10 Truths You Should Always Remember, But Don’t.
What did I learn this year, and how did it change me?
These two questions form the foundation of My Legacy List, an annual pet project that documents the lessons I learned over the past year, one item for each year I’ve been alive.
It’s a unique kind of documentary that narrates my existence as I get older, a book of me written over the course of a lifetime, a dynamic time capsule of personal development.
I started on a birthday a few years ago, declared that I was trying to inspire others to inspire others, and hoped that people would join me.
I imagined a future with dozens, hundreds, maybe thousands of people all doing the same blessed thing — taking some time to think about themselves, sharing bits of their soul on paper, and creating a life by reflecting upon it.
This year, my list contains various ideas that remind me where I’ve been, how I’ve grown, and who I’ve become.
Here are ten truths I learned this year.
1. Love yourself! Good relationships don’t result from finding the right person. They arise from being the right person. Focus on becoming a kind individual who loves you, not the fact that you lack one.
2. You cannot put a price on memories! In 20 years, you will not recall the numbers in your bank account today. However, you will remember moments. You will remember adventures.
You will remember the honest exchanges when your heart could no longer carry on, but somehow kept on beating anyway.
You will remember the nights when your walls fell down like raindrops, and you will recall the mornings when your fragile, open soul splattered at the feet of someone you cared about more than yourself.
You will remember giving in to the unexpected, and you will fondly reminisce about the unplanned miracles you found amidst the mundane. You will remember connection. You will remember beauty. You will remember joy, heartache, and awe.
These memories will remain in your mind, not your bank balance.
3. Just believe! Don’t let panic postpone greatness, don’t let perfection hinder progress, and don’t let your doubts corrupt your destiny. Throw yourself off the cliff and grow your wings on the way down. It’s the only way, and it always will be.
4. Burnt bridges don’t open doors! The world is a small town, people talk, and words are powerful. Be careful with yours. Just be kind.
5. Beware of appearances! Just because a dog has a loud bark doesn’t mean it’s a good dog. Just because an apple is shiny doesn’t mean it’ll taste sweet. Just because society says you should doesn’t mean it’s good, for you, for me, or for anyone.
Think about the things you experience. Question everything.
6. Breathe! Seriously, just breathe. Breathe more, breathe deeper, and whenever possible, take your breath away. Every breath you notice is another moment you’re in the moment. Inhale the good shit and exhale the bullshit.
7. Be proactive! There’s no point kicking, screaming, whining, bitching, and moaning about life. Time wasted complaining about the problem is better spent figuring out a solution. If you can change things, shut up and do it! If you can’t, shut up and deal with it!
Either way, action is the answer.
8. Bad is good! Rainstorms enhance sunshine, clouds bully the light to shine brighter, and if life was always good, it wouldn’t be as great.
Accept that sweetness requires a bit of bitter to make it better, accept that pain is an uglier, earlier version of wisdom, and accept that bad is good in disguise.
9. Ask for help! Seek the advice of experts. Surround yourself with a posse of awesome. Find people willing to kick your ass to kick some ass. Then, and this is the important part: go and kick some ass!
10. Home is where the heart beats! It’s not enough to know where your heart is — you have to learn what makes it burn, why it flickers in the darkness, and you have to fight for what makes your heart beat stronger.
That passion is your home, it’s the place you need to be, and sometimes that place is a person.
Find it, and don’t let it go.
*To see this year’s Legacy List illustrated and available as artwork, please click here.