Well ladies and gents, the day has come and yahboi has survived another year replacing my blood stream with Coors Banquets and crushing at least 143 series on Netflix. It is time for another list of the most important things I learned.
The year I had was one like no other in my life. From traveling the other side of the world, spending a month on water, moving out of my hometown for the first time, and enduring the death of a massively important person in my life, there were far more than 25 things I learned this year.
But I narrowed it down for you all because I know, like me, you have the attention span of a crack-addled hummingbird thanks to these damned Facebooks and Instagads. So here are the most important things I learned while 25. Oh, and as a disclaimer, I may sound super zen and sage as I write this but just know…
- I am not perfect. And much less than that, I’m pretty shitty sometimes. But that’s okay. ‘Cause everyone is shitty sometimes! And the best thing you can do as a person that has shitty qualities is acknowledge those shitty qualities and do your damnedest to work on them.
- Which brings me to one of my most obnoxious characteristics that shone through the last year. Patience. Or rather, the lack there of. I’ve never been an incredibly patient person; I mean, it’s one of the main reasons I hate fishing (well that, and fish skin is icky, and fish guts are even ickier, but I digress!). I get annoyed when a Nepali man is grabbing my arm and trying to sell me singing bowls. My heart rate rises when a friend I’m meeting with for drinks is late. My blood BOILS when Sally Slowbottom is walking in front of me on the sidewalk at the pace of molasses being drawn through a syringe and there’s a building to the right but the street is too busy to pass on the left so I have to walk the same rate as a fucking sloth swimming upstream through a river of a million more sloths! But yeah, like I said… I need to work on that.
- Nostalgia is a fickle mistress and you never know when she’ll rear her sweet, sappy head.
- The best milkshake in the world is in Nepal. I don’t want to blow up their spot, but DM me if you need the plug.
- A 280-pound rotting chicken breast wrapped in see-through tennis shorts, dipped in Cheetos dust, with hands the size of a Barbie doll’s can be president. LITERALLY ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
- Full time jobs are a drag. But steady paychecks are chill. And having weekends off is as liberating as…
- Jumping naked into a waterfall! You guys, it’s amazing! Like why have I not been skinny dipping before this year, wtf?? Being naked in the wilderness makes you feel like Bear Grylls, Tarzan, and a wookie at Burning Man all in one fierce, cultured, and untamable beast!
- Cures to acute bouts of sadness include but are not limited to: cuddles with Moose, friends forcing you to go outside when you don’t feel like it, volleyball games in the park, listening to funny podcasts, conversations with folks you love, and beautiful views.
- But sometimes what you need isn’t to find a quick cure to the sadness. Sometimes what you need is to soak in it. Breathe it in. Pull the hurt closer and appreciate your brain’s ability to really feel so deeply. Because that is a truly beautiful concept.
- I can trick myself into thinking I’m satisfying my nightly crave for evening brews by drinking cheap-ass, flavored seltzer water. And it saves a lot of money. And calories! And hangovers.
- 100 degrees is hot. 110 degrees is hotter. But 120 degrees in a relentless blow-dryer breeze with no water or shade in sight is a torture I wish upon no human being.
- Another torture I wish on no man is being in that same 120-degree heat with steaming liquid spewing from both ends collapsed in the sand because you literally don’t have the energy to crawl to shade or lift a granola bar to your mouth. Sorry for the visual. But you can see why it sucks.
- On the contrary, one of the greatest feelings in the world is reaching a goal you’ve set for yourself by overcoming unexpected obstacles and surmounting adversity along the way. And when you reach that peak, remember to revel in it a minute before you start the slog back down to reality.
- Sunrises are better than sunsets. I knew this one already, but figured I’d remind you.
- Speaking of the sun – when people hype up a solar eclipse and you think they’re just being crunchy old hippies or astrology-spouting clowns, LISTEN to them. They know what they’re talking about. Go to totality, sit your ass in a field, and look around you as one of the most magical moments in nature commands your attention and captures your heart for 90 seconds of pure, powerful bliss.
- I am the Grinch of the Burmese New Year and totally okay with that.
- It is one of the warmest feelings to see true friends fall in love and find their forever folk. Warm enough to thaw a Burmese Grinch’s frozen heart? I don’t know, but it might come close.
- Sucking at something new is not fun. Until it is. Then it feels pretty damn good to look back at where you’ve been and forward to where you want to go.
- DANCE. MORE. OFTEN.
- Crisp desert air, cans of espresso, breakfast tacos over a Coleman stove, and one cucumber sour beer for good measure might be the best hangover cure I’ve found to date.
- Saag paneer, garlic naan, potato cheese momos, veggie samosas, and masala tea is liiiife. Bonus points if they’re from a street vendor and less than $2. Seriously, how has it taken me this long to discover South Asian food??
- Becoming a Wilderness First Responder was an immensely rewarding and proud decision. If you love the outdoors, enjoy taking care of others, and will find yourself more than a 5-minute walk away from a parking lot and into the woods, you should probably get yours too.
- Just because something was good for you or brought you joy in the past, doesn’t mean it will always stay that way in the present. And that’s okay – everything changes with time, for better or worse. This can be applied to way too many aspects of life to even list. Acknowledge, appreciate, and keep moving forward.
- Losing a parent is easily one of the most painful things I have ever experienced. And the days, weeks, months after a death that powerful can feel blurry, muddied, and utterly exhausting. Helpless. Manic. Numb. Sunk. But through death comes love, and lots of it. From places you never thought you had inside you or people you haven’t spoken to in years. It pours in from your friends, strangers, and most essentially, family. And that love helps the arduous, erratic, and prolonged process of grieving feel less like hell and more like healing.
- Which brings me to the final and most important thing I learned this year.
Say “I love you” more.
And really mean it when you do.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me, nurtured me, taught me, hugged me, cheersed me, walked with me, listened to me, laughed with me, cried with me, and loved me over this magnificently difficult, emotional, and burgeoning year. And an extra special thanks to anyone that actually made it to the end of this rant. I’ll see you on the other side.