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Things I’ve learned in my short time on this earth

 On Nov. 9, I turned 30. People have asked me if I feel 30, and I always tell them I don’t. I feel 50.

 Though 30 years isn’t a long time, I think that I’ve learned a lot in my short life. Here are some of the best lessons I can impart with my limited wisdom.

 Always have an open mind. No matter how certain you are that you’re right, be willing to accept evidence to the contrary.

 Learn to lose with grace. This is one that I really struggled with. I’d get frustrated with my younger self at chess tournaments when I lost, and it took a lot of losing to understand that failing is what pushes us to improve. If we won all the time, we’d have no motivation to get better.

 Respect your elders. You don’t have to agree with them, but you should acknowledge that they’ve been here for a long time, and they probably know a thing or two.

 Don’t be entitled. I have always had the mentality that no one owes me anything without good reason. If I don’t feel like I’ve earned something, I don’t expect to get it.

 Question everything. We live in a world where an almost limitless amount of information is in our pockets at all times. Don’t take things at face value. Research it. I think this is the most important piece of advice I’d offer anyone. Be a critical thinker for your entire life.

 Building off of that, if something sounds too good to be true, it likely is. People that I know who I consider to be very intelligent and wise have fallen for scams because they didn’t take this advice. Don’t be one of them.

 Keep your social media free of things you wouldn’t want your grandmother or a future employer to see. Whenever a name comes up in our office (for whatever reason), the first thing I usually do is check out their social media profiles. Sometimes I see things and think “Wow, I can’t believe they posted this for the world to see.”

 Get a pet. Not everyone can have a cat or a dog, but even a fish is a great companion. If you cannot even have a fish, get a plant. Keeping another organism alive is good for the soul, and pets are great companions when we just want someone to listen to us (unless you have a husky. They will talk back.)

 Don’t make a New Year’s resolution; make a list of goals you have for the year. So many New Year’s resolutions’ fail because, if you mess up once, you likely won’t pick it back up. If you make a list of goals at the beginning of the year, you’ve got a whole year to get them done, and taking a day off won’t demotivate you.

 Don’t burn bridges. You never know when you might need to cross them again.

 Last, but certainly not least, the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. A little kindness goes a long way, and you don’t want to be the person that ends up featured in an online video acting a fool at Kroger.