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Jason is the founder of Ignite Student Ministries, a dynamic ministry igniting youth, young adults and university students to passionately pursue Christ and transform society in high schools, work places and universities around the world.

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34 Lessons in 34 Years

Jason VanaJason Vana

34lessons

This Wednesday (or today – whenever you’re reading this post) I turn 34. That’s 34 years of providing the world with epic awesomeness on a daily basis. (Only kidding on that last part. Mostly).

Typically, when it comes to birthday time, I tend to focus on what I hope to accomplish that upcoming year. You know, 34 things to do when I’m 34 – that sort of thing.

I thought this year, I would try something different – and spend this time reflecting back on 34 lessons I’ve learned during my 34 years on this planet.

So here you go – my 34 lessons in 34 years:

  1. Don’t torment your younger sibling(s) too much. One day they might be bigger than you.
  2. Forgiveness is hard. Broken relationships are even harder. Always choose to forgive.
  3. Dreams take work. Hard work. Do the work, or your dream will turn into regret.
  4. Travel as much and as often as possible. It changes your perspective on life.
  5. Save money each paycheck. You’ll be thankful you did when the next emergency strikes.
  6. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. You’re pretty awesome.
  7. You are called. Quit trying to convince yourself otherwise.
  8. God loves you more than anyone or anything else. Quit trying to seek that love in lesser places.
  9. Take a vacation every year, even if it’s just a weekend getaway. (I’m still working on this one)
  10. The hardships you go through are meant to help others.
  11. God is in control. You are not. Quit trying to figure everything out and just trust.
  12. Find something you love and do it – even if it’s just during your spare time.
  13. Live beneath your means.
  14. Invest in the next generation. They need you more than you think.
  15. Don’t ever give up. The answer is closer than you think.
  16. Journal. It gets the thoughts running around your mind out of your head.
  17. Sleep. If you can’t get a task done by a reasonable time, you weren’t meant to do it.
  18. Your grades in school aren’t as important as you think. Don’t elevate them more than they are worth.
  19. It’s okay and necessary to look after yourself. You can’t always take care of others.
  20. Learn to say NO.
  21. Only say Yes to those things you are willing to trade your time and energy for.
  22. People are more important than your dream. Don’t reverse the two. Ever.
  23. Go on a mission trip. Seriously. It’s Biblical. Go do it.
  24. Find a community where you can be open and honest. Sunday church services are rarely that place.
  25. All churches have their issues and their politics. Quit looking for the perfect one and start looking for the right one for you.
  26. Not all traditions are healthy. Redeem those that add value to your life. Lose the ones that hold you back.
  27. You don’t know everything. Be willing to learn from others – even if they are younger than you.
  28. Turn off the computer and get out in nature. It’s where you can discover the attributes of God.
  29. Spend time in silence. Regularly.
  30. Read books, especially fiction.
  31. Sacrifice something you want to help someone else. It’s a much better feeling anyway.
  32. Realize you don’t have to have it all figured out in your 20’s.
  33. Work towards becoming the best you.
  34. Watch the sunrise / sunset every chance you get.

What advice would you add to the list? Leave a comment below.

Jason is the founder of Ignite Student Ministries, a dynamic ministry igniting youth, young adults and university students to passionately pursue Christ and transform society in high schools, work places and universities around the world.

Comments 4
  • muchl8r
    Posted on

    muchl8r muchl8r

    Reply Author

    My friends and I have a tradition where we yell one particular grouping of words at the birthday person. It’s slightly inappropriate, so I won’t type it here on the internets where it will be evidence for some later scandal. But I’m thinking it. You’re going to be 34, that really isn’t too old. Which is good. Especially when you admit that you don’t know everything. Because you don’t. Really, I’m just rambling at this point, but I think it’s funny to go on and on…. Happy birthday, friend!


    • Jason Vana
      Posted on

      Jason Vana Jason Vana

      Reply Author

      You? Ramble?! NEVER!

      I think you might need to text me that particular grouping of words. I’m interested now. And thanks for the birthday wishes, Jake!


  • KC Procter
    Posted on

    KC Procter KC Procter

    Reply Author

    Dude – great list of advice and Happy Birthday! Meant to text you the day of and got distracted. Godspeed on the rest of your journey.


    • Jason Vana
      Posted on

      Jason Vana Jason Vana

      Reply Author

      Wait. You mean to tell me July 2 wasn’t a drop everything and focus on Jason day for you?! I’m shocked! lol

      No worries bud – I appreciate the comment and the wishes on the trip! One more day. AAAAHHHHHH!