35 Things I’ve Learned In 35 Years

35 Things I’ve Learned In 35 Years

I’ll be 35 next week.

I can wholeheartedly say I’m more certain & confident in who I am as a wife, mother, and woman while simultaneously feeling more unsure than ever.  It is such an odd and wonderful place to be.

I have a lot left to learn in life, (even as I type that I hear how cliché it sounds) but this birthday has me feeling particularly nostalgic.  It’s got me thinking about specific events and the life-shaping lessons that stand out through the year most to me.  Some felt notable. Others felt worth sharing.  Most of these lessons came from personal experiences, in many cases they were taught to me by a mentor, a friend, or family member; whether intentionally or unintentionally.

This list started for my own personal reasons but through the last few weeks it’s grown to become something I’ve really enjoyed thinking about and writing.  If for no other reason than to share with my own daughters someday, or for me to revisit in another year, or twenty, and to be reminded of where I was in this chapter of life, I’ve decided to share it.

Here goes nothing:

  1. I’ve learned to ask for help when I need it. It is okay to take a minute, or ten, or an afternoon to fill my own cup.  Recognizing and learning to say: “I am at capacity” has made me a better mom and wife.
  2. Give credit, where credit is due. This is particularly important in the age of social media. Tag, share, like, follow, link, and shout out the people, brands, and hustlers you enjoy, appreciate, & feel inspired by. So many out there are trying to build businesses. You never know when something you’ve shared will help build another’s success.
  3. I’ve learned what real true self-care looks like (Newsflash: It’s not all manis & pedis, y’all).
  4. I’ve learned the lifesaving power of truly great girlfriends and what that does for my soul. A long, leisurely (kid-free) breakfast spent laughing

    Lifelong girlfriends + brunch = the greatest blessing

    with my best girlfriends will always be one of the most cathartic things in life for me.

  5. A rising tide lifts all boats. Clap for those around you who are doing it. And pay attention to those that don’t congratulate you upon your successes.
  6. And then forget about it. That shit will eat you up. It isn’t worth worrying about.
  7. I’ve learned I’m stronger and braver than I previously gave myself credit for.
  8. I’ve learned being an adult is actually pretty rad; I’ve learned to take care of my skin, what 8 hours of sleep does for me, and how to fold a fitted sheet.
  9. I’ve learned I’m under no obligation to be the girl I once was; not five years ago, ten years ago, or even last month. Growth & change are good things. Staying the same isn’t admirable. Growing is. Don’t apologize for it.
  10. Although first kisses, first dates, and first dances are behind us now, marriage is still full of other new firsts. Newlyweds: Please don’t let anyone tell you all your “firsts” are all gone. The first time I saw my husband lay eyes on and fall in love with each of our daughters, the first time we heard ‘Dada’, or cried tears of joy together over something we created, those things are way better than a first kiss. The best part of marriage is falling in love with that growing & changing individual, repeatedly, every day, every year. All over again. Change is so good, guys.
  11. I learned that physical strength is great but developing your body physically builds you up mentally as well. I lost 35 pounds since my birthday a year ago. What started out as wanting to lose a few pounds, has developed me stronger mentally. The results are more impactful than any weight loss or new muscle.
  12. Confidence and self-assurance are sexy. But so is humility.
  13. No answer, is an answer. (I wrote a whole post on that here.)
  14. When I was a teenager, I remember venting about a disagreement with a friend to my dad. I don’t have any recollection of the details of the disagreement, but what my dad said has always stuck with me. He told me, “You won’t make more friends as you get older. You lose them. Foster the relationships you have.” I have been blessed with the same close-knit group of girlfriends I’ve had since junior high. We love each other like family.  We talk daily, we laugh lots, we pray for one another, for each other’s children, spouses, and lives. We show up, and we go the

    distance for one another. These women get it.

  15. Laying in bed scrolling my phone will not make me sleepy. Laying in bed reading a book will.

    This is pretty much what my nightstand always looks like these days. Reading is a far better way for me to shut off my mind, than scrollin’ the ‘gram at the end of the day.

