Happy birthday week to me! I have officially been 31 years old for three days now, and I must say it feels pretty dang good. I honestly don’t feel any different (though saying I’m in my thirties now sounds strange), but I just feel good. I celebrated over the weekend in Savannah with some friends from back home (post on that to come!), and had to go down to the Tampa area for a work trip on my actual birthday. Fortunately Jimmy was able to take two days off, so he and Daisy accompanied me for what turned into a really great time. We spend Monday, my birthday, at the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City, and Tuesday at LEGOLAND Florida. Having my family together and seeing Daisy’s face light up when she heard the music, played with the Duplo LEGO bricks, and got to bite into my ice cream cone was all I needed for my birthday.
I always find myself reflecting on my life and years past on my birthday, and this year was no exception. As I sat in the passenger’s seat on our three-hour drive, my husband sitting next to me driving and my baby girl in the backseat jamming out to “Thunder” (her fav song), I started thinking about how blessed I truly am, how much I’ve learned over the years, and how much room I still have to grow. So I thought I’d share some of those things with you! Some are silly, some are serious, and some are downright crazy, but these are all tiny tidbits that I’ve taken away from life experiences over my 31 years on Earth. Who can relate?
31 Things I’ve Learned Over the Years:
- Love yourself. You are who you are and there is, nor will there ever be, anyone else quite like you. Embrace it.
- Love your body. Easier said than done, but just try. Think about all the amazing things it has done and can do, and appreciate it. Treat it well. Take care of it. It’s the only one you’ll ever get.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things. Step outside of your comfort zone. Take risks. You only live once and a life full of regret is no life at all.
- Journal. Whether it’s in a spiral notebook, a fancy journal or a blog, make notes of milestones, major events, your feelings, and things that make you happy. Self-reflection is a good thing, and it’s humbling to go back and read it.
- Don’t be afraid to use things. How many times have you bought or been gifted something, but don’t use it or wear it because you don’t want to mess it up? You can’t take it with you when you die and if you don’t use it, someone else will. So stop hoarding it and use the dang thing already! (Ahem, Jimmy.)
- Wear lipstick! People ask me all the time how I manage to pull off so many bold lipstick colors. Girlfriend, I just rock and you can, too! Wear it, own it, feel fierce. There are too many beautiful colors out there not to give them a shot, and I promise you’ll feel 10x more beautiful and confident just from wearing color on your lips!
- Speaking of makeup, invest in quality makeup. I know it’s so easy to buy the cheap stuff, but think about it. You’re putting this stuff on your face, around your eyes and on your lips. Isn’t it worth investing more to know what’s actually in your makeup, and get a good payoff from it? I vote yes.
- Invest in quality staples for your wardrobe. You’re always going to need a nice pair of jeans, a pair of basic black pumps, a well-fitting white button-down blouse, and a neutral purse. Save up and spend the money on nicer basics so you don’t have to keep going back to the clearance aisle at Forever21 when you’re in need.
- But don’t ever pay full price for clothes (unless it’s absolutely necessary). There is ALWAYS a sale or a promo code, you just have to do a little digging. My favorite sites to find them are RetailMeNot and eBates. (Also, if you do any online shopping at all, ALWAYS go to the retail site through eBates so you can earn cash back. I’ve earned $286+ back from online purchases!)
- Shop local and support small business/friends who own or manage their own business. It’s not always possible, but when it is I’m a huge fan of supporting the hard-working men and women in my life and community. If I’m going to give my money to someone I would much rather give it to people who I know deserve it and are busting ass to make a living.
- Turn off your phone and live in the moment. Trust me, I know this is SO hard to do these days. But we miss out on so many moments that are far more important than that tiny screen because we can’t break away. I try not to pick up my phone while nursing the baby, we do our best to keep our phones away when we get home in the evening and have some quality family time, and 1-2 times a week we set aside a night of no phones or computers at all. Have you ever left the house without your phone? Once you get over the initial panic of being away from it, it’s actually quite liberating!
- Don’t stress the small stuff. It’s so easy to get worked up over little details, but when I start to stress out or panic I try to ask myself if it’s really worth freaking out over. If it’s not going to matter in a week or to anyone else, I try not to get worked up over it. And this is coming from a Type-A perfectionist!
- It takes 21 days to break or start a new habit. Did you know that? When you really want to do something (or to not do something), give it three weeks before you call it a failure.
