32 things I’ve learnt in my 32 years on this planet.

me with a snowman
I have recently turned the horrifically ancient age of 32 and while I am embracing the idea of buying some slippers and resting my creaking bones by the log fire to do today’s crossword, I thought I would offer some insight into what I have learnt in my time on earth thus far.

1. Question every piece of advice you’re given.

Yes, including the following 31 items in this list. Never take any advice as gospel.

2. It’s okay to be terrified.

Many times in my life I have been scared. Not just with pushing my comfort zone or doing something new but also in everyday situations. Once I figured out that everyone on this planet feels the same way I began to feel more relaxed and at ease with the world.

3. Don’t over think things…

Should I do this? Should I stop doing that? Deep down we already know the answers to most of our questions and our gut instinct should be the voice we listen to the most. I over analyse everything and this is why I am king procrastinator. My best decisions in life have been those where I acted spontaneously.

4. Embrace travelling as soon as you can

Unfortunately I didn’t even think about travelling until my late twenties and I have no idea what turned me on to it but now I am thankful I have the bug. A recent visit to Belgium has wet my appetite and I have a goal of visiting 5 countries in 2013.

5. Sh*t happens, and you can’t do anything about it. So don’t worry about it.

Like most people I used to worry about things that I have no control over, like being late for work because the bus didn’t show or having a funny shaped head (I do.. I think). Now I have learnt that if I can’t immediately do something to correct an issue then I shouldn’t worry about it. Acceptance is key.

6. You’re no better than anyone else.

I’m not, you’re not. End of.

7. Go out of your way to ask questions

Seeking out the answers is a hobby of mine. Quite a geeky hobby but still, I have learnt some weird and wonderful things just because of my curious nature. Now we have Google at our fingertips there is no excuse for ignorance or a lack of understanding. Embrace this in life too. If you are unsure of something, always ask.

8. Reduce your screen time

Not just yet, read the rest of this article first. 🙂

I’ve stated before how the internet can warp our minds and this goes for television too. I work much better when I ignore social media and have the TV switched off. You probably can too.

9. You can’t change anybody but yourself

I notice this when I’m teaching guitar. I can see a difference between kids who take lessons because they want to and kids who take lessons because their parents want them to. This also goes for anyone who you think needs help with an aspect of their lives. Don’t force your opinion or help onto someone until they reach out for it themselves.

10. The past is the past

You can’t change what has already happened so accept this and move on.

11. The future doesn’t exist

The future hasn’t happened and never will, for it will always occur in the present. Don’t get lost in your dreams, focus on the here and now.

12. Don’t worry too much about what people think of you.

I have trouble with this on a day to day basis but I think I am improving. People will see the ‘you’ that they see, and you have less influence on others as you may think.

13. Stop hoarding possessions

I used to hoard junk like you wouldn’t believe. Thanks to eBay and living in 5 locations in 3 years I have streamlined what I own down to the following;

Laptop + Printer
Mobile Phone
3 Guitars
Sofa bed
2 pairs of jeans, several t shirts, 3 shirts, 1 pair of trousers, 2 pairs of trainers, 1 pair of shoes, gym clothing/gear, underwear.
Minor accessories/books/cutlery

Whenever I change location these are the only things that I take with me. Pretty much everything else I either throw away or leave behind.

14. Follow your instincts

Following on from not overthinking everything, the best advice I can give anyone is to just go with what you feel is the best course of action. It usually is.

15. Ignorance is not an excuse

I am happy that I don’t suffer from the terrible affliction that is ignorance. At least in general terms anyway, but I do recognise some areas that I am not very familiar with and I am currently correcting these.

16. It’s perfectly fine to make mistakes

Mistakes are what make us better people, as long as we try not to make the same mistake twice.

17. Speak up dammit

I have lost count of the amount of things that I have lost out on over the years by keeping my mouth shut. Potential relationships that I have let slip by. Awesome opportunities that I didn’t grab, and even advice that I failed to ask for.

If you don’t ask you simply don’t get.

18. Stop wasting time on things you don’t like

This goes for any job you hate dragging yourself out of bed for or maybe a relationship that is making you unhappy. If you want out, then get out and don’t look back.

19. Alcohol really is a waste of money

It really is. Unless it’s free of course. 😉

20. Always respect feedback, regardless of where it comes from

You don’t have to always take advice that is given to you but most forms of feedback come from an element of truth even if it is misguided. Whether you receive praise or criticism, take a long hard look at it and figure out its origins.

