Wow, I'm old. As my friend nicely pointed out to me, today I have entered my late twenties. Twenty-six kept me within handcuffing distance to twenty-five, but now that I'm twenty-seven I've officially started slipping down that big hill where thirty waits for me at the bottom.
I remember when I was still a young buck my father would constantly remind me that I should listen to him because he was much smarter than me, and that as I grew older I would realize this. He was definitely right. Even looking back a year from now I'm amazed how much smarter I am. The longer you live the more experiences you have, and one should always be learning from their experiences, as I've always said "It's ok to lose as long as you don't lose the lesson."
But I do like being older. I know more, I'm more experienced. I feel more confident in my work. I can take direction and I am confident in my follow through, I work hard and I am proud of the product I present. I'm becoming a better friend. I'm getting better at keeping in touch and taking action to see friends, and if things go rough I know it's better to communicate than to wallow in silence. I'm becoming a better son. I'm better at keeping in touch with my folks, and my brother and I are only getting closer. I'm beginning to appreciate my new location more. I know the side streets, I have found my passions within the bedlam, and I have found that nature is only a few hours away. My mind is sharper and more expansive. I'm better at focusing my ideas, and I'm getting better at supplying my thoughts with fruitful material. My body is getting used to itself. I feel it becoming more and more athletic, I may not be as strong or as fit as I once was, but I can feel my coordination and reaction times improve as I continue my sport-like endeavors; my muscles fitting over my bones like a worn-in leather jacket. Oh yeah, and sex gets better.
Of course with all of the good bad comes as well, for without the valleys there would be no mountains. There is plenty I have to work on in my life, plenty I still need to figure out. I'm not as insightful or as eloquent as Maya Angelou, but here are some lessons I've learned within the past year. Maybe you've learned these lessons already, or maybe you've already read them somewhere from another author. But regardless of whether you've heard these or not I recommend going out and making mistakes, love and get hurt, take a risk and lose, travel and get lost, say 'yes' just for the sake of saying 'yes.' You'll only be leading a fuller and richer life as a result, as well as learning first-hand from your experiences.
• I've learned all cultures are beautiful, no matter how ugly parts of their face may be.
• I've learned leadership is about keeping calm in times of strife, always having the answer (even if you are still figuring it out yourself), counting on the competence of others, knowing your co-workers strengths and weaknesses, treating everyone with respect, teaching by example, and not being afraid to speak up when it's needed.
• I've learned you can never take anything for granted.
• I've learned home is where the happy is.
• I've learned that you should never judge an album before listening to it at least three times.
• I've learned time stands still when you leave old friends, and when you meet up it picks right up where you left off.
• I've learned the best tacos can come from the shadiest of places.
• I've learned Battlestar Galactica is actually a pretty darn good show.
• I've learned that your parents will never stop surprising you (In good ways).
• I've learned life is too short to not let people know you love them, even if it's the scariest thing in the world.
• I've learned working hard will always beat bullshitting at the end of the day.
• I've learned you can fall in love over night.
• I've learned you can probably find anything in LA, or at last within two hours of LA.
• I've learned that there is very little in life more satisfying then leaving a job well done.
• I've learned The Simpsons will never stop being funny, especially in movie form.
• I've learned timing is everything.
• I've learned grudges are not things worth holding onto.
• I've learned it's important to remind yourself of your spirituality from time to time, it can get lost so easily in the chaos of everyday life.
• I've learned I'm much happier staying active.
• I've learned you should never judge people. It leaves a much larger space for them to surprise you, and they most always will.
• I've learned you learn so much more when your mouth is not moving.
• I've learned I'm not getting older, I'm just getting better.