It’s not just the number of my Peace Corps group. Tico Twenty Seven. 42 of us arrived here in March of 2014 and 38 of us are leaving in May/June of 2016 after a whopping total of 27 months serving the people of Costa Rica with the Peace Corps. During my 27 months here I’ve learned an indefinite series of valuable lessons and have grown in ways I would’ve never anticipated. For each month of my Peace Corps service I’ve collected one lesson along with countless vivid memories. Each is a lesson that I’m afraid of forgetting as I glide into my next adventure, abandoning these lessons in a fuzzy post-Costa Rican parallel dream universe. This tattoo is to remind me to not allow the mundane and comfortable to fade or diminish the experiences lived, the friends made or these 27 lessons learned.
i. Time will pass no matter what you do with it, so do something worth your time.
ii. The person you should be most patient with is yourself.
iii. It’s inevitable, everyone feels lonely eventually– it can either be destructive or creative– the decision is yours.
iv. Only worry about things that are actually within your control.
v. Treasure your family.
vi. Don’t cheat your efforts efficacy. If you put time and energy into something, take the time to do it well.
vii. Have friends who are older and younger than you, they’ll be constant sources of perspective.
viii. People won’t remember you for what you taught them, they’ll remember you for how you made them feel.
ix. Happiness is a choice not a right.
x. Don’t take little gestures of kindness for granted, they can have a huge influence.
xi. Support leads to success. If people know they have others believing in them, they will be more likely to believe in themselves.
xii. It’s OK to admit you’re struggling. People won’t think less of you, they’ll think you’re human.
xiii. Don’t invest your energy into anything that others aren’t equally invested in.
xiv. Never forget that we humans are incredible in our ability to adapt. We can go anywhere in the world and still have the ability to create and thrive no matter the circumstance.
xv. Sometimes you can see home more clearly from afar.
xvi. There will always be cultural habits that irk you; remember that they exist at home too.
xvii. Everyone holds the ability to teach you something valuable.
xviii. Adaption cannot exist without compromise
xix. Be modest. Everyone occupies the same small spot in the world and it’s something to respect.
xx. Try to divide life into thirds: 1/3 love, 1/3 work, 1/3 fun.
xxi. Life is more enjoyable if you actually take the time to enjoy it.
xxii. Deep down everyone is motivated by the same aspects of life.
xxiii. Don’t be afraid to be a beginner. No one starts at the top.
xxiv. Stories hold power and influence, take the time to listen to them and craft your own with care.
xxv. Not everyone will understand you or your motives; the most important person who needs to understand them is you.
xxvi. The one thing you’re most avoiding holds your greatest potential.
xxvii. There’s always a reason for meeting new people, either they’ll change your life or you’ll change theirs. Sometimes it’s both.