I turn 31 today, which still sounds ridiculous to me. It feels like yesterday I was 19 years old at university making all these big plans for my life. Time really does fly by.
The older I get, the more I realise there’s no such thing as “grown ups” – we’re all still children just trying to figure this thing out.
— Sam Neter (@SamNeter) December 18, 2016
Historically, I have always found my birthday incredibly difficult. It has served as a marker, a reminder that I was one year older and still hadn’t achieved all these ridiculous and superficial goals that I had.
However, that has all changed this year. I returned from a three day Ayahuasca ceremony last week, where I spent a lot of time exploring the feelings I have about myself and (amongst many, many, other things) realised that I need to take the time to celebrate my birthday, take stock and be thankful for another year on this earth.
I was in a field at 6:30am this morning shouting at the top of my lungs to celebrate, and it felt great.
What follows are 31 things I’ve learned in my 31 years, more to look back on as a reminder to myself, but I hope there are nuggets in there that might be useful for your own life as well.
I tried not to think about them too much, I wanted them to be the first things that came to mind in a brain dump, and that is exactly what they are (I did however, go back and tidy them up afterwards).
So here are…
31 Lessons I’ve Learned in My 31 Years
1) Go wherever the love is. Family, friends, partners, work, play. Wherever there is love, spend the majority of your time there.
2) Work less. When you look back you will not wish you spent more time in front of your laptop.
3) Your relationship with yourself is the most important one you will ever have. Learn to love your self.
4) Being present is an important skill to learn. Playing basketball, or any other sport/having a hobby will help this. Turn your phone off when you are in company.
5) Don’t blindly do whatever the doctor says. Do your own research and be responsible for your own health.
6) Read. Almost every question you have ever asked will have been answered in a book somewhere.
7) All growth comes from being outside your comfort zone. Put yourself in uncomfortable positions that scare you.
8) Spend more time in nature and look after the planet. It is our home and without it, we have nothing.
9) Be proactive not reactive. Set goals and make plans for your life. If you don’t know where you’re trying to go, it doesn’t matter which path you take.
10) Psychedelics have the power to give you some of the most profound, healing, and incredible experiences of your life. Don’t resist; trust and surrender to the process.
11) Your physical health is intrinsically linked to your mental and emotional wellbeing. Heal your mind and your physical ailments will follow.
12) Money is a tool to improve your life. Use it as such; always buy experiences over material possessions.
13) Root for and support your friends’ ventures. It will mean more to them than you can imagine.
14) You get one body. Look after it; eat well, exercise, lift weights. The science is proven.
15) Listening to podcasts is one of the best ways to learn and supplement thankless tasks such as commuting or washing up with a secondary purpose.
16) Gratitude is so underrated. It is arguably the most important thing you need to be happy; there are always so many things to be thankful for.
17) Meditate. It will allow you to observe your thoughts and become self reflective/self aware to improve yourself.
18) Stoicism is an incredible framework with which to approach life. Master your mind and you will master your life.
19) Remember that social media is the best 1% of people’s lives and is not even close to a true representation of real life. Comparing yourselves to others is the quickest route to unhappiness.
20) Spend more time with your parents. Learn about The Tail End; you have likely used over 90% of your in-person parent time by the time you leave school.
21) Have a healthy disrespect for authority. The establishment doesn’t always have your best interests at heart.
22) Be incredibly careful which media you choose to consume; don’t watch TV and don’t watch or read the news, it is primarily negative and filled with stuff that has zero impact on your life.
23) Your environment has the power to influence your mindset more than you can imagine. Don’t work from your bedroom.
24) Get up early. The peace and tranquility of the morning will allow you to focus on the things you need to without distraction and give you a head start on everybody else.
25) Have as few possessions as possible. The more stuff you own, the more your stuff owns you.
27) Be open and vulnerable. Talk about your feelings, ask for help, and cry if you need to. Tears exist for a reason.
28) You are the average of the five people you hang around with the most. Choose wisely.
29) Follow your intuition and heart. Trust yourself, deep down you know all the answers.
30) If you feel the need to complain about anything, ask how you can help solve the problem and be part of the solution.
31) Take action. Execution is everything. You can read every book in the world, but knowledge without application is worthless.
And you? Would love to hear your lessons from all your years alive on your next birthday. Drop me an email or leave a comment below with a link if you end up publishing them!