Today, I'm turning 40 years young! I've been reflecting a lot lately as I build for the future and celebrate the present. In that spirit, I've put together some of the most helpful lessons I've learned along the way.
PS - if you can listen to music while you read (I truly can't hahahaha!), here's a soundtrack of some of my favorite songs to enjoy while you read along!
To magic and mischief!
40 Lessons I've Learned (so far)
1) People think differently than I do. When I realized this, I found a lot of peace.
2) Along this line, everything is a spectrum (cleanliness, sexuality, emotional intelligence, etc). Learning to accept that folks will be at different points without judgment has provided me with further compassion for myself and others.
3) We are all on our own timelines and pathways in this lifetime. Be good to yourself if you’re not where you think you “should” be. More on that “should” bizness later.
4) Balancing the needs of myself and others provided much growth. As a reformed (in process :) people pleaser, I now know that it is important to consider the needs of others, but critical to know, love, and honor myself. Maybe for other people, it’s the other way around and they need to work harder at considering the needs of others (hence the spectrum)? What a wonderful evolution it might be if we could all learn to calibrate and balance the needs of ourselves and others.
5) As a people pleaser, I’ve had to work hard to trust my own gut. It has been well worth it.
6) Be kind to yourself and others. Be honest with yourself and others. Practice being kind and honest simultaneously.
7) Cultivate a sense of curiosity. It just might rock your world!
8) Ask for help. And sometimes, if you can, be willing to pay for services that might improve your quality of life.
9) Celebrate change. The only constant in this world is change. Why fear it when you can embrace it?
10) As a “control freak” who celebrates change - learn to control what you can. When there’s a lot up in the air, use your inner wisdom to highlight the few steps ahead of you that you can see.
11) Make sure that you have at least one good friend that can help keep you in check. And/or bury a body. Just kidding?!
ON COMMUNICATION AND LANGUAGE
12) Reframe the language you use - even in your thoughts to yourself. This will lead to empathy for others.
Try omitting the following words from your vocabulary, they have been game changers for me!
13) “Should” or “Need to” - so many times, this is a projection of what we think people (or people think we) should or need to be doing and it’s not always helpful or accurate.
14) “(Insert name) made me feel (insert negative emotion).” It may very well feel like this, but so often, we do have more control than we believe. And sometimes we don’t, and I acknowledge that is really, really hard.
15) “But” - because “and'' is often such a more accurate word choice. Two things can absolutely be true at the same time and that’s okay. Living with that duality or plurality frees up much judgment and leads to a richer existence for us all.
16) Any variation of the “good” and “bad” binary (when an action is not objectively good or bad) - there is so much complexity inherent in any human interaction, it is often more helpful to think along the lines of “helpful” or “not helpful.”
17) “Happiness” - happiness overall is a lovely wonderful thing, but being content seems like a more sustainable lifelong goal. 18) Choose your words carefully. Choose your timing and delivery carefully and also, don't wait forever :).
19) Sometimes, what you say won’t be perceived as what you mean by the receiver.
20) Acknowledge that sometimes feelings get hurt. If someone’s feelings are hurt by your actions, try to listen, learn, and apologize through words and actions.
KNOW THYSELF, ACCEPT THYSELF.
21) Practice radical deep self love. This may seem silly, and it might work for you. Try looking in a mirror. Tell your reflection that you love yourself and what you love about yourself. Forgive yourself. By healing your own heart, it is easier to have compassion and love others.
22) Practice radical love and acceptance for others, even and especially when it’s hard.
23) Get to know yourself. Journal, draw a tarot card a day, do worksheets (ask me if you need any!).
24) “Change your stars,” my mom once suggested to me. Shed limiting beliefs about yourself and others. What is one unhelpful belief that you hold about yourself? Is it actually true? Can you make one positive change that begets a world of positive change?
25) You don’t have to do what everyone else does. Again, let your timeline be what it will.
26) Know your values, let your values be your guide.
27) Get a fresh perspective - build some new neural pathways through travel, volunteer work, talking to a stranger, taking a class, trying your hand at improv, etc!
BEING GOOD TO YOUR BODY / VESSEL
28) Take a timeout when you need it. Listen to your body well enough to know when you need it and don’t beat yourself up over it.
29) Be fat. Be thin. Be healthy, whatever that means for you. Be curious (again!).
30) If you have medical issues that are hindering your quality of life, see what you can do to make them better.
31) Try to get enough sleep.
32) Move that beautiful body!
ON HUMANITY AND CONNECTIONS
33) We as human beings are still evolving - our ancient hardwiring has not necessarily kept up with the speed of technology. Therefore, we as humans are susceptible to harmful beliefs - bigotry, intolerance, idol worship, and more. Have patience for yourself and your fellow humans for...
34) Almost everyone I have ever met has some sadness in their heart. Almost everyone I’ve met can meet on a human level. True connection and sometimes true change are possible in this space.
35) Refill your cup by giving back when you can - be it through volunteering, listening, being kind to strangers, giving super on-point gifts, etc!
36) This parable was read at a dear friend’s wedding and is attributed to Rabbi Simcha Bunim Bonhart of Peshischa. Again, this is about finding balance and just the duality of living.
"Keep two pieces of paper in your pocket at all times. On one: “I am a speck of dust,” and on the other : “The world was created for me.”
37) A tidy space makes a tidy mind.
38) If something takes you two minutes, do it!
39) Just be. What you have is enough. You are enough.
40) There are lots more lessons to learn. Reminder to self: never stop learning.