Friday, June 8, 2012

Birthday Wisdom.

Today I turn 33 years old, and I'm perfectly okay with that.

I don't view myself as particularly old or young - I see myself instead as an accumulation of experiences, mostly. I'm just me, you know? I've made (and still make) plenty of decisions that could be deemed poor in nature - some might call them "mistakes". Fans of cliché might call them "learning opportunities".

I like to think that these experiences have taught me things, though. The more you stumble, the better you get at picking yourself back up, right? (And also, better at avoiding the things that make you stumble in the first place.) It has also been my good fortune to be surrounded, most of my life, by people who possess a very large amount of common sense. Here's hoping some has rubbed off on me.

Not that I think I'm Yoda or anything, but now is as good of a time as any to share a handful of things I believe to be true, and remind myself to follow often.
  1. Being happy is being grateful - both for what you do have, and for what you do not.
  2. When someone says something terrible to you, walk away and let them own it. (Make sure to watch the video in that link.)
  3. Before I do anything I ask myself “Would an idiot (feel free to insert other unflattering nouns here) do that?” And if the answer is yes, I do not do that thing. (My dad also calls this "the newspaper test" - would you want your friends, family, colleagues to read about whatever you're thinking of doing in the paper the next morning?)
  4. When I find myself thinking, "Wouldn't it be cool if... but...", I'm training myself to go for the no. What's the worst thing they can say? "No". What is the answer if you don't ask at all? "No." Asking loses you nothing except for the unknown.
  5. More times than not, the scariest parts of life - the ones with the most risk - are worth pursuing. It's getting over that mind hurdle that's the tough part.
  6. Remold "I don't care what people think of me" into "I don't care if people agree with me". Your reputation is important, and one of the most valuable things you possess. You should care what people think of you. This doesn't mean that people need to agree with you, but there should be reason for them to respect you. Earn that respect.
  7. Nobody likes an attention hog and the same rules that apply in real life are still applicable in social media. Self-worth isn't measured in retweets, blog comments or Facebook Likes. Would you ask every person you knew face-to-face to do whatever you're asking in that tweet, email, etc.? If what you're doing has value for others, people will share it. There's no need for you to ask them to do so, in most cases. People get so "LOOK AT ME!" when it comes to social media... some of that is okay, but seeing that over and over grates on me. Think about it. And quit being irritating. Just stop. (/end rant) (And if you don't agree with this viewpoint, that's okay. Please see #6.)
  8. If you've done something wrong, apologize. If you have not done anything wrong, apologize. The apology costs you far less than what its absense could: relationships, reputation, respect.
  9. And lastly: hugs are free. Dispense them as often as you can.
Here's to what I hope are many more years of creating "learning opportunities"!

9 comments:

  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS!!! Happy Birthday my friend.

    If I could offer one helpful tip it would be, "Do it scared." There are lots of scary things in life that we avoid doing because we are scared. The solution is to just "do it scared." I have a 100% track record of making it through and coming out in a better situation afterwards. Not to mention, the fear I had always seems silly after the fact.

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  2. I love #6. Sometimes I just want to yell "Everyone be quiet! Please!"

    I remember being super-afraid to do something once -- I think I was quitting a shitty job -- and a lady I worked with said, "What are they going to do, take away your birthday?" I think that to myself any time I'm afraid of doing something or asking for something I want.

    I wish I could celebrate with you today! I'll have a spoonful of ice cream in your honor later.

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  3. You are a 33 year old genius. Happy Birthday, Wonderful Kim!

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  4. Hey! Happy birthday! Hopefully you don't feel how Yoda looks in that picture.

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  5. So, you have an anniversary and a birthday in the same week? Do you celebrate holidays two at a time also?

    Congratulations on another birthday. They are all worth celebrating. Great words to live by too.

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  6. Happy belated birthday! I can't believe we're sharing DOB as well as diabetes... what a coincidence! I hope you had a nice one!

    Manu

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  7. I am not sure how much of this was written just for me, but I wanted to put in print how much I appreciate it.

    Thank you for being my wiser *older* friend.

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  8. happy 33! love this list, food for thought. :)

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