Last week I turned 35.
That means I will now be checking the 35-40 box. With that new check mark comes experiences and lessons that my 20-something self was clueless about. These are my 35 lessons I’ve learned in 35 years.
1. The misfits, troublemakers, square pegs, weirdos and creative kids can change the world. I’ve been called “weird” many times growing up and even into my adult years. My husband still calls me weird from time to time. It’s the best compliment he can give me.
2. Family is always first. I spent too much time in my teens arguing with my parents. Then in my 20’s I was consumed in my relationship, college antics and partying. If your parents are still alive – spend time with them. Call them often and don’t hold grudges.
3. Self-love and acceptance gets stronger as we get older.
4. Don’t just take the pictures, get in front of the camera. I was trying to find a picture of myself with the kids and I had to go back almost a year! Pretty sad considering how many pictures I take.
5. Get in the pool, swim in the ocean and play, play, play. While you are busy trying to cover up, your kids are having fun. They won’t remember your stretch marks or jiggly arms. Stop hiding and go make some memories!
6. Not everyone who is in a leadership is actually a leader. The words vice-president, senior vice-president or even manager do not make someone a leader.
7. Qualities of a good leader – visionary, listens, motivates, speaks with conviction and has contagious energy.
8. If it doesn’t scare you or make you uncomfortable, then it’s too easy. Pick the harder class. Find another job if you’re not being challenged.
9. The world is a much cooler and happier place when you view it through the eyes of a child.
10. Your parents are always right. This once annoying quote proves itself to be true more times than I care to admit.
11. Confidence and kindness is always sexier.
12. Your health isn’t always under your control. Control what you can – don’t smoke, limit drinking, exercise and limit stress. I met many healthy women during my cancer treatments. Do what you can and leave the rest to God.
13. Guys are awful at mind-reading. If you want something, tell them.
14. When in doubt, always wear black.
15. The biggest learning opportunities come from failures.
16. Invest in a good mascara, foundation and face cream.
17. Adopt a pet versus purchasing from a private breeder. There are thousands of animals that are homeless.
18. Say yes today because tomorrow is never promised.
19. You know that whole thing about starting to save early? I hate to say it, but it’s true. Thank goodness for early 401k options at work.
20. Performing acts of kindness boosts your mood and makes you a happier human.
21. Viewing the world through the eyes of a child brings kindness and creativity into the soul.
22. I have yet to see a perfect relationship or marriage. Every relationship has their secret battles and comparing your relationship to others is a detriment.
23. Gossip. It’s easy to fall into and it can be just as easy to kindly walk away.
24. It is OK to not belong to any one group. The more you try, the more disappointed you will be. Welcome to the land of the misfits!
25. If someone you love is struggling with a hardship, addiction, or mental illness, approach them with love and compassion.
26.Disappointment and anger are imminent so do your best to control the bad energy.
27. God always provides.
28. No one thinks about you more than yourself.
29. Gratefulness brings peace and happiness to life.
30. Every hard-working girl needs to buy an expensive pair of jeans and handbag.
31. Moms really do love to talk about their kids. I am one of them.
32. Say one thing you are grateful for, every day. The car, house, family, and clothes on your back are things we take for granted.
33. Being diagnosed with a disease or illness will make some people around you uncomfortable. Many will pull back and disappear. That’s OK.
34. You can never kiss, hug or cuddle with your kids enough.
35. Being open to experiences, people and philosophies allows you to grow mentally and emotionally.
Jessica is a momma of two (3 & 9), wife to her high school sweetheart, breast cancer survivor and a self-proclaimed misfit. She works from home as a marketing consultant in between the naps and school pick-ups. She claims a little corner of the internet, Rebel Soul Mom, where she writes about family, crafts/DIY, life after cancer, imperfect parenting and other messy bits of life. You can find her website here and her Facebook page here.