Today I turn 36! Age is just a number, they say, and the older I get, the more I realize the truth in that statement. With every year, I feel both changed and exactly the same. There are parts of me that will always be and there are parts that will shift over time. One thing I know for certain is that, the older I get, the less I know. I gain wisdom, yes, but I also gain the realization that so much of life is a mystery (and so much is uniquely experienced in ways that are difficult to put into words).
This time of year always puts me in a state of reflection, and this year I’ve compiled a list of 36 things I’ve learned (some of them just this year!). I might not know everything, but after 36 years in this place, I’ve learned something. Like the quote above implies, with age I’ve figured out a lot about how the world works, but I’m willing to get out of the way of what I don’t yet understand. Miriam Makeba also said, “Age is wisdom, if one has lived one’s life properly. It is experience and knowledge.” Many bemoan getting older, but I’m thankful for it. Knowledge and wisdom is so important to me and the more I live, the more I discover. Here are just a few of the things I know so far…
- You are who (and where) you’re meant to be. All of the time.
- Opening your mind leads to more connection and contentment.
- Being good at something isn’t necessary for it to be good for you.
- There’s nothing wrong with enjoying being alone a lot of the time.
- Healing (physically and emotionally) can take longer than expected.
- The fewer expectations you have, the more you’ll enjoy it.
- Wanting something (or someone) can be better than having it.
- Paying attention to how people make you feel will provide clarity.
- Laughter isn’t technically medicine, but it is a kind of healing magic.
- It’s alright (and normal) to have mixed feelings about those you love.
- Knowing the why of your moods can help you work with them.
- Gratitude journals sound cheesy, but they actually do something.
- You’re allowed to say “no” — yes, even to people you love.
- The longer you keep doing it, the more you’re going to learn.
- What you focus on the most is what you will find.
- To deal with differences, try to seek out similarities.
- When it comes to anxiety, try acceptance over avoidance.
- Give yourself credit for the positive choices you’re making.
- Your thoughts are tinted by tons of things; they’re not facts.
- People usually want to help, so don’t be afraid to ask.
- Happiness and positivity are not the same thing.
- Things you dread are usually not as bad in reality.
- Look out for the gray areas; very little is black-or-white.
- Creativity and worry are connected (for better or worse!).
- Doing absolutely nothing isn’t always a waste of time.
- Choose the words that follow “I am…” carefully.
- A lot can change in a very little amount of time.
- You’re not obligated to be now the person you were then.
- Just because something hasn’t happened doesn’t mean it won’t.
- It’s okay (and even good, sometimes!) to be uncomfortable.
- What you love doesn’t have to make sense to everyone.
- Telling your story can be healing, but it’s not required.
- How people act is almost always about them, not you.
- Productivity isn’t a personality; you aren’t how much you do.
- You can (often) control who you allow into your life.
- The way you feel now isn’t how you’ll always feel.
It’s my hope that this list has given you some new knowledge or insights. It’s funny to write it because I know someday I’ll look back at my 36-year-old self and chuckle at how little I knew. (Yes, I do this with my 26-year-self now.) I’ll read things I wrote a decade ago and cringe, thinking how little I knew about what was to come. But that’s the cool thing about life: we don’t know what’s going to happen or what wisdom we’ll gain along the way. So, for now, I’ll just keep sharing what I know the best way I know how. Thanks for following along with me as I keep learning (and especially as I’m working on my next book, which I’m so thrilled about but which is causing the blog to take a bit of a backseat).
If you want to help me celebrate my 36 years on this planet, consider supporting my work on Patreon, purchasing from the print shop, (use code “august23” for 36% off ’til 8/25/19), or checking out some of my digital products here. I appreciate your support!