39 Lessons in 39 Years

Image via Flickr by Beth Punches

Image via Flickr by Beth Punches

This weekend, I turned 39! Although many people enjoy celebrating their birthdays, I don’t. I don’t like the attention and focus on me. I don’t like getting older. And most importantly (this year), I don’t like turning any age with the number nine in it.

It’s not that I don’t like the number nine (although I prefer the inverse which happens to be my favorite number 6), it is just that there is just something final about. Nines signify the end; the end of a decade to be specific. And maybe I am not ready for it to be the end. I have loved my 30s.

But, rather than pout, I think I will try to embrace 39.

If I think about it, the past 39 years have been pretty incredible. I have loved and lost. I have learned to overcome my fears. I have shared in experiences that very people have. My life so far has truly been an incredible journey. So as my first attempt at embracing this new era I thought I would share 39 lessons that I have learned in 39 years.

1. When a door closes, open a window

Although the old saying is “when one door closes, another one opens, “I think it should be” when a door closes, open a window.” Why sit around waiting for a door to open when you can easily open a window?

2. Work hard so you can play hard

My husband says this to the kids all the time, “work hard so you can play hard,” and it is so true. You want to take two weeks and go to Mexico, work hard now, save your money, and go have a blast because you have earned it.

3. Respect the one you love

It is amazing how many people poke fun of or joke at their loved one’s expense. I too am not immune to making this mistake, but I have learned when you really love someone you respect them. And when you respect them, you build them up to other people, you don’t drag them down.

4. Don’t hold onto anger

Although your anger may be intended to affect the person you are angry with, it makes you feel awful instead.

5. Don’t sweat the small stuff

With four kids, you quickly learn to choose your battles, but that doesn’t mean the battles you don’t choose to fight don’t still annoy you. However, does it really matter that they didn’t make their bed, right? Do you care which kid started the fight? Let the small stuff go.

6. No one is perfect

No matter how much you put someone on a pedestal they eventually fall off. Everyone makes mistakes, and no one is perfect.

7. Apologize when you are wrong

As I said, no one is perfect, especially we parents. So as parents what better lesson can we teach our children than to apologize when we make a mistake. It is amazing what a simple “I am sorry…” does for a child, and for anyone we have wronged.

8. Cell phones are both a blessing and a curse

You can’t live without them but when they continually ring or beep you might want to throw it out the window that was opened in #1 above.

9. Karma is real

Call it what you want, but I believe in Karma. I have seen it time and time again.

10. Trust your instincts

When I look back at the moments, I wish I could take back or change, they were all times that I didn’t go with my gut. So trust your instincts, you know what feels right.

11. Boundaries don’t mean you are a bitch

I say these are lessons learned, but some like this are lessons I am still working on learning. But it is true, just because you set boundaries for people, it doesn’t mean you are mean or that you are a bitch. Boundaries are good, and if someone doesn’t respect your boundaries, they are the one with the problem, not you.

12. Be honest even when it hurts

Along the same lines as boundaries, sometimes being honest hurts. But wouldn’t you rather tell the truth and hurt a little than lie and not be trusted?

13. Happiness is not what we strive for

This past year a therapist friend of mine told me that happiness is not what we all should strive for as it is unrealistic to feel happy all of the time. It is a state of well-being you want.

14. Drink that expensive bottle of wine

Have you ever bought a really expensive bottle of wine to save, and save, and save until one day you open it and find it went bad? Don’t save that expensive bottle of wine. Enjoy it!

15. You can do anything you set your mind to

The only thing keeping you from accomplishing your goals is yourself. If you want it bad enough, you will do it. So set your mind to it and accomplish all of your dreams.

16. Live today as if you are looking back into the past

How many times have you said “remember when” and wished you could go back to that moment and enjoy it? Why not live today as if it were that moment. Enjoy every second. Notice the small things. Find the joy in your day.

17. Smile

A simple smile on your face not only makes you feel good, it makes other smile as the pass.

18. Take care of yourself and be healthy

Rather than wasting days wishing you were thinner, healthier, or in better shape take care of yourself and become a healthy you.

