Greetings! If you didn’t know (which you more than likely didn’t), I just had a birthday. I turned 34 and can’t get over the fact that I’ve been on this earth that long already (and with God’s grace I’ll be here even longer), but I’m thankful! My birthday comes right between Christmas and New Years, so it’s a big time of reflection for me.
Coming up with 34 things I’ve learned throughout my life was way more of a challenge than I expected it to be. 34 is a lot when it comes to making a list, that’s one thing I learned! And it’s weird number to work with. It’s not a typical milestone year and not divisible by 5 so it doesn’t sound as cool, but I didn’t want to wait another year to make a list.
This is in no way me trying to be preachy, just a mishmash of things that came to my head and things I found to be true for myself over these 34 years. If you make it down to even half of them, you’ve made my day. Thanks, and Enjoy! 🙂
1.Education is important. I don’t take it for granted. Not saying that school comes easy to everyone or that you have to be an absolute genius to make it in life (seems there’s enough proof of that anywhere you look these days), but it can make a huge difference in what doors open for you, and the skills you acquire in school are invaluable.
2. Quality over quantity. I definitely agree with this and that less is more, but I also agree that-
3.Options are cool too! I like to play, be creative and have variety and sometimes that does call for more stuff. I get minimalism, capsule wardrobes etc. but it isn’t for everyone. You have to do what works for you and do what makes you happy. For instance, no one needs a million makeup brushes but if it makes me happy and I like having the choices, who cares? I like a good de-clutter, but I think it’s really up to you to decide when too much is too much.
4.You get what you pay for but that being said-expensive doesn’t always mean better. You just have decide what is worth a splurge and what isn’t.
5. Spend right the first time. This will save you time and money later!
6. Sometimes it’s good to just stay quiet.
7. There’s no rule that says it has to be raggedy or used up in order to get rid of it. If you’re over it, you’re over it.
8. It’s a cliche, but life really does go fast. And the older you get, the faster it goes…
9. Start saving as soon as you can. I’ve talked about saving here. It’s never too early! And save what you can, no matter how much.
10. My parents and family mean even more to me as the years roll on. Especially now that I have my own kid, I understand more about what they sacrificed for us growing up. And to know people care about me and that we all have each other’s back is really great.
11.Your health is crucial. I think about the importance of eating well and exercising more now than I used to. Maybe it’s because I’m in my thirties and have a kid but I’m more aware of my mortality and how precious health really is. I don’t work out as much as I did when I was younger and I’ve never been the best eater (I like my sweets and snacks), but I try to make better food choices these days. I will hopefully, eventually, get back into the exercising part again! At least more regularly than once every two months :).
12. A lot of different factors contribute to what you should weigh. This is going to be a long one. There isn’t any one set scale number for your height that you should stick to. And do NOT rely on what one source tells you about your weight- I did this once when I was in high school and it was WRONG!
I read this bogus book about being “healthy”-can’t remember what it was called, that had some crazy rule about what I was “supposed” to weigh which resulted in me over dieting. I didn’t think to talk to anyone about it or ask for a second opinion, I just had unrealistic expectations of my body and wasn’t even aware it was unrealistic at that time!
Thankfully I snapped out of that phase with little harm, but if I had known prior to reading that book that “healthy” isn’t just about a number on a scale, I wouldn’t have dove into some severe portion control diet. Nowadays, it seems that weight and health are more of an open topic, or they’re more accessible topics. It was a little more limited when I was in high school so I can’t entirely blame myself for what happened. Just glad I got out of it.
13. Exercise actually isn’t an excuse to pig out afterwards. Unfortunately.
14. Hearing my child laugh and laughing with him is one of the best things ever.
15. Love can and should be fun. Sure, relationships have their moments and aren’t always romance and good times, but you should overall enjoy yourselves together even when you’re just hanging out, right?
16. Music is very powerful and a great therapy for me.
17. It’s amazing what a nap can fix. There are times when I don’t feel quite right or think crazy thoughts, and then I take a nap and feel like a completely different person. It’s not a cure for severe depression or anything like that, but many times I’ve felt like crap simply because I was tired!
18. Always believe that something wonderful is about it happen! A quote I really like. Gives you a sense of wonder and something to look forward to!
19. Gray hairs show up when they wanna. I don’t mean that occasional stray gray. I mean when they start popping up more frequently. Maybe I should’ve asked my parents or paid more attention to when they started getting them, but I definitely was not expecting grays til I was at least 40. Well surprise, surprise! Mine came at around 30.
