It’s happening. I am ‘officially’ becoming a grownup. 30. Yes friends, this week I turn thirty. And, as I take stock of the past three decades I realize that I’ve lived a lot! I’ve recovered from an eating disorder. I’ve competed in the Olympics. I’ve opened a business. I’ve fallen deeply in love… (three times!).
And, I’ve struggled. I’ve lost a brother. I’ve taken the *completely* wrong job. I’ve put my foot in my mouth. I’ve part ways from best friends.
I can only imagine the journey I’ll continue on over the next decade. I am excited to see who I’ll continue to become considering the lessons I’ve lived. Here are 30 things I’ve learned thus far:
1) You Have To Forgive
Period. As much as you might have been wronged, holding on to vengeance and anger really only hurts you. I remember I was *so* tortured by an old relationship in which I felt violated. I replayed the story in my being until I realized I was the only one still suffering from it. Let that shit go! For you.
2) Always Eat The Cake
(As if there is a *real* reason to not?!) A joy-free diet does not a happy person make. Let the ritual of celebration remind you that time and friends are precious!
3) Take Care Of Your Body
You’ll need it for a while...
4) Listen To Your ‘Gut’
I’ve known that certain jobs and people wouldn’t serve me and, yet, I’ve allowed myself to be convinced otherwise. This only increased my suffering. Think about it: when have you followed your ‘gut’ and things worked out badly? My point exactly!
5) Nobody Cares About You Being Skinny But You
You butt does not determine anything about you except what type of chairs are comfortable. Let go of the body shaming, body managing, body mis-trusting, and body agenda; instead enjoy life in your beautiful body.
6) Remember To Say “I Love You”
You cannot say this enough. Say it in how you show up. Say it in words. Say it in offerings. Say it in touch. Just make sure you say it. Everyday.
7) Write Notes
In this cyber-technological era we’ve found ourselves, there is a loss of tangible artifacts. Remember how much joy it brought you to go through your grandmother’s letters? Me too! Take time to dust off the stationary and create a lasting memory.
8) Give Yourself Permission To Say “No” (And Not Be A ‘Worse’ Person!)
This one is important. You are not a better person for being utterly selfless. (In fact, chances are being utterly selfless will make you bitter and resentful…) You have to matter to you. From my own experience, waiting for someone to see you are suffering--not only sucks-- it doesn’t work! Stop being a martyr. You deserve a bit of all the love you share.
9) Create Ritual
You know what makes your cup of tea better? The fact you always stir counter-clockwise and add two teaspoons of honey. Research reminds us that creating ceremony around things helps us appreciate things more. Experience your little pleasures. Make a practice of it.
10) Say ‘Yes’ To Feeling (Even The Bad Ones!)
In my experience feelings need to breathe. All the times I’ve stifled ‘nos’ have left me feeling that ‘no’ in my bones and breath. This embodiment of stifled feelings does not serve anyone. You have to feel. Fully. Remember, your goal is not to stop feeling but to embrace them.
Part of the joy of the human experience is our ability for connection. Sharing your time is a great way to do this. When we give of ourselves, we get ourselves back brighter.
12) Be Vulnerable (With The Right People)
One of the most healing practices I’ve encountered is vulnerability. Vulnerability is the gift of celebrating your humanity. The best way for truly deep connection is to open up to it. Let yourself be known to your people. You’ll be better bonded for life.
13) Fall Madly In Love
There are certain things we will always remember. The first time we kiss. The first time we have sex. The first time we have good sex… Love is the bookend to these memories. The experience of being in love and loved by a partner is one of the great joys of life.
Eight hours please!
15) Diets Don’t Work. Eat Meals
If you want to feel balanced, eat balanced. Or, just continue on your waves of sugar crashes and conditional acceptance. It is actually that *simple*.
16) Listen To Your Parents
If you want to understand and love yourself more, learn and love where you come from. As much as we might not want to become our mother, she has some valuable things to say. Let the lives of your family inspire more compassion and wisdom for your own journey.
17) Denial Doesn’t Work
The truth always has a way of being heard. Just saying...
18) Never Say Never
You know those things you’ll ‘never’ do? It’s okay if you do! I have a dear friend who would ‘never’ live in Seattle. It’s her home now. Life likes to happen inspite of our mind’s story. This is a good thing.
19) People Will Surprise You... If You Let Them
I remember after my brother died feeling utterly alone. My family was suffering and we could not effectively support each other. Then, I called a few friends. The outpouring of genuine concern and love I received was both surprising (to my expectations) and invaluable. I am grateful for this always. One of the best things I learned at that tragic time is that people are astonishingly good.
20) Chose Love And Compassion Whenever Possible. (HINT- It’s Always Possible)
We often like our judgements because we think they keep us safe. We think with judgement we can play the ‘that’s not me’ card… until we can’t. The truth is it is always me. Or, you. Or, us. AND, this is okay! Practice seeing yourself as part of things not outside of them. When we practice this, we can not help but be loving.
21) Don’t Let Laundry Sit
This one I still *kinda* suck at. Nonetheless, it’s important. Don’t let those stinky yoga clothes hang out. And, honor your clean things. You are worth it!
Bonus: Make your bed
This always feels good.
22) Say ‘Thank You’ And Mean It!
If you want to learn how to be happy, learn how to be grateful. Try it out. For one day when you say ‘thank you’ look people in the eyes and offer them gratitude from your heart. I promise this will dramatically affect your happiness and marvel. You. Are. Welcome.
23) Learn To Truly Apologize
Say ‘I’m sorry’ and mean it!
24) The Universe Has A Plan
You probably will not see it until it hits you in the face but the events of your life are teachings. I can confidently say that the people and places I’ve encountered in my life were *exactly* what I needed. In times of doubt, remember, nothing is without significance.
25) It’s Okay To ‘Not Know’
In fact, sometimes it’s kinda the point! Tell your ego to shove it. You’ll be MUCH happier!
26) Risks Are Part Of The Plan
When was the last time you took a risk that didn’t change your life or teach you something? I know for me risk is one of the best teachers I’ve had. Taking risk has taught me my strength, my vulnerability, and that nothing cannot eventually be laughed off or embraced. Risks are integral features in our lives that help us better become our compassionate selves.
27) Fear Means You Are On To Something
Everytime I feel anxious or fearful I take a moment for gratitude; I know I am on to something. I like to tell my students to pay attention to the things that get us edgy because there is something to learn there. If I have no opinion or physical reaction to something, chances are I am more balanced around that thing. Conversely, when I get scared, I have an indicator for growth.
28) You Are Lovable (No Matter What Your Mind Says)
I had a teacher that used to say “love yourself or learn how to”. It is only as I’ve gotten older that I’ve realized *just* how right he was. You have to be on your side. You have to be your advocate. You have to be your love. Remember, there is nothing wrong with you. Not. One. Thing. Then, live like it!
29) Remain A Student
There is no timeline on learning. Do yourself a favor and remember this. The only thing you have to ‘know’ is that you ‘know’ nothing.
Bonus- Listen to him!