25 Things to Make this Next Year of Life = Awesome.
Today is the first day of my 25th year of life.
I’ve reached a quarter of my life. One friend even called it the quarter-life-crisis checkpoint.
But, 25 doesn’t have to be a crisis year or scary number. 25 should be the year of “Life = Awesome” as adult life becomes a little easier and we inch even closer to our dreams.
Here are 25 ideas, perspectives, and goals that will help make this year better than all the rest (in no particular order):
1. Never let anything (or anyone) unravel your joy. Joy lives at the foundation of our growth and development as people. It is a state of being. Get happy, get sad. Be joyful nevertheless.
Thank you: Life, Pastor Brian S., and Pastor Stacey S. for sharing this both in the past and recently.
2. Unplug. It work, life, and play, there is something special about being able to have time off from email, phone conferences, and meetings. I often do this by cooking regularly or working in the park, but I definitely want to make more strides towards it.
Thank you: Zoe H. for coaching me on this years ago.
3. Own it: Be your most authentic self. It takes growth to accept ourselves and be open and willing to share every side of us to others. I’m learning to stop apologizing for who I am and to not yield out of my truest self for the fellowship of peers.
Thank you: Ashoka U team for teaching this to me.
4. Give the roses now. Let people know that we appreciate, love, and support them. Expressing emotion and vulnerability can be one of the most awkward things ever, but in order to build lasting and deeper connections with friends and family, we need to be more open and willing to tell them. Don’t hide good feelings.
Thank you: Mom for demanding this of me. Thank you all who show this to me. And, thank you, Kanye West, for the song, “Roses.”
5. See failure as a crucial part of the process toward success. It’s a paradox, I know, but it is crucial toward developing resilience and commitment toward the goal. Don’t give up, just iterate.
Thank you: Chris M., designer and entrepreneurship friends, for teaching me this.
6. Refuse any negativity that come your way. Don’t be a magnet. Over the past year, I have been blessed to meet some of the most inspiring people of my life, and one of the biggest reasons for this is that positive people gravitate toward positive people. Make a concerted effort to fill your life with positivity. Disconnect from the reality shows. Don’t feed into gossip (even celebrity gossip). Don’t allow peers to express pessimism or negativity around you. Own the healthiness of your spirit.
Thank you: Recent Life, for demanding this of me.
7. Seek to understand before being understood. Just let that one marinate…
Thank you: Leslie D. and a lot of people for telling me this.
8. Accept that the unknown is positive. Sometimes it feels like we fear our own success. Throughout the past 25 years, I have definitely enjoyed many experiences and a good number of achievements, but I also recognize that I have played it safe and self-sabotaged…a lot. I pursue a lot of opportunities that I know I will receive. I have never lived outside of the US, not for lack of interest in other nations/cultures, but for fear that something will happen while I’m away, and I will miss it. In this next year, I want to challenge myself to break this fear and live more boldly and fiercely by facing and embracing the unknown.
Thank you: Molly A., Danielle H., and Lane G. for showing me this through your life journeys.
9. Help others unlock their capacity. “Unlocking creative capacity” is the mantra of my enterprise, Catalysts by Design, but so far, its scope has been focused on organizations and communities. There is a great pull right now to really apply this toward others. I get a lot of questions of “How do you do ____?” and “How did you get ___?” “What’s been working for you?” Well, it’s time to be less selfish and answer this.
Thank you: Yanniz, Ben R., and Sean H. for demanding this of me.
10. Amplify affection. Just like #4, but with touch and kinship. Practice body motions that express openness, warmth, and acceptance.
Thank you: All for teaching me this.
11. Voice my needs and follow up to get them met. The biggest thing that my mom tells me is that “A closed mouth doesn’t get fed.” In this upcoming year, I will let go of my pride and ego, and ask for help more. And with that, I will be sure to follow up.
Thank you: Mom for teaching me this. Thank you, Jennifer K. for showing me this.
12. Give ears more. In the past year, one thing that I have learned is that I am not the best listener. I hear a lot of things, but listening fosters deeper engagement. Asking “how are you?” to a friend and genuinely desiring an answer…that’s what I seek to get better at.
