Today is my 35th birthday! I was born on a sunny Saturday, October 13, 1979 via C-section to my Mom and Dad; joining my year and a half older brother. The Pittsburgh Pirates were playing for (and eventually won) the World Series. Well, my Mom told me these things, I don’t really remember. But I know it was certainly the best day for me!
I feel like 35 is kind of a big number. Sure, it isn’t exciting like 21 or “over the hill” like 40 or 50, but it seems significant. I am a real adult now. I mean I certainly have been for a while – I am married, I have a vehicle, a mortgage, I go to work every day, I have 2 pets depending on me to stay alive, I cook, I clean, etc. But 35 really makes it seem official. I certainly still feel like a kid most days though.
But, 35 isn’t too old for sequins. I know that!
In the past year or two, I have been more aware of my mortality. I hope I am not yet half way through life and that I will live a long, happy, prosperous and fulfilling life. Sadly, I am more aware of my mortality because as I have gotten older, I have seen friends or acquaintances that have passed from accidents, diseases and just plain unfair circumstances. I see changes in myself as I get older and changes in my friends and family. I see more gray hairs, more laugh lines (OK, fine, they are wrinkles), more saggy skin and a few sunspots I shouldn’t have gotten had I used that sunscreen like my Mom told me to. But at the same time, each year I feel more “me” and more confident, happy and secure in my life. I guess that is the trade off, huh? I am sure anyone reading this over the age of 35 must have more answers that I do right now. I am more aware of life and what it holds and offers than I used to be a decade ago. I try to live a better and more fulfilling life than I used to and I hope to improve on that as my days go by. By incorporating fitness into my life, I hope it prolongs my longevity. I really love my life and the people in it! But I guess you never know when your number will be called.
I enjoy reading articles and trying to gain insight on how to lead a good/better/happy life, whatever you might say. I came across an article on Thought Catalogue by someone sharing life lessons. I hope if I look back and read this list when I am 40 and again, 45 I have different thoughts and opinions. But I wanted to take some of her tips she shared and expand with my own thoughts and lessons I’ve learned in my life thus far. I must preface this by saying these are all a work in progress and things I am striving to be better at. And I have plenty of work to do!
1. You don’t need a life plan. It isn’t going to happen how you think it will any way. You don’t need a college degree to succeed and no piece of paper is going to automatically ensure you a good paying job and a nice house. Find something you are passionate about and go from there.
2. Respect your body and mind. Appreciate what they can do for you. It is truly mind boggling to know what your body is capable of – from walking and running, to pushing yourself to do things you didn’t think were possible, to learning things you didn’t even know existed.
3. Be grateful and mindful every day. Do we really know how lucky we are in our life? That it is as simple for us to go turn on the tap water and have as much water as we want? We can open the fridge and have nearly any food we want? Most of us in North Dakota are truly blessed to have all of our general, basic needs met. We are free every day to choose what we want to do, eat, see, read, etc. and what god (if any) we want to worship. As women we can vote, own businesses, live independently, etc. I’m so grateful for my family, my friends, my choices on how I spend my time – whether it be volunteering, working out, or even just watching TV!
4. Say “yes” to more things in life; especially if it makes you step out of your comfort zone. I’ve read countless articles where we need to learn to say no so we can do what is important to us as individuals. I certainly believe in that. But we should also say yes to things that scare us? Go parasailing for the first time? Go to the local park with your kid even when you are super busy?Go snorkeling off the shore of Mexico while on vacation?Say yes!
5. Money does not equal success or happiness. Having a fancy job title that pays a lot doesn’t mean you are successful. Does that job suck the life out of you? Are you constantly on call, checking your emails and not living in the present with your family? It is not worth it. Lead a simple life and have time to enjoy your hobbies and family.
6. Live in the present. Living in the past can lead to depression (a lot of what ifs) and living in the future creates anxiety.
7. The only person who will save yourself is you. Quit blaming others, making excuses or waiting for something to happen. You have the power to save yourself.
8. Love yourself. Flaws and all. You only have this one body and mind – accept and love it.
9. Save money.
10. Travel – both for fun and to learn. (Also, see#9.)
11. Be positive, smile. There is more than enough negativity in this world. Sure, I get down and depressed and negative but I try to keep it to myself and look on the bright side.
12. Comparison is the thief of all joy.
13. Relentless forward progress. Try to keep building yourself and being a better person every day – in life, relationships, work, etc.
14. Things that make you unhappy are in your control. Keep them around and be miserable or change, get out, do what needs to be done and be happy. It is that simple.
15. Forgive yourself. Good Lord have I done some stupid shit and hurt people I love very much. In general, people are forgiving, especially if you are truly sorry. Don’t dwell on the past. Forgive, try to be better and move on.
16. Have fun!
Cheers! Here’s to many more birthdays and life lessons along the way. Thanks for reading.