I'm a Christian, a designer, and a gadget fan who lives in Cheltenham, UK.

This is my blog, a creative outlet to mess around and play with as well as a place that logs my thoughts and inspirations.

30 Things I’ve learned in 30 years

When the year turned 2014 I began to reflect on my life, who I am, where I am and what I’m doing. Why should a simple year change cause such a mood to dawn on me? At the end of Septem­ber I turned 30, it also happened to mark the 10 year anniversary since I left home and moved to uni­ver­sity here in Chel­ten­ham. These are two sig­ni­fic­ant events in my life that mark the begin­ning and end of the last dec­ade, one which has been full of happy times and inev­it­ably it’s fair share of low times. Rather than this become a telling of the story that has been my twen­ties, I thought it more pro­duct­ive to look at, if I can, thirty things I’ve learned in the last thirty years.

  1. Faith is important.
    Where you put it and in whom you put it has the biggest influ­ence on your life and how you live it. Don’t waste it by put­ting it into things or people, they will only let you down. Instead, place it in Jesus, He is the only firm found­a­tion that will nev­er go away or let you down. My Faith has helped me through both the highs and lows of the last 10 years in a way which is incred­ibly hard to describe, but rest assured I will nev­er place it in any­thing oth­er than Christ.
  2. Fam­ily matters.
    In just over the last 10 years (I know I’m break­ing the rules slightly) I’ve lost 4 grand­par­ents, they are all missed greatly and espe­cially so when big events occur. If you have grand­par­ents spend time with them. Find out about their life before you exis­ted, who they were, what their dreams were when they were your age. Listen to them and invest in them as much as you do your par­ents and broth­ers and sis­ters. One of the things I treas­ure most is a let­ter my Grand­dad wrote when I was 11 telling me his exper­i­ences of the 2nd World War. When I read it I learn as much about my Grand­dad in that let­ter as I did when he was alive to speak to.

  3. Friends.
    They will come and go, you will keep in touch with some, you will drift away from oth­ers, there’s often noth­ing you can do about this (although often there is). Make the most of them while you can, go out of your way to help them, sup­port them in all they do and in any way you can. You may nev­er know how much it means to them.

  4. It’s ok to be an introvert.
    I used to, in fact I some­times still do, struggle with the fact that I am a nat­ur­ally quiet per­son. At school, even at uni, I used to see people who can eas­ily strike up a con­ver­sa­tion with someone they’ve nev­er met before and feel like there was some­thing wrong with me because I find it so hard to do. It’s taken many years, a lot of read­ing and think­ing, but the real­isa­tion that I get my energy from deep­er friend­ships and not from a room full of strangers has been incred­ibly free­ing. The trick is to not let this become a crutch when in a room full of strangers, I still need to work on step­ping out my com­fort zone, but at least I know what that zone is.

  5. Don’t be afraid to tell your friends what they don’t want to hear and don’t be offen­ded if they don’t take it on board
    My best mate has nev­er shied away from giv­ing the kind of advice I don’t want to hear. I’ve not always acted on it, but on reflec­tion months later I often find it was very good advice. I hope I’ve returned the favour.

  6. Be vul­ner­able
    I don’t mean go spill­ing your heart out for all and sun­dry, but get­ting to know people prop­erly means you have to be vul­ner­able. It some­times means shar­ing ele­ments of your life you may not be very proud of, but it means your friends will be able to sup­port you in ways you really need, and it means you’ll find out who your friends really are.

  7. Smile
    Don’t be so wrapped up in your own world that if you ran­domly make eye con­tact with someone you pan­ic and look away. Instead, smile. Not a forced one, a genu­ine one. It’ll make people feel like they mat­ter and that they’re not a repuls­ive monster.

  8. Work isn’t the be all and end all that people make it out to be
    If you’re happy in it great, keep going. If you’re not, put your all into it no mat­ter how down you feel about it. You will prob­ably meet more people through work than through any­thing else in your life and people can tell if you don’t like your work, but people can tell more if you don’t like it and don’t care about it.

  9. Time Alone
    I’m not being anti-social when I dis­ap­pear off to my room/office. Time alone is incred­ibly valu­able, too much of it can be a bad thing, but not enough of it can be very dan­ger­ous. It’s ok to want to just spend time alone, doing my own thing. In fact I crave it some­times, and when I don’t get it I can be touchy, cranky, less enthu­si­ast­ic about things and just gen­er­ally drained.

  10. Not Know­ing is OK
    It’s ok to not know where you’re going. The world is full of people who give the impres­sion they know exactly what they’re doing and where they’re going. Real­ity is they’re prob­ably just as lost as you are and just bum­bling along in a slightly more con­cealed way than you feel you are.

  11. Hav­ing a Plan is OK
    Expect­ing that plan to work out exactly how you want it to and the world to be a nice fairy tale end­ing isn’t. That plan you had for your life at the age of 20 is very unlikely to work out, that’s ok. Recog­nising you are not as in con­trol as you think you are is a good thing. Sur­ren­der­ing to God and his plan is even bet­ter. Often it will take a big event to make you real­ise this, but it will bring you out the oth­er side in a bet­ter position.

  12. Don’t be too introspective
    I real­ise this one is some­what iron­ic com­ing from a guy who is look­ing back at his life and inward at him­self as he reaches what feels like a sig­ni­fic­ant mile­stone. It is import­ant to reflect on life, the uni­verse and everything, but doing it too often is a bad thing. It sets you up for fail­ure as you inev­it­ably com­pare your­self to your friends, the plan you had when you were 20… we are broken people and we nat­ur­ally look at the neg­at­ive in these cir­cum­stances. For every intro­spect­ive moment, take a minute to look at the now, you’re healthy, God has blessed you with anoth­er day on his beau­ti­ful cre­ation, you have people you care about and who care about you. Dwell on that for a moment, then go and enjoy the day.