19. Don’t just say “I love you” show your love

It is important to tell the ones you love that you love them, but it is just as important to show them that you love them. This doesn’t mean that you show them in a way that you feel loved, it means that you recognize what makes them feel loved and do that for them.

20. Purge the negative from your life

It is harder said than done, but if you have someone or something that is negative in your life, get rid of it. Negativity only festers and drains you of the joys of life.

21. It’s never too late to go after your dreams

There is no law that says you can’t change careers or move to a new city just because you have hit a certain age. If you have unfulfilled dreams, go after them and don’t stop until you accomplish them.

22. Write it down

You may think you will always remember that sweet moment when you child said ….. but eventually you forget. You may think that your accomplishments will always be on the tip of your tongue, but they fade away. So write it all down. Make a note of the special moments and document your accomplishments. One day when you are looking back you will be happy you did.

23. Take pictures

Don’t get so busy in life that you think you don’t have time to take pictures. Don’t think you will remember it. Take pictures as often as you can and enjoy the memories.

24. Take time for yourself

If you are like I am, you go and go and go and are constantly doing things for everyone else. Stop, and find things that bring you joy and then find the time to do those for yourself. It recharges you.

25. Friends come and go, and very few make it for a lifetime

It is hard to think that your friends right now will be anything, but your friends in the years to come. The reality is we are all constantly growing and changing. One friend may be on the same life path as you are now, but in ten years he or she is headed in another direction. If you part ways, know that your time was great. If you come back together later in life, you know it was something special.

26. Eat dinner at the table as a family

I don’t care if there are two of you or ten, sitting down as a family for dinner is incredibly important. Our lives can get so busy that we don’t take the time to enjoy each others company or hear about each other’s day. So take dinner time as use that as an opportunity to spend time together.

27. Say Please and Thank you

Manners go a long way.

28. Accept compliments

When someone gives you a compliment, don’t argue or come up with a million reasons why you don’t agree. Just say, “Thank you.”

29. Don’t Expect

Expectations set you up for disappointment. When you expect an event to go a certain way, a movie to be really funny, or anything to be a certain way you are missing out on what is actually is and the true experience. Plus if you made it out to be something bigger or better in your mind, you end up sad and disappointed.

30. It’s ok to agree to disagree

As my father would say, I am extremely stubborn. Hmm, I wonder where I got that đŸ˜‰ But I have learned that I don’t have to win every argument nor do I always have to be right. It is ok to agree to disagree.

31. Don’t Judge Others

For starters judging someone else doesn’t define who they are, it defines who you are. Secondly, you have no idea what it is like to live someone else’s life so how can you judge the choices and decisions they make for themselves?

32. Change is growth

Too many people see change as a bad thing, when in reality change is growth. When you change you grow and if you aren’t growing you are missing out on all life has to offer.

33. Love with all your heart

If you have been hurt by love, it can be hard to love with all your heart. But when you love with all your heart, you experience so much more joy and happiness.

34. Nothing lasts forever

At some point in life everything comes to an end; whether it be your job, life of loved ones or your life, nothing lasts forever. So cherish it and appreciate it all while it lasts. You don’t want to look back and wish you had called your grandma more or wish you had that job you once had. Instead, appreciate the time you have now.

35. The ideal life is for you to decide

No one can tell you what the ideal life should be. Your ideal life may be living in a mansion having more money than you know what to do with, or it may be spending your days painting in a park and living a simple life. Only you can decide what your ideal life is.

36. Making a living is not the same as making a life

Just because you go to work every day and make a decent living, that doesn’t mean you have made yourself a decent life. Don’t forget to make yourself a life. Find the balance and enjoy.

37. Forgive

When you don’t forgive, you are missing out on life. You stay trapped in anger and sadness. Forgive those who have wronged you and take back the joy in your life.

38. Life is what you make of it

You are in control whether you focus on the good or bad in life. You can choose to learn from your mistakes and grow as a person, or wallow in the pity. Your life is whatever you make it.

39. I have a lot left to learn

At 39, I may not like the idea of getting older or embracing the end of a decade, but I have a lot of life left to live. And with that life, I have a lot left to learn.


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