21. We’re all very different people

Remember that what you like may be different to what someone else likes

22. Yet we are all the same

Our basic needs are desires are universal. Remember this too.

23. Learn to enjoy the little things

I don’t care much for grand gestures, major events or exciting news. Feeling the warm sun hit my skin or even relaxing with a cup of tea after a tiring day can mean more to me than any life changing event.

24. Conformity is the enemy of the individual

Just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t mean that it’s right.

25. Effort + time = results

I wanted to be a guitarist so I played 6 hours a day for 6 months straight. I wanted to learn Spanish so I studied a couple of hours a week for several weeks.

Guess which discipline I am better at?

26. Don’t allow people to bully you with their opinions

If someone tries to force their opinion upon you, in any form, it says more about them than it does about you.

27. Stop comparing yourself to others

I do this all the time, even now. It’s perhaps my biggest internal flaw but I am slowly learning that we all have insecurities and it doesn’t matter how good or successful you are at something, any random person in the street can beat you at something else.

28. Embrace the possibility that you will change

I am not the person I was 10 years ago. I won’t be the same person in 10 years time.

29. Nobody cares

If you go through life trying to please other people then you will never please yourself. Live life through your own standards because nobody else cares about your integrity.

30. Anger is the opposite of acceptance

Good things and bad things happen to us all. Accept both equally.

31. Age is just a number

I may be 32 now but I still look in my early twenties whereas I know people in their early twenties who look 32, (at least).

32. Life really is what you make of it

What are you going to do with the rest of your day?


Image: Me aged 4 with a snowman (life rule 33; friends will come and go)

About Jamie

Jamie is a guitar teacher and writer who hates the typical 9-5 existence. After quitting his job to enter the world of guitar tuition, he created this blog to document his thoughts and struggles as he takes on societies norms armed with nothing more than his cheeky wit and undeniable charm - Give his Facebook page a like, add him on Twitter or follow his Google+ page and he will repay you with even more awesome words!


  1. Great list. I’m 49 and I do more with less and live more with less worry than I have for many years.
    Dan Erickson recently posted..dad’s last sermon, pt. 1My Profile

  2. Great tips. I agree with proving things for yourself and not just accepting it.

    I’ve found so many times that i’ve read alot of things and thought ‘oh yeah that sounds good’ but it wasn’t until I experienced it myself then thought “oh yeah I read that but now I understand it’ that I really started to live it.

    Ben recently posted..But nobody encourages me!My Profile

  3. Great Tips! Thanks for sharing your valuable life experiences.

  4. You managed to break 27 with number 31! 😉

  5. Jacques says:

    Hi Jamie

    You 32 tips are excellent. The guardian version, which led me to yours, does not come close. Have you considered writing for the Guardian?

    • Thanks Jacques that means a lot! I don’t know their hiring process or if they are looking for freelancers/contributors.

  6. I found your list from Vincent’s site and wanted to comment (even though a bit late). Your thoughts about conformity and not worrying about what others think are so true. I spent much of my adult life worrying about how others viewed me (which will stop you from trying anything risky and keep you from being courageous). I am here to say – Stop worrying about what others think of you! Most are only worried about themselves anyway. – Blessings

    • Hey Hutch, it’s never too late! Thanks for dropping by and it’s so true that worrying about other peoples opinions reduces your own life to a boring clone of the amazing person you could be.

  7. Great list Jamie,
    I’ve only just now stumbled on your blog and can relate to your blog in a lot of ways.
    I’m 29 and will be turning 30 in a few months and also don’t look my age. I think the older we get, the more we tend to realise that nothing come to our laps and that nothing lasts forever. Even after all that hard work trying to achieve, in the end it always gets taken away.

    I think the biggest gift life can ever give us is the wisdom and knowledge that what we experienced and learned is all that counts as it will better equip us to future adversity and hardship.
    Onder recently posted..My Thoughts Towards Goals And AchievementMy Profile

    • Hey Onder! The big 3-0 can be scary but at the end of the day it’s just an arbitrary number and nothing really changes. Life continues to move forward and we pick up new experiences and ideas that we can use to enhance ourselves. Thanks for dropping by!

  8. Nice stuff. I have one:
    Everything you have or ever will worry about is really not that big of a deal.

    Few exceptions to the above. When you look at thing from your past you can see it was never that bad. Hindsight is 20/20.
    Mark recently posted..College: Activities Worth JoiningMy Profile

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