33 Things

I turned 33 today – and I was inspired to write 33 sentences – things I’ve learned that are true for me – things I want to remember and apply as I march towards my 40’s.  I have a similar list I wrote when I was 18, and again when I was 25. They’re wonderful for me to look back on – so here’s a few things that I’ve found are true for me. And a few quotes from folks that hit it on the head.

Embracing failure and choosing to learn from it are the components of long term growth.  That said, back up your important files.

Do your job well and always make time to sharpen your skills for a better one – but make time to enjoy the people you work with.

Be happy for and recognize others’ successes and keep friends and family around that recognize and are happy for yours.

Let your first action towards new people be kindness.

Don’t let the self centered, rude, dramatic, uncaring or apathetic people you run into make you cynical about everybody – that’s how they reproduce.

If you feel like shit – go exercise. If you’re feeling emotional – go exercise. 99% of the time it really helps. Don’t make good feelings a prerequisite for getting out to move – in fact – make feeling poorly an indicator that you should give it a try.

Worrying is a waste of time that keeps you from actually addressing problem and working towards a solution.

I am not always in control of my environment or feelings but I am in control of my actions and reactions to both. Be kind, be positive -  in both words and actions. Don’t let poor behavior from others justify it in yourself.

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”

― Nora Ephron

Self pity is a useless and dangerous habit – one that keeps the focus on you in a negative way,  justifies bad behavior and a poor attitude,  and makes it impossible to focus on anything or anyone that matters or can make a difference. Squelch it at every opportunity. Replace it with a conversation with a trusted person and the first action to help get you out of the situation.

Spend no less than 80% of your time enjoying and absorbing today no more than 20% of your time loosely scaffolding your future. Time passes whether or not you are “ready” for it to – so do the right things you can for the future you. I’ve always loved thinking about where I’m going but need to focus more on today.

Your spouse first, everything else second. A good marriage has been a vital foundation for a great lot of the satisfying and good things in my thirties so far – but it’s because both of us put ourselves second to each other and put the other first above everything else. Continue this through every season of marriage.

Keep giving generously to programs in your city that help people who are trying their best get back on their feet. Give generously to programs out in the world that do the same thing.

Get enough sleep, exercise and eat well as much as you can, as often as you can. Well-being is a foundation on which everything else in your life has to lean.

Stop worrying about what people think. Most of the time they’re not thinking about you anyway and if they’re people whose opinions really matter, just ask them.

Dump people who think they have an excuse to treat you badly because your life is going well.

Mentoring others is extremely rewarding for both parties involved. You have something to offer and something to learn. Always strive to have a mentor and a mentee.

Working hard; believing in yourself; being positive and supportive; surrounding yourself with positive, supportive people; and having the right attitude – those are all the components that make up 99% of good luck.

Be 100% on board with your life choices – letting others’ opinions make big life decisions for you will leave you holding all the consequences.  Listen to advice, but do not ever give up your self-rule and self-determination.

Don’t refuse opportunities to better yourself financially and then lament your lack of fiscal autonomy. Always work towards making sure your money is ultimately working for you and not the other way around.

Listen to Maya Angelou. “When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.”  Let people redeem themselves, but don’t try to do that for them.

Some people will always have an excuse for why they can’t be expected to make time, show kindness,  have concern, or feel empathy for you but will always have the time and energy to be antagonistic if they don’t get what they want, when they want, how they want from you. Don’t leave space in your life for those kinds of relationships.

Let the people who positively influence your life know how much they are loved and appreciated, repeatedly, many times over the year.

Learn the love language of those you’re closest with. Speak it to them often.

Wear comfortable shoes.

Good food is a universal love language.

Meaningless things pile up so if it doesn’t bring you joy to look at or serve a functional purpose – give it away or toss it.

Travel is a solid investment. Skip the resorts and group tours – walk the streets, talk to the local shopkeepers, strike up conversations and learn the history of the place you’re in. Travel always comes with other not so great things. Losing valuables, going through unexpected cancellations, leaning on the kindness of locals and ultimately discarding any pride – It’s mind and soul expanding.

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”

– Anthony Bourdain

Be brave. Make changes despite the crushing anxiety. Your heart is good at loving and caring and feeling -  but rely on your mind to help move you forward to things that may feel very uncomfortable but are better for you.

You will learn an awful lot from very young people and people in the sunset of their lives. Embrace the spirit of children, absorb the wisdom of elders.

Relationships take work. Put in the work. However each relationship is a long term project – a team effort between two people. There will always be natural back and forth in maintaining the relationship but in the long term – If you’re always carrying the team -  it’s time to drop the project.

It is okay and natural to become unsatisfied about where you are. It is sign you are ready to grow, ready to change trajectories, or ready for serious introspection. Do those things – or you’ll rot your mind, your attitude and your skills.

Garden flowers, fruit and vegetables bring me joy just by looking at them grow. Always plant lots.

Always keep your eye on your next destination in this world.

Each day you wake up, let your first thought be gratitude for something and decide on one good thing you’re going to do for someone else.

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.

– Maya Angelou

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