10 things I would tell my past self 10 years ago

Yes, I know this ”10 things to make your life better” is classic click bait. And, admittedly, this is a Belgian beer powered post. How ironic it’s made on the 10.10.2016 :))

1. Listen to dissenting opinions

Especially in the era of FaceBook, you’ve learned to shut out all the opinions you disagree with. Block, unfriend, unfollow, You have gained the ability to create this perfect bubble around you where no different opinion exists. And this will lull you into a false impression that the universe always agrees with you, that you’re always right and that every different opinion is wrong by default. Don’t forget about nuance. Never forget about nuance. Learn to listen, especially if you disagree . It’s the only way to grow.

2. Everything is on a spectrum

It’s easy to judge things as black and white, right or wrong, good or evil, positive or negative. But things rarely are in real life. Everything is somewhere on a spectrum. From nothing to infinity. And rarely are they on the extremes. Be especially weary when they seem to be and check your assumptions. Don’t force them to be on the extremes either. Admit to yourself that everything is relative and positioned somewhere in between.

3. Take care of your bones and joints

Amazing, right? You’re not unbreakable. Every stupid thing you do today, like carrying heavy things or straining your body for needles sporting venture, will take it’s toll. Someday you’ll pay. And it will hurt. A lot. Instead of enjoying your loved ones you’ll have to be careful and refrain from picking up things or lifting that couch that needs to be moved. If only someone had warned you. If only you believed them, that is.

4. Talk to your parents about their health

I know, it’s their duty to take care of you and it’s your duty to take care of your life and your children when the time comes. But listen to their ails. You are their child and genetics dictates that you have every chance to someday follow in their footsteps. If you are forewarned you can take care of your joints, your skin, your stomach, your liver, your heart or your mind. Knowledge is power. The power to prevent and avoid.

5. Mental strength is not limitless

When you are young, your power of endurance seems endless. But it really isn’t. Even the tallest of mountains will crumble under the right amount of pressure. Don’t let it pile on. If your job is hurting you, change it. It’s never the only option. If your friends are wearing you down, distance yourself. If your relationship is killing you, leave. Your peace of mind is irreplaceable.

6. Selfishness is not always wrong

Most instincts built into you are the product of millions of years of evolution. They are rules of thumb of what used to work best in the past. Selfishness is such a thing. Sometimes the world… is not out to get you. But it’s totally indiferent to your needs. It’s up to you to fight for what really matters to you. No one else will. It’s ok to be selfish in love, in taking care of your loved ones before caring about others. No one instinct is good or bad as long as you put it into perspective.

7. Layers

Like spectrums, life is full of layers. Everyone has a bubble. At the outskirts lay the trivial things and as you approach, you reach the important things and values. Learn what yours are. Arrange them accordingly. Protect your inner most layers, don’t expose them indiscriminately by trusting blindly. Be respectful of other’s. Don’t tread into other people’s inner layers lightly and don’t let other people tread into yours. If somebody chooses to show them to you, you are responsible to be gentle and kind.

8. Look in the mirror

No, dumb ass, it’s not about beauty or vanity. It’s about being able to look yourself in the eyes for five minutes at a time. It’s a very good indicator at how you feel about yourself deep down, even if you’re not able to admit it to yourself or you’re not even aware of it.

9. Compromise carefully

Nothing in life is free of compromise. But don’t overdo it. Not everyone will understand you did or appreciate your effort. Every compromise take it’s toll and some of them will come back to haunt you. You’ll blame yourself with the benefit of hindsight, even if you had no idea back then. Consider your position and consider the consequences, for the next week, month, year, decade or lifetime. You will have to live with yourself.

10. Belgian beer

This one is a doozy. Most people think beer is beer. But beer doesn’t care what you think it should be. The Belgians have turned beer into a work of art, with myriad flavors, strengths and colors. In a way, they’ve turned beer into a sort of wine. Every bottle is surprising in it’s own way. The point is that you, like Belgian beer, don’t need to fit in. You’re free to discover your own blend. You’re even free to reinvent yourself and change your flavors as much as you want. You define yourself and any outside advise is to be listened to at your own discretion.


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