In this article, I explore the major lessons I’ve learned in what it means to be a wise and good human in the first 30 years of life (in a convoluted way).
We all have our own paths, our own experiences of happiness, sadness, trauma and self-discovery. I used to second guess my decisions and my own personal journey, but I wouldn’t be the person I am now if I hadn’t been through what I have.
It was my 29th birthday last week and although I still have one year left, I found it was a great time for self-reflection of the many lessons I’ve learned. So here are 10 lessons I’ve learned in my 20s to lead a happy, healthy and purposeful life…
1. I Still Feel Like I’m 21
I often forget my age, it takes me a long while to recall how many times the earth has gone around the sun since my existence. What I’ve noticed in this lesson is that my thoughts don’t repeat but they rhyme. For example; 19-year-old Jordan thought that nothing good happens after 2am. 29-year-old Jordan realises nothing good ever happens are 11pm. Same idea just slight change of thought. A shift in priorities in a sense.
21-year-old Jordan was coaching some of the best athletes in the world) to be better athletes and humans. 29-year-old Jordan is currently training the best humans in the world to be better humans and athletes*.
*Athletes being a term to describe a competitive instinct and desire to improve.
Our values do remain very similar over a long time but I believe some dim away and others brighten a lot more. How they change will depend on experiences along the way. This is your own personal lesson.
2. One More is Often Rarely the Answer
I think if I was to categorise this lesson it would be labelled under ‘Boundaries’. If you’re human, you’ve probably dabbled with the ‘one more drink’ and have got home way too late for your partner’s dinner plans or have really shot yourself in the foot for that important work meeting or university lecture at 9am the next day. Boundaries are so underrated in my opinion. It’s a sign of respect for not just yourself but also for others. Sometimes it’s a battle between living with harmony and truth in a matter.
It’s very often we won’t tell someone the truth that what they say is hurtful or that we personally need 5 minutes to ourselves once a day because we are afraid it will break the harmony of the relationship. When in reality, it’s the truth for what will provide us personal harmony, arguably leading to a better relationship.
This also is the case when are looking after someone else as a caregiver. It can work in the same way with our kids if they want to “watch one more episode” or we just have “one more Tim tam”. We are both compromising our boundaries on being the responsible care giver and also the respect we have for our own self.
When we compromise boundaries, we compromise our own level of self-respect. An important lesson.
3. People Look At You Less You Think and More Than You Think
This lesson shocked me.
When I rowed a marathon on the rowing machine late last year for charity, I thought it was going to be watched only by my mum, dad and a couple of our chickens waddling through the garage. To my surprise a lot of people saw it and sent some really lovely messages. They also asked a lot of curious questions which I interpreted as them doing their own challenge. It absolutely lit me up with joy.
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”Dr. Seuss
The whole live stream I did went for four hours, and not once during those four hours did someone say “your technique is a bit poor mate”. In fact, everyone said something really nice and then donated some money to Movember.
This is the same experience when you go to the gym or go out for a run for the first time, or start being vocal about eating healthy. People are less likely to tell you how you’re doing it wrong, but will be more impressed about how often you turn up. It’s the frequency that is important, not how light the bar is that you’re lifting.
4. Most Things, Even Great Things, Suck at Some Point
A sucky lesson. Think of the most enjoyable things you do in your life. It could be eating great food, playing with the kids, or extreme ice climbing. Every time you do it you must think, “what a time to be alive” and “where else would I rather be”. However, at some point or another, there will be a moment where you think, this kinda sucks a little. Let me explain.
Going to the gym is great for you, particularly when you are new to it. You turn up, you run on the treadmill, you lift weights, you get an endorphin boost and feel good. You also lose weight and build muscle really quickly because you’ve never done it before. Life is good. Until…
The mornings become difficult to wake up, you’ve added weight on the scale for the first time, you are getting quite sore. So what do you do?
Even though you know it’s the best thing for your health, you stop. This is when it sucks. The question is, what sucks more? Feeling tired to get up in the morning and some soreness when you sit down, OR, the fact you won’t be able to pick up your grandkids in a couple years, that you’ll be overweight and lose all your confidence, that you’ll probably have a chronic disease in your 50s. That sucks a lot.
