And just like that…I’m thirty-five (going on five because I couldn’t pass up the obligatory birthday/balloons photo op.) and officially in my mid-thirties! Yikes. Time flies when you’re having fun, doesn’t it?! In all honesty though, birthdays and turning another year older do not scare me. As the saying goes, “Do not regret getting older. It is a privilege denied to many.” I have so much to be thankful and grateful for and each year only gets better so cheers to another year older, wiser and happier!
In honor of my 35th birthday, I wanted to share 35 life lessons and/or life quotes (in no particular order) that I would tell my younger self that I’ve learned over the years and some that I practice today which have helped me have a more positive outlook on life and be happier in general. What are some of your favorite life quotes and/or life lessons you’ve learned over the years?
- You’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea..and that’s OK. Invest your time and energy into the people who invest in you.
- While you have to plan for the future, you should live for today. Take that trip you’ve always wanted to take. Splurge on that handbag you’ve had your eye on for a while. Call in sick and spend your day in bed watching your favorite shows. Leave work early and meet your friends for happy hour or make it home in time for dinner with your family.
- Make sure to save for a rainy day because you never know what can happen. Believe it or not, I’m still learning how to save and need to keep working at it because I know how important it is to save. Nothing in life is guaranteed. That job you have now may not be there tomorrow and your family may not be able bail you out. So while it’s important to live for today, be smart about it.
- Life really is short. At any moment, our life can be taken from us so cherish those moments you have with the people you care most about. Remind those you care about how much you love them and hug them just a little tighter.
- Your high school years are not the best years of your life. I promise.
- Don’t focus so much on “being popular” and getting people to like you. Get them to respect you.
- Don’t chase those boys/girls (or anyone for that matter) in high school and in your early 20s. Focus on YOU! You have so much to learn about yourself from the time you’re 16 to 25 and so forth. You’ll continue to grow and evolve and what you think you want in your 20s might not be the same as what you want in your 30s.
- “Stay true to yourself, yet always be open to learn.”
- Not everyone you talk to or hang out with is going to be your best friend or has your best interest at heart. That too is OK. It takes time to develop trust and meaningful relationships so save your secrets for the select few.
- Collect memories, not things. The memories you make always outweigh the benefits and shelf life of that new accessory or gadget collecting dust.
- Don’t give up on your dreams and do what you’re most passionate about, but be realistic. If you’ve never played basketball a day in your life and can’t dribble a basketball, you’re probably not going to make it to the NBA. I know. Bummer. Just like my 5’6 average frame will probably never get me that Victoria’s Secret modeling contract, but who’s to say I can’t/won’t attend the show as a guest one day?
- Take risks and don’t be afraid of the unknown. It will all work out even if it takes you longer to get there. And if it doesn’t, you can always start over. If you’ve always wanted to live abroad and you have nothing major tying you down, go do it! You can always come back. If you’ve always wanted to open up your own bakery, bake away and offer to cater your friend’s next party! One of my biggest regrets is changing my major in college from broadcast journalism to marketing communications because I thought it would be “easier” or “safe” in the event I wouldn’t make it as a journalist. I gave up because of fear of the unknown. Here I am, years later, finally following my passion of writing even if it’s just as a hobby, but at least I’m doing what it is I’ve always enjoyed doing, in one way or another.
- Don’t pick a job or career based solely on the bottom line and what will give you short term results. You may have to work harder, work longer hours and make less in the beginning working a job you actually enjoy or you just might end up working a dead-end job with no potential to grow wishing you were doing something else.
- Don’t wish. Do. If you’re not happy with your current situation, whether it be financial, your career, your relationship, etc., you need to take control of your circumstances and change what you want to change. You can come up with any excuse in the book as to why you can’t do something or don’t want to, but in the end, it really is up to you.
- Spend time with your family. Call your parents, siblings, grandparents, aunt, cousin, etc. as often as you can. Take time out of your schedule and visit them. Your family loves you unconditionally and you don’t want to have any regrets. They won’t always be there (see #4).
- Show up. If a close friend or a relative invites you to something, it means a lot to them for you to be there so make the effort. This is something I always pride myself in doing and I know it’s never gone unnoticed.
- Be punctual and respect people’s time. This is something I’ve struggled with forever!!! I’m usually always running 5-10 min. late and while my friends and family have accepted it for the most part, everyone’s time is valuable so do your best to be there..on time!
- Develop deep and meaningful relationships, not surface ones. While it’s fun to have people to go out and party with, it’s more important to know you can count on said people to pick you up if you’re stranded, hold your hair back when you’re sick, are loyal and are there for you in a time of need (see #1 and #9).
- Be the kind of friend you’re looking for. If you’re a good friend to others, you’ll almost always get the same in return. However if you feel it’s always one sided, then it might be time to re-evaluate that relationship.
- Maintain the friendships you have when you’re in different stages in life. One friend might be having babies, one friend might busy growing her/his career, one may be traveling the world, but a simple text, phone call or email reaching out to them to check in every once in a while goes a long way and will help keep that line of communication open for a lasting friendship. “Everyone has a friend during each stage of life. But if you’re lucky, you’ll have the same friend in all stages of life.” (So lucky to have a few of these gems.)
- No one is ever “too busy.” You make time for those you want to make time for and/or things you want to do. Of course life happens and you may not be able to talk as much as you used to, but don’t forget the people who were there for you and made time for you when you needed it. People will come and go and that’s alright. Those who make the effort to stay in your life are worth keeping around.
- Don’t be self serving or only do things for others with the expectation of wanting something in return. People will see right though you and you’ll be awfully disappointed.
- Do something kind on a random day for a complete stranger. Help that elderly couple cross the street. Buy that homeless person you see often a meal. Volunteer your time. Whether it’s an hour a week, an hour a month or a couple times a year, help someone in need just because.
- Smile and say: “Hello!” to the complete stranger who catches your eye. You never know who you might meet or if they’re you’re soul mate.
- Don’t hold a grudge. I know for me at least, it takes more effort staying angry and holding onto resentment than forgiving someone. You free yourself by being able to move on and accepting that apology you may never receive. As that famous song goes, “Let it Go!!”
- Forgive and forget. When someone apologizes and you’ve addressed the issue already whether it be with a spouse, a relative or a friend, you owe it to the both of you to not bring it up again and not hold their past transgressions from 5 year ago against them. We all make mistakes.
- Having “better” clothes or making more money than someone doesn’t make you better than them. Neither does your job title. Sowwy. Most people don’t care and people who matter, won’t remember where you purchased your blouse from or the company you worked for. You should strive to be remembered for the kind of person you are. Stay humble.
- “People will forget what you’ve said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” This one hits home. Good or bad, I can definitely say I’ve had situations where I still remember how someone has made me feel.
- Go to the movies, see a play, watch a musical or go to a concert in your free time.
- Travel alone at least once. It really is liberating.
- The world doesn’t owe you anything and neither do the people in it.
- Don’t cheat your way through life. It’s so much more rewarding knowing you accomplished something on your own through hard work and determination over being handed something.
- “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Don’t compare your life to anyone else’s. Work at your own pace and you’ll get there when you get there.
- Success has a different meaning to everyone. Don’t measure someone else’s success based on what it means to you.
- Follow your heart and trust that your gut is always right!
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[Photography credit]: Gaby Abboud of Gabmaster Photography
Hair & Makeup: Daniela Kosta