Monday, May 20, 2013

Graduation Nuggets of Wisdom

Graduation is happening across Palau right now. I got an invitation to a graduation for this coming Sunday, which I'm excited to go to because when they call the names I like to wait until the people sitting next to me cheer and then I stand up and cheer with them and yell things like "I knew you would pull through in the end, Tyler!" and then I watch the family wonder for the rest of ceremony how I know their kid and why I would think he was close to not pulling through.

Some of the church kids are graduating this week and we've been having various celebrations for them, which has gotten me thinking about my own graduations over the last ten years or so and how exciting and intimidating it is to move on to the next thing. And I decided that on Stranger today I would share with you some of the things I've learned since my own high school graduation, eleven years ago. Would love to hear some of your nuggets of wisdom, too: 

Words of Wisdom to the Children from a Sarcastic and Cranky 29-Year-Old Man

You can stick to a job or area of study and find ways to be successful or you can bounce around from menial task to menial task, dissatisfied with the pace of promotion. Either way, you’ll still be doing the same thing in 10 years.

People who lie to you are not your friends. Unless they are lying to you in order to play an amazing practical joke, in which case, they are your best friends.

Trying to turn a bad friend into a good one is almost always futile.

The less time you spend trying to figure out how you are a victim, the less victimized you will feel.

The happiest people seem to be the ones who know how to be kind.

Eggs are not a dairy product.

When you receive an email or voicemail that makes you upset, wait at least one hour before responding. Get someone who isn’t upset to talk through the most productive reaction with you.

If you want a job, ask for it. If you get an answer other than “yes,” ask for it again.

Study things that you are excited to talk about with others. But also try to find something that society wants you to know.

The world is a big place with a lot of different people and a lot of different interests. You can do the most good by trying to understand as many of these interests as possible, even if you dislike them.

Fulfillment is nothing more than finding ways to be more creative and less destructive.

If you let your happiness depend on the actions of other people, you have no guarantee of happiness.

You will never regret the time you spend listening to the kids in your life tell you stories.

It’s ok to skip play for work sometimes. It’s ok to skip work for play sometimes. You will not be happy if you do either of those things all the time.

Dating only gets harder as you get older. I’m not telling you what to do. I just wanted to you to be aware of this.

Thoroughly interview prospective roommates. Whatever else might be happening in your life is not more important than this.

Talking over someone in an argument is a waste of time. If they won’t let you speak after you’ve listened to them, leave. Walking away is just as productive but way less annoying.

Don’t spend your time with people who constantly complain. Complaining is a contagious disease and it ruins people.

When someone says an unkind thing about you, rather than become angry or vindictive, think about whether you have done anything that might have made that person feel that way. Usually you can find something and learn from it.

When you think a nice thing about someone else, tell them.

Surround yourself with people who make you feel the urge to be kinder to others.

There is no amount of money or attention that is worth your integrity or self-worth.

Snuggies. I'm serious guys. They can change your life.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. Those are some amazing tips!(: My Snuggie definitely changed my life, I couldn't believe how long I had gone without one! It's insane that people before 2007ish went without them.

    But seriously, I think I'll print this list out and hang it on my ceiling so every time I try to sleep I can see it. (not really--probably next to my mirror; I'm too blind to even *see* my ceiling) ^.^

  2. And here I was hoping that dating might get easier...

  3. snuggie, check.

    the complaining thing really resonated with me. it really brings you down.

  4. :D Eli! That was seriously good stuff! Thank you for the reminders.
    (It's been a month since I 'discovered' you blog and read all your posts, back to back! And ever since I've been having a perpetual grin on my face. Even when things are frustrating, I somehow end up seeing the funny side of things (which is amazing for me!). Weird, I know, but thanks.)

  5. I knew there was a reason I faithfully read your blog - we share a lot of the same values! I especially like the "no complaining" one. When I was a teacher, I actually made that one of my 2 classroom rules. 1. No complaining (and I would say, like you, it's like a virus and is contagious.) And the other rule... 2. Don't pick your nose while I'm looking at you. Sadly, guess which of the 2 rules my students remember years later....

  6. When you think a nice thing about someone else, tell them.

    I try to do this one, but it can be awkward. My friends have tried to talk me out of it on occasion.

