Hello 35…Time sure does fly! I can’t believe that I’m 35 years old already even though I don’t feel a day over 21! With that said, I’m not opposed to aging and I reject the belief that it’s just a number. No Siree, your age is way more than that. It’s compassion, it’s empathy, it’s humility, it’s success, it’s strength, it’s a badge of honor and you should be proud. I’ve been living since 1982 and I love it.

Needless to say, I didn’t always feel this way. There were times when I use to be a downer around my birthdays. Looking at it as another year passing without being at that place I thought I needed to be. Fearing being alone, childless and not reaching my full potential; having the fear of running out of time. This was never a healthy way to look at birthdays especially when it isn’t promised. I have so much to be thankful for and have learned so many lessons along the way. So for my 35th birthday, I’ve decided to share them with you. Here are 35 things I’ve learned during my 35 years of life:

  1. Breathe. Breathing is one of the first signs of life. Life enters and leaves the body when we take our first and last breath. Deep breaths are like tiny resets…stop to breathe.
  2. