dry.
44) Learn to accept the unconditional love you deserve, and to give it tenfold in return.
45) No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to live the life you’ve always wanted. –Bret Love
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