It’s my 34th birthday! I love to celebrate my birthdays even if only to turn my back on an especially tough year and shout “I MADE IT!“.
Well this exactly describes how I feel this year and in that spirit I would like to share my life lessons that I’ve learned up until now…
34 Life lessons I learned in my 34 years
1. To accept a compliment
Previously whenever someone complimented me, I’d either get defensive “oh this old thing..” or flat out deny the compliment “no, I don’t look nice but thanks anyway!“. By now I’ve learned that when someone gives you a compliment it’s always better to just graciously accept it and say “Thank you for the compliment” instead.
2. To give myself a time-out before I run myself to the ground
I am not a hamster so I can’t just keep spinning without being in danger of burn out. I’ve learned that I am more productive and pleasant when I’ve scheduled time out for myself to recharge my batteries and soul. I can’t just keep giving of myself all the time without replenishing the well!
3. That I am way tougher than I look
Life has thrown me many curve balls over the years and I’ve experienced heartache and frustration, sometimes even wondering if I would be able to make it through but then I take stock and realize that I’m still standing!
Eleanor Roosevelt — ‘A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.’
On of my favorite pick-me-up songs is Kerri Hilson, Knock You Down … you’re welcome!
4. The true meaning of commitment
Walking through life with a partner that is every bit as flawed and imperfect as you are is a sometimes not too comfortable journey.
There have been moments when I’ve had to make a conscious decision to just stay the course, fighting against every instinct to flee, only to come out on the other side with strength of character and a deeper commitment to each other.
5. To state my opinion without apologizing in advance
This is something I’ve been made aware of only very recently. My colleague made the observation that we women are prone to apologize for our opinion instead of just giving it eg. “I’m sorry but I feel that….”
6. How to wear make-up
I recently took the art of wearing make-up to a whole new level when I realized that makeup is a powerful tool that I can use to enhance my best features and hide my not so great features. This give me full control over the image I project to others and also make me feel so feminine. I’ve taught myself how to apply beauty products via YouTube and am practicing and experimenting with brand and products to enhance my look all the time.
7. To be kind anyway
I read this wonderful poem by Mother Theresa where she described how other people might not always treat you right but to be kind anyway.
8. That forgiveness is a strength not a weakness
I always believed it to be the other way round, that if you forgave someone you were “giving in“. My husband and I, on different occasions, had to forgive each other our offenses and weaknesses. I realized then that forgiveness is a strength not a weakness because it is the most difficult thing to do but it can lead to a grace-filled marriage like ours and that is a beautiful thing.
9. To trust in God even when things look really bad
10. That politely and calmly explaining my dissatisfaction gets better results than to whine and complain
I find that people will go out of their way to provide me with great service when I express myself in a way that communicates my dissatisfaction in a respectful manner.
11. To find joy in the everyday ordinary moments
I’ve learned to thank God for the ordinary moments as well as the big moments. When my husband and I are lounging around and laughing at the children’s antics, those are the little moments that make up my life!
12. To love the age I’m at
When we were younger and people asked our age, my cousin and I would always reply that we’ll be (our age plus one) next year. We looked forward to being grown-ups so much that I sometimes wish we had realized then that we would never get another chance at our childhood again. Now I know that I need to make every year count by living and enjoying the present!
13. To stop worrying about what other people think of me
I always like to be well liked and to fit in but I’ve learned that as I get older I become more secure in the things that make me unique and it’s more important to be that than to please others or to worry if I fit in.
14. To accept that sh!t will happen in life.
I am an eternal optimist but even I know that life is not always easy. When I am hit with the unexpected, I know that I will get through it because I am tough as nails! (See #3)
15. To save money from every paycheck
I see the value in this but I am still working on this one!
16. That everyone is struggling
Due to the economy, life is a lot harder for everyone that it used to be in the past. I’ve learned to be aware of this so I don’t impose on others and I help wherever I can.
17. Not to engage in gossip – it always bites you in the ass
18. To enjoy spending time alone
If I can’t enjoy spending time alone with me, how can I expect my partner or others to enjoy it?
19. A thank you note goes a long way
To reinstate the lost art of writing a thank you note and telling others that I appreciated their time, wisdom, etc.
20. To look people in the eye when I talk to them
It’s not always comfortable but it lets people know that I am confident, interested and engaged.
21. To converse with my children
With life being so busy, the only way I can keep the communication lines open with my children is to simply talk to them. I find my conversations with my youngest to be especially entertaining – oh to be a preschooler! Talking to them everyday gives me a sense of what happens during their day.
22. Not to assume anyone is better than me or I am better than anyone else
Even though we have different circumstances we’re all people!
23. To listen to my gut
Call it women’s intuition or God’s counsel but when it doesn’t feel comfortable to me the answer is always NO.
24. To pray/meditate daily, it keeps me in check with myself and connected with God
Praying clears my mind and also teaches me to be reliant on God.
25. To learn how to push through – head up, shoulders back.
As Dory says in the movie Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…”.
26. Getting good at letting go
As a Scorpio I can hold a grudge for days, but I am slowly learning to just let it go (sings Frozen movie theme song...) and move on.
27. Not to expect people to be perfect. I am not…neither are they.
I found it’s better to expect the best from people than to expect perfection. Mistakes and failures are inevitable but as long as we keep trying our best it’s OK.
28. To keep my pity parties short then to move on
There are times when a good cry is needed and those feelings must be entertained. I try to do whatever is necessary to get those feelings over with so I can get on with the business of living.
29. That I am not a tree. If I don’t like a situation I can change it.
Sometimes it’s best to quit complaining and to just do whatever is within my means to do to change the situation.
30. To be brave enough to try love after a heartbreak
Disappointment, rejection and failure is a part of life but to be able to move past that heartbreak is what has matured me and built my character.
31. To spend time around people who see me, who celebrate me and who want the best for me
As I get older, I find it easier to be selfish with my time and only choose to spend it with people who build me up and who add value to my life.
32. To keep having faith that my best days are ahead of me. That my next frontier will be my most fulfilling time.
Waking up everyday believing that it’s going to be a great day gives me a positive attitude which is infectious to other.
Proverbs 27:19: As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.
33. That I deserve to be seen as good enough just the way I am
I’ve learned that I am enough as I am and any improvements I make is for me.
34. That I am a WORK IN PROGRESS
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