28 Lessons Learned in my 28 Years of Life

“I’ve learned my lessons, but I’m also still learning them.”

-Benjamin Clementine

I was cleaning my office a couple months ago and found this piece of paper that listed some major gems on how to live your life. Based on the penmanship, I’d say I had to be in like middle school when I wrote this list.  And man, I was wise beyond my years. In retrospect I fell like some of the stuff I wrote about really was for my future self. Because it’s all so relevant to my life right now. So I took that list (added *** next to the ones I wrote when I was younger) and added some new lessons that I’m continuously trying to embrace. Here 28 lessons learned over the past (soon to be) 28 years.


  1. Keep God first in everything you do. I grew up in an extremely religious family. My Parents are youth pastors, my grandfather is a pastor, my great grandfather was a pastor,  my uncles are pastors. Yea, church and my faith is pretty much embedded in my DNA at this point lol.
  2. Change is inevitable. I’m pretty good at helping people realize the importance of change and embracing it. But I am horrible at handling my own emotions when it comes to unexpected events. Which is crazy, because in reality, everyday of life is just a series of unexpected events. On  a scale of 1-10, my emotional resilience is probably at a 0. Which makes it worse because I’m educated on the subject and aware of where I am, but just barely making progress on the matter. I’ll get there one day, But I know I’m gonna use year 28 to do some accelerated growth!
  3. Forgiveness is for you just as much as it is for the other person. But before we can forgive someone else, we have to forgive ourselves. Forgive ourselves for anything we said or did out of character or disrespect. Forgive ourselves for not being self aware or emotionally intelligent enough to realize that our words or actions had a negative effect.  Forgive ourselves for being weighed down by guilt and shame of mistakes which are often inevitable. Forgive ourselves for not apologizing efficiently and effectively. Forgiveness is necessary. We must forgive what we sometimes can’t forget.
  4. Goals and dreams are specific to a person. I can’t force what I want on others. I can’t force others to understand it. I cant force others to support it. All I can do is try to make me dreams come true. People who really care will come alongside, offer information, maybe even try to hop on board. Take the information and people I want or need, and then leave everything else behind. My dream is for me, just like your dream is for you.  Never laugh at anyone’s dreams. You never know where it may take them. And remember, people who don’t have dreams don’t have much.
  5. Self awareness and emotional intelligence are crucial today attention to as you interact with others!!!! Be aware of what you say and do, how you say and do things, why you say or do things, and how people react to it he things you say and do!!!
  6. Time management, organization, discipline, team work, and networking are essential skills! If you can master them, you can literally do ANYTHING.
  7. Regret is death to forward movement. The shoulda, coulda, woulda’s will have you paralyzed. Wishing you did things differently, instead of focusing on the present moment and doing things better in the future. Don’t get stuck in the past.
  8. The grass ain’t always greener on the other side. Don’t get all caught up in what people are posting on social media or bragging about in conversations. That happy couple you see as “relationships goals” may be in a domestic violence situation. That person rockin’ designer everything may be diving deep into debt just to flaunt. That person you envy for looking so good or seems like their life is perfect, may be unsatisfied, unfulfilled, and suffering from depression. You just never know what’s going on behind closed doors.
  9. Try not to take anything personally (one of the four agreements). It’s important to remember that “nothing others do is because of you.” Their issues are their own and they may project them onto you, “but when you’re immune to the opinions and actions of other, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”- Don Miguel Ruiz
  10. Always do your best (one of the four agreements). “Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it’ll be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self, abuse, and regret!” – Don Miguel Ruiz
  11. ***When you say “I Love You,” mean it.
  12. ***When you realize you’ve made a mistake, admit you were wrong, take immediate steps to correct it, look the person in the eyes and apologize.
  13. ***Smile when answering the phone. The caller can hear it in your voice.
  14. ***Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it’s the only way to live life completely.
  15. ***In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling. No bringing up things you already forgave the person for.
  16. ***Say “Bless you” when you hear someone sneeze.
  17. ***Treat people how you want to be treated. The “Golden Rule.” We learned this in Kindergaten. You give respect to get it. You show love to receive it. It’s simple, yet people still struggle with it. Let’s do better.
  18. ***Remember the 3(R’s): Respect for self. Respect for others. Take Responsibility for all your actions.
  19. ***Family is important! Make time to spend time with loved ones.
  20. ***Marry someone who will love to talk to you. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.
  21. ***Be a true friend. A true friend is someone who reaches for your and and touches your heart. A true friend tells what people NEED to hear, not necessarily what people want to hear. A true friend is supportive. A true friend admits when they are wrong and makes amends. A. True friend is forgiving. Be a true friend.
  22. Every one in life is on a journey. But no ones path is the same. Don’t focus on the speed or distance of others. Focus on your own. There’s no timeline for the journey. A Bachelors degree at 30 is still a degree. Getting married at 40 is still a union worth waiting for. Owning a house at 50 is still an increase in equity. Traveling at 60 is still a new experience seeing the world. Debt free at 70 is still financial independence. Every accomplishment you make, no matter when in life you make it, is worth celebrating. Be proud of yourself and all your hard work, to get where you are today.
  23. ***Great love and great achievements involve great risks. You have to just take a chance on life and love. Trust me it’ll be worth the risk.
  24. ***Spend some time alone. It’s ok to be by yourself. Quiet your mind. Still your body and just be.
  25. It’s not a crime to not know next steps. There’s no rule that says you have to have you’re whole life figured out. Honestly, you never will.  Don’t be afraid of the unknown. All you can do is make carefully thought decisions and just go for it.
  26. If you ask someone “How are you?” Or “How’ve you been?” Or “What you been up to?”, be genuine about it. Don’t just say it because that’s the social default response. And be conscious about what you disclose when answering this question too. No need to word vomit all of your life stressors  on an old classmate you haven’t seen or spoken too since high school graduation. You can be honest about the hard stuff going on, but don’t let that be the focus of the conversation. The more you practice positive thinking and speaking, your perspective of handling those life stressors will change.   
  27. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson! I took a lot of ‘L’s’ over the years, but I’ve always told my self to make sure I learn what I need to out of every situation. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and I want to make sure I get what I need to get.
  28. Be open to new experiences, new places, and new people. People get so comfortable with familiarity that they close themselves off from opportunities. Be willing to be uncomfortable. Great things come from stepping out of your comfort zone.

 

So that’s what I’ve learned so far in life. I haven’t mastered any of these yet lol, but I do try to implement them everyday. It really is a daily process to be better, do better, and live better and I’m dedicated to making that happen. I hope some of the things I’ve said can help you do the same.

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