35 Life Lessons for My 35th Birthday
Saturday I turned 35. The numbers don’t usually affect me aside from the fact that I never feel how old I actually am. This one was slightly different, however, because it just seemed so REAL. Like, this is an adult number. The years after this will take me closer to 40 than 30 and I recognize that I still don’t feel anywhere close to my biological age, whatever that is supposed to feel like.
With the calendar year more than half over, I sat down with Neil over coffee and described just how full I felt. How much I loved our family and where were were in life. How I feel like starting this new chapter of life has given me a sweeter outlook on my own and how the path to get here, albeit rocky, was necessary for each component to exist.
I feel good. I feel full. I love and I feel loved. It’s taken 35 years to get here, and over that time I’ve learned some very important lessons. The older I get, the less I care about the opinions of others and the more I trust myself. In the spirit of birthdays and another year of learning, I want to share 35 of those lessons with you. I hope at least one of them helps you today. Thank you all so much for being here. 🙂
- We grow with challenges. Those people who have overcome hardships are stronger, more empathetic, and more self-aware.
- You are enough. At any stage of life, you are enough exactly the way you are.
- Do not change yourself for someone else. You’ll lose yourself in the process and any relationship based on that is doomed to fail.
- Feelings are not facts.
- Resistance to change causes more problems than change itself.
- No amount of external validation or praise will heal a broken inside.
- Asking for help is not a weakness. It’s a strength that allows you to heal and grow.
- Dealing with difficult emotions by drinking, shopping, eating, etc. them away is a quick-fix and not a solution.
- Communication is the most important part of any relationship.
- Community is key. Surround yourself with a network of people you can trust and rely on.
- You never know who is struggling. Try, although it can be hard, to realize you know nothing about another person’s life and treat everyone with compassion.
- The longer you hold things in, the more they fester and the harder they become to deal with.
- Learn to set boundaries.
- Hurt people hurt people.
- Always try and find the positive in a situation. Learning to shift your perspective can be the difference between acceptance and stagnation.
- If someone is toxic in your life, respect yourself enough to let that person go.
- You deserve the best that this world has to offer. Remember that and don’t let anyone treat you like you don’t.
- There is no such thing as perfect. By striving for it, you will find yourself on a never ending path of futility.
- You can look your best on the outside and still feel the worst on the inside.
- Just eat food. No “cheat days” or stringent tracking. Restriction only leads to obsession, overeating, and shame.
- Read everything you can. You have no idea how powerful words can be in changing your perspective.
- Be patient.
- Everyone tries to portray their best self. Online, in person, wherever. Remember that you have no idea what actually happens behind the scenes and most of the time, it’s something they want to hide.
- Comparison is the thief of joy.
- It’s not the end of the world to exist by yourself. It can get lonely, of course, but you are an amazing person capable of amazing things if you want.
- Holding onto the past prevents you from growing as a person.
- Progress is not linear. You may fall down or take a step (or two) backwards, but as long as you work towards doing a little better the next day, you’ll get there.
- You are your own worst critic. Treat yourself the way you would treat your best friend.
- Whenever you think something negative about yourself when looking in the mirror, tell yourself immediately that you’re wrong. The way I think I look in the mirror is never actually the way I look, which I know later when looking back at pictures or by what people tell me. I assume I’m always wrong, always.
- There is nothing shameful about going to therapy or needing medication. Both save lives.
- It’s easier to play the victim than to take responsibility for your own life, but it keeps you stuck and makes you resentful of the world around you.
- You can start your day over again at any time. Just make the decision to do so.
- If you can talk about anything, then you can work through everything.
- People are far more attracted to someone with confidence than a self-deprecating beauty.
- Sometimes you may feel things for no discernible reason. Know it’s a feeling and feelings pass. Sit in it, process it, and don’t always search for the why.