An old schoolmate of mine recently posted an article about rules of adulthood that everyone needs to know. It was specifically targeted toward men, but in looking over the list I think it contains a lot of good advice for everyone. So I thought it might be fun to review each item here and add my own pithy comments. Enjoy.
If you don’t understand something, ask before it’s too late.
No one wants to look stupid, but it’s okay not to know everything. There is nothing wrong with getting clarification on something or asking for guidance. It’s far wiser to honestly say “I don’t know” instead of faking your way thru something until you get caught…and you WILL get caught.
Ehhh…I’m not sure about that. I mean I get it. Sometimes we need to focus on something exclusively and get it done. “Busyness” is a social convention designed to make people look more important than they are. But sometimes it is necessary to multitask.
Be less judgmental.
I’m mostly on board, although it is occasionally necessary to call people out on their BS.
Staying angry or holding a grudge is almost always a waste of energy.
Thankfully I’ve always been like my father – unable to remain angry with anyone for long. Except the Atlanta Braves & New England Patriots. I still hate those bastards.
Eat better, exercise regularly, sleep more.
I’d be so much better off if I’d follow that advice. Most of us probably would.
Go outside every day.
Sadly I don’t do that. Especially in the winter I tend to hibernate as much as possible because I do NOT like cold & snow. I’m pretty sure I have Seasonal Affective Disorder. But even in warmer weather I too often stay holed up in The Bachelor Palace reading a book & hanging out with Rocco. It’s not that I’m antisocial, it’s just that stupid people annoy me.
Use your minutes mindfully. The average male gets 37,843,200 total minutes in his lifetime. Do you really want to spend them on Snapchat?
I’ve never been on Snapchat, but we could all probably stand to make better use of time. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean that chillin’ out and enjoying some frivolous fun is wrong. Perhaps those than enjoy Snapchat or whatever else don’t consider it a waste of time at all.
Deal with uncomfortable situations sooner rather than later.
Easier said than done, but great advice. Face things. You’ll feel better afterward.
Your home is your castle. Keep your castle clean.
I’m not going to tell you that my humble abode would pass a white glove test 365 days a year, but in comparison to some homes I’ve been in I feel pretty good about my place. Some people live like pigs. “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” isn’t in the Bible, but it’s a good maxim to adhere to.
It’s okay to go to dinner or the movies by yourself.
YES!! I’m single. I spend a lot of time alone and I’m perfectly okay with that. There’s nothing wrong with spending time with yourself. Hey, you never know when you might get an opportunity to flirt with a cute waitress.
If it takes two minutes or less do it now.
I’m a procrastinator. I’ve been meaning to do something about that for years.
Pick up a book every once in a while.
Well, as my friend The Owl might say, I live in a freakin’ library. I love to read, although I do too often get sidetracked by other things.
Learn to give thoughtful gifts.
I can’t pinpoint an exact moment in time, but at some point in my life I began to enjoy watching other people open their Christmas gifts more than I like opening my own. It really is better to give than receive, and the thought really does count. People can usually tell if you actually put some serious contemplation into what you bought them or if you just picked up something cheap at the last minute, and they WILL appreciate the former much more than the latter.
Set goals. Write them down. Track your progress. Adjust accordingly.
Fantastic advice in theory, but I’m not sure how many people really do it in real life.
What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while. Build beneficial habits.
Good habits > Bad habits
Everything you do makes an impression.
You never know who is watching.
Gratitude is a powerful response to most situations in life.
Gratitude is learned. Sometimes you have to experience valleys to really appreciate the good things.
Don’t aim for perfection at the expense of beginning. You’ll never complete a novel if you’re afraid to write the first word.
Ain’t that the truth!! The longest journey begins with the first step.
Don’t expect closure. It’s an added bonus.
There’s a great episode of The Big Bang Theory where Amy Farrah Fowler calls Sheldon Cooper out on his obsessive need for closure. However, the fact is that we don’t always get it. Sometimes we are left wondering. Deal with it and move on.
Know at least one good joke.
Or several. Having a good sense of humor is a fantastic trait.
Pick up the tab when it’s your turn.
Don’t be a cheapskate. No one likes a cheapskate.
Take more chances.
A wise man once told me that a ship is safest in harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for. Sadly this is advice that I have not followed in my life. I have been too scared to really venture out on a limb, and to some degree it has ruined my life.
Put your phone away. Be present in your conversations (and everything else you do).
Technology rocks, but I do think it can have a negative effect on how we interact with people. Perhaps it’s a Pandora’s Box and we’ll never be as good as we once were at interpersonal relationships.
Maintain and cherish your friendships. Good ones are harder to come by the older you get.
My father has always told me that if you can hold up one finger and say you have that many TRUE friends you are a very blessed. I’m glad to say that I think I have a few, and I do appreciate them very much.
Be nice for no reason.
Yep. It’s a lot more fun being nice when you possibly can.
Living in the moment and planning for the future are not mutually exclusive.
Truth. Both are important.
Know when to leave.
Wear the right amount of cologne.
A little goes along way, assuming you are using a good fragrance. Don’t be cheap, but neither do you need to spend hundreds of dollars.
Don’t take credit for work you didn’t do.
It’s called honor & integrity. Extremely important.
Don’t fight or break up via email, text, or social media.
Do people really do that?? Really?? How rude!!
Talk to people who are different from you.
Hey, you might actually meet some cool people and learn a few things. It’s a win/win.
You can never change another person, only support them when they’re ready to change themselves.
YES!! This includes changing their minds. Don’t beat your head against a brick wall. Just do your thing and lead by example. They’ll figure it out…or they won’t.
It’s ok to ask for directions.
