35 things I learned before I turned 35

Today is my birthday!  I turn 35 today and in honor of this momentous occasion, I would like to share with you 35 things I have learned before today, in no particular order.  A few may seem silly, and a few of these lessons have been learned in times of sadness, but all of them are genuine.

35 thinks I learned before I turned 35

About Friends

1.  Treasure your friendsNo matter how near or far your friends may be, keep them close to your heart.  Meeting up with an old friend feels like a sunny day that warms my soul.

2.  Making new friends is hard:  But it is important to keep trying.

About Love

3.  Love Deeply:  Love your family.  Answer their phone calls and text messages.  Go visit.  Let them know how much they mean to you.  You never know when you will be seeing them for the last time.

4.  Allow yourself to be loved:  Know that you are worthy of love.  Let that love fill you up.

Given to fly

About Self-Care

5. Take care of yourself:  Take a break.  Take time for yourself so you can recharge and be the best version of yourself.

6.  Find your passion:  What do you love?  Find your and make time to embrace it.  Enjoy a hobby or two.  If you can make a career out of it, even better.

7.  Dress in a way that makes you feel good about yourself:  Whether it’s business suits or yoga pants, dress in a way that you most feel comfortable.  When you look in the mirror, you should love the way you look and feel.

8.  Enjoy your alone time without guilt:  Go shopping, go see a movie, or just enjoy reading a book at a coffee shop.  Soak in the peace and quiet and you will find yourself to be a better parent and spouse when you return to your family.

About marriage

9.  Find a common interest with your spouse:  Whether it is music, sports, hiking, or fishing, find an activity that you and your spouse can enjoy together.

10.  Make time for just the two of you:  Find a reliable babysitter or call on the grandparents to watch the kids for the night so you and your spouse can have some time to yourselves.  Even if your date ends in a trip to the grocery store, as ours often does, you will still have each other’s undivided attention if only for a short time.


About cooking

11.  Learn to cook:  Anyone can follow a simple recipe.  Have a few go-to meals that are quick and easy that everyone enjoys.

12.  Always set an oven timer:  Sometimes my ego gets the best of me and I think, “Nah, I don’t need to set timer.  I’ll remember.”  The flaming taco shells beg to differ.

About raising children

13.  Talk with your children:  Talk about the tough stuff.  The things that make you feel most uncomfortable are the exact things you should be talking about.  Listen to them.  Have a conversation about values.  If you don’t teach them values, someone else will, whether you like it or not.   Talk to them now so that they know you will be there for them later.

14.  Play with your kids:  As much as it may pain you to sit down and play with dolls or Legos, remember that your children are only young once.  One day you will look back and wish you had played more.

15.  Be silly:  Sometimes silly saves the day.  When times are tough, sometimes all you need is a playful attitude and a good laugh.  And it’s okay to be silly in public, too.

16.  Say you are sorry:  Set a good example for your children and admit when you are wrong.  Tell them you are sorry and that you love them no matter what.

17.  Let your kids dress themselves:  Let them dress in a way that makes them feel good about themselves.  If it inspires self-confidence, then what you think really doesn’t matter.  Tell them they are beautiful.

Let kids dress themselves

About health and wellness

18.  Find a doctor you can trust:  Look for a doctor who has philosophies similar to your own.  Keep looking until you find a doctor that you are willing to put all of your faith into.

19.  Find an activity that nourishes your soul:  Whether it’s running, biking, swimming, yoga, or strength training.  Find your zen.

20.  You are only given one body:  Take care of it.

About life 

21.  Be kind to everyone you meet:  As Atticus Finch said, “You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.”

22.  Be generous:  Give.  Give of your heart.  Give your time.  Give your money.  Give all that you can.  

23.  Be smart enough to know when you are being taken advantage of:  A kind and generous heart is also one that is easily taken advantage of.  Know that it is okay to say no.

24.  Sing out loud:  Turn up the music and sing your heart out, especially when you are in the car with your spouse and kids.  And especially if the music is really awful.  It’s so much more fun that way.

25.  Dance:  Dance for your children.  It goes back to that being silly thing.  Who cares what you look like when you dance anyway?

26.  Cherish the little things: Be grateful for even the smallest gestures, like a child reaching for your hand for one day they will no longer want to hold your hand.

27.  Let go:  Life is too short for grudges.

28.  It’s okay to quit:  And it’s okay to let your child quit.  If it doesn’t bring you pleasure or joy, then it is time to move on.  It’s okay to close one chapter and begin a new one.

29.  Go against the grain:  Some of the best decisions that I’ve made for myself and my family have been those that go against norms.  Taking a different path does not mean it’s the wrong path, especially when the destination is the same.

30.  See the world:  Even if it just outside your doorway.  Be adventurous.  Travel and see new destinations.  Share these experiences with your spouse and children.

The bean


About nature

31.  Appreciate the beauty of the world around you:  Watch the sunset.  Glimpse the gorgeous hues of a sunrise, even if it is just while letting the dog out at the crack of dawn.  Walk barefoot in your yard.  Listen to the birds sing.

32.  Be kind to animals:  Love your pets as family.  Give them special treats and extra love because their time here is short.  Beyond that, appreciate the role that all animals play in this delicate ecosystem.  Take in their grace and beauty, but let them live in nature.

Grace and Sam

About books and reading

33.  Read to your kids:  Read “Otto Goes to the Beach” over and over until your 18 month old can read it by themselves. Do silly voices.  Read “just one more.”  Read all of the books, good or bad.  It is one of the best gifts you can give to your child.

34.  Life is too short for bad books:  Again, it is okay to quit.  Put the book down, walk away, and pick up another.  Just because someone else loved it does not mean that you have to struggle to finish something you don’t enjoy.  

35.  Read what you love:  And don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it.  Romance, young adult, science fiction, or fantasy.  Who cares.  Just read.  

Once you learn to read

This post was inspired by “35 things I’ve learned in 35 years” by one of my favorite bloggers Modern Mrs. Darcy.

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