I created this list a few years ago to present on the final day of a senior retreat. Now, on the eve of my last day as a high school campus minister and teacher, I’ve decided that I want this presentation in writing. Here are 10 things that I have learned in the past 10 years, since I graduated from high school:
See the world. Do it often and at different times of your life. Because you change from your experiences, how you view the world around you will change with each passing day. Visit old places with new eyes. Try foods that, at one point, you thought were disgusting. Be adventurous. Be daring. Climb the 400+ stairs to the top of a Duomo in Italy. Stay the night in a sleeper train while traveling between different countries. Do not close yourself off to how the rest of the world lives. Make some time in your schedule (and budget) to travel.
9. Work in Customer Service
You will realize that everyone is a person, a human being, and you would never want to treat others the way that you see some of them treating you. As much as you may want to throw a tantrum, you realize that you are an adult, and are capable of conducting yourself accordingly. Take time to breathe, and truly think about how you want to respond to someone who may not be treating you well – with kindness and respect – because it’s part of the job.
8. Serve Others
When you serve others, you appreciate more of what you have. Never lose that appreciation. Be grateful for the life you have, and work towards making others’ lives great too. We’re all on this journey together.
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Cry
Sometimes all you can do is cry. Life is tough. Let the emotions embrace you; give them a good squeeze. But don’t forget to let them go. If you settle in your own tears, you’re gonna have wet socks for life.
6. Hug Often
This is similar to why we need to cry. Hugs and human contact can help battle depression. When you’re feeling sad or upset, look for someone to hug (with their permission, of course). But also hug when you’re happy. Associate the good feelings with a hug so that when it comes time to needing those good feelings again, you’ll find comfort in that action.
5. Call Your Mom
…or your dad, your grandma, your aunt, or whoever else raised you. It’s hard enough for her to let you go, and to let you grow up. And even though you may hate that she’s so attached to you, don’t be selfish. Give her what she needs to feel better – give her a call, let her hear your voice.
If we give respect, then we’ll receive it. That’s how it works. You cannot expect to receive respect if you don’t give it first. And just because you give it, doesn’t mean that you will lose it. Sometimes it’s tough making the first move, not knowing who the other person truly is. But it’s time that we all respect one another simply because the other person is a human being, and for no other reason.
Pray hard, and pray often. It’s easy to forget, and easy to believe that prayer doesn’t work. But even during the darkest moments and the toughest times, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Pray for strength and endurance to reach that end.
Love God. Love others. And most importantly, do not forget to love YOU. Self-love is necessary for living, and not to be mixed up with selfishness. Self-love is taking the time that is crucial for your own well-being, whether that be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual well-being. Take the time to love yourself.
1. Find Your Passion
Find it and keep it. Let it move you. Your passion will get you up in the morning. Your passion will keep you moving throughout the day. Your passion will make you smile, bring you joy, and give you peace. Never stop searching for it, and never let it go when you do find it.
Sláinte! (with water, of course)