Yesterday was my 33rd birthday. That means I have been around the sun 33 times and had the chance to learn a few things. I would consider most of these things useful in my everyday life, and because of this fact I have decided to share them with you.
- Always be kind.
No matter the circumstance, kindness goes a long way. My grandma Roxie used to say, “Shae, you’ll get more flies with honey than you do vinegar.” When in doubt, going with kindness has never ever steered me wrong.
- Don’t doubt your abilities.
If you are trying something for the first time, go at it with your whole heart. Try your best to be your best always and you will see great accomplishments come your way. Remember things don’t happen overnight.
- Say you are sorry when you are wrong.
It doesn’t matter what the situation, or why you must say you are sorry, just do it. If you are in the wrong, take the time to apologize sincerely, this will not only help your relationships, it will also help you become a better person.
- Find a good mentor.
Find someone who knows the intimate parts of you, and loves you still. Someone you know you can call no matter what happens and they will support you fully. This will be one of your greatest assets.
- Spend as much time outside as possible.
Go hiking, go to the lake, go camping. Do everything possible to get outside as much as you can. Get out in the sun, let it touch your skin. Get away from all the technology in your life.
This one goes without saying, but exercise when you have a chance. It will help your health, both physical and mental and you will feel better about yourself as well.
- Own a pet.
I have always had a pet. A dog, a hamster, a cat, a snake, a bird, I have always been blessed to have an animal friend in my life. It has been proven that animals help make people happy, and some even help us live longer.
- Take risks.
If you are presented with something that scares you, give it a go. Take a chance and see if it is something you can do. If it isn’t, there is no shame in failing. It is in the failing that we learn the most.
- Love unconditionally.
It doesn’t matter if they are from a different religious background, if their skin tone is different, if their sexual orientation doesn’t match yours, or any plethora of other reasons, love everyone you meet. Always.
- Don’t always strive to be perfect.
Perfection is a hefty expectation to place upon yourself. You will be happier and better fulfilled if you will drop the perfectionist ideation and live with your imperfections.
- Take in good media.
Watch good movies, listen to good music, spend your time filling your soul with wonderful things. Don’t waste your time on junk, but also don’t let that hold you back from trying new things out.
Spend your money and time on making memories and not acquiring more stuff. Travel to places you have never been, and back to places you have. Take time to see different parts of the world.
I know it is cliche, but dance when you have the chance. Move your body to the rhythm and beat. Don’t mind if people are watching or laughing. Remember, they aren’t dancing.
- Eat good food.
Learn how to make some of your favorite dishes. Experiment in the kitchen. Get messy. Burn things. Taste things and love the things you taste.
- Be frugal.
Spend money and treat yourself every once in a while, but as the old saying goes, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Be frugal and save what you can for a rainy day, because as we all know rainy days always come.
- Make space in your life to “just be.”
Take time every day to take a minute for yourself and just breathe. Just be you, not your job, not your kids, not your spouse, just you. Stop the doing and just be for a while.
- Remember who you are and where you came from.
Never forget the struggle it took for you to become who you are. Never forget your parents and the person they have helped you develop into. Never forget the neighborhood you grew up in, or the circumstances you came from.
- Never work for family.
Seriously, just trust me on this one.
- Laugh often.
Laughing is such a wonderful thing to do. Finding things that bring you joy will help you to be able to laugh and be happy. Big belly laughs are the very best.
- You aren’t going to always get what you want.
Learn how to deal with disappointment in a healthy way. Make sure you have good coping mechanisms. Remember you don’t have to stay in the same space you are in at this very moment.
- Own a home.
If you are in a position to own a home do so. Stop throwing your money away on paying for someone else’s rent. If you can’t own a home yet, work hard until you can.
- Drive with the windows down.
Turn the radio up, roll down the windows and go for a drive.
- Take a ton of pictures.
Your memory of things happening can be helped if you have pictures of the event. Make sure to take a lot of pictures so that you can carry those memories with you wherever you may go.
- Watch cartoons.
Take a chance to go back to your childhood for a half hour at a time and watch some cartoons. It will keep you young.
- If you see something that needs done, don’t wait, just do it.
Be it taking out the trash, or picking up that candy wrapper on the ground if you see something that needs to be done, do it. Help out whenever you have the chance, regardless of who made the mess.
- Spend time with your extended family.
Learn from your Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and cousins. Make sure to spend some quality time with them. Go on camping trips, go to family reunions, just spend time with them. Let them know what they mean to you.
- Send mail.
Snail mail always brings joy, be it a handwritten letter, or a small gift. Find a good friend (or a few) and send them some mail. It will bring happiness to them, and you might just be lucky and get something back!
- Ask questions.
Remember you don’t know everything. Remember there are beautiful people in the world that you have the chance to learn from. Take the opportunity to ask them questions so that you can glean knowledge from them.
- Remember perspective is everything.
In the grand scheme of things that thing that you are worrying about probably doesn’t matter. It is a small drop in the bucket of your life, a hiccup if you will. Keep perspective and remember “this too shall pass.”
- Call your parents often.
If your parents are still living, make it a point to contact them often. (if you have a healthy relationship with them.) Let them know how much you appreciate them.
- Cut out toxic people.
Ain’t nobody got time to deal with toxic people, and that includes you. Don’t waste your time with people who don’t care for you, or who pretend to care for you but don’t really. If they are toxic, cut the strand and let them go.
Paint, sculpt, draw, play an instrument, write, do whatever it is that helps you let out your creative side and do it often. Find something you enjoy doing and do it!
- Express your emotions.
Don’t bottle up your feelings, let them out in a healthy way. Find a confidant and express your emotions to them in a safe space. Be a safe space for others to do the same.
These lessons have a close and dear place in my heart. I appreciate the time I have had to learn them and look forward to the time I have to add more knowledge. This of course isn’t a conclusive list of everything I have learned in my 33 years, but it is a pretty good start.