33 Lessons I Learned By 33

I don’t have any problem with aging. In fact, I look forward to it! My twenties were such a fast paced whirlwind of events. Life changed for me every five minutes it seemed like. I always landed on my feet, but the rug was certainly pulled out from under them more than a few times. My thirties have been a meandering journey into greater self-assurance, stability, and introspection.

I’ve been compiling this list over the last few years as I have thought about things that I have learned or realized up until this point in my adult life that I want to share with others. I certainly haven’t always known these things, and many of them have been learned in more recent years. I update this post every year on my birthday.

1 | You will always regret cutting your bangs.

2 | Physical health is important and we only get one body. We can’t erase damage once it’s done. Pass on the hard drugs, heavy drinking and unsafe sex. Eat to nourish if you can. Wear sunscreen.

3 | If a “marriage” was built on the wrong things or you choose the wrong person, it will not succeed no matter what you do or how hard you try to force it.

4 | It’s OK to admit fault; it’s beautiful, actually. Be willing to be wrong.

5 | You can’t please everyone. Prioritize the ones who matter the most.

6 | Live for YOU. Not for your parents. Not for your friends. Not for your boss. Not for your kids. Parents will pass away, friends and careers will come and go, kids will move out. You will be stuck with yourself, so you better be happy.

7 | Quality over quantity when it comes to clothes and shoes. Spend the money on the perfect classic pieces that you will love and own for a lifetime.

8 | Everything in life is temporary. Do not waste time stressing the hard times, because they will end. At the same time, do not attach to the good times; they will end, too.

9 | Don’t set unattainable expectations for people. Everyone is human and people have bad phases and deserve grace. I have, and I am thankful for second chances.

10 | Someone else is happy with less than what you have. Someone always has less than you. Always focus on gratitude.

11 | It’s never too late (or early) to start over. We only have this one short life on earth. If you screw up, fix it. If you make a bad choice, make a better one. You aren’t obligated to stay in a bad choice and relish in the mistake for some fixed amount of time.

12 | Spend money on experiences more than things.

13 | Keep your circle tight and exclusive to people who reciprocate true love and friendship. Those are the people who deserve your energy.

14 | Motherhood is an insanely stressful, emotional, and difficult job and no one can fully respect a mother the way another mother can.

15 | Everyone can teach you something.

16 | Hurt people hurt people.

17 | Give people the benefit of the doubt until they give you a reason not to, not the other way around.

18 | Bad credit will haunt you forever. On the other hand, bad credit isn’t the end of the world.

19 | You are not required to keep people in your life because they hold a certain title or status in your story (i.e. family member). If someone is hurting you or toxic to your life, it’s ok to let them go.

20 | Your personality is complete. Being who you are is possibly the most important thing you can do. Otherwise, you attract incompatible people and situations which will only cause problems later.

21 | Say YES to invitations as much as you can. The irreplaceable memories I have made on occasions where I almost stayed home are sacred to me and would have never happened if I declined the invitation.

22 | It’s who you know. Sorry, but it is. Social and networking skills are just as important as formal education if not more. Almost all of the life changing opportunities I have received are directly a result of a referral, a friendship, or a recommendation.

23 | Something in the day-to-day will always suffer. It’s impossible to get it all done…well. Every day, something has to be sacrificed. We are told we can have it all, but also expected to do it all. It isn’t realistic.

24 | You can learn how to do anything on YouTube. Literally, anything.

25 | Other regions of the United States are worth exploring. There is so much more to life than your own back yard, and flying over states is a humbling reminder of how small you are on the map.

26 | It does matter what people think. It’s a common mantra for people to exclaim that you “shouldn’t care what people think”. I can appreciate what they mean and can also relate, but one thing I have learned over time is that impressions you leave on people are the key to succeeding in relationships, careers, and opportunities.

27 | The text can wait until you pull over.

28 | You should be considerate and interested in the love languages and personality types of people you care about. Learning these things changed my relationships for the better.

29 | It’s ok to see both sides of an issue. You are not required to be passionately rigid on one side or the other.

30 | Never loan money unless you’re ok to never get it back.

31 | Go to bed angry. Talking something to death when you’re emotionally heated, tired, hungry etc. will often make it worse. Sleep on it.

32 | I have never regretted taking a calculated risk. I live by the metaphor of “leap and the net will appear”.

33 | No one is doing life “wrong”. Some people are only doing it differently. I care less about judging and more about wanting everyone to be happy, whatever that looks like for them.

If you are ahead of me (or behind me) in years, what have you learned? What took forever to learn? I’m so happy being a work in progress that never stops changing, growing, and experiencing.

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  • Patricia
    June 9, 2016 at 1:30 am

    Great list! 19 and 25

  • Lisa B
    June 11, 2016 at 3:56 am

    I kept trying to find one of these that resonated the most with me… but they are ALL wonderful and true and brilliant. Perfectly said! <3 (And happy belated birthday! I turned 30 in April and feel like it's going to be a great decade.)

  • Amy Doodle
    June 20, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Well said Darlin! I love you very much.

    • katiemcrenshaw
      July 10, 2016 at 8:12 am

      I love you!