35 things I wish I'd learned sooner

1. Kindness is better than whatever not being kind gets you.

2. Your parents are people with difficult decisions to make, lives to lead and their own thoughts and feelings and sometimes, whatever it is that is going on really is NOT about you.

3. Stories are important. I was wishing this weekend while talking to my parents that I knew more stories about my great-grandmother Oswald, my grandfather's mother. I actually don't know a lot at all, about my grandfather's side of the family and I wish I knew more.

4. Friendships, relationships of any kind require work and commitment. I wish I were better about staying in touch with friends. I deeply value my friendships that have stood the test of time and I need to make more of an effort so that people know how much I care.

5. Writing will save your life. Being able to express ideas, thoughts, emotions, struggles and triumphs, to create and maintain connections to others through writing made it possible for me to face really dark periods in my life. Re-reading some of this writing helped me to understand myself better and to remember how important reaching out to others is.

6. Being a little reckless is good.

7. You can take yourself too seriously.

8. Credit cards are dumb.

9. There are worse things than being heartbroken. Though it certainly did not feel that way, at the time. What I learned about myself each time was monumentally important to being a good partner in life.

10. Vegetables are not the enemy. In fact, eating the food pyramid is a pretty good way to honor your body and the work it does for you. I so wish I'd understood the impact of all the crap I put in my body, sooner.

11. Also, exercise is a good thing. It's okay if you are clumsy and uncoordinated or not very good at sports. Being active and participating will do signficant things for your health and your social life.

12. You'll never regret speaking up for yourself and others. You have to be an advocate for yourself. Who else is going to do it? I'm still learning this lesson and wishing I'd celebrated myself recently when given the chance. But of course, I felt silly and awkward and didn't speak when I had the chance.

13. What others think is not nearly half as important as what you think of yourself.

14. Never compromise your sense of justice or self-worth to try to get people to like you or because you are afraid to make a stir. (See 12 & 13) above.

15. Don't be so ready to grow up and be worldly. Naivete can be a good thing.

16. Asking for help is not weak nor foolish. It is often the most brave thing you can do.

17. Also, asking questions does not mean you do not understand something. It means you are trying to deepen your understanding.

18. Don't be afraid to say "I don't know," when you don't know.

19. Traveling is great fun but it will not erase your problems or make your relationships more whatever it is you want them to be. Go anyway, but for you and not for someone else.

20. There is no such thing as balance.

21. Coffee is good.

22. Relish your smarts but learn to honor your body and its strength, too.

23. Falling in love is terrifying. And risky. And worth it. When the right person comes along.

24. Sometimes letting someone go is the best thing for everyone. And you'll be surprised how they come back to you and when.

25. Forgiveness is better than holding a grudge. Especially against yourself.

26. Guilt is unnecessary.

27. Everything changes.

28. One day all the things you thought were so important and life-altering won't be. And it will be okay.

29. Mistakes are part of life. You're going to say things you want to take back and do things you may regret. You will hurt your friends and be cruel to people you just met. You will be selfish and icy and try to protect yourself from whatever it is you're afraid of. This is the messy chaos of learning how to be a friend, a good person, a lover, part of humanity.

30. Cut yourself some slack. (See 25 and 28)

31. The expectations you have of others can be a bit ridiculous.

32. Being curious will take you places you never imagined.

33. Your instincts are usually right.

34. Love wins.

35. "The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them." ~Maya Angelou