20 Things for Grads (6/4/13)

 The 20 Things I Wish Someone Had Told a Younger Me:

 1.Hold tight to your real friends and don’t forget the precious closeness that you feel now. It is real, and over time, life will try to tease those connections away from you. They will mean everything in your life. 

2.Although you are smart … Your brain isn’t done maturing yet – listen to your parents more than you want.  

3.Keep the joy of being ‘in the moment.’ You will have to focus on the future so much as you get older, and being mindful to the moment becomes a lost art  

4.You will miss your youthful body one day – love it and take care of it. Appreciate your beauty, your uniqueness, and your ability to physically do whatever you want – one day this will be a challenge. 

 5.If someone has cut you down, that is about THEM, not YOU. As long as you are doing your best not to hurt others, unkind words may be thrown at you because someone else feels like cutting you down to make them feel better. 

 6.Apologize: Mean it & Make it better. Say “I’m sorry.” If you have slighted someone (even if it is small) – put aside your ego and apologize . 

7.Education really is THAT important. With 100% certainty, you will be proud of your degrees … and you will regret it if you don’t complete them.  

8.You can say NO to sexual contact. You own your body, and you will be more proud of keeping it for someone special than giving it away to someone who is pressuring you to meet their needs.  

9.Whatever you POST is PERMANENT. Envision that picture or remark being pushed across the desk to you as you interview for your first job. If it wouldn’t make them want to hire you, leave it off your page/text/post. 

10.Trust the calling on your heart. If you have a special voice in you that keeps pulling you in the direction of a special passion, don’t quiet that down and try to snuff it out.  

11.Spirituality/Religion will be what saves you when the world goes out. Always keep a personal spiritual relationship with a power higher than yourself. Your connection with God will guide you, strengthen you,  and bring you peace with each step of your life. Pray. Meditate. Listen. Every day. 

12.TRAVEL. Seize any (safe) opportunity that you can to journey to a new place, immerse in a new culture, and experience new landscape. 

 13.Don’t poison yourself: Don’t smoke. Don’t take drugs. Don’t drink soda. I don’t need to tell you what you already know, but I will promise you that toxins affect your outward beauty, the way you radiate, the way you smell, and the way that people experience you. Treat your body as purely as possible. 

14.Consider the other side of the story. Listen to someone that you don’t agree with – ask them where they came from and why they feel the way they do. Never assume that the world will agree with your upbringing … or that any of us are 100% right. (We are not.) 

15.Talk yourself out of the need to compare yourself. Strive to be the best you, not a copy of the person next to you. KNOW your strengths. Don’t belittle your weaknesses. Accept that you are different and celebrate what is strong about each of you 

16.Talk to your educators. Ask for help. Be known and be memorable.  

17.Love your parents. Love your grandparents. Look them in the eye and listen to their stories. Honor their lives and the legacies of those before them. Later, you will wish you had listened and learned because you will want to go back and hear those stories again … you never know when it is going to be too late. 

18.People will treat you the way that you allow them to. You have half the power to determine how every relationship goes as a whole. If you’re not sure how someone will treat you – the best predictor of future behavior is relevant past behavior (that includes how they have treated their past relationships). Be empowered to keep people close who make you want to be a better you, and keep your distance from those who make you feel bad about yourself. You do have a choice. 

19.Pay attention to how people treat others … especially waiters … and their parents. When you are selecting your friends in school and at work, pay attention to who they are outside of your group. As you date, pay attention to the respect level that the other person shows the waiter – this shows character. Most importantly, watch how they treat their parents. This is a good predictor of how they will be in a marriage. 

20.Listen to your still, small voice. You have been given a spirit by God, and it talks to you from that spot deep in your core. You can feel it give you a “bzzzz” when you should not be somewhere, and a “lalalala!” when you are in a very good place. Stay with the “lalala’s” and remove yourself from the “bzzzz’s.” Your intuition is your Super Power – use it and you will diminish your chance for regret.