It's difficult to reduce a lifetime of lessons into a few short paragraphs. But as I sit here at 5:00AM on a nightshift contemplating and marinating in the story of my life, I try. I am excited to be thirty and so grateful to have made it to this moment. To a space where I can be so unabashedly myself and yet not be committed to the person that I see in the mirror today. So to ring in the year I turn 30 years old, let's go.
The journey really is more important than the destination - The starting line is a good start, but the finish line is relative. If all you care about is the view from the top, the climb is going to be really, really tough. Life happens in the in-between.
You can absolutely pick your relatives - being blood relatives won't make up for being an a**hole. I don't have time for that kind of energy. You can choose who sticks around and is worth every inch of your heart, and you can distance yourself from those that dim your light.
Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional - we can look at old hurts and ow-ies as learning opportunities and nuggets of gratitude.
You can be spontaneous AND have plans - there is always room for whimsy and magic.
Weight is not a measure of worth - weight fluctuates with hormones, daily body composition and by what we take in and put out. It does not measure the quality of my character.
...But there is wealth in your health - nothing eats more of your time than sickness. Asthma, obesity, bulimia and anxiety took away time, energy and opportunities that I may never be able to capitalize on again. Take care of yourself.
Protect your energy - I am no use to anyone if my cup is not full. I am irritable, snappy and overworked. My productivity suffers and important things don't get done well. If you can't manage your energy, good luck managing your time. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries.
Communication is key - to clear misunderstandings, to quiet the ego, to build connection and rapport.
People hold you back to protect you - sometimes the people that love and support you most pull you back towards mediocrity when you want to uplevel. It's not a means of discouraging you but a way of shielding you from disappointment. Have the courage not to listen if your gut tells you otherwise. Also, relationships will come and go - I am a big believer in people coming into our lives to teach us something and peacing out when they're done. Thank them.
You reserve the right to change your mind - if you don't like the story you are telling yourself, change the story. Validate the experience but not the story. You have capacity and power over your own damn life. Use it.
Money can buy you happiness, because it gives you freedom - monetary wealth may very well give you more time to spend doing things that you love with the people you love. It gives you the time and energetic freedom to engage in causes you care about deeply. Money is just an energy exchange.
The attitude of gratitude - is everything. It's a practice in abundance and a mindset shift from scarcity. It's a shift into focusing on what you have, as oppose to what you don't. What you appreciate appreciates: work, relationships, health, mindset increase in its value and enhances your enjoyment of the present. Be thankful, and mean it.
Everyone knows something you don't - keep listening, keep learning.
Movement, Music and Breath are the fastest ways to shift your energy.
Don't worry so much - there are so many variables in this world that we cannot control. The act of surrendering is a trust exercise with the universe. The kinks end up working themselves out eventually, worrying about it is simply a waste.
Surround yourself by people that uplevel you - be around people that are smarter than you. Disengage from those who are addicted to suffering and want to bond over it. Find people that hold space for you without expectation, they're your best cheerleaders.
Love is a verb - say I love you often and to everyone that matters. Show your admiration everyday, you may regret not taking the opportunity in the future.
Don't waste a good trigger - when we feel triggered, there is something within the subconscious that has not yet been processed. That's a golden nugget; an opportunity for learning. Sit with it.
Being kind to others is one of the most valuable investments you can make - it's easy and the energy exchange has brightened my day on more than one occasion.
"What we don't need in the midst of struggle is shame for being human." Brene Brown - as a teenager and a budding young adult, hormones aren't easy. Emotions aren't easy. Grief isn't easy. And navigating the struggles of finding yourself is not freaking easy. Tack on generational, religious, societal and personal shame, you have a recipe for one hot mess. Give yourself grace.
Marriage is a commitment to dating forever - I get to continue learning about my partner, what makes my partner happy, work on myself and woo and be wooed for the rest of my life.
Travel - experience other cultures, eat weird food and immerse yourself in a whole different world. It's humbling.
It's okay to suck at stuff - my Perfectionist sent me into a shame spiral that was not conducive to transformation or transcendence. We have to start somewhere, and if we still suck, that thing, that experience, that hobby may just not be for us. And that's okay.
Let. That. Shit. Go. - grudges, old attachments, jealousy, petty fights. It's not worth the heart strain.
There is power in owning your sexuality - when we make our pleasure fully accessible it allows for a universal openness to opportunity, to desires, to our drive and curiosity. It opens the doors to fun, experimentation and content. So get it.
Grief is the price we pay for love - whether it's losing a loved one, a job, a limb or a function, grief reminds us that to feel the absence of our love, desires and time invested, we have had to have obtained it in the first place. Emotions are the essence of humanity, so feel it.
There are important lessons in the past - read The Aeneid, go to a museum, eat a traditional dish. Learn about the Titanic or go to Pompeii. It teaches us of another time and how far we have come.
Playing is not only for children - play sparks the fires of our creativity and allows us to create new pathways for transformation on a personal and professional level. Be silly, engage in humor, even if it's dumb. Prioritize play whenever possible.
Other people's opinions of me are none of my business - what goes on in someone else's head is private. So any perceived judgements, misgivings or deductions about me have nothing to do with me and everything to do with their own perception.
If you're doing what you love, in the place that you love, around the people you love... you're winning.