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21 Birthday Pearls of Wisdom
Today is my 21st birthday. I am now a legal adult in every way. I can vote, drink, get my grown-up drivers license, and next year I will finally get out of school. And while I dont expect many people to take advice from a 21-year-old, this occasion is momentous enough that I feel I should come up with something to say. So here you go, 21 truths to live by that I have garnered in my short life. Even if you dont take them to heart, I hope theyre at least entertaining.

1. Bumper-stickers are forever.
2. Anyone can complain. It takes understanding to persuade, and not just understanding of the beliefs you defend. You must also understand your opponent.
3. You cant solve anything by arguing. You will never be able to argue anyone into believing they are wrong. You can merely present what you believe and let it ride.
4. If you know what you believe is the truth, you should feel no need to belittle anyone else for believing differently. Anger cannot come from a wholesome desire that everyone should believe rightly. It comes from inner instability.
5. Dont let doing something hard stand in the way of what you want. Something worthwhile is always a challenge; it takes work to get anything worthwhile. Complacency, not challenge, is what kills.
6. Ill tell you a secret: normal is a figment of our societys collective imagination. No one is normal. Were all just acting.
7. Someone will always be better than you at everything, but you will always be better than almost everyone at something.
8. No ones as bad as they seem, or as good as they think they are (Gypsy Rizka, Lloyd Alexander). Conversely, no one is as good as they seem, nor as bad as they might think they are.
9. Judge Judy says, If you tell the truth, you dont have to have a good memory. So dont lie, because youre a grown-up now, and your memory can only go downhill from here.
10. You have the potential to do great good. You also have the potential to do evil in equal measure.
11. In life, you will be wrong. You will be wrong often and with regularity. The sooner you get used to it, the less it will happen.
12. You always know when youre doing something wrong or stupid. The hard part is doing the right thing instead.
13. Fight the urge to blame other people. As my pastor says, even if youre only 10% of the problem, youre still wrong. Take care of your 10% first.
14. You cant change another person by fighting, arguing, or being angry. You can only change yourself.
15. In life, you will meet people who are out to get you. But just because someone throws down a gauntlet doesnt mean you have to rise to the bait. There is no shame in walking away quietly from a conflict.
16. Forgiveness is not about what someone has done to you. Its a measure of what you are still letting them to do to you.
17. Anger is a choice. No one can make you angry unless you let them.
18. Who you are when no one can see you is who you actually are. Your public face does not change your private self. Who you are in private will bleed through one day. Make sure thats a good day for you.
19. Fairy tales are as real as you believe they are.
20. Love is worth waiting for. If you end up waiting a lifetime for it, its better than making a lifetime of regrets.
21. Love is the beginning and end of all meaning (Abarat, Clive Barker). God is love. God is the beginning and the end of all meaning.

I give the world best wishes on my birthday.


Originally published at Phronemophobia.


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