I just had my ten-year high school reunion (and I skipped it if I’m being totally honest). It’s not that I didn’t enjoy high school – I was one of the rare people that did. I went to a really small private school, where I graduated with about thirty people, and had a BLAST in high school. I used to joke that it felt like going to school in High School Musical because people would always break into song and dance for fun. I think I mainly didn’t go to the reunion, because I wanted to keep my memories golden, and where they belong. I’ve always hated hearing people talk about their high school or college days as their ‘golden days’ or ‘the best days’. I’m a big believer that the best days are the ones you’re living right now, at this very moment, and that the only thing that makes them the best days, are you choosing it. I was thinking over the last decade of my life, and wanted to share ten of the most important life lessons I think I’ve learned (besides the obvious things, like eating spicy Chinese food and champagne together doesn’t end well).
-What you do for a living doesn’t define you.
It’s so easy to get caught up in what we do to make money. I mean, the first question people ask normally at parties, after your name, is ‘what do you do for a living?’. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to define myself by who I am, not what I do. I would rather be known as a loyal friend, trash tv lover, and inappropriate joke maker, than a blogger, any day of the week.
-College isn’t for everyone.
I grew up in a community where you graduated and went to college. It wasn’t really a question. But after two years, and a lot of student loan debt, I found myself more confused about the direction of my life than ever. The best thing I ever did was drop out of college to do an internship at my church. I had space for the first time to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life, and college wasn’t it.
-Dream relationships > Dream job
If you feel like you’re in a place where you have to pick between having your dream community, and your dream job, I think that your dream community should win every time. At the end of the day, people are what really matter.
-Life goes on.
In the ten years after high school, there’s not as many ‘my life is over’ moments as there is IN high school. Not to be pretentious and quote Robert Frost or anything, but ‘in three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life – it goes on.”.
-Find a place to be planted.
If there’s one lesson I’ve learned that’s made me who I am today, it’s finding a place to put down roots. David and I decided a long time ago, that Dallas was our place, our friends where our friends and our church was our church. We’ve put down deep roots, and it’s helped us weather many seasons.
-You get as much as you give.
I think the easiest way to have the kind of friends that you want, is to be the kind of friend you want. One of the best pieces of advice anyone ever gave me, was that it was hard to feel lonely when you were busy making sure no one else felt lonely.
-It’s better to wait for the best, than settle for okay.
I’ve watched a lot of people settle for the okay in their lives because they were too impatient to wait for God’s best. Maybe it’s just the fact that I’m an enneagram type three, but I promised myself a long time ago, that I was never going to settle for okay.
-What you prioritize will shape your life
I think if you look at someone’s priorities, you can look at the direction their life is headed. I know there have been plenty of times over the past decade that I haven’t loved the direction my life was headed, and when I sat down and looked at what I was prioritizing, and shifted a few things around, it made a world of difference.
-Healthy habits matter
At 18, I could eat chili-nachos at my favorite diner for breakfast, while hitting the gym once a month and feel totally fine. Now, I have to kickbox four times a week and eat healthy, to feel moderately healthy. Oh, the cruelty of time.
-Not everyone is here for the long haul
Not every friend that you make that you think is in it for life, is. And that’s okay. I admire loyalty in a person more than almost any other quality, but I’ve learned over the past decade that not everyone has the capacity, or the desire, for life long friends. Some friends are for a season, and some are for life, and thats alright.