So the question is, what suckiness do you choose?
5. Don’t Wait for the Grass to Grow Before You Start Watering
This follows on from my last lesson. If my short gardening career taught me anything, you literally have weeks of effort before the first sign of progress. You should not be using motivation as a catalyst to do something. Motivation comes after action. You need to start first and then continue until the results are undeniable. A patience lesson.
We get caught up thinking that we can only do something if we truly want to do it. That’s not the case. Even all the most highly motivated individuals go through long stretches where they really don’t enjoy getting up early or following their calorie intake. That’s completely normal, we need to do first and then think about the results later much of the time.
6. Shampoo Twice, Condition Once
This lesson would fit under ‘self-care’. For many females, this one is obvious. For the males, I’ll explain both what this means and the concept behind it. For years and years, I always neglected washing my hair properly, every couple weeks (yuck!). That was until my barber suggested I start. When she told me about shampooing twice and conditioning once, I was highly sceptical. However, I’ve never felt better about it.
When it comes to self-care, we can’t just do it every once in a while, it has to be a regular thing. Without it, we don’t practice love and gratitude for who we are. And if you think “I don’t deserve it because I’m not that person yet…”. You are doing yourself way more harm than good. We need to shift the way we think of ourself as an enemy and more towards a friend, colleague and a lover.
If you want to maintain a friendship, we need to be kind. If we want to a colleague to work well, we must be supportive. If we want love, we must give love back. Small but regular moments of self-love create a healthy human being that can sit in their own thoughts and not have to neglect them.
This self-care lesson will have huge improvements on your family and yourself.
7. Don’t Flip the Board Playing Monopoly
This lesson really changed the way I saw the world once I turned this corner. I
I held grudges, I would get angry, I would feel like I had absolutely no control. I didn’t act out, I never hurt anyone, except myself. When something bad would happen or things were deemed a ‘failure’, it would just be another case of “nothing good ever happens to me”.
This is called playing the victim. Monopoly is a game of chance, you play the game, sometimes you land on jail, pay some rent or get taxed. Like life, it’s a game of chance. Sometimes your strategy works, other times you can’t catch a break. Is it worth us thinking the whole game is against us? No, we shouldn’t.
Or should we accept that it’s our responsibility for playing the game in the first place? Things go wrong, people cheat and lie. That’s not our responsibility, our responsibility to act in the manner that lives by our values. Our attitude is the only thing we can control, so let’s not waste our energy on trying to get back at the person but better off trying to get ourselves back on the journey we are on.
Accept play the victim, or accept responsibility. A lesson in responsibility.
8. I Won’t Feel Guilty About Eating Tim Tams
This lesson is about doing the things that I like and not caring about why someone thinks that. Some people are allergic to biscuits, others think that calories are the devil. A Tim Tam is both a biscuit and high in calories. So, should I care that people will resent me for eating it?
Just like you starting a diet or saying no to drinking copious amounts of alcohol on a night out, people will resent you for actions that will benefit yourself.
Why? Who knows. You could make assumptions that they have a deep, internal issue that makes them feel self-conscious about it. Or you could just not bother wasting your energy on it and move on. Seems pretty straight-forward but it can be hard.
All you need to focus on is what you believe is best for you and what you enjoy, and live true to your values. All the disgruntled people out there can worry about their own choice of confectionary or treat. A lesson in appreciating our own likes.
9. The Further From Yourself, The More Stressed You Get
Why would I compare myself to someone who is in a good mood or looks a certain way for 5 out of 365 days of the year.
Social media has trained us to think that ‘Person X’ is ‘living the life’. Chances are they are in a good mood and wanted to post that, or that they have completed an intense and super strict diet that got them in shape for 5 minutes, only to go back to feeling like shit the next day.
So why should we compare? You tell me.
This lesson is all about following your own path. If you don’t you will become stressed and unhappy with the unrealistic and undesirable goal of being someone else other than yourself.
A lesson in comparison and happiness.
10. Life is Just a Game
Like the ‘monopoly board’ analogy. Life is just a big game. When we can understand that, things become more fun, less serious and we all enjoy the ups and downs.
It’s the motto I live my life by.
A life lesson.
Love you all.
Until next time,