These are in no particular order or sequence.
1. Take care of your skin.
First of all, wear sunscreen! I learned this the hard way and have plenty of skin discoloration and issues to show for it. Also, it’s never too early for anti-aging products. I only wish I would have cared more about my skin in my teens and 20s. Wash your face!
2. Alcohol has never done me any favors.
This is a quote taken from my dad. I’m not saying I don’t and won’t drink. I’m saying that I am well aware of how stupid it is. I finally seem to be at an age where I know my limits; not to say that I don’t sometimes still exceed them. I’ve had a lot of fun drinking, but no, it has never done me any favors.
3. Share your story, to include the good and the bad.
Now that I’m 30, I’m finally at an age where I know who my real friends are. That being said, I know who i can really open up to. Having those few you can really open up to is priceless. It’s freeing. From a religious standpoint, it’s nice to be able to share the good and the bad and know I’m not being judged and am being prayed for. As you may have noticed, I’m an open book for the most part. I share a lot. Why? Because you just never know who you might be helping by sharing your story.
4. Smoking is bad.
This one seems obvious, because it is! Now that I’m older, though, it’s a whole lot easier to see just how bad it is for a person. When we’re younger old age seems so far away – we don’t worry about it. Now I’m like “Okay, you’re pushing your luck!” Did I want to quit? No. Did I feel I needed to quit? Yes. I’m 72 hours without a cigarette right now. It was time. I’m always going to miss it. My advice is not to start in the first place.
5. Forgive yourself and others.
This is BIG. In my life, I have found it harder to forgive myself than to forgive others. And trust me, I’ve held a few grudges in my day. I now see just how toxic holding on to those negative feelings is. Holding a grudge and negative feelings doesn’t do anyone any good and does nothing but hurt you; eating you up on the inside. True and real forgiveness is hard and something you have to work on, but once you get there, it’s worth it. Forgiving yourself is an even harder feat. I still sometimes struggle with this, as I think everyone will throughout their life. BUT life goes on. There’s no reason to hold onto yesterday when today is lying ahead. I know I’m forgiven, so why not forgive myself!?
6. No one’s house is ever completely clean.
Oh man have I struggled with this one. I like clean. It makes me feel at ease. I’ve had to train myself to accept that there are two kinds of dirty. There is dirty (think cluttered), as in there are things strung out throughout the house and then there is dirty, as in things are grimy, stinky, dusty, rank, dirty-dirty. I have come to accept that messy is okay sometimes. I have to prioritize to keep my sanity.
7. You don’t always have to say what’s on your mind.
Really! It took me years and years and years to comprehend this concept. Honesty is absolutely always the best policy. I actually prefer blunt honesty, but not everyone else feels the same. It’s important to be honest but use some tact in how you portray and share things. I’m not even talking sugarcoating here. I’m just talking saying and sharing advice and things in a tactful un-brash (is that a word?) manner.
8. Ask for help.
Coming from Miss Independent herself…I’ve always taken pride in being extraordinarily independent in life. After graduating high school at the age of 18, I got my own place, car insurance, cell phone, you name it. I didn’t waste any time. I was all about being on my own. Well, on my own, with the exception of my husband (then boyfriend) being by my side. My husband and I always kept this stance until lately. There were a lot of times in life I (or we) should have just asked for help and saved ourselves a lot of unnecessary grief and trouble. Now that I have young children, one with developmental delays, help is no longer an option, it’s an absolute necessity. Swallow your pride and ask for help when you need it.
9. Be kind to everyone.
This one is so easy. It takes so much time and energy to be negative and unkind. I can’t think of anyone at this point in my life that I wouldn’t be nice or kind to. First of all, everyone deserves kindness. Secondly, I’m just too tired to be anything but kind.
10. Take (calculated) risks.
I will include my husband in this one, as I have spent my whole adult life by his side. We have taken so many risks; so many big, scary, life altering risks. And boy have we crashed and burned a few times. The road-rash and burns heal, and we learn. There is not one risk we have taken that I wouldn’t take again in the same situations. Live a life of “oh wells” rather than a life of “what ifs”. Take chances, make mistakes!
11. Ask/Don’t fear “no”.
This is one I live by. Do you think you deserve a raise? Ask. Does something seem off? Ask about it. Guess what? The worst thing that’s going to happen if you ask is that you’re going to hear “no”. It’s just a word. Learn to be okay with hearing “no”.
12. Don’t be afraid to say “no”.
This relates back to #11. Not only do I not fear asking, I don’t fear saying “no” myself. There came a point in my life where I realized I didn’t have to do things solely to make others happy. In order to live a good life you need to be happy and rarely should someone else’s life come before yours.
13. Rid yourself of toxic people, relationships, and situations.
This relates back to #11 and #12. We all have to do things we don’t like, but if something is truly causing you emotional or mental harm quit doing it! It doesn’t matter if it makes sense to anyone else. You do not need an excuse to do what’s right for you. I learned this throughout my 20’s. There were a few situations in my life that I would literally dread and worry about to the point of them consuming me. Why? I don’t really know. All I know is that said situations were unhealthy for me, and that once I cut them out of my life a huge weight was lifted. Whether it’s a toxic person, a toxic relationship, or a toxic environment…let.it.go.
