My 39th birthday is next month. Before I begin my 40th trip around the giant orb of fire, I’ve decided to recall 40 of the best lessons I’ve learned throughout my time pitter-pattering around this planet. I will only post ten at a time, because doing them all at once is a lot to read, and I would not expect you to pay attention for that long. (As I think about how big a number 40 really is, I am also reminded how old I am…maybe this wasn’t such a grand idea after all.)
Find a happy place. I am typing this while watching (yet another) Harry Potter weekend while on Cape Cod. If there were ever an ideal happy place for me, this is it. We all need that little secure place where we can decompress and just…be.
“Some nuns are assholes.” I have learned that you can’t criticize someone based solely on what they are; you need to figure out who they are. Only then do you have carte blanche to judge the hell out of them. (Side bar: You don’t have to completely know someone to judge them, but you can only judge what you know.)
Write down ideas when you have them. This is one I have learned the hard way. And it’s something I’m reminded of over and over again as I rack my brain, trying to remember what that amazing idea was. Your memory is never as good as you think it is, and it only gets worse as the years tick on.
Don’t go into forests alone. Sweet baby Jesus, why anyone would do this is beyond me. I mean, are you asking a serial killer to find you? Just don’t do it. Ever.
Animals are better than people. Unconditional love, no judgement, a cuddle buddy whenever needed—it’s fairly obvious why I’d rather be surrounded by something with four legs instead of something with two. (Side bar: In full disclosure, I am fairly certain my cat judges me constantly. But he is a hell of a cuddler.)
Embrace your dreams. You may dream to be something you deem ridiculous—look at me for example. I would like nothing more than to be a full-time writer, drinking coffee while sitting on the porch of my tiny house that overlooks the ocean. Will I ever get this? Most likely not, but if I didn’t have this image to go to, I’d never make it through another day at my icky job, and I’d never make myself pick up another school book. In embracing my end-goal dream, I am able to continue to do the hard work I think it takes to accomplish it.
People who snap their gum/chew gum like cows are very annoying. And it sucks that they either don’t know they’re so bothersome, or they just don’t care.
You can’t control everything. This one was a very hard lesson to learn. I have to constantly remind myself that I have no say over how someone reacts to something—all I have control over is how I deal with it. If a friend chooses to exit my life, or if I someone has a negative reaction to something I say, I can’t do anything but adjust my life and outlook. Things won’t always go the way I want and I have to decide which battles are worth fighting.
If you decide to do something, stick with it. This is a follow-up to the whole “dreaming” thing. This blog has taken a back seat to school, which simply cannot continue. How the bloody hell do I expect to be a writer if I don’t actually write? The sad truth is that there will never be enough time—it’s all about prioritizing.
You are allowed to be selfish. This one ties into a few previous lessons. I have learned that I need to take me time, even if I feel hella guilty doing so. I am working on that guilt though because, really, that is letting someone’s negative reaction dictate how I am going to feel. If someone wants to be pissed at me for taking an afternoon off, let them waste their time being pissed. If they want to be upset because I choose to spend money on something frivolous every once in a while instead of responsibly saving, that’s on them, not me. Mind you, living your entire life selfishly is not a good thing—you need to think about those around you and how your actions affect them. But, every once in a while, self care needs to take the top spot.
11-20 next week. Until then, I’d love to know some lessons you’ve picked up on while wandering the earth. We are constantly evolving and learning, which is part of the “fun” of being alive.