Today, I turn 29!
I'm stoked. Half because I've been making stupid jokes around entering my prime (number, last in the 20s!), and half because life has really begun sorting itself out in my late 20s. In my 28th year on Earth, I managed to really get to know myself, and made that path forward even more clear than before.
I don't want to preach about how you should do this or that, but I do want to share a few things from my 28th year that really helped put everything into perspective.
There are 24 hours in a day. Not all of them need to be “productive”. I remember in the middle of last year, I constantly kept ripping on myself for “not doing enough” after work; I wasn't coding during every waking moment, I wasn't writing up a storm to get more exposure, and I wasn't moving forward. Baloney. I worked 8-10 hours a day, learning to solve tougher problems using code, and that was already a lot. I realized that, maybe, having down time and relaxation is also “productive”, and it's not something we should ignore just for the sake of “moving forward.”
Get rid of everything that doesn't make you happy. Within reason, of course. I can't get rid of my rent payments or bills, despite really wishing I could! However, I spent a good long time thinking of everything that wasn't making me happy. Nothing should be sacred in this regard. Work, friends, relationships, habits, you name it, get rid of it if it is not a net contributor to your happiness. Note the wording there, net contributor, because all of the above will have their happy and unhappy moments, but if the latter happens more than the former, you may have an issue on your hands and you may want to consider getting rid of it.
Forget about what you can't control. I'm still working on this one, but it's potentially been the most helpful. I used to get worked up about everything if it wasn't going according to plan. I hated when plans fell apart or things just went sideways. However, that's draining and exhausting. The best course of action is something I've repeatedly asked to myself: “Am I in control of any of this?” and if the answer is no, then forget it. I'm not going to continue to worry about it and expend mental energy just to sort out problems that I can't affect.
There's definitely more, but these are the three ideas that made the largest impact in my life for my 28th year.
Most importantly, I am fortunate to be turning 29 with such loving family and friends, and to have found a career that I am passionate about. I am truly lucky, and I am grateful for all of the wonderful things in my life.
Cheers to 29!