14. Drink water.
First of all, I feel so much better when I drink the recommended amount of water daily. Yes, it makes me have to make frequent bathroom breaks, but to me that is reassuring. The system is getting flushed out! I also learned long ago that there are so many hidden calories in beverages. I’d so much rather get my calories through food than a drink.
15. Wake up and makeup.
No, I don’t mean literally put makeup on. I mean put whatever amount of effort into your appearance makes you feel good. I was always the type that would roll out of bed ten minutes before I had to be somewhere. I didn’t feel self conscious about my appearance, but I found that I just felt tired and blah throughout the day. Just recently, I have started actually getting ready for my day; washing my face, dressing for the task, possibly putting on some makeup – whether it’s some under eye concealer or the whole shebang. Whatever I feel I need to do that day to feel my best is what I do. It has helped.
16. Invest in a good calendar and/or planner.
Just this year I invested in a Bloom daily planner (check them out). I made this investment even before my son was found to have some developmental delays and all of the phone calls, consults, and doctor visits began. Organization and calm go hand-in-hand.
17. Prioritize relationships.
Love grows where you water it.
18. Be present.
In today’s world, this is more relevant than ever before. Put down your phone or tablet and close the laptop and live in the moment. This moment you will never get back. This moment you must be present in to remember later. Don’t mask your feelings. Feel all the feels.
19. Have genuine interest in others.
I truly have genuine interest in everyone I meet! I think this sometimes drives my husband crazy because I will talk to anyone and everyone. He seems to think I always single out the…how shall I put this…uh…his words aren’t appropriate…the seemingly lesser accepted people in society (?). That’s the best I can do. If you want to know what he thinks, ask him sometime. Anyway, his views are not mine, and I am interested in everyone’s story. I want to learn from them and they can learn from me. I don’t care who they are.
20. Get the haircut.
Not just the haircut: the piercing, the tattoo, the new hair color. Be bold. If you can’t stop thinking about it, just do it. Life is short and our bodies are temporary.
21. Slow down.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the routine and in the hustle and bustle of life. Slow down and don’t miss out on what’s really important.
22. Happiness comes from within.
Probably the greatest truth I have learned. Someone at work the other day called me “smiley” and said they had never seen me without a smile on my face. Those of you that know me and have known me probably think that sounds insane. I get it. I haven’t always been this way. At this stage in my life, I am happy with me which allows me to be happy and accepting of every other part of my life. Find out what it takes, and get happy and share that happiness. It’s contagious.
23. Focus on Him and study scripture.
I’ve known this my whole life, but have never applied it until recently. This is one thing I do wish I would have implemented a lot earlier in life. I have always been a believer but never put the time and effort into it that it deserves. It is so true that once you place your focus on God and put him first above all and actually study and apply yourself to His Word that everything starts making more sense and falling into place. My priorities have become more obvious. I am happier. I am saved.
24. Write it down.
It is a proven fact that if you write something down you are much more likely to do it. Whether it’s a to-do list or your goals, write it down!
25. Keep a hobby.
No matter how busy and all consuming a family, job, career, life in general gets, it’s so important to keep something just for you. Whether it’s gardening, reading, writing, exercising, hiking, crafts, scrapbooking, cooking, baking, you name it, keep it alive! It will keep you alive.
26. Family really is everything.
Everything I’ve faced in my adult life has brought me back to the simple fact that family really is everything. Family is probably the easiest thing to take for granted. Now I just try to even imagine where I’d be without my family, and I cannot even fathom it.
27. Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.
I am big on this! I’m glad you love cheese and sorry you hate eggs, but I’d so much rather hear about why you love and promote and advocate for cheese than all the reasons you hate eggs and why we all should, too. (I know, weird example, but that’s all I could come up with besides political crap.) To me this goes along with not complaining. We all need to vent at times, but just think how irritating it is when you talk to someone and all they do is complain.
28. Find a job you love (eventually).
We can’t graduate high school or college and then jump right into doing exactly what we know we’ve always wanted to do. Most of us don’t even know by that time exactly what it is we want to do. It takes time and patience, but with time and patience, it can and will all fall into place if you work hard for it. My dream was always to be a stay-at-home-mom. My husband made that dream come true, whether it was the best for us financially or not. It was definitely right for us as a family. I got to live my dream. Now I am out in the workforce, but only part-time. I may have went to school and got a degree in Medical Transcription, but I honestly like tending bar more at this point in my life. Life changes and we evolve. Guess what? If the job you find and love isn’t what you went to school for oh freaking well. We change. Life changes. You don’t have to know exactly what you want all the time and exactly what you want will most likely change as you age.
29. Learn from others.
There is nothing more valuable than being able to speak to someone who has been there and done that.
30. Time is the most valuable thing in life.
Time flies. The older we get, the faster it goes. Don’t take even one second for granted.