- Always say please and thank-you, no matter how cranky you are, no matter how bad of a day you're having, and no matter whether or not the recipient of your good manners is deserving.
- Always have a camera with you and take photos of the places you go and the people you meet because one day those experiences will be fuzzy memories.
- Keep your mouth shut about your romantic entanglements. True intimacy is built on trust so zip those lips!
- Volunteer! Even with a full college course load, and fraternity parties and intramural football games, don't forget to give your time and energy to those in need. It will remind you that it's not always all about you.
- Call your mom and dad just to ask how their day is. That means no asking for money for that spring break trip to Cabo or more gas money.
- Treat the friends that you've made and the friends you will make as if they will be your friends for life.
- Read one book a month that has nothing to do with your studies and listen to music that you've never heard of - these things will stretch your mind.
- Travel, travel, travel, while you're single and free because it's much harder to do when you're married with children and mortgage and job!
- If your friends are headed down a wrong or dangerous path, tell them. They may be angry with you and give you the silent treatment for a while, but they'll also know that you love them enough to be honest and that's the true mark of friendship.
- Learn to waltz - it'll come in handy when you least expect it!
- If a relationship with a girl, or a friend or a school or a job is making you miserable, and talking it out doesn't help, then don't be afraid to leave. Sometimes it takes more courage to walk away from a bad situation than to hold your nose and remain.
- Take naps!
- Always keep a $20 bill - you never know when you'll need it for cab fare, gas, or a meal.
- If you don't understand something, then speak up and ask a question. Don't let your pride or embarrassment prevent you from learning.
- Attend as many family events as you're able - baptisms, weddings, birthday parties - because this is how you will deepen your connection to your family.
- Don't watch so much TV or spend too much time on Facebook or Twitter or whatever the social media flavor of the month! Go out and live life instead of observing it from the safety of your sofa.
- Make frequent visits to your school's career counseling center and make a plan for life after undergrad.
- Say what you mean. It might make your life harder in the short term, but it will also make your life richer in the long term.
Friday, April 8, 2011
An 18th Birthday To Do List
When my God son turned 18, I started to remember my own 18th birthday. On my 18th birthday, the most thrilling thing I did was register to vote. That may sound boring, but for a kid born with Potomac Fever, I was majorly happy. I felt like I knew it all, although I had seen nothing. But after waiting so long to be 18, I also found myself asking, "so now what?" There were so many questions that I had, then, about life and the world, and my life in the world. Looking back, I wish that someone would have given me some rules for living, so here are my 18 Things that every 18 years old should know: