30 years ago on a Sunday afternoon after church I came in to this world – almost in a Walmart. I’ve always enjoyed celebrating another year around the sun, growing older has never bothered me. Aging is a gift and I’m really looking forward to starting this new chapter in my life. So in honor of celebrating another year of life, here are 30 things I’ve come to learn over the years.
Photo by Michelle Gardella
One. The heart of life is good. In an age of a constant social media presence it is easy to get caught up in the bad that is being presented. If we take a moment we can always find a spark of goodness in every situation, it’s like Dumbledore said, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest times if one only remembers to turn on the light”.
Two. Everyone goes through challenges, some you may see and others you may not. Give the people the benefit of the doubt – it is easy to love someone when they are at their best, but it takes strength and courage to love them when they are at their worst.
Three. Wearing toe socks when skiing is a bad idea. Just trust me on this one.
Four. It’s okay to make mistakes. These are the moments that shape us in to who we are, but they do not define you. Own your mistakes, learn from them – it’s not about how we make mistakes, but how we correct them.
Five. Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. We often like to see the glitter and gold, but often forget that that person had a beginning too. What you see now may have taken years and many sleepless nights to build.
Six. Music and dancing can heal the soul.
Seven. Invest in yourself. Why is it so easy to take care of the ones we love, but so difficult to make ourselves a priority? Take the ten minutes to put on a face mask, read a book, take the class, enjoy a walk on the beach. The happier we are with ourselves the more we have to give to our loved ones. Making yourself a priorty isn’t selfish, it’s self love.
Eight. Enjoy the little things in life, in the end they are the big things. Life will always change, it’s inevitable. One day my step mom was diagnosed with cancer and a few years later she passed away. It was an event that would forever change my family and my self personally. But when I look back on my life with her its not the grand gestures that stick out, its the little ones – her mashed potato and gravy dinner, watching Murder She Wrote reruns on tv, her staying up til early in the morning just so my step sister and I could get the newest Harry Potter book the moment it came out. Life is fleeting so love the heck out every moment you get.
Nine. Smile at strangers, it could change their day.
Ten. You only get one body, treat it like a temple. Drink lots of water, eat your vegetables, exercise – don’t complain about it, just do it, end of story.
Eleven. Travel, travel often, and travel to places that put you out of your comfort zone. Explore the world and learn about various cultures. Embrace new foods, try new activities. Traveling is the only happiness that money can buy.
Twelve. Surround yourself with positive people, you will become like them. Choose to spend time with those that encourage and inspire you, those that look at the world from a positive outlook and lifts others up.
Thirteen. Pick a partner who loves you for you, flaws and all.
Fourteen. Love others without expectations. I’ve learned the hard way over the years that placing expectations on others only leads to heart break. Do not try to mold others in to who you think they should be, instead love them for their natural self.
Fifteen. Capture life as it unfolds, but do not get so wrapped up in getting the perfect picture that you forget to enjoy the moment.
Sixteen. Forgive yourself and others. Basically we all fuck up at one time or another, forgive and let go – holding on to grudges only breeds toxicity and ain’t no body got time for that.
Seventeen. There will always be someone smarter, prettier, or richer than you. But there is only one you and that’s something to be celebrated.
Eighteen. Read lots of books, they will take you on adventures of a lifetime.
Nineteen. Cheese is one of the greatest gifts to the world, hot dogs are not.
Twenty. Going through hardships is just part of life. Without sadness we would never know what happiness is.
Twenty One. Learn to truly listen and listen with intent. One of the greatest gifts we can give to someone is our undivided attention.
Twenty Two. Money does not define happiness and no one worth knowing cares about how much money you make or what type or car you drive. The people who love you are happy just spending time with you.
Twenty Three. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. Pretty awesome way to start the day right?
Twenty Four. There are days that call for eating dessert first, go ahead, eat the cake.
Twenty Five. You really don’t know what you’ve had until it’s gone. Don’t take anyone or anything for granted, make sure everyone in your life knows how grateful you are for them.
Twenty Six. The relationship you have with yourself is the most important. Appreciate your uniqueness, remind yourself of your best qualities, cheer yourself on. Stop being our own biggest critique and start being our biggest supporter.
Twenty Seven. Understand that while you can do anything, you can’t do everything – know your limits and stick to them.
Twenty Eight. Don’t trust people who are mean to animals. People often show their true colors unintentionally – pay attention.
Twenty Nine. Friendships take a lot of effort, make the effort. Maintaining and nurturing these relationships should be a priority, make the time to chat and connect even if it’s for a few minutes.
Thirty. Pop the champagne for the small moments, light the expensive candle, put on your pretty dress. Stop waiting for the “perfect” moment, enjoy life here in the now.
I am no expert at life (who is?) but I’ve never wished to have known what I know now back in my teen or early adult life. The lessons I have learned have molded me into the person I am today, and for these lessons I am forever grateful.