I recently read a blog post called 40 Ways To Live A Full Life (And Leave Nothing On The Table) By Age 30 by Ryan Holiday. I loved each arching theme and wanted to reflect on a few of them based off the lesson I've learned and what I want to take with me into the New Year.
1. Do Ridiculous Things
This summer, I mailed a Nerf gun with darts to my boyfriend's work. With it was a letter. I was, in fact, challenging him to a duel. Whoever got creamed in the Nerf fight once home from work had to make dinner for the other. That was fun.
2. It's Not What Will Pay Me the Most, But What Will Teach Me the Most.
I do storytelling (or "live lit") shows about once a month or whenever I am invited. I don't make money off of these shows, there usually isn't a standing-room crowd, and a lot of time sthey are far away. But I enjoy doing them immensely. I enjoy the freedom to express myself.
3. Quit Dicking Around
I knew the first draft of my second novel was due to my publisher at the end of this year, so in June, I definitely wasn't thinking about it. In November, I was. Even though I procrastinated, I realized just how much life it gives me to get moving on the things I love.
5. Get Married. Be in Long Term Relationship.
For a long time, I believed that your significant other should/could not be your best friend, too. I take that back. The most beautiful, kind, loving relationship I've ever known is also the sexiest, most passionate, fiery one, too. Find yourself a partner who can be both.
6. Steer Clear of the Toxic
It's hard to cut people off, especially if you're like me and wish for a more peaceful solution. But what you wish for and what is reality are two different things. In rare instances, a happy medium isn't possible. Accept it and focus on the healthy relationships you do have.
7. Keep a Journal
Three things you're grateful for. Three bullets about how you feel today. Three bullets of what you want to do about that.
9. Live in New York or Los Angeles (or a city like that).
I already live in (a city like that) -- Chicago, but spent almost 2 years living in Southern California. Glad that I did, if only for the weather alone. But I saw "what California did" to those around me and it scared the living hell out of me. Glad I got out.
10. Quiet Moments are the Best
Happiness is: fireplace on. Christmas tree plugged in. Movie on. Dog snoring.
11. Have a Philosophy
For me, it's "I believe you can do anything." in the voice of someone else. When I imagine that coming from someone else, I can't let that person down, so I work harder; smarter.
17. Be Responsible
Having insurance and going to the dentist every six months is actually not a bad look on someone 30+.
21. Travel With Purpose
2017 marked the first year I traveled. I mean, really traveled. I went to Punta Cana and Maui a week apart from each other. I hiked my butt off in Seattle. I visited Texas for the first time. I flew Coast to Coast for work. 2018, I have my sights set on Europe. More to come.
25. Don't Waste Time Being Offended
You will never be everyone's cup of tea. Social media, etc. makes it easier for that to become apparent. Oh well. Revert to caring about the relationships that matter.
31. Read Books. Lots of Them.
As a writer, I don't have a lot of time to be a reader. But when my boyfriend suggested we read a book together (i.e., out loud, switching off each chapter), I was surprised by how quickly we were able to finish one and how excited I was to start another. Also, it was fun.
35. Know Your Why
My "why" became more apparent than ever when I felt like it was being taken away from me. I am a storyteller. My "why" is to make human connections with people who I otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to sit and have coffee with. That makes me feel alive.
36. Know What's Enough
I used to never say no to a project. I liked being busy and the paycheck was an added bonus. For the first time ever, I'm finding myself turning opportunities down if they get in the way of time off, or if my schedule is too packed, or if I just don't want to do it. I have enough.
There are so many others in Ryan's original piece. I encourage reading them all and even doing what I did--reflecting on the ones that are most poignant to you.