Thank you: Cambrie N., Rachael G., Brian L., and Jay C. for teaching me this.
12. Take my physical health seriously as a component of spiritual and social growth. A good friend once told me that “your life can only go as far as your body will take you,” and I am just starting to understand and value this wisdom. I’ve always been hard-headed when it came to my physical health, but after landing in the hospital a few months ago, I’ve started to listen. Many people in my life have attempted interventions to kill my candy-addiction. Others have coached me to eat more balance meals, and many have inspired me toward my commitment to yoga. Please know that this year, I will focus and enhance my physical lifestyle, understanding that its positive effects on my spiritual and mental health.
Thank you: Erin M. for the interventions. Thank you, Zoe H., Liz K. and Cambrie N. for the coaching. Thank you Stephanie N., Evetty S. for sharing similar journeys. Thank you, Derrick, for your inspiration as a black yogi.
13. See the fun in the mundane. I hate routines, but they build endurance, so I commit to finding a way to appreciate this.
Thank you: Jerome, Stacey M. and Dewayne J., for showing me this.
14. Talk regularly to a friend I can’t regularly access. I tend to be an “out of sight, out of mind” person, and that is not healthy toward relationships and friendships. I challenge myself and you to reconnect with good friends who may now live far from you.
Thank you: Dewayne W, for making me desire this.
15. Share more A.R.K. Acts of random kindness should be a part of everyone’s growth journey. What do you do when you know that you will not be rewarded for your actions? How do you nurture a heart of service and compassion? Build impulsive and unconscious streams of good-doing. Trust that the universe will bear its own reward.
Thank you: Tola, for leading this. Thank you, Josh, for emphasizing it.
16. Have more dinner parties. This past year has been the start of something great by nurturing a dinner party culture with friends. Definitely gotta keep this up.
Thank you: Brown School friends for making these so awesome.
17. Experiment. Do something bold. Do something new. Embrace something that may seem foreign. It may just work out well.
Thank you: Gina M. for showing me this. Thank you all artsy friends for living this.
18. Never let the day-to-day make me lose sight of the mission. As a graduate student, it’s easy to get caught up in readings, essays, and research, but this should not overwhelm the very purposes for which this and other opportunities are in my life. Don’t stress over school.
Thank you: Amanda M.McB for reminding me of this.
19. Ride good momentum. This past year of life has been one of the most riveting I’ve ever experienced, and it would be a great misfortune to become stagnant. If something good has happened in your life, use that experience to fuel another opportunity. Let the good times roll.
Thank you: Leah N. and everyone who have opened a door and helped me step into it.
20. Follow through. Do what you say you’re going to do. Strike while the iron is hot, and get things done.
Thank you: Emily B. for teaching me this and being an amazing example of it.
21. Speak up more. Speak up for. I’ve always been more of an ally than an advocate for others in my journey, and it’s time to change that.
Thank you: Art Feeds for being an example of this.
22. Don’t think. Do. Go with your gut. The “gut” is powerful. Sometimes we can ponder over decisions in our head for days, but when we listen with our heart and our spirit, the answers get a lot clearer.
Thank you: Kady M. and kindred friends for always being a beacon of this.
23. Know your brand, and harness it. As a young professional and voice in the creative, social entrepreneurship, and design industries, branding is a powerful tool, and more and more, I’m learning that it applies to more than just websites, business cards, and writing styles. We as individuals are our own brand. Our style, our consistency, our attitude, our habits, and more become a part of how we are identified in the world. Build a positive brand for self by asking “What do others know me for? What most authentically defines who I am?” Be consistent with it.
Thank you: Jen M. and Seth G. for showing me this.
24. Breathe. Everything doesn’t rest on your shoulders, and everything isn’t as urgent as it seems.
Thank you: Tuan N. for showing me this.
25. See everyone as a friend. We treat our best friends in a way that is more gentle and enthralling than any other relationship in our lives. What if we extended that grace to strangers, co-workers, peers, and family? That’d be pretty dynamic.
Thank you: Jason H. for exposing me to this concept.
Here’s to making life fun, meaningful, and dynamic. Share your thoughts and responses to any of these below.