Or you could waste valuable time going in circles. Your call. GPS makes things so much easier.
If you never fail, you’re not trying hard enough or taking big enough risks.
Take a chance. Roll the dice. You’ll crash & burn sometimes, but even then you’ll learn something.
Measure yourself only against the person you used to be.
My father says that if you are a better person today than you were yesterday, and improve tomorrow over today, then you’ve done well. We spend too much time comparing ourselves to neighbors, family members, old classmates, & idiotic celebrities. Just stop. Who the hell are these people that think the Kardashians are role models?? That’s….I don’t even know. I have no words.
Give every job your all, even if you think it’s insignificant. There’s no point in doing something if you won’t do it well.
Do it for your own self-respect. Do it for The Lord.
Restock the fridge and household supplies before they run out.
I love shopping. I hate running out of milk & trash bags. Go to the store. Just do it.
Refuse to let your imagination die.
Imagination rocks!! Never let go of childlike wonder. We get too caught up in the foolishness & antagonism of the world, and sometimes it is unavoidable…but avoid it as much as possible. Read a book. Play an instrument. Watch a movie. Spend time with your kids. Learn to cook or paint. Have some fun.
You are who you hang out with. Surround yourself with people who inspire you and help you grow.
You’ve heard that old saying “you are what you eat”, right?? Same thing. You can’t hang out with hoodlums, jerks, & morons and expect to be successful or happy. Have you ever noticed that when someone gets in trouble inevitably someone will say that they “got in with the wrong crowd”?? I’m all for personal responsibility, but there is a lot of truth in the idea that others can drag a person down.
Appreciate your family and friends. There’s no telling how much time you have left with them.
This especially true with parents & grandparents. I’m 44 years old and all my grandparents are gone. I lost my mother when I was 27. I’d give anything to have some more time with them. Life is short.
Strive for balance in all that you do…work & play, activity & relaxation, significant others & friends, etc.
Balance is good. All work & no play makes one very dull, right?? And all play with no work can make one lazy and possibly homeless.
Celebrate every success, even (and especially) the small ones.
But don’t get too carried away. Make those celebrations special.
Enjoy the company of old people. They have stories to share and lessons to teach.
Talk to old people…they’re pretty cool. Video them. Take pictures. Make memories. You’ll be glad you did someday.
Admit when you’re wrong.
‘Tis a hard lesson to learn, but if you’re the kind of person that can never admit when you are wrong people WILL notice and they’ll think less of you.
Forgive yourself for your mistakes. Dwelling doesn’t make them better, and they’re almost never as bad as you think they are.
Newsflash: You’re not perfect. No, really…you aren’t. Don’t worry, neither am I or anyone else. It’s alright…you’ll live.
Be kind to everyone.
Pretty much the same as being nice, but worth mentioning twice.
Be especially kind to bartenders, baristas, taxi drivers, janitors, & anyone else who is often looked over.
They are often viewed as “the little people”. However, just because someone isn’t wearing a suit and doesn’t earn a six figure salary doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat them with kindness. They work hard for the money…so hard for it honey…so you better treat them right.
The more you talk about yourself the less great you seem.
If you’re really awesome people will figure it out just by you being you. Don’t try so hard.
If you give your word keep it.
Your word is your bond. Honor. Integrity. Remember those??
Know your way around a kitchen.
FYI…women think guys that can cook are sexy. And ladies, we know it’s not the old days anymore. We don’t expect you to stay in the kitchen barefoot & pregnant. But we do enjoy a nice home cooked meal. Hey, here’s an idea…everybody learn to cook and you can enjoy doing it together.
Work hard, but don’t let work become your sole purpose for living.
Most people have to work for a living. However, don’t let your job take over your life. Do your best, then go home and live a little.
Do what you naturally love to do rather than what you think you should enjoy doing.
This is especially important on the job. Don’t choose a career based on the money you can make then be miserable for 50 years. Too many people hate their lives because they’ve been cornered into doing what they have to do to put food on the table. It’s the survival instinct. Figure out what you’re passionate about before it’s too late.
In general, steer clear of shoulds as much as possible. Live the life that’s true to you, not the one you think is expected of you by others.
Screw societal expectations!! And don’t let your parents or anyone else guide you down a path that YOU wouldn’t choose. It’s your life…no one else’s.
Never use the excuse that it’s too late to change.
Ehhhh…I’m not sure I buy the ol’ “it’s never too late” thing. Sometimes it is in fact too late. You can’t hop in a time machine and change poor decisions of the past. Most people that say they have no regrets are lying. However, that doesn’t mean you have to be unhappy the rest of your life. Move forward. Make new choices. Make better decisions. Learn from your mistakes.
You’ll be a lot happier if you stop convincing yourself that happiness will come when you finally get this job or that car. Find joy in what and who you have now.
Enjoy simple pleasures. They’re all around you every day.
Let the cheers speak louder than the boos. Focus on your supporters, not your detractors.
Another Newsflash: Not everyone is going to like you. It’s okay. There are plenty of people who do. Unless you’re a complete tool. Then it might be time to look in the mirror.
No one notices your imperfections as much as you do.
Truth. Most people are harder on themselves than anyone else is on them. Except narcissists. They think they rock.
If you have something nice to say, say it. There are far too few compliments and “thank yous” in the world.
Always say “please” and “thank you”. Show some class.
Keep your legacy in mind. Know the man you want to be remembered as and aim to be him every day.
I’ve really been pondering legacy the last couple of years, especially since my old friend Rob passed away awhile back. Everyone leaves a legacy. For most people it’s not going to be fame or fortune. But if you are a good person who does good things and treats people well there will be stories told about you when you’re gone. Good stories. And that’s pretty cool.