- Take time for yourself. Invest in yourself. I never knew how important this was until I took two hours out of my day to go get a facial recently. It was so relaxing and I felt like a million bucks afterward. Everyone should do it, and don’t feel guilty about it.
- It’s okay to say “no.” I MAJORLY struggle with this one and it’s a constant battle with myself, but I’m working on it. There will always be something to do, always an event or holiday, always someone who wants to go grab drinks. You can wear yourself out real quick like that, and you’ll never have the time to do what you want. So pass on the invite and enjoy some you time – you can join in the next event.
- The people who matter don’t care and the people who care don’t matter. Sounds harsh but it’s true. I heard this somewhere a few years ago and it’s stuck with me ever since.
- Be proud of your age. I know some people, especially women, don’t like talking about their age. I say be proud of it! Life is hard and you made it through another year – shout it from the rooftops!
- Surround yourself with positive, like-minded people. You want to be around people who will lift you up and help you succeed, not people who will make you feel inferior or bring you down.
- Be nice. Don’t bully. Support others. There’s too much hatred in this world. Always be nice.
- You are allowed to be in a difference chapter of your life than others. This is happening a lot right now at my stage in life. I am married and we have a one-year-old little girl, but some of my best friends aren’t married and don’t have kids, and that’s okay! They may not want to join you for baby play dates or kid-friendly restaurants, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be friends. It definitely gets challenging at times because you are in different stages of life, but in the long run as long as you’re both happy, that’s all that matters.
- Don’t rush. Obviously you have to hurry sometimes, but you know that old saying “stop and smell the roses”? Yeah, try it sometime. It’s amazing the things you’ll learn, notice and experience when you slow down.
- Appreciate what you have. Even if it’s not much, be thankful for it. Some people would love to be in your shoes.
- Less is more. I’ve moved so many times in my life and have collected so many things, I have boxes and bins of party decor and supplies, I have more clothes than one person could ever wear. It feels SO good getting rid of things and simplifying. I wish I’d realized that years ago. Having less really is freeing.
- People come and go and it totally sucks. Friends move away. Loved ones pass away. It’s horrible. It’s never easy losing someone, but it’s unfortunately something we have to live with. Cherish every day and every moment you have with the people you love. Sadly you never know when it may be the last time you see them or will get to hear their voice. (Think of you every day, Jimbo!)
- Be honest. With yourself and others. It makes life easier and makes you happier.
- Keep learning. There is SO much to learn – why stop after college? Take classes, attend workshops, listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos, read books … keep exercising your brain and your creativity.
- Do something you love. There are millions of opportunities out there! Life is too short to be miserable with your daily life. Do #26 and make a career out of it 🙂
- Moisturize and wear sun screen. I wish I’d been able to tell my high school self this. You are never too young to start moisturizing your face and taking care of your skin. Also, skip the baby oil and wear sun screen. You can never get your perfect skin back, and pale skin is much more desirable than skin cancer!
- Be selective with your friends. This one is hard. Certainly be open to making new friends, but be careful about the ones you let in and get close to. Of course you have to work to maintain a friendship, but it shouldn’t be hard. Good friends are hard to come by, so be sure that you value them and treat them well.
- Love your family. Call your parents daily, even if it’s just to say hello. Family always comes first. I can’t stress this enough. They’re the ones who will always be there, who will have your back to matter what, and who you can always trust. You can also guilt trip them into just about anything without feeling too bad about it :). That’s why they’re family!
- Be positive. This tends to come naturally for me, I think because my parents are this way and I’ve been practicing it my whole life, but it doesn’t for everyone. I choose to see the bright side to everything instead of the dark side. I prefer to see the good in people instead of the bad. I’m all about the silver lining around the storm cloud. Try it … next time something bad or crappy happens, try to find one positive from it. I promise you will have a better day!
*Bonus for good measure: SMILE! Smiles are contagious, even over the phone. Seriously! You’ll never make someone have a bad day by smiling at them. Also, it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile. You don’t want a face cramp, now do you? 🙂
There you have it. Thirty-one things I’ve learned over the past thirty-onederful years. By no means are these lectures or things I think you should do, but they are things I’ve realized and have helped improve my life. Hopefully even just one of these will help do the same for you. Now I’m curious … what’s something you’ve learned over the years that you’re grateful for? Please leave a comment and tell me!
Thank you all for the birthday wishes and love! Ya’ll know how to make a gal feel special. Here’s to a wonderful 31st year!