I'm a firm believer that we never stop learning. I'm not talking about academics; it's life lessons I'm referring to. Life is, contrary to popular belief, actually quite kind to us. Every time something happens, bad or good, it comes with a lesson. The problem usually lies in the fact that we just don't, you know, listen. So because I'm a firm believer in trying to actually move forward with the knowledge that life unceremoniously throws into my face, here is my list of the top lessons I've learned in 2008.
1) If you work long enough and hard enough, what you're striving for will come to you. Maybe not in the way you expect, but eventually it will. The difficulty lies in getting back up after you fail and trying again. Trying to keep going after a failure is one of the most difficult and painful things a person ever has to do, but it will pay off in the end.
2) Be direct with people. Never stop being kind, but don't let kindness turn into falseness.
3) Be honest in everything you do.
4) No matter how many people you love, there is always room for one more. Love is funny that way; it doesn't spread itself thin.
5) Great friends are rare. A group of them is a downright miracle. Treat them well.
6) Overdrafts are bad.
7) So are credit card bills. Especially when you pay them late.
7b) Paying the minimum balance will only keep your balance from not going up; it won't take your debt down in any way. Interest sucks.
8) There will always be an "us" and a "them". Be very careful in making assumptions about the "them" of the day; human nature does in fact veer towards equality.
9) Gossip is destructive, and engaging in it will only lessen the respect others have for you.
10) Actions don't make people; intentions make people.
11) Just because you're bad at something doesn't mean you shouldn't try.
12) Age really truly is just a number. Maturity is what matters.
13) Surprise parties are almost never a surprise. But it's still nice to try.
14) There's a difference between knowing your talents and being cocky about them. The first is vital, the second lethal.
15) Every single person in the world has something to teach you.
16) Cigarettes will not in fact help you sober up. I learned that the hard way.
17) Some stereotypes actually do have truth to them. (I hate to say it, and no disrespect to my new country of residence, but British food? BLECH!)
18) Yes, it is really fun to sit in front of the tv in your pjs for hours. But don't do it more than once a week.
19) Having a straight friend of the opposite sex in whom you're not interested is a really valuable thing. When they give you romantic advice, listen to them.
20) If you have the capacity to help someone, do. It may inconvenience you a little bit, but not only will it come karmically full circle, but it's just the right thing to do. It's part of being a good person.
21) Take care of your body. You don't need to be a gym bunny or a health food nut, but now is the time when you should be taking care of yourself so that later you can retain the health you take for granted now.
22) Hobbies enrich your life and make you an interesting person. Make time for them.
23) Learn to recognize when he's just not that into you.
24) Read. Even if it's crappy vampire fiction (my personal form of crack), make sure you're reading something. Movies are great, but they are NOT a substitute for literature.
25) Every now and then, turn off your phone and spend some time with your friends. You won't realize how many hours a day you spend looking at your phone until you turn it off.
And my personal motto, if something isn't going to bother you three days from now, don't let it bother you today. It will only give you heart problems.