Congratulations. You have reached a milestone in your life. This is a big accomplishment. Celebrate, smile and be proud. You are one step closer to your goals. One step closer to your dreams. One step closer into what was once the future but is now the present. And with that, please keep that in mind. Life is... a present.
I remember my college graduation and even high school too. I felt so eager and so ready to tackle the world. I was naive and green as they say. I wish I knew then what I know now. Although, I think everyone says that as life goes on. I am sure in ten more years I will look back now and shake my head at today's me.
I, just like you, made mistakes and continue to make mistakes daily. I am no martyr. I am just a human who has a few more years under my belt. Life has a way of opening your eyes as you get older, especially once you leave the comforts of your classroom, say goodbye to friends, walk away from sports, drive away from your home and embark on your own path in life. Today you begin focusing on defining who you are as a person and where you will go.
1. Never stop learning. Be eager to learn and absorb. No one ever said, "That is it! I am done learning all I need to know."
2. Manners go a long way. I repeat, a long way. Being polite does not make you a suck-up. It makes you likeable.
3. There is a reason why they say, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Seize the moment!
4. Networking. Success in life is all about meeting people and knowing someone at the right place and time.
5. Luck... it does exist too.
6. Do not Reply All. Learn email etiquette.
7. With that said, email is not the same as texting. Practice using proper grammar and complete sentences. It is appreciated.
9. Don't assume everyone is your best friend and don't assume everyone is your enemy.
10. Actually, just don't assume.
11. Young men, always open the door. Chivalry does not have to be dead.
12. The left lane is for passing. Please, drive in the right lane. Don't hold people up.
13. Yes, the world is yours but it is also everyone else's. Entitlement gets you no where. I repeat, no where.
14. Selfishness is the root of most of the world's problems. Consider others when you consider yourself.
15. Invest in yourself. Put a little back for a 401 K. Be diligent on saving. Even if it is $10 a month. You will be mad and annoyed with your first few paychecks, but you will learn to get by without it and then one day you will thank yourself.
16. Life does not revolve around your smart phone. Put it down every now and then. Look around you. Take life in through your senses versus your fingertips.
17. Treat yourself. Every now and then, indulge. Buy a cup of overpriced coffee, a pair of expensive shoes, a new watch or a new piece of wardrobe.
18. Believe in yourself. Think about those you believe in. I bet they all know their self worth.
19. Respect yourself. Love yourself. You have to first do those things before anyone else will.
20. Speaking of love. When you finally find the "one," treat them well. Respect them and say 'I love you' every day.
21. Put yourself out there. You may get hurt but no one ever found happiness without first being vulnerable.
22. Every now and then do something that scares you. You cannot get over fear without first exposing yourself to the fear itself.
23. It is easy for life to get you down. When that happens look towards the small things in life. The big things will overwhelm you, but the small things are what make people smile and feel grateful.
24. Speaking of that, be grateful and say 'thank you' often. A hand written thank you is a lost art. Pick it back up.
26. Learn to cook. Even if it is just scrambled eggs and grilled cheese. Pride can grow standing behind a frying pan.
27. Be a decent human being in life. Vanity will fade. Measure a person by their heart.
28. Wear sunscreen. Every person who has every had beautiful skin in their 70's and over, all accredit sunscreen and water.
29. By the way, drink lots of water.
30. Thank service members. You can have any political stance you desire, but thank a service member and support them. Understand that the reason you can voice your opinions in life is because of them.
31. Don't judge. We are a society that loves to judge. We love to beat the man or woman when they are down. Reach out a hand instead. Know there are two sides to every story in life.
32. Look people in the eye. It makes you confident and trustworthy.
33. Speaking of trust. You must earn it in life.
34. Give back. Even when you don't have enough for yourself, someone always has far less. It will make you feel good.
35. Always, always dance. Especially at Weddings. Don't be that boring bystander.
36. Some things happen for a reason. Learn to abruptly change directions and you will be good.
37. The blame game gets you no where in life. Be accountable.
38. Take chances. Those who succeed... took a chance.
39. Learn from your mistakes. Don't dwell. Move on.
40. Life is not about money! Don't expect to make a lot of money once you are done school. Expect to work hard and earn a living. That is how the world is supposed to work.
41. Speaking of money. Save for something big. Once you finally have earned enough to buy it, I promise it will mean so much more.
42. Things were harder for your parents growing up and even harder for your grandparents. Respect them and their views.
43. Make your bed! My goodness, if it is the only thing you do in a day. You will feel accomplished and after a long day when you are ready to crash. It feels so much better to pull back the sheet than to climb into a crumbled mess.
44. Find your passion. Life doesn't have to be a boring ride. Love what you do.
45. At the same time, some of life's best lessons come from pushing through something you don't love to do. It will reveal that passion. Work hard. The reward is so much sweeter.
46. The word "can't"... well, it should not exist.
47. Call your Mom and Dad. Visit your grandparents. As you get older you will appreciate them more and realize the sacrifices they made to get you where you are standing today.
48. Be authentic! People want to get to know you. The real you.
49. Laugh at yourself. If you can accomplish this then you are already miles past others in life.
50. Smile. Even when you don't want to, just smile.
Congratulations, graduate. Your adventure begins and the world is yours!
This post originally appeared on backwardsnhighheels.com.