Today is my 31st birthday.
I want to celebrate it with a few simple things this year: Chinese food with my husband, a nice martini, and tres leches cake.
As another year passes, I spent some time reflecting on some of the lessons I’ve learned.
Here are 31 life lessons learned in my 31 years:
- Spend time in silence and solitude. It is where you will find peace, inspiration, and clarity that can’t be experienced in the noise.
- There is no such thing as stylish and comfortable high heel shoes.
- A handful of great friends is worth more than a hundred mediocre ones.
- Be a good listener. You will learn, understand, empathize, and communicate respect.
- Time is not endless. Use it wisely, and don’t waste it!
- Inspiration and motivation come in small bursts. Act while it’s hot.
- A hug can solve a thousand problems.
- Own your failure and mistakes.
- Simplify. Get rid of the clutter.
- Kindness takes you farther than intelligence. If you are ever faced with the option of either being right or being kind, choose kind.
- Figure out the few essential things you value in life, and build everything around that.
- You don’t have to do anything – you always have a choice.
- Most people’s opinions of you don’t really matter. Stop worrying about pleasing and impressing others.
- Marry someone with a good sense of humor and a good sense of self.
- Nobody has it all figured out. So it’s okay if you don’t either.
- Exercise and eat well. Treat your body with care because it’s the only one you get.
- Things are usually better in the morning.
- Multitasking is overrated. Do one thing at a time.
- The measure you give is the measure you’ll get.
- Life gives and takes away. Learn the art of contentment and gratitude, and you will be free to embrace whatever you do or don’t have.
- Find something that you love and enjoy, and make regular time for it.
- Skip the okay dessert (Hershey’s Kisses), and eat the really good dessert (Mom’s rum cake).
- Create margin in your life. Maintain a healthy pace, and make room for interruptions.
- Wear something that makes you feel good every day, even if it’s nice underwear beneath sweatpants.
- This too shall pass – those awkward adolescent years, the first months of parenting, depression – none of them will last forever.
- Treat strangers with compassion, including the snippy clerk at the DMV.
- Learn how to manage money wisely before you have a lot. Save, budget, spend less than you make, and don’t go into debt.
- Embrace the present moment.
- Some things are worth paying more for. Buy the quality leather couch, wool coat, and good knives.
- Practice gratefulness.
- Know yourself. Learn your weaknesses, strengths, and temperament. Self-awareness is a great gift to you and everyone around you.