As 2015 comes to a close, I have also celebrated my 32nd birthday. Turning 32, as with most birthdays now that I’m older, came with only a little fanfare and celebration.
Even so, my 32nd year on this earth held many changes and lessons – some difficult but many positive. It feels only right to record them here.
32 lessons for 32 years
1. Sometimes starting over is the best decision to make.
2. Timing is everything – and you have to face that often the best things can come with the worst timing.
3. Do things that make you happy, even if they don’t make sense to other people.
4. Softness and compassion does not make you a pushover – it makes you a good person.
5. Be gentle and forgiving with yourself. You are your own worst enemy – change that!
7. Set BIG goals that scare you. You’ll be amazed by what you can achieve.
8. Downsize and don’t worry about things. Things can be replaced. People and experiences cannot.
9. It is never too late to tell someone “I’m sorry” or “thank you.”
10. Find and foster relationships with people who raise you up. People who will stand in your corner and fight for you. They are essential to your wellbeing. Treasure them.
11. Take risks. Challenge the “What If’s” in your mind.
12. Try not to judge others for the decisions they make. You don’t know what led them to where they are.
13. Be kind.
14. Realize and appreciate when you are part of something special.
15. Listen to people. If they are opening up to you, they are doing it for a reason.
16. Keep an open mind in new situations and meeting new people – first impressions are not always accurate.
17. Stay calm. Panic and worry solves nothing and only adds stress. Step back and breathe. Allow your mind time to process.
18. Take time to indulge in guilty pleasures: listening to that band you love on repeat, watching cheesy movies, eating peanut butter from the jar with a spoon.
19. We live in a beautiful world but we don’t always see it. Open your eyes. Watch the landscape as it rolls by the window. Lie on the grass and watch the stars. See how people laugh with each other.
20. Tell people how you feel about them. Life is too short and, even if the outcome isn’t what you planned, it’s better to have no words left unspoken than to wish you had when you had the chance.
21. Remember your past does not predict your future, it is simply the path that led you to this point.
22. Surround yourself with photographs and mementos of people, places and memories you love.
23. Make peace with your past. Give yourself permission to let go of anything that drags you down.
24. Some people come into your life for a season and then they leave. Some people come into your life to stay. Appreciate and love both kinds of friendships for they will all have impacted your life.
25. Become friends with your parents. Appreciate and talk to them. Tell them what is happening in your life and tell them you love them often.
26. Learn how to admire someone else’s beauty without questioning your own.
27. Don’t ever see your scars and flaws as anything less than a crucial part of your story. They make you who you are and you are more interesting and wonderful because of them. Shattered glass lets more light in.
28. Take time to learn your family’s stories. Listen to the stories of the older generation of your relatives. It is your history and they will not always be around to tell their story. Listen and learn while you have the chance.
29. Take time to reflect on what is happening for you. Give yourself time to think and process how you feel. Talk it out, write it down, sketch it out.
30. Appreciate just how far you have come and how much you have changed.
31. Ask for help when you need it.
32. Fall in love with your life – every crazy, beautiful, terrifying moment for we are not guaranteed another.