28 Things I’ve Learned In 28 Years
I just got an invitation to my class reunion and it made me think of where I was a decade ago, what I’ve been through, and where I am today. Ten years ago, I was graduating high school, had my whole life planned out, and I thought I knew everything. But here I am, pushing thirty, and I still don’t know what I’m doing. With my birthday coming up in a few weeks, I wanted to reminisce on my journey and hopefully, encourage someone else along the way. I don’t remember anything from my textbooks, or what I made on my finals, but I can tell you about some pretty amazing things, and some not-so-amazing things, that I’ve experienced in 28 years.
28 Things I’ve Learned In 28 Years
1. Self-care is important.
Invest in yourself. Make yourself a priority. I know this is hard when you’re a wife and a mom, but it’s important. There are plenty of nights I’m exhausted from caring for all my babes that I just want to go to sleep. But taking care of my skin has made me more confident. Try wearing less makeup. When you do wear it, wash your face before bed. Your future self will thank you.
2. Eat what you want, when you want. But eat something green too.
I hate fad diets. I have never stuck to any diet in my life. Instead, I just eat a portion of what I want. Drink a lot of water. Cook whole foods instead of eating take out. This is how I feel guilt free when we go out to eat for special occasions. I will never turn down a good pizza.
3. Life doesn’t always go according to your plan, and that’s okay.
I’ve learned a lot in this department. I don’t even know where to start. I was a teen mom. I had my son my junior year of high school. I got married ten days after I graduated-yes ten days-to the wrong person for me. I had my second baby at nineteen. I was divorced by twenty-two. I dropped out of college and re-applied and went back several times, just to drop out again. I loved someone who broke my heart. But, all of this made me who I am today and I’m proud of how far I have actually come. I learned how to let go of what’s not meant to be. But most importantly, I learned to love myself.
4. You can’t have a rainbow without any rain.
They say you meet the love of your life after the biggest mistake of your life. Well, whoever “they” are, were right. I met my now husband five years ago. He has been there for me in ways no one else could be. He thinks of my older children as his own. He works hard for us every day. He supports all my crazy dreams. Waiting for the right person is so worth it. If I could go back, I’d find him sooner, so I could love him longer.
5. Friends come and go, but best friends are there for you through everything.
One true friend is better than a thousand fake ones. Remember that.
6. Overthinking and worrying is a waste of time.
Don’t let worrying about tomorrow steal your joy today. If it’s meant to be, it’ll be.
7. You can’t change anyone but yourself.
So just work on being a better you today than you were yesterday. Apologize when you’re wrong. I really struggle with this. Even when I know I’m wrong, it’s hard for me to say I’m sorry. But I’m working on that.
8. Strive to be a better you everyday.
Get up and work out. Try a yoga class. Do something new at least once a month. Love yourself. Be kind to strangers. A smile goes a long way.
9. Music is medicine.
10. Learning is actually fun when it’s something you’re passionate about.
I wasn’t someone who loved school. Somehow, I confused learning in school with learning about things I’m actually interested in and thought learning was a waste of time. It started with my camera in high school. I took probably half of my senior class’ senior portraits. I spent hours learning my camera inside and out. I started realizing there was more to the world than textbooks. When I became a mama, my focus shifted. I began to read books on pregnancy, birth, and all the crazy things that come with that. I fell in love with the process of birth. I read every book I could get my hands on. The moral of this is to find something you love and learn everything you can about it.
11. Read a book or two-or a hundred.
If you guessed I wasn’t a big reader in school, you’re correct. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to love to read. I read everything from self-care to finances. I love books that inspire me to grow. Find a topic you’re passionate about and then read about it. Then do it again. “Girl, Wash Your Face” is a great book to start with!
12. Set goals for yourself. Big & small.
I had really big dreams before I became a mom. Even though my dreams have shifted, they’re still just as big as my teenage ones, maybe even bigger because I’ve learned the only limits we have are the ones we put on ourselves. My small goals include waking up before my kids so I can check my social media, put away the pile of laundry (that’s been there for three days), actually plan my day, work on a blog post, and actually put real clothes on, instead of staying in my pajamas everyday. Some days flow perfectly and some days not so much! But that’s okay.
13. Follow your heart. Every time.
Just do it. It’s okay to follow your own path.
Travel out the country. Travel across the country. Travel to the nearest state. Travel to the next town. Find the time and go.
15. Experiences over possessions.
Just like I said above, find the time to travel and go. My husband and I have decided to give the gift of experiences, instead of “stuff.” I love seeing new places and trying new things with him and our kids. It really changes your perspective on life by visiting other places. Different ways of life, different food, different is good.
16. Smile + be kind every day.
Smile every time you pass a stranger, a friend, or a family member. You never know what someone is going through. They might really need it. Be kind. Treat everyone with politeness and kindness, not because they are nice, but because you are.
17. Let go of the past.
Let go of who you were. Love who you are. Look forward to who you will become. Because the truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, and unless you realize the situation is over, you can’t move on.
18. Learn to manage your money.
Learn how to create a budget and save your money. Start an emergency fund. Get out of debt. Learn to live below your means. Don’t save every penny, enjoy your life. Give. Leave your kids, and their kids, an inheritance. You can read about how a budget strengthened our marriage HERE!
19. You can’t make everyone happy.
Without making yourself miserable. You’re not responsible for other peoples happiness.
20. Find something you love to do and make time to do it.
I love spending time with my husband and my babies, but I’m also someone who needs something to do for myself. I love playing my guitar, writing, taking photos, listening to music, and not having a single thing to do. I make time for myself either really early in the morning or after everyone has gone to sleep. I write on this blog when I know no one will need me to fix them a snack! I can really rest and do something I love, when I know everyone else is taken care of.
21. Don’t compare your behind the scenes to someone’s highlight reel.
Don’t compare your life to what you see on social media. No one has it all together all the time.
22. It’s okay to say “No”
You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say “no.” Just be at peace with your decisions.
23. Heartache doesn’t last forever.
It seems like it will, but it won’t, I promise.
24. Learn from your mistakes so you don’t repeat them.
Mistakes give you the power to turn yourself into something better than you were before.
25. Don’t ever settle.
Create the life you want. Good things come to those who work hard.
26. Your kids will teach you more than you’ll ever teach them.
I’ve learned so much more from four little people than I ever did anywhere else. I’ve become more patient and less selfish. I learned how to manage time and money. I learned what true love really is.
27. Love with your whole heart.
Every thing can change in a moment. So just love fiercely.
28. Be yourself. The right people will love you for it.
It’s easy to compare yourself to others and try to be more like them. But you’ll get tired of pretending to be someone you’re not. Just be you and the right people will come along and love all the weird things about you.