I have gathered 10 valuable lessons I’ve learned over three decades; time, falling flat on my face, and remaining tenacious through it all has helped me arrive at this list. I hope these help you live better today.
1. If you lost in love, you didn’t really lose at all.
Originally a quote from Alfred Lord Tennyson, “Tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all…” My oh my is this true. I can look back and be bitter and remember everything wrong with every person I chose (I’m sure they can remember the same of me, too) or, I can look back and remember the opportunity I was given to simply love. Period. End of sentence. I loved and I’m blessed and better because of it.
2. My time is mine and I owe it to no one.
Everyone has to realize how short life is by now, how incredibly fleeting these days are. The older I get, the more I realize I don’t have to explain why I’m not coming, why I’m canceling, or why my answer is no. If I had three lifetimes, I’d have an answer to all of these questions, but I only have one. Be selfish with your time.
3. Not everything needs a logical explanation.
I’ve decided to let certain things in my life just be. It doesn’t always have to be good for me. Nor does it have to make sense. Choose to do things just for the heck of it. Go out with the person who is bad for you. Skip that work party so you can make spontaneous snow angels in the park or drink hot cocoa by the fire. Go for a hot air balloon ride! Don’t do it all the time because you want to succeed, but you allow yourself the chance to live — and learn.
4. Shatter crystal balls.
My mind is full of crystal balls. I’m always predicting and planning to the point that it’s paralyzing. I have to, instead, make a conscious mental image of my mind literally shattering crystal balls and all of the plans and predictions they are filled with. It’s good to plan. It’s insanely horrible for your health — mental and physical — to over-plan and over-think.
5. It’s okay to allow some of your life to take its OWN course.
There’s something incredibly liberating about giving up part of your will, part of your daily battle to something bigger than yourself. I call Him God. You may call it something else. Whatever it is, learn to let go. It’s okay to not always have an answer. It’s okay to not always have a worry for every unresolved conflict or scenario. It’s okay to just trust in what will be.
6. Compete with yourself, not the world.
When you compare yourself to others, all you’re doing is taking time away from how you could be making yourself better. Why compare yourself to someone you will never be? Why not use that time and energy for being the best you that you can possibly be? At the end of your life, you’ll be able to look back and marvel at how magical you became. Do you, always.
7. Always choose yourself, always.
When it comes to love, I struggle with this. I always put a partner before myself. I love so wholeheartedly that I lose myself in romantic relationships. When it comes to every other relationship, I always put myself first. But after much trial and tribulation, I now know that in every situation, you should always choose yourself. You are all you’ve got… others will come and go.
8. Live in the moment — don’t just talk about it.
Don’t waste time talking about living — actually do it. Take that random road trip. Don’t keep waiting for the right time, or the perfect amount of money to save up, or even the right person to go with. Solo traveling is invigorating. And when I didn’t have the money to spend the night, I just drove there and back. It was crazy but it was a testament to my strength. I felt strong and proud of myself; I felt like I’d lived. Live now, not “tomorrow.”
9. You can’t wait for dreams to come to true; you have to go get them.
For a long time, I waited for opportunities to magically appear in my lap. Nothing was. One day, a radioman in Maine, Fred Miller was his name, told me I needed to work from the bottom — even it meant for free. I listened to him and my life changed. I knocked on doors and began writing stories that I still can’t comprehend. The best part? No one handed me those stories. I earned every single one. You have to create your own doors and bust them open.
10. Know that you’re relentless and you’ll always survive.
Think of the hardest things you’ve been through… Are you still breathing? If so, you’ve got this. And you will get it again. I find inner peace in knowing where I’ve been and what I’ve overcome. I find great peace in thinking of my worst days, my worst tragedies and knowing, from them, how strong I truly am and how “okay” I truly will be. So will you.
This story originally appeared on felicianaoum.com