26 Important Things I Learned by 26

Doctor Richard D, OD, MS
2 min readJul 18, 2021

In honor of my big 2 6, I want to share 26 things I’ve learned with you all:

  1. Putting yourself and your needs first isn’t selfish
  2. The things you want now may not be the same things you want in a few years
  3. Time doesn’t heal all wounds, introspection does
  4. You’re not defined by the mistakes you’ve made
  5. Telling your story is liberating
  6. Vulnerability is a strength
  7. Family is chosen
  8. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for simply existing
  9. Food is unifying
  10. Gratitude keeps you grounded
  11. Stop wasting energy on people who won’t reciprocate
  12. Stop shrinking yourself to fit into spaces you’ve outgrown
  13. Fighting for what you believe in is worth it
  14. People will judge you no matter what you do — might as well have fun while you’re doing it
  15. It takes effort to unlearn bad habits and even more to recognize them
  16. Show up for the people who love you
  17. When someone shows you who they are, believe them
  18. Strive for consistency, not perfection
  19. Don’t let others tell you who you are or what you’re capable of
  20. You’re never too old to learn something new
  21. You get out what you put in
  22. Meditation comes in many forms
  23. Most people don’t care, they’re just curious
  24. Knowing your core values and beliefs will improve the way you navigate through life
  25. Your feelings and experiences are valid — never let anyone discredit that
  26. Growth isn’t a linear process

Cheers to another year of life! What have you learned along the way?

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Doctor Richard D, OD, MS

Optometrist; Pediatric Resident in the Big Apple; Music Researcher; Creative; Fueled on coffee and all things firewater. Views are my own.