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5 Things Your Average Twenty Year Old Wants to Tell You

I don’t know much about life. As a matter of fact, not a whole lot of us do. We just so happen to be wrong about things – a lot of the time. I’m not even sure if we’re ever 100% “right” about anything.

One thing I think I know is this: I have a LOT of questions, and oftentimes, my personal answers come out as word vomit onto a screen or paper when there’s a means of expressing myself through language.

One more thing I’m pretty sure of: I consider myself a strong, happy, gentle, vulnerable human being. I find genuine joy in the human experience, and have just recently realized that although I have many interests, I really want to share and express myself so others can maybe feel the way I do. This will be my outlet.

Here’s a list of five things I want to tell the world and will elaborate on in later posts.

  1. Suffering is everywhere, and everyone has problems. Somehow, though, people are convinced that leading a life of fulfillment and happiness is problem-less. This is not the case. Life isn’t a glittering, glamorous, joyful experience all the time – shitty things happen. Without problems, though, there can be no growth. To grow, we actually need to have problems. Sure, maybe growth isn’t a big deal to some people, and that’s fine (after all, we are free to choose our ideals and our purpose), but growth is a key factor in leading a happy life. Being better than the person you were yesterday (smarter, kinder, more understanding, etc) is rewarding and fulfilling, and the only way to learn and grow and be better, is to be faced with problems and challenges.
  2. There is strength in vulnerability. This is a big one. People always seem to associate strength with one’s ability to shove things under the carpet and pretend they never happened, only crying behind closed doors and smiling and saying “Great!” when people ask how they’re doing. The real strength lies in the moments you let yourself settle into a mourning without letting it consume you, or in little moments of trust, when you tell someone a thing you’ve never told anyone. Strength is facing how you feel or what you think, and not being afraid to express it or have it challenged (or changed, if that moment persists upon you).
  3. Society’s perception of success is warped. I was raised poor. Not “we-don’t-have-a-roof-over-our-heads” poor, but poor enough that there were many weeks we went to the soup kitchen for the week’s groceries. When I was young and my father and I spent the days out fishing without a license (sorry, guys) and the nights watching the spiders make their webs in doorways of closed businesses, I don’t believe he felt less than successful. Of course, he didn’t feel rich. Neither did I. But there was laughter and joy and curiosity and growth, and those were the things he impressed upon me. Not wealth, but health. Not money, but fun. Not things, but experiences. I’m happier than most of the people I know who are chasing money.
  4. Happiness is nebulous and extremely difficult to compare person to person. The key to building great friendships and relationships is discovering how others define it. Before you judge a person’s state of well-being or state of perpetual (or limited) joy, seek out what makes them happy. All (like, two or three) of the lifelong friends that I have, have the same values as I do. We find happiness in the same things. Some people are “happy” being miserable. Some people are happy beings liars and cheats and theifs, or criminals, or abusers. Since happiness comes to people in many different forms and definitions, it’s hard to say “man, I’m WAY happier than he/she is.” The part that counts is “Why is he/she happy or not?” This creates a greater understanding between two people with opposing views and builds bonds and connections between sharers of the same views.
  5. Life is a great big paradox and that, in itself, is worth exploring. You can be gentle but strong. You can be honest but kind. You can find humor in things that aren’t funny. You can be happy while being miserable. Everything you learn is probably wrong. Your perspective may be right to you but not to others. Your perspective could one day even become wrong to you. So explore, and think, and wander, and live and let be. Life is short, and while we’re here, we should explore.

That’s all for now.

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