  16. I have zero self-control when it comes to chocolate chip banana bread. It is Kryptonite to my low-carb diet. Why I make it on the regular, I will never know.
  17. When someone you know is going through a tragedy or the passing of a loved one, say something. Please don’t ignore it. If you don’t know what to say, then say, “I am so sorry. I don’t know what to say”.  They will be forever grateful for your compassion, at whatever level you can offer it.
  18. I’m continually learning that a woman’s intuition is not something to mess with. God gave us those prickly goose-bumps, hair-standing-on-the-back-of-your-neck, pit-in-your-stomach, something-isn’t-right sensations for a reason. Learn to recognize it. Teach your children to recognize this feeling too. If it makes your stomach hurt; don’t do it.  (There is an excellent podcast on this topic, titled “Talking With Kids About Tricky People” from Coffee + Crumbs. The podcast can be found here and I’d encourage every parent to listen to it and then listen to it a second time with your spouse. It’s about empowering our children to trust their intuition and if someone or a situation makes their stomach hurt, it’s a good indication to recognize when something may be wrong.)
  19. I have learned to pay a compliment. A real, true, sincere compliment; especially important to do for other woman.  It is our job to build one another up, I want my girls to witness their mom doing this regularly.  They are learning to speak the love they see spoken.
  20. There’s always room for more at the table. If you’re the only one sitting at the table, be the first to invite others to join you. If you are lonely, become the friend that you are looking for. People will be receptive to you extending yourself to them. You truly do attract your tribe.
  21. Needing time out for an hour or an evening from parenting doesn’t make me any less of a great mom.
  22. I’ve learned I’m not the follower, the yes-man, or the passive play-by-the-rules & don’t-draw-attention-to-myself gal, that I once tried to fit the mold of.
  23. I tend to spread myself too thin. My people-pleasing nature wants to help everyone, with everything. My mom recognized this in me early in life watching me become overwhelmed by all I would committed myself to.  She taught me the power of not answering on the spot. Since then my go to response in life is always: “Can I get back to you?” This is lifesaving for fellow people-pleasers, especially when you have a household, a partner, children, and other people’s schedules to consider than just your own.  Nine out of ten times I end up doing the very thing that was requested, but I’m able to answer after verifying that nothing else conflicts with it.  These days I seldom find myself in a place of “What was I thinking???”
  24. My morning routine starts the night before. A clean kitchen, no dishes in the sink, dishwasher running, wiped down countertops, school bags packed; that all contributes to my waking up in a better mood and functioning at my best. Mornings run smoother when I put in a few extra minutes of effort the night before.
  25. I’m never going to wake up and magically feel different about some things, all I can do is wake up and decide to take a contrary action to them. (Shifting my thoughts about things help too: “I get to go to the gym. I get to go spend an hour concentrating only on myself. I get to move my body.”  Try this with things in you your life that you don’t want to do. Change your internal dialogue from “I have to…” to “I get to…” and your attitude will change too. I promise, this works.)
  26. My patience for other’s shortcomings is greater than my patience for my own faults. I’m learning to extend grace to myself, the way I offer it to others, in areas of my own life.
  27. Extend too much of yourself, and people will take it. You will be left feeling taken advantage of.
  28. My body is the house I grew up in. When I quit trying to burn it to the ground, I realized how incredible it is.

    My current pair of Brooks. Love ’em!

  29. Tennis shoes need to be replaced every 6-12 months. Who knew? (Thank you to my pediatrist for teaching me this.) Also, Brooks GTS Adrenaline tennis shoes are the greatest tennies ever. Fight me.
  30. My kids won’t want to stay home and watch movies with mom and dad on Friday & Saturday nights forever.  While they do I’m going to savor every minute of it. This chapter is so sweet.
  31. Flowers & candlelight dinners are great, but the most romantic things are the everyday and ordinary gestures that say, “I care”. They’re the daily reminders that show selflessness and love. When my husband and I were only dating I mentioned to him that I despised pumping gas.  Since then, without being asked, and often without even my knowledge, he takes my car and gasses it up.  I can count on one hand how often I’ve gotten gas in the last several years, because he just does it.  That and he brews my coffee for my every morning.
  32. The things you don’t like most about your life are a result of the things that you have not dealt with. We get to decide every day; you can pretend, or you can make things better.
  33. People with exceptionally high standards will always be disappointed in life. Don’t lose sight of a blessing because you’re too focused on what you did not get, who did not show up, or what did not happen. Be thankful for what you did receive, or you’ll miss the entire blessing every time.
  34. Everyone wants desperately to be liked & accepted. Share your story. Someone else will be in the same boat. Someone else will also raise their hand and say me too.

    “Of course I peed my pants, everyone my age pees their pants. It’s the coolest.”

  35. Peeing your pants isn’t just for toddlers. Have a baby and you’ll pee your pants. Have more than one and it’ll happen frequently. Sneeze? Ya pee. Cough? Then too. Laughing fit? No doubt. Embrace it and learn to laugh at yourself. (And if you ever teased your own mom about this growing up, you are DESTINED to wet yourself from time to time. Welcome to the Wet Pants Club.)

Okay!  There you have it!  35 things I’ve learned in my {nearly} 35 years.  This list came about surprisingly easy when I began to think about all the wise, intelligent, and gifted people I’ve had the pleasure of doing life with. Thank you for all the lessons & love, guys!

Now I want to know, what’s on your list?  What have been the most impactful lessons in your own life? Any conversations or experiences you feel confident  shaped you to be who you are?

One Comment

  1. Avatar

    You go girl!!! Great list made for a fun read! Feel lucky to have your knowledge and experience in my life! You will no doubt make 35 your own!

    Kristin Lord
    Mar 22, 2019 Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: