27 things learned in 27 years

1. The greater the risk, the better you feel when you are decisive enough to take the plunge.

2. Start before you’re ready.  You never feel really ready, no matter how long you wait.

3. Sleep a lot when you need to.  Or even when you’re lazy.  Think of it as insurance, for when you want to sleep but can’t.

4. Spending time with important people in your life trumps everything.  You can make more money, but not more time.

5. Don’t compare yourself to your engaged, married, pregnant, or home owning friends (who are probably comparing themselves to you anyway).

6. When you’re stressed, make a list, and work through it.  Sometimes even the presence of a list, that you do not work through, can make you feel less stressed.

7. Following your dreams means: if you think about doing something in particular most days, and have done for a long time, do it.  

8. Live overseas, if you can.  Or a different city/town from where you grew up if you can’t.  A new tinder pool is always exciting.

9. Sometimes you just have to shoot from the hip.  When a timely reaction, answer, or idea is more important than being right.   Don’t worry, just shoot.

10. If you practice public speaking you will get better at it, and you’ll be grateful for the experience.

11. Run a marathon, you won't regret it.

12. Be the advocate for your own career.  Hold on tight to objective mentors, who aren’t personally affected by the decisions you make.  Their advice is the most valuable.

13. Get involved in new communities wherever you go.  To keep yourself sane.  To make friends when you move to a new city.  To be an interesting person with something to say.

14. Make the effort to keep in touch with people who mean something to you.  There’s not enough time to answer every facebook message.

15. Write letters and thank you cards.  With your hands.  And a pen.  20 years ago it was all anyone had - now handwriting seems extra thoughtful just because.  Take advantage of it.

16. Drink with caution.  At university ‘drunk stories’ were hilarious fodder, to be displayed with pride.  As you get older they’re not so funny.  Unfairly, this coincides with endless work drinks, Christmas parties and client parties.  Drink mindfully.  And always smoke bomb with care when you’re too drunk

17. Give what you can freely.  Introductions, a spare room, your study notes.  What goes around comes around.

18. Tell people what you expect from a relationship.  Being forthright will save everyone a lot of time, and sets the scene for an honest and open exchange.

19. Write as often as you can.  It can help you decipher how you’re feeling, and solve problems without trying. It’s amazing to look back over what you’ve written and reflect on who you were at a certain point in time.

20. Read more books, and not just lists like this.  The bite size information we are bombarded with on the internet is killing our attention span.  

21. Put sunscreen on.  Because it’s cooler to look young than have a tan.

22. Exercise is like therapy.  You don’t just need it to tone up, you need it for your mental health.

23. Your home must be your sanctuary.  Paying a few extra dollars for a convenient location, or moving house if your housemates aren’t the right fit, is always worth the extra time and money.

24. When your gut manages to communicate something to you, listen.  Intuition is valuable, and often dulled simply because we don’t trust it.

25. Try to be 2-3 minutes early to everything.  It gives the illusion you’re on top of things even when you’re not.

26. Don’t say you do you as an excuse for being selfish, or letting other people down.  Be honest, and kind.  Establish your boundaries up front and there’ll be no need to resort to cliche to explain why you didn’t go somewhere, or do something you said you would.

27. Remember when you thought 27 was old?  It’s actually young isn’t it?  What a relief.