23 Lessons I’ve Learned During the First 35 Years of My Existence

5 min readSep 13, 2019

It’s my birthday on Monday.
I turn 35 years-old.

I recall a time when I thought 35 was REALLY old.
Teenage me, wondering what life would be like by then…

As we all do, I’ve learned a lot.
I have made many mistakes.

I am very much still a work in progress.

And as I sit here, enjoying the final few days of 34-year-oldhood…
… I’m reflecting on a few things I’ve learned along the way.

1: You control very little in life
Literally, you control nothing.

All you do control are your actions and reactions.
You can want control. You can fight for it.

But you will very rarely have it.

2: The more you do, the less you focus
I used to what a lot.
These days, I want as little as possible.

The more you have on your plate,
The less appealing it is to eat what’s on there.

3: Don’t seek responsibility
Remember when you were younger, desperate to have responsibility.

— to make decisions.
— to do it your way
— to choose…

What an idiot. Responsibility sucks. The more you have, the less freedom you get. My mission now is to have as little of it as possible.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have a lot. I’m a father, after all.
But I am not out there looking for more of it.

4: The Hustle is not worth it
You may have heard me say #FucktheHustle a lot of late.
I’ll add a to an article about Anti-Hustle.

It says everything I want to say

5: Success as you know it as almost always a lie
Very few people know what success means to them.
Most blindly follow societies version of it.

I did, and still do to some extent.
Old flames have a way of rekindling.

Knowing that I don’t know is often enough to overcome it

6: Time is fleeting
Every moment that passes you by does so forever.

You never get a single second back.
This may be the most important lesson there is.

7: Life is hard, always
At no point is it easy. At times, easier… bit easy? no way.

It’s not supposed to. Life’s job is to weed out the weak.
It’s coming for you and me, every single moment.

8: You don’t control your emotions. You do control what happens next
Emotions are real, and when you feel them, you feel them.
But what happens next… how you act and react.

That is on you.
That is your choice.

9: I don’t like being around people (and that’s okay)
I like time on my own.
I like to be around people, some of the time…

But I also like to keep myself to myself.
It’s how I filter out my thoughts, and decode ideas.

Seriously, it’s not you. It’s me.

10: That doesn’t mean I don’t like people
Just because I don’t like to be around people doesn’t mean I hate you.

I like folk, as much as the next.
You’re fine. Everyone is fine.

11: Love (for yourself and others) is hard
Accepting who you are, for all your faults… it’s hard.
I struggle with this. I struggle to love who I am.

It makes it hard to love others, and let them love you.
It’s as though a wall stands between you and life.

Love pushes against it from both sides.
Brick by brick, I’m trying to knock that wall down.

12: Living with an eye on tomorrow is a waste of today
I am such a dreamer.
I practically live in the future

(like a daydreaming Marty McFly)

But it’s a waste.
That you do today determines tomorrow.

So if you really care about the future, let go of it.

Focus on now; right now.

13: The real value of time lies within the ‘in-between’
It isn’t about the tasks you do or do not do…
… it’s about the time that lies between all this.

Those moments you get to think, step back and reflect.

It’s during. these moments you ask the important questions.
And it’s these questions that reveal the answers you need.

14: Don’t care what other people think, say or want from you
Other people do not matter.
Even those you love.

All you can do is focus on YOU

They may mean well, but you cannot live your life around their needs

Do you. That’s all you can do.

15: The reality is, most people are dumb (myself included)
Brexit proves this.

The End.

16: The answer to most important questions is to “let go”
Sometimes letting go means you need to let in. For instance, letting someone else love you.

Sometimes letting go means exactly that.
The more we cling to, the more weighed down we are.

Let go of all you can.

17: There’s a difference between something feeling good and being “right”
Pleasure is not the same as doing what’s right.

If you seek what feels good, you likely will never do what you need to.

Because what you NEED to do is hard.
It’s on the other side of your comfort zone.

If you only ever feel good, it’s a sign you’re playing it safe.

18: Having an opinion is overrated
Everyone has one.
No one matters.

Again, just focus on you.

Don’t give your opinion because you can
And don’t listen to other peoples

(oh, and I’m terrible at this).

19: Fear is natural
Fear, the shadow of all good and love.

It’s there, always.
You cannot remove it.

But again, you get to choose how you face it.

20: The most important thing we can teach our kids is to understand their mind
Why we don’t teach kids ‘mindset’ in school is a crime.
The tide is turning a little, but it needs to be forced further.

If I could go back in time and teach young-me anything…
… it would be how my mind works and why it works that way.

21: Simply put… I know very little about anything (and thats okay)
When I think about all the various bits and pieces that make up this great world we live in and the life we get to share with one another…

I know nothing about almost everything.

None of us do.
We know what we know.

And we do know a hell of a lot more.

22: I’ve yet to live a day without mistakes
The good news is, a day without a mistake is the one I don’t wake up to.

Mistakes are part of life.
We make them. We learn.

Around and around until the day the robots take over.
(which will be a mistake somebody made — likely not me)

23: Life is both short and long
When you think about how long a lifetime is… it’s long.

Seriously, we’re expected to fill 70, 80, 100 years…?
I struggle to keep myself occupied for ten minutes.


Life is so short.

George is nearly 7.
Imogen is closer to 2 than 1.

Rosanna and I have been together for nearly 5 years.

And on Monday I turn 35.

It’s a lot to take in. I’ve learned a lot. But in some ways, nothing. All we can do is take notice of it, reflect a little and try make who we are today better than the person we was yesterday.

Again and again until the robots take over.




hi, i’m turndog... a writer/ghostwriter on a mission to ensure you escape the hustle — come be part of the [no hustle] movement → nohustle.co