    Also: be honest. If you always tell people the truth, even if it is awkward and uncomfortable or not exactly what they want to hear, as long as you have their best interests in mind when you choose to say it, it will be appreciated. It also means your compliments, and everything you say, are taken more seriously (or considered nicer, or smarter, or funnier. What ever you're going for, it increases). Your opinions gain more weight, and people become more trusting in you. It's a simple life hack that makes you, and everyone around you, happier. Just be careful you aren't being mean. Constructive criticism is appreciated, especially by today's youth who are starved for helpful feedback (the "everyone is perfect" stuff isn't helping me improve, and it drives me nuts) but only when asked for. Don't randomly list everything they could do better: wait for them to ask what you think. If they're sensitive, begin and end with a constructive compliment. I really like it doesn't feel real and doesn't help.

  7. Oh my, I really needed to read this today! I'm graduating on Saturday and I need as much good advice as I can get. :)

  8. Well, I'm old and been around the block elebenty-hunnert times so I think the best, most sage, wisest thing I can tell you is this:

    Always wear clean underwear.

    No, wait...that's my advice for new drivers...

    *rummages through "Advice" file in brain, ignores numerous "Error 404: Page Not Found" reminders* it is:

    Always, always, follow your life, art, work, love.

  9. Wonderful advice, about to order two Snuggies (they are called Slankets in the UK), all the other advice was excellent too but I'm a bit chilly. I have ordered zebra print for me and leopard print for my daughter so we can play 'Predator/Pray" if we get bored.

  10. You forgot the "wear sunscreen"! Excellent list.

  11. Awesome advice! The only thing I would add is 'if you don't know what you want to do with your life or where to go's okay. I had no idea after college what to do with my self. I still don't, really. Trudge on. You will find yourself right where you need to be at some point.' I mistaking thought that college would tell me where life would lead me (at least in the career department) and then I was so lost when I graduated. It can be paralyzing. But things work out eventually.

  12. This is some great advice. Also, I feel horrible for not wishing you a happy birthday! Especially after how you were so nice to me when I went to see you for my birthday. I will totally make it up to you for being such an awful friend. When you come back I will take you to dinner or snuggie shopping or something.

  13. Sometimes your dreams get crushed. And even though it doesn't feel like it at the time, it's the best thing for you. Eventually something WAY better will come along, even when you think it won't.

    That's something I firmly believe every kid graduating from high school needs to remember as they begin the rest of their lives.

  14. These are all great words of wisdom. Especially the part about dating getting harder as you get older. Someday when I start dating, I'll remember that.

  15. This is an excellent list! You are a wise, wise man, Eli.

  16. I love you. LOVE YOU LOVE YOU LOVE YOU!

  17. My pearls of wisdom are respect. Respecting others, commanding they respect me, and most importantly respecting myself. Knowing when to walk away from something and when to try harder. And never sacrificing my dignity for anyone. Realizing that winning doesn't always mean talking louder or puffing your chest or one- upping someone else, it's being ok with yourself and putting your integrity as a top priority. Sometimes at the end of the day all you have left is your character. It's your choice what you do with it, no one can take it from you unless you give them that power.

  18. I'm not so sure about the "dating is harder when you get older"-thing. I have found out that I was soooooo stupid in my 20's. Sure, I had a lot of dates, but the quality was very lacking. I was 30 when I met my husband and by then I had pretty figured out what I *didn't* want and could concentrate on what I *did* want in a relationship. Although, I wouldn't trade my 20's experiences because it allowed me to figure out who I was. But for a cranky 29 year old, you have some pretty sage advice. Don't forget to add: Belly laugh any chance you get! Thanks to you, we strangers can do that just about every day.

  19. wise wise wisdom indeed.

  20. There is nothing here about cats. Which I HATE.

  21. Hate that there is no cats. I love cats.

  22. You don't have to be friends with everyone. If someone is negative and brings you down, you don't have to be around them. Conversely, it doesn't really matter if everyone likes you or not. Don't lose sleep over that kind of thing.

  23. These was a pretty complete set of advice. I would just add this for the over competitive type-A personalities out there: Somewhere in the world there is someone who is smarter or stronger or harder working or prettier or kinder or just better at Monopoly. Stop comparing and accept this, and learn to simply do what you can do in the best way you know how.

  24. I love you Eli :)

  25. What?! Nothing about red skies at night or math or God taking care of the rest?