I’m almost 40, which isn’t too old — I’ve got lots more adventures planned. But I’m also aware that I’m moving toward being ‘an adult’ if not yet quite an elder statesman. In some ways I’ve always felt this mature; I remember being 20 and thinking I felt my ‘true age’ was 42 (the answer to life, the universe, and everything? 😉 ).
Anyway, as someone who’s got their stuff together pretty darn well (depending on the day), I was thinking about the next generation just getting up and out into the world. Now, my advice is for everyone, but I was especially thinking — What if you could hand someone (or be handed) a single page that — if followed — could make the difference for your next twenty years? There’s about 500 words on a page. So, not counting these sentences, here are —
These 500 Words Will Make Your Life Awesome
- Take care of your body. Life is longer than you think and you will really enjoy your 30s and beyond if you feel good. So don’t hurt yourself with damaging sports — instead get out in nature and hike, walk, etc. Be smart (including about STDs, dumb stunts, bad lifting). Don’t smoke, vape, or abuse drugs or alcohol — your body will pay you dividends in the long run.
- Eat real food. Get Michael Pollen’s tiny book Food Rules. Only eat out a couple of times a week. Learn to make a few meals you love at home. Shop almost exclusively from the outer edges of the supermarket (whole grains, fruits and veggies, meats, dairy). Go sugar-free for a week every year to reset your body.
- Realize you need a ‘life purpose’. New research is showing that a life purpose (could be anything as long as it matters to you) can be as important to a long life as exercise or quitting smoking. Follow the things that make you feel most joyous and alive, and make time for them in your life.
- Stay out of debt! Some debts are good choices, like buying an economical car or a small house. But seriously, almost everything else is optional. Buy the cheap phone. The smaller TV. And if you don’t have money in the bank — don’t buy anything extraneous! This has been my #1 happiness generator. Also start saving early.
- Take care of your mind. Don’t gossip or complain — be the person who makes every situation better. Be generous with your time and money. Get enough sleep. Stay off social media. Repeat: Stay off social media. Read The Obstacle is the Way. Have a growth (vs. fixed) mindset. Limit your entertainment time. Be the kindest person you know and practice forgiveness. Love yourself first.
- Have high standards. High standards are like magic — they keep you away from people who don’t deserve your time. Be willing to cut ties or limit contact (kindly) with anyone who doesn’t leave you feeling good about yourself and excited for your journey. Also watch, read, and play only the best entertainment too — your time is precious.
- Find a job you can enjoy. ‘Love’ may be a strong word, and your life purpose might require a ‘day job’ but never accept an unpleasant occupation.
- Work hard. Probably my #1 key to success. Don’t be afraid to dig in, sweat, burn the midnight oil, or care more than anyone else.
- Make lists of goals and reevaluate often. Also read books and keep improving yourself. Watch out for ‘yellow lights’ — as soon as you get off track, stop and reassess.
- Believe that a better life is possible. And go find it. It is out there.
- Find out about the joys of minimalism. When you realize how little you need, you are truly free.
- Enjoy life. Life moves pretty fast. So enjoy beautiful days with friends, ‘peak’ experiences of great food and musical performances, and strive to live your perfect life every day.
509 words — pretty close!