35 Lessons Learned

35 Lessons Learned
Photo by NASA / Unsplash

Every year when I make another successful lap around the sun (I'm goin' for the high score!), I take a moment to reflect on the past year. How did I do with my goals? What did I learn?

So today, I figured I'd do something a little different and do a dump of a bunch of things I've learned in the past year. There's no order to this, but everything in here has had an impact on my life in some way. Enjoy.

  1. Rest is not a waste of time. Instead, it's a requirement for being successful. Deliberate rest helps keep burnout at bay, and keeps you happy.
  2. Exercise is mandatory. Physical health is the primer that keeps your mental health in check. Do yoga, run, strength train, or calisthenics. Dance, if you want. But don't do nothing.
  3. Pen and paper does wonders for mental health. Journaling felt stupid to me when I first started. Now it helps me process thoughts through logically.
  4. I'd rather meal prep than cook nightly. Personally, I'm totally fine eating the same thing multiple days in a row, so I'll cook several days of dinners in one shot then just reheat them on the following days.
  5. Be deliberate with your time. At the beginning of my day, I try to schedule what I want my day to look like. The better I do to sticking to that, the better I feel at the end of the day.
  6. The times I remember most are the times spent in-person with friends. Work is filler time. Online time with friends is alright. Face-to-face time hits different.
  7. Reaching out to someone just to say hi does wonders for that relationship.
  8. Life is short. We could live on this planet for only hours or years. I watched friends almost lose their child this year. Don't waste your time here.
  9. Read old books. Old books are still around for a reason. Plenty of works have been lost to time. The good ones are still here.
  10. How To Not Die Alone by Logan Ury is single-handedly the best book I have ever read on relationships. (I hesitate to use the term "life-changing" because I hate that term, but...it might have been for me)
  11. Anki is a fantastic tool for learning. There's a ton of shared decks as well. (I'm doing geography right now)
  12. Volunteering is underrated. Find a cause you care about. Donate your time or money.
  13. According to game theory, it's in our collective best interest to be nice to each other, even if someone doesn't reciprocate.
  14. Dark Souls III might be one of the best games I've ever played. (no, I haven't played Elden Ring yet. It's in the queue!)
  15. Serendipity is everywhere, as long as you let it find you. Isolating yourself hurts your chances. Saying "yes" to invitations, contributing to something online, or getting out of the house all have a chance to bring something good into your life.
  16. The first idea I have for a solution to a problem is almost certainly bad. Use it as the springboard to a better idea.
  17. The house doesn't need to be spotless constantly.
  18. Once you hit a certain income level, more money doesn't really have an impact on your life anymore. You're better off giving to a worthwhile cause or to someone else in need.
  19. I work with a lot of code libraries at work. I have no idea how most of them work. That's a good way to break something. I need to address that.
  20. I love learning and teaching far more than I thought I would.
  21. Delete social media from your phone. Put every barrier up possible around time sinks. My social media usage dropped by over 95% after doing this. (This would be a bad time to say that I'm on Mastodon, yeah?)
  22. Rice cookers are awesome.
  23. My home automations got way better the moment I started sharing ideas and asking questions. A crazy feedback loop kicked in between a few friends and myself once we started idea swapping.
  24. You can't make anyone do anything. All you can do is provide the tools to do it.
  25. Stressing out over things outside of your control is a good way to live an unhappy life. Either make it in your control or stop worrying about it.
  26. Creating and sharing feels far more rewarding than simply consuming content made by others.
  27. Looking at what you created a year ago is a good way to see how far you've come and where you can look next.
  28. "Newer" and "better" are not the same thing.
  29. Written communication is an incredibly underrated skill, and one that I need to  work on. Writing effectively and publishing in an appropriate place is a fantastic way to provide recurring value to yourself and others.
  30. Writing for others and then putting it somewhere that nobody can find is the equivalent of not writing it at all, except you wasted your time writing it in the first place.
  31. I've changed more opinions this past year than ever before by stopping for a moment and asking myself, "why do I believe this?".
  32. Buy it cheap first. Buy it for life second.
  33. I'm at my best when I'm in an environment where others want to learn and grow as much as I do (preferably more than me).
  34. The best time to go for a walk is at 5am on a Sunday morning while the rest of the world is asleep. Bonus points for just after a fresh snowfall.
  35. Share your work. This world literally runs on work that others have created and given to the world.