10 Things I've Learned in 10 Years


I graduated in 2003, so it's been 10 years since I was gearing up for high school.  It doesn't seem that long ago, but at the same time it does.  When I was a senior in high school kids were just starting to get cell phones, most digital flirting was done over Instant Message. Facebook, blogs, Pinterest and the internet in general didn't really exist. As I reflect on being 10 years removed from the world of 1st period classes, cliques, text books and extra circular activities, I have 10 pieces of advice that I wish I could have given myself 10 years ago.


1. You don't know everything, actually you barely know anything.  You aren't "the man" or "the woman".  The world doesn't revolve around you.  You don't fart rainbows or poop diamonds. Listen to the advice of your elders and put elders in your life who are filled with wisdom and can guide you in life. It will make all the difference.


2. There is more to life than being cool.  What a slippery slope trying to be cool can become.  At first, being cool was all about being good at sports, so I tried my hardest, then it became about getting girls so I tried my hardest. Then it became about drinking, so I drank the most. And then it became about trying drugs, so I decided that would be a good way to go, all in the name of cool.  I made way to many mistakes in my teenage life with that word as the central focus.

I was a copy of the next guy who was just a copy of the next guy.  I always shake my head when I see a group of young men with flat brims, Nike shirts, shorts, shin high socks and Nike shoes walk by me.  I have no problem with Nike, but I can't help but feel bad for any group of young guys who want so badly to be cool that they have eliminated any hint of originality or personality from their life.  The desire to be cool often ends with a lot of bad decisions.  In fact, I have two cousins whose desire to be cool ended them both in rehab.  Cool is a lie. And lies destroy.


3. Stop being dramatic.  Your life isn't that hard.  My guess is that you are reading this post on your computer, laptop, iPad or iPhone.  You probably found out about it on Facebook or Instagram.  You are probably reading it in your house that your parents own and work for, or in a coffee shop with a $5 drink in your hand.  You probably have $50 shoes and pants on and some extra cash in your pockets in case you want an ice cold soda at anytime.  Your life isn't that hard so stop acting like it is.  Stop saying things like, "I was going to die."  Stop being so loud and obnoxious when the little things happen.


4. Stop Complaining.  Again, your life isn't that hard.


5. Work Hard.  Nothing will be handed to you in life.


6. Stay Humble.  You aren't Kobe Bryant when you make a basket.  You aren't Aaron Rodgers when you throw a touchdown pass.  You aren't Ansel Adams when you take a photo.  You aren't Martha Stewart when you copy something off Pinterest.  Humility is becoming more of a lost skill set with each generation.  We are overpraised for everything and with that comes swelled heads.  In all likely hood you aren't as good at that as people tell you.  And that just means you have to work harder to become better.  Nothing goes along with hard work like humility.


7. Don't dress like an idiot.  Pull your pants up and your skirt down.  Dress like a normal human being and show the world that you treat it with respect.


8. Be Kind.  Be kind to your friends, teachers, enemies, parents, guidance counselors, janitors and every one else you come in contact with in high school.  Just do it.  You will be happier and people will be happier when they interact with you.  It's worth it.


9. Have Manners. Open doors, say thank you, please and you're welcome.  Speak clearly, don't mumble.  


10. It will never happen again.  You will never have as many people that you can impact in your life in one place at one time.  Take advantage of it and show them the love of Jesus with excitement, joy and awesomeness!  Changing the world doesn't start after high school.  It can start while you are there.  Remember that you were created by a loving God for a purpose.  Live out that purpose and change the world!


- T.J.


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