So I just turned 30…the big 3-0, the third level, the new 20 so they say…
I thought that it would be a good time to reflect on what it is that I have picked up in the last 30 years that could be of value. I also am writing this so as a 60 year old I can reflect on what I learnt, or thought I learnt…
I’ll go from the least “deep” to the most “deep”, so strap yourselves in (for just a few minutes)
Nick Tip 1: Sleep with your phone off and out of reach
This was one that I was really good at when I was back home because I had a good old alarm clock. Travelling though, your phone kind of becomes your everything, including your alarm clock. However, having it on and next to your bed does make it easier to justify those facebook/Instagram sessions late at night and first thing in the morning…
But Nick, what about emergencies? I can tell you, as someone who has just slept through an earthquake with a housemate yelling at me to wake up that I will most likely be completely useless in an early morning emergency. Also, doesn’t everyone have their phone on silent? That buzz is most likely not gonna wake you.
So, unless you have a pregnant wife, sick partner in hospital or are a doctor on call, do yourself a favour and switch your phone off when you sleep or at least put it in airplane mode. Plus, switching it off for 8 hours a day will most likely increase the life of your phone. Boom!
Nick Tip 2: Take care of your teeth
One of the best ways to save a big bill at the dentist, and everyone likes nice teeth! We will come back to this one.
Nick Tip 3: Don’t pay much attention to social media
Ironic I know, as you probably found this link on some form of social media. But you only see the top 2% of people’s lives online. Therefore seeing 50 of your friends top 2% makes you feel like everyone is having a great time 100% of the time (don’t question my maths). In reality, their reality is similar to yours.
We all do this, you won’t be able to find anything on my social media pages detailing visits to the doctor, my gradually diminishing savings balance or just general uncertainty about life. Make sure you keep the 2% in mind when perusing your social media.
Nick Tip 4: Donate your time to something worthwhile
Don’t think I really need to go into this too much but I remember the Christmas where I realised I really didn’t need anything and got more joy out of giving gifts. I don’t say this to sound like a saint, it just happened and I remember it clearly.
Whether it be dogs, the elderly, a hospital, youth programs, whatever floats your boat, get out there and get those warm and fuzzies people!
Nick Tip 5: Sometimes things don’t work, and dude…that’s cool
Try, try, try again they say. Try some more. Persevere! Absolutely….but also….
In the words of Clint Eastwood, “A man has gotta know his limitations”. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is step away from a situation or goal, this allows you to focus on other things that are very deserving of your time.
Giving up playing football seriously was hard for me, coz it was all I knew for a long time. Then I started playing with my close friends, had beers after the game and had more time for my family and friends, started playing bass guitar and everything else you can do with an extra night a week where I wasn’t training, as well as saving hours of travel on the weekend playing locally rather than all over the city!
Nick Tip 6: Listen to your body
If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Go and see a doctor. I am pedantic about this stuff to the point where I think I have caused some psychosomatic health issues for myself (try steer clear of that though).
As my grandfather used to say though, 90% of recovery is the correct diagnosis. Hardly the ancient greek wisdom that Stelios Vianellos was famous for but you can’t argue with it!
Nick tip 7: Embrace the weirdness of goodbyes
I love airports, bus stations, train stations basically any place that involves a lot of people moving places. It excites me to see everyone on their own mission to get somewhere. In the last 10 years I have experienced some goodbyes in these locations, which obviously makes a lot of sense. I revisited Stazione Central in Milan after a heartfelt goodbye there 9 years prior and it was a strange feeling to be back. Strange to think that life had changed so much and so little. I did just stand there and take it in for a second. (Told you it would get deep!)
Having said that, some goodbyes have happened at the most unusual moments, on a random street corner, in a back room of a bar or even happened and I didn’t realise that it would be the last time to see these people or a specific person. That last situation can the best, most natural and least dramatic.
It is weird to be standing opposite someone staring down the barrel of the real possibility of never spending time with that person again. All I can say is try to embrace the weirdness, say what you need to say and enjoy that moment with them.
Nick tip 8: Remember that your past is as significant as you make it
I spent a lot of time, especially in my early 20’s, thinking about things that happened in the past. Stuff that happened at school or with significant others really had an impact on me. It wasn’t until I realised that it was me who was creating this kind of unhappiness and that I could see things for what they were, nowhere near as significant as I made them.
After that…life became a lot easier!
We all have our own shit to deal with. Relative to someone else your shit might be a bit less than their shit. Irrespective of that, shit is shit and you gotta clean up your own as best you can. Try take the significance out of it.
Nick tip 9: Be content
In keeping with the shit theme from my last point, shit happens, more than you realise. Just have a think back and each year you can probably see a health issue that held you back, a relationship breakdown (romantic or not) that fell apart and affected you, something career wise that was a little less than good or a combination of them all. The list goes on.
Recognising that these things happen should make you truly appreciative of the moments when everything is just right. We are in a constant state of change and transformation, nothing is forever so when all the pieces are fitting together, relish it, cos my friend, most likely the puzzle will change!
Nick tip 10: Know you have an impact
I am not saying this in a grandiose “you can impact the world” kind of way. You can, and you should but here I am saying it in a “speak kindly to the guy serving you at the café” kind of way. Simply being polite and demonstrating some self-awareness (which ironically seems to be mostly about how you interact with others) ensures your good vibes ripple out into the world.
I also feel that we have a huge impact on ourselves. Seems logical but for instance if you have said that you will take care of your teeth and never floss, then every day you have evidence that you don’t do what you say you will do. This is not good for us, shows how fragile our integrity can be, and can ripple into other parts of our lives.
So recognise your impact on others and yourself, and floss your teeth. Told you we would come back to this one!
As always, take what you will from this post. Hope you enjoyed it!
30 year old Nick
(amazing how this all came to me in a flash, just as I ticked over the age of 30!)