  13. Trust
    Trust people. This is, on some level, linked with point 6. You can not be vul­ner­able with people you don’t trust, but equally you can not get to the point of vul­ner­ab­il­ity without trust­ing someone first. So trust people. Don’t be naive, there are people out there who will abuse your trust to get some­thing they want. In my exper­i­ence, you’ll work out who they are before it’s too late and the ones you don’t, you’ll learn a lot from. In those cases it will be pain­ful for a while after, but in the long run prob­ably worth it.

  14. Don’t let fear beat you
    That girl you’ve got your eye on, go speak to her. Don’t let the fear of what might hap­pen, or the fear of fail­ing stop you from doing things. Stop think­ing of the neg­at­ive what if’s and focus on the pos­it­ives. Go, do and learn. This isn’t easy. In fact of all the things in this list it’s prob­ably the thing I struggle with most and it’s also prob­ably the thing I get most frus­trated about because I have no clue how to beat it.

  15. Be dis­cip­lined
    You’ll nev­er get what you want done in life without being dis­cip­lined in some way. Without a bit of dis­cip­line you’ll spend most of your time doing what’s easy.

  16. Read
    When I was grow­ing up I used to read a lot. When I got to my twen­ties what I was read­ing changed from books to web­sites. The last couple of years I’ve been act­ively try­ing to reverse that change. I still read blogs, but I’m picky about which ones and I make a lot more effort to read books (and my bible). Books have more sub­stance. They’ve taken hun­dreds of hours to write, been refined over and are writ­ten by people who are experts about the top­ic they’re on.

  17. Think
    Think about things. Think about top­ics of import­ance, take time to dwell on them and to under­stand them.

  18. Don’t apo­lo­gise for who you are
    You’re who you are because God made you that way, don’t be ashamed of that. I’m thirty and have grey hair. I’ve nev­er once, des­pite the recom­mend­a­tions of some of the youth I’ve worked with on beach mis­sion in Wales, been temp­ted to dye it. God made me and He said I was “very good”. Why would I try and change that?

  19. Drink lots of water
    The last couple of months I’ve con­sciously been try­ing to drink more water. It’s had an inter­est­ing effect, I’ve felt more alert and able to con­cen­trate much bet­ter. My skin has been clear­er and I’ve lost weight as well.

  20. Stop check­ing Face­book at every avail­able opportunity
    Just don’t. Your life will be bet­ter off without the con­stant stream of people fil­ter­ing their lives to make them­selves feel better.

  21. Keep a journal
    I wish someone had encour­aged me at the age of 20 to keep a near daily journ­al. There have been sev­er­al spells over the last few years where I’ve kept a journ­al. Most of those times have been to help me through dif­fi­cult times. One day I might read them, but I’d much rather read them and be reminded of happy times and fun times that will help me when I’m going through the dif­fi­cult times.

  22. Speak to your friends
    That might seem like some­thing that goes without say­ing, but bare with me. We live in a world that relies on tech­no­logy so much that it’s tempt­ing to fall into the trap that it’s the best meth­od of com­mu­nic­a­tion. My best mate lives 4 hours drive away, in fact for the 9 years that I’ve known him we’ve only lived in the same place for 2 years. Had we just relied on tech­no­logy (Face­book, Twit­ter, Ins­tagram and the odd text) to keep in touch we likely wouldn’t still be the friends we are. Friend­ships can only be main­tained over a dis­tance by put­ting in effort to speak reg­u­larly. Pick up the phone and give your friends a call. Speak to them.

  23. Laugh
    Find people who make you laugh. Find people who will laugh with (at) you when you do some­thing stu­pid. Find people who will do things stu­pid that you can laugh with (at).

  24. Exer­cise
    Don’t just sit on your back­side all day, get the endorphins going. Get on your bike, go for a run, walk really quick, whatever, just exercise.

  25. Pray
    You spend time with friends, so spend time with God.

  26. Have per­spect­ive
    Don’t just look down at your feet. If you’re so focussed on the now, you’ll for­get what’s been and miss what’s to come.

Look up. Look back. Look forward.

This was the phrase I ended the stu­dent bible study with last week. Look up at God because you belong to Him for He bought you at great cost. Look back at Christ and remem­ber what He did for you on the cross. Look for­ward to the day when Christ will return in glory.

  1. Sleep
    Get enough sleep. If I don’t get enough sleep I get tired (well duh). I can’t con­cen­trate on my work, I lose focus when talk­ing to friends, it affects me in many oth­er ways and I see it in oth­ers as well.

  2. Organ­ise yourself
    Make lists or use a todo app, but do whatever it takes for you to be organ­ised. You’ll nev­er do all the things you want to do if you don’t know what you’ve got to do.

  3. Shoulders back, head up
    It’s amaz­ing how many people I see walk­ing down the street look­ing at the ground or star­ing at their phones. Get your shoulders back and your head up, be con­fid­ant and move with pur­pose, the very least it will do is make you feel con­fid­ant. It also means those people with clip­boards are less likely to both­er you.

  4. Listen
    Be will­ing to listen to oth­er people’s thoughts and opin­ions, espe­cially if they are oppos­ite to yours. Show respect to what they are say­ing and they will show respect to you when you share your opin­ion. Nev­er shut people down with a blanket state­ment that dis­misses their opin­ion as wrong and closes down any dis­cus­sion, it is neither pro­duct­ive nor constructive.