What I wish I knew at 29…

Posted on November 9, 2009



Today I celebrate my 39th birthday (gulp) although most would guess I am 10 years younger thanks to good genes and a young, vibrant community. It’s hard to believe I am entering my last year of the 30’s. It seems like yesterday I was just stepping into my third decade with 40 being an eternity away. Fortunately, I feel the most healthiest I have ever been- emotionally, spiritually, mentally, artistically, and physically (well maybe a little slower getting up in the morning). Now that I am on the last year of my mid-youth and on the eve of the death sentence of the 40s, I want to share a few lessons I wish I knew a decade ago (at age 29):

  • Don’t get wrapped up in trying to figure out who you are. Your 20s are spent exploring and pleasing others. Your 30s are about finding what you are good at and letting go of the masses opinions. Your 40s are the beginning of your mastery years.
  • Grow into your potential. You have no idea what you are capable of at 29- but we naively think we do. Hold your life, passion, and gifting with an open hand.
  • Generalize don’t specialize. You don’t have to be great (or even good) at everything. But having broad exposure will give you perspective and understanding. So that means write, paint, dance, study, build, and travel.
  • Relationships and trust go much farther than fame and fortune. During crisis and pain, all you have is the trust of a few individuals. Develop that now. No amount of monetary and material success will heal a broken heart.
  • Work like everything depends on you but believe that nothing does. There is  a much higher power at work in your life so don’t think you control anything. However, it seems that those that work the hardest are the luckiest in life (which means it’s not really luck afterall).
  • Embrace the criticism. If you are not receiving criticism on a regular basis, you are doing something wrong. Or worst, you are doing nothing at all. Criticism is good- it keeps us honest.
  • Leverage the knowledge of mentors. If you are serious about living a life of inspiration and influence, you will submit yourself to a mentor. It’s the only shortcut life has to offer with no negative consequences.
  • Debt is never worth it. Your ability and potential will be stifled if you are a slave financially.
  • The Devil will have his due. You can’t escape the consequences of self-indulgence. Bad habits, weak character, and hypocrisy will destroy you.
  • Live like no other so you can eventually live like no other. Don’t follow the masses, in fact do the exact opposite. Study, train, practice, give, serve, and pray today. Doing this now will lead to true freedom. Living like everyone else means ending up like the masses- compromised, alone, and destitute.
  • Any finally, the greatest gift you give to this world is a well-ordered life. ‘Well ordered’ may take many forms. Your life may be filled with chaos, exhausting, and pain, but being intentional and directional will pay off in the long run. Reject passivity, accept responsibility, and lead creatively.