As of today I have been alive and breathing, though sometimes asthmatically, on this earth for 23 years.
Nothing feels different. I don’t feel any older or anything like that. I actually felt older when I was 22, still in college and trying to describe Aladdin and dial-up Internet to the kids I hung out with on Wednesday nights at BASSYCS at Upland Community Church. Now, at work, in “real life” I feel younger than ever, primarily because the co-worker closest to my age that I work with on a regular basis is 10 years older than me. I feel young every day I come into the office.
So if you read the title of this blog you’re likely thinking, “Wow, what does this arrogant 23-year-old punk kid have to say about wisdom? He wasn’t even alive when the Berlin Wall fell. Heck, all he knows about Chernobyl is that it makes a rad Call of Duty map!
Sure, I’m a millenial. From the time I knew how to play hide-and-go-seek I was playing it with Sesame Street characters on a floppy disk on my Dad’s IBM computer before I ever played it in my neighborhood. But the fact that I was born four years after the Challenger exploded does not mean I haven’t learned valuable things in my relatively short time here on this rock.
Here are 23 words of wisdom, both serious and not, from a kid who doesn’t know any better:
- “Why?” is the most important questions you could ever ask. — Whether you’re asking why God lets you suffer the effects of cancer or you’re asking why you have to go to your room, having the “Why” question answered in at least a semi-competent way has always helped me learn and grow in my knowledge of purpose and direction.
- Persistence is a virtue that is rarely labeled as such but is almost always necessary and appreciated in some capacity. — I am married to a girl I chased like a sick puppy for like six years, I know the difficulty and fruit of persistence.
- Humility is the key to relationships. — Everyone always talks about personality types, and love, and sociability, all of which are well and good, but humility really is the cornerstone to any relationship with God or others. Personality types, extro-/introversion, and all of the like can be overcome with someone who is humble in they way in which they relate. I have learned this the hard way.
- If you can control the temperature of your environment, always go for cold. — It’s a heck of a lot easier to get warm in a cold environment than it is to get cool in a hot environment, I think.
- On a related note, summer is unequivocally the worst season of the year. — Summer is fun, but the weather is terrible. Give me spring/fall.
- You’ll enjoy music a lot more if you make it seasonal. — You know why Christmas music is special? Not because of the actual music—a lot of it is atrocious. Christmas music is special because you only listen to it a month out of the year (or at least it should be only that much), and this makes it feel special. I do the same with almost all of my music! I will publish a breakdown of my seasonal music tastes sometime. Right now: Michael Bublé and Radiohead. Chill, mellow tunes for cold, dreary days. Trust me, this enhances your music-listening experience.
- Working yourself to the bone is overrated. — I wish the United States had a more Latino view of work. More laid-back, less cut-throat. That promotion you’re working for? It’s gone when you die. Enjoy people and enjoy your work before you work so hard you hate it all and wonder what life means…but maybe that would be good for you…?
- The world isn’t going to end if your kid doesn’t sell any candy bars for the school fundraiser. — Trust me, you’ll all be fine. Life goes on.
- When it comes to most things, especially technology, you get what you pay for. — Don’t buy a bunch of cheap stuff and then complain when it doesn’t work right. It was cheap—you’re not tricking the system by buying that $10 iPhone charging cord, there’s a reason it’s that cheap. It’s fine if you don’t care, but don’t complain when it’s terrible. This is why I have always advocated Apple products despite their price—it will last long enough to be a value in the long run. I could write lots about this.
- Youth sports are horribly overdone. — I grew up playing tons of baseball and basketball and a little football. None of that hockey or soccer stuff because I’m a good American. I love sports and I loved playing them as a kid, but I think it’s silly how much time and money and emotions are spent on such petty things. So much money is spent on this stuff, and unless your kid is Peyton Manning, it’s a horrible investment. Just my personal opinion. Do these things, just don’t spend the family inheritance on them like lots of folks.
- If you go to Starbucks on even a semi-regular basis, sign up for their card program. — Starbucks is paying me nothing to advise you toward this. Signing up for the Starbucks reward program has saved me so much money over the years, especially in college, and I highly recommend anyone do it. It’s fantastic.
- Learn to speed read. — You’ll comprehend more and spend less time doing it. I’ve not mastered it, but I’m working on it. Changed my life.
- Journal a ton. — I love journaling for a number of reasons. I love journaling because, like many, it helps me think better and process my thoughts more effectively. I also love journaling because I would love to leave my children with a ton of my writing someday, and because they are my children, they will find this cool.
- Show grace to others regularly. — This might sound cheesy and over-spiritualized to some of you, but I don’t care, so get over it. Really, if you remember regularly that you have been shown the greatest grace in the world through Christ, you’ll have a much easier time forgiving others and showing grace to them. While this makes the one you’ve shown grace to feel loved, and while this shows the goodness of God in your life, it also will make you feel good yourself, I promise.
- Don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed for taking creamer in your coffee. — There is this snootiness going around that it’s somehow more cool or legit or hardcore or whatever these dweebs would say, to take coffee black. Take your dang coffee however you want and don’t feel bad about it. It’s a drink for goodness sake.
- Read people you don’t agree with in order to learn more/grow in humility. — One of the things that plagues our American culture today is blind loyalty in a number of realms (theology, politics, etc.), and often we are unwilling to even HEAR the other side of the issue, let alone love those who disagree with us. Do yourself a favor and read/listen/watch the work of those with whom you’d disagree in an effort to better understand and dialogue with them.
- Never use the popcorn button on a microwave. — It never works. Just put it on like five minutes and wait until there’s a couple seconds between pops.
- Write regularly. — A lot of people don’t like writing. Writing is sort of like running. I hate running, but if I run for 10 days straight I sorta get addicted to it—writing is similar. Don’t keep from writing if you aren’t good at it. Write, and you’ll probably get good at it. I used to be a horrible writer. Now? Well now I’m just a less horrible writer.
- Don’t idolize marriage. — Marriage is sweet. But if you’re newly married and reading this or unmarried and reading this: don’t idolize it. It’s not worth it. It’s cool, but it’s not worth worshiping. Neither you nor your spouse can bear that weight.
- Don’t bash guys who play video games. — A popular thing to do today, particularly in the Church, is to bash the guy who lives with his parents two years out of college and likes to play video games. So your wife cooks, does the dishes, and you like to watch two hours of television every night after work. How are you better than the video game kid again? Don’t burn these bridges by bashing guys. Learn to minster to them through this phenomenon, because it’s not going away any time soon.
- “Share the gospel and when necessary, use words” is a sham. — This wasn’t spoken by St. Francis and is basically used by social gospel people who don’t like to talk about Jesus because he’s unpopular. Don’t ever use this please.
- Stand your ground humbly. — I mentioned before the importance of humility, but it must be understood, especially if you’re a millenial reading this: stand your ground. Discuss and debate with a humble heart, but do not lose hold of your convictions. The world we live in will pressure you to do so. Don’t. (If they’re biblical, I mean.)
- The Chicago Cubs will win a World Series in 2017. — You heard it here first. Don’t question me.
What would you add?