30 years, 30 Lessons

          I remember sitting on these steps as a boy with my mother. The steps led up to a small house on a hill where I lived with her and my father for the first 5 years of my life.  Every morning I would wake up rain or shine and go out into the backyard to explore this small new world. Those days were quiet, peaceful, and full of fond memories. Ernie barking, the smell of granny’s cooking, the snails on the wall, my dads garden and my mother’s loving smile, it all seemed like it would never end…

          Years passed and I went back looking for my house on the hill. To my dismay, it was no longer there and the steps were covered in green. Caught amongst my emotions, I sat there, on those same steps again, reflecting on my life and the lessons I’ve learned. Although I don’t feel it (or look it) I’ve turned 30 this month. Those years have taught me many things. Today I’d like to share 30 of my most important life lessons. Here they are, enjoy:


1. Monitor your physical and mental health.  Exercise (Vigorously) and read (Philosophy) regularly. Limit your consumption of sugar, carbohydrates, and trash media. These things are addictive, can lead to many diseases, and will clutter the mind. Also, brush your damn teeth. Dental work is expensive.

2. Honor your parents and take care of your family.  Tell your Mother you love her while you can. She won’t be around forever.  Respect your Father. He has made more hard decisions than you will ever know.  Family comes first period.

3. Keep good friends in your life and learn to let go of negative ones.

4. Prioritize your time. You don’t know how much you have and you can’t buy anymore.  There are no continues in this game.  Play to win.  

5. Take responsibility for everything that you say and do. Don’t make excuses. Don’t complain.  Always keep your word. Others will remember if you do or do not.

6. Meditation can help clear the mind and relieve stress. Make time for it.

7. Being bored is often a sign of laziness. Challenge yourself. Nothing worth having is acquired easily.

8. Understand that the truth may not always be comforting.  Embrace change. It is a sign of growth.

9. Stay out of debt. If you don’t have money for it you probably don’t deserve it.

10. There will always be someone that has it worse or better than you. Dwelling on what could have been or what could be is waste of time and energy. If you cannot change what ails you, learn to be content within your situation.

11. Set boundaries for yourself and do not allow anyone to cross them.

12. Learning to fail and learning to win are the same. 

13. You can’t help someone that doesn’t want to be helped.

14. You cannot expect another person to love or respect you if you don’t already love and respect yourself.

15. Expect to be hated just as much as you are loved. Haters are indeed going to hate. Consider it a sign of progress.

16. Learn a new language and travel. There are quite literally no drawbacks and the benefits will pay dividends for years. Get outside of your comfort zone and experience different places and cultures. And never be afraid to go alone.

17. Don’t waste time doing things you hate. Do what you love. Doing anything else only leads to suffering and regret.

18. Balance work, play, and rest equally for a happy life. 8 hours work, 8 hours play, 8 hours rest.

19. Struggle builds character.  “Character is Destiny” – Heraclitus (Seriously, start reading philosophy)

20.  Always show before you tell. What you are going to do and what you have done are worlds away.

21. Death is not to be feared. If you are too concerned with death you may miss out on life.

22. Always show gratitude for any kindness that comes your way. No one is obligated to be nice.

23. Never give up easily. Try it at least 100 times before abandoning hope.  Thank you Sensei.

24. “Don’t forget to wear a hat (condom)!” Thanks Dad…

25. Your value and success in this world is directly correlated to the people you help.

26. You shouldn’t have to buy her flowers, but you can if you really want to.

27. Learn to enjoy being alone. Solitude imposes reflection and in reflection we find truth.

28. Your smile is your most profitable asset. Smile often. Look good, feel good.

29. Compose yourself and learn to remain calm in all situations. Recognize when it is appropriate to show your anger and use it for good. Lashing out at people you care about will only ruin relationships. Never allow anyone to manipulate your emotions.

30.  Never stop learning. “Knowledge is Power.” – Mortal Kombat


          These are lessons learned through family, friends, mentors, travels, and experiences throughout my life. I could go on but for now I’m stopping at 30. I may come back and detail some of the key lessons and principles at a later date. I hope this list has inspired you or at least given you something to ponder. Although these are just lessons of my own, I’d like to hear some of yours. If you’d like to share yours, please comment below or on my Facebook or Twitter pages. I look forward to the conversation. That’s all I have for you guys today.   Thank you for reading!


                    The tutorial level has been completed.

                                                  On to the next stage.  


Juan Valei

Buffalo-based gamer, artist, and adventurer. Blogging about life, games, art, entertainment, health, and everything else in the universe.


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