Many people will tell you that college will be the best years of your life. However, in my experience, my 30’s have been much more fulfilling compared to my earlier years. In the last 5 years, I took a lot of risks, many of which paid off. When I look back, I feel proud of following my heart even in the scariest of times.
Today I turn 36 years old.
So…what does 36 years old look like?
A few more smile lines with many laughs and stories behind them. And mostly wiser decisions than I made in my 20’s.
Here’s to looking back on lessons learned throughout my first 35 years.
35 lessons I learned before I turned 36 years old
1. Friendships will ebb and flow.
The ones who are meant to stay will roll in and stick around like a random shell that remains after high tide.
2. Limiting your time online is good for your wellbeing.
In a world of likes, comments, and tweets, I feel like valuable in-person relationships are sometimes substituted by rather on-the-surface virtual relationships that also bring self doubt and insecurities into our relationship with ourself and our loved ones.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly thankful for the digital world we live in. I enjoy the possibility of making new friendships with the click of a button and have been fortunate to have met creatives alike. However, I learned that I feel more fulfilled when I can continue those relationships offline.
3. Invest time in the people who matter to you most.
Just like a job, friendships, dating, and relationships need nurture and love to grow. Neglect them and they will fade.
4. Trusting yourself can lead to beautiful opportunities.
From business to personal relationships, trust your gut.
5. Solo travel is good for the soul.
Every time I make the space to explore somewhere without a sidekick or two, it is an opportunity to learn something new about myself. And even more so to interact with locals in a destination.
6. Taking a once in a lifetime trip doesn’t mean you can’t do it twice.
When you fall in love with a place, return to it. Over the last five years, I found a handful of places I want to be in my life forever. I’m returning to many of them in 2018. Because home doesn’t have to be defined as one place.
7. Trust a person or two to look in on your life.
It is great to know who you are, but I learned that it is just as important to ask others you trust for their opinion. One of the best decisions I made as I was working on my business was to hire a professional, who helped me clarify my path and how to get to where I want be.
8. You can do far more than you think you can.
Don’t let laziness or fear get in the way of your future. I see too many people give up before they’ve reached their potential. For various reasons: success didn’t come fast enough and they got lazy, or they saw something just out of sight and got scared. Don’t give up on what you see in your crystal ball.
9. Learning to live minimalisticly provides freedom.
To me, living a minimalistic lifestyle includes going a week without wearing makeup, purging my closet, or even selling my car, like I did this year. I felt like it was no longer essential to my lifestyle as I spend 70% of my time on the road.
10. You should talk to more strangers.
Some of the best encounters I’ve had are when I’ve put myself out there and said something as simple as hello.
11. Let the people you care about know it.
Say more I love You’s and show people you truly appreciate them every time you can. Our time here is limited. I lost two grandfathers and a dog within the last year and if I could re-do anything I would have spent far more time with them.
12. Be in control of your own unique path.
Rules someone else made certainly don’t have to be yours. Set your own pace and your own goals. If you are an entrepreneur as I am, you will most likely fall into the comparison trap. Know that this is normal, however also know that you have to learn to manage those feelings and don’t let them take over and keep you away from your dreams. Stay and focus on your own path.
13. Learning a new language is a lifelong reward.
One of the most rewarding experiences of last year was the time I spent in Mexico immersing myself in the culture. Throughout the 7 weeks I was there, I got lost with locals and had a chance to practice my Spanish. Though at times it was hard, now looking back I feel much more confident with my language skills and cannot wait to return to continue my practice. Having been the most spoken language in the world, I feel like I am equipped with the necessary skills I need to communicate as I travel around the world in the years to come.
14. Let go of what you cannot control.
15. Backyard adventures can often be the best.
I took up scalloping this fall and it was not only fun and physical, but a great mental break from my editing work. Get outside.
16. Meditation can change your life.
17. Being successful isn’t a coincidence.
‘You’re so lucky!’ If you find yourself successful, you may have heard this before. No one will even know how hard you have worked and how much you have sacrificed to get to your present moment. And they don’t have to. Know that you have worked hard and you deserve every bit of success that comes your way.
18. Standing up for others is essential.
19. Sometimes you need to shut everything off and disconnect.
I had a really tough time with this up until last year. I have finally learned how to disconnect. To reset myself.
20. You are who you surround yourself with.
21. Do what makes your heart full.
22. Practice forgiveness.
This includes forgiving others as well as forgiving yourself.
23. The earlier you rise, the more you’ll accomplish.
24. A hot bath and a great playlist can be the anecdote to just about any bad day.
25. Openness and acceptance are two things we could all practice more of.
26. Your relationship with yourself is one you should always be working on.
If you aren’t happy with who you are, how can you be happy with someone else.
27. There are times to be serious, but silliness should play an equal role in your life.
Just because you are getting older doesn’t mean you have to lose your sense of humor or playfulness.
28. Invest in yourself.
The wealth of the mind is the only true wealth.
29. You don’t have to be the person you are right now forever.
Change is the only thing that doesn’t change. Be comfortable with the changes in your life and embrace who you become.
30. It’s healthy to cry.
People often say to me ‘You’re always so happy!” I have bad days just like everyone else, but I recognize when I need to take time to myself. I also know that I want to be good energy for others. I’ve intentionally made it my mission to uplift and do my best add positivity to the room when I’m with others. The world needs more of it. The simple act of turning the corners of your mouth into a smile can mood boost you to the moon.
31. In a life of chaos, find a constant.
My life is different every day and every week. My constant that makes me feel good is meditative, mindful running just about every morning. I sometimes switch it up in a city if I can find a workout class – yoga, dance, or spin, but I know that my two feet can carry me anywhere. Getting lost in new cities when I’m there for work is the way I like to start my day.
32. Listening is more important than speaking.
33. Identify your why and go back to it when life gets tough.
When you live with purpose a whole new world opens up. Ask yourself again, what is it I’m here for? Where am I going?
34. Falling in love can evoke both pleasure and pain.
It’s better to let yourself fall and feel deeply to see what might just be than to never feel anything at all. If your heart breaks, use that pain to provoke growth in yourself.
35. Being yourself can bring abundance.
Learn who you are and be 100% of who you are all the time. In my thirties, I finally felt like I knew myself. I was comfortable in my own skin. Own who you are – imperfections, quirks and all. The right people will love you for you.
Every single experience I have, I am still learning about myself. I think I always will be. I have no idea where I’ll be five, ten fifteen years from today – I like it that way. What is certain is I will never stop trying to learn and never stop trying to be a better version of myself.
What is one of the most valuable life lessons you have learned?