Follow Your Bliss: 38 Things I’ve Learned

I turned 38 last week.  Like most new ages, it doesn’t feel very different from the previous one. Not at first anyway. But 38, almost 40. Preventing accidents, I’m approaching a theoretical halftime.  And many a blogger and writer has made a list of the 38 things they’ve learned in their near 4 decades on the planet Earth. I’ve found many of those lists interesting and informative, so I’m gonna share 38 life lessons.  These are not meant to be absolute truths, but after learning some of these the hard way, I can vouch for their authenticity.

Oh and the last one just might be the meaning of life.

1- People who are very successful often talk about gratitude. People who are very unsuccessful often talk about blame.

2- Sometimes you have to take the heat. On the chin, like an adult and live with it.

3- I find weeks to be a better measurement of productivity than days. You will have bad days but those are quickly forgotten about if it’s been a good week.

4- Jealousy is the most misinformed and destructive emotion.

5- Grammar is the artist’s enemy.

6- Achievement forgives most if not all sin.

7- Don’t be mad at the young. One’s age and inexperience are truly things that can only be solved by time, no matter how much older people want them to hurry and grow up already.

8- There were no good old days. Older and previous generations have fucked the world up so much and so many times, they’ve got a lot of balls to tell the next generation how to do things.

9- Equality is a no brainer. Treat those who are different the way you’d like to be treated.

10- No one is waiting to hand you an opportunity. People will help you, but they don’t know who’s worth investing their time in so you have to ask. Be gracious should you receive their help.

11- Embarrassment is a choice.

12- One of my proudest accomplishments has been the elimination of boredom. We all have the sum of human knowledge in our pockets. No one should ever be bored.

13- Telling people to “wake up” is not a great way to get them to open their minds. Not a conversation starter.

14- It’s better to have a pet.

15- Don’t be the person that smells. The marketplace is filled with fragrances and scents. Regular grooming is not too much for society to ask.

16- Apologies, when you think about them, don’t amount to much.

17- The reasons why some people like you are sometimes are the very same reasons other people dislike you. Always listen to the people who like you. People who dislike you are irrelevant to any of your decision making.

18- Be part of the solution, not the problem.  Everyone knows and can see what the problems are.  Not everyone knows how to offer and implement solutions.

19- If you don’t like how something is being done, you just may have to do it better yourself.

20- Clichéd but true: “Woulda, coulda, shoulda” hold no weight.

21- It’s always better to look forward than back. Nostalgia is nice but it can be a trap. Today’s events are tomorrow’s nostalgia, so enjoy them while they’re here.

22- People making fun of you is not a valid reason to stop doing something.

23- There is such a thing as luck. Especially when it’s accompanied by hard work, perseverance and determination.

24- The response to success and failure is the same: do better. Never stop trying to improve.

25- Old wrestling proverb that’s true: “When everybody looks good, everybody looks good.” Even in a hyper-competitive environment, “Every man for himself” doesn’t do anyone any good.

26- Speaking of looking good: there’s no avoiding that physical attraction plays a part in a successful relationship. But that doesn’t mean said physical attraction is based upon what society defines it as.

27- Spend time with positive people who believe in you. Never spend any time with people who do not contribute to your self-esteem. Avoid at all costs the negative people who don’t want you to take the plunge because they’re afraid to jump.

28- “Why do you feel the need to say that?” is a question that answers itself. Especially for writers. We only feel the need to say things.

29- No one has the right to tell anyone else to “shut up.” No one man’s voice is more important than another’s.

30- “Doctor Who” may be one of the great metaphors for life. If you lined up the 18 year old version, the 25 year old version and the 38 year old version of me, you’d see three distinctly different people, but all the same man. I bet that’d be true for you as well.

31- I’m always stunned when I hear others or myself saying “Things never change.” The world changes radically and drastically all the time. Domestic violence, racial discrimination and even the absence of seatbelts were all once social norms.

32- Many very miserable, unhappy people have a lot of money.

33- People care very much what other people think of them.

34- Talent begets talent. Spending time with people more talented than you will only help make you more talented.

35- There is no justifiable provocation for abuse or cruelty.

36- When in doubt, be kind.

37- Adulthood is a myth. We may be older and wiser in some respects but we’re all just bumbling through, trying not to trip over the furniture and get a grip on our own individual pain.

38- Joseph Campbell is absolutely right. This philosophy, I believe, will solve many, if not all of a person’s uncertainty and stresses about life. Seriously, I can’t even begin to tell you how many of my problems disappeared when I finally understood and lived by this philosophy:  “Follow your bliss. If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.”


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