20. You never know where life will take you, or where life will take anyone! You can’t judge anyone on where they’ll end up, even yourself. Sometimes you can kinda tell where things are headed and some things aren’t that surprising. But the choices you make are huge and the mind is so powerful that you can exceed your own expectations if you wanted to. Here I go again with my quotes-It’s not always where you were but where you’re going. Isn’t that true sometimes? You really don’t know what you or others are capable of and where life could lead!
21. You have to find your own way. And sometimes that means trying a lot of things that don’t work to find out what does. We all have our influences and role models in life that we draw inspiration from- and that’s a good thing and totally normal! But at the end of the day trying to be someone you’re not is waaaay too much work and people will see right through it.
22. Events and words are powerful. I’m gonna go off here again so bear with me. So I used to take violin lesson as a child and had this one teacher that would give me a hard time about practicing and would make me cry. This lady told me I liked to be spoon-fed. Yep. Imagine hearing that as a kid. While she didn’t say “stupid,” to me it was just as bad. So for years I took to heart what this lady told me when I was 8 or 9. She also said she didn’t consider rap to be music. So, uh, that kinda tells you what kind of teacher she was. I just wasn’t vocal back then about how I felt or what I wanted, so I just dealt with it week after week.
Anyway, I still think about those horrible lessons and what she said, and I wonder how much of it is actually true. It’s crazy since that was so many years ago, but it was a wake-up call for me in a way. I feel like I’ve been trying to prove that wrong ever since, that I am not some “spoon-fed” individual, but an independent person. It stayed with me. Words DO make an impact. And as much as I have grown since then and think I know myself, I don’t forget.
Turns out I actually am a very musical person, but she judged me based on what she saw in those lessons. I don’t completely blame her- I hated the lessons and I didn’t practice, and it probably annoyed her that I had zero passion for what she was trying to teach. That’s hard as a teacher to have a student who could care less, which I know now as a teacher myself. But I also didn’t like feeling dumb, or feeling like I was being talked down to. She probably wouldn’t believe it if she found out I actually became a teacher myself lol. I just keep in mind that what I say can affect someone, just like her words affected me.
23. Work builds confidence. I found that making your own money or just working towards a goal in general is extremely positive and boosts the morale. Even if the job is horrible, it’s a learning experience.
24. I appreciate my style phases. I will say that there are so many more resources on makeup and dressing now than what I had years ago. Some may never know the makeup struggles of someone who grew up in the 80s, 90s, and early 00s, but I can proudly say I taught my own self a lot. It was through all of my experimentation, trial and errors that I know what I know now. Plus it’s fun to look back on!
25. Back up your stuff. Hit save as much as you can. Get an external hard drive. Use the icloud. You get the idea.
26. Ask questions. Learning keeps things interesting. Ignorance may be bliss but knowledge is power, right? I sound like a PSA.
27. Exposing yourself to different places and unfamiliar situations gives you a better understanding of yourself and the world around you.
28.Everyone has their struggles.
29. Change your outlook, possibly change your life. While I don’t walk around with a huge smile on my face all day every day, I try to not think the worst about things all the time either. I’d rather be happy than miserable, so I try to set things up for that more often than not. This isn’t always easy and I have days where I’m feeling dumpy and hate everything, but I’m making that conscious effort to see things different ways instead of going straight to negative or exaggerating the negative when I don’t really have to!
30. Accept a compliment!
31. It’s nice to give a genuine compliment! You could make someone’s day. And it’s just a nice thing to do. Just mean it.
32. If someone wants to be with you, it won’t feel like work. They will make the effort to be with you if they want to.
33. “The good old days weren’t always good and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.” That’s Billy Joel. For me it’s easy to look back on years past and how great they were (which for the most part they were), but forget that it wasn’t all a big party. I think about when I was a kid and how much fun I had, but I forget that I also had irrational fears back then, or went to those crappy violin lessons that I dreaded. And it’s NOT always easy to be a kid, or to be in high school, in your early twenties etc. Everything is relative! Life can be tough or great at any age, whether you’re 2, 22, or 102. I’ve learned to appreciate life at any stage because every stage has ups and downs.
34. As a mom, I found that if it’s what works for you and your child, it’s fine. And sometimes things are just for the best, even if they are not always ideal. I guess this could apply to many things, but particularly as a mom I found this to be so true. There are so many typical and atypical things we all do as moms or as people, and there are so many comparisons made which I guess is natural. I know I can be hard on my own self on how things “should” be or I question whether what I’m doing is enough, right, wrong, or whatever. I don’t think there’s any perfect way to raise a child, or any perfect way to be a mom. You just find your own way to do it and do your best, as with anything. Take it easy on yourself. Be your own advocate. And just have a laugh and go with it.
You made it to the end! Thanks for reading! Have you found any of these to be true? What are some lessons you’ve learned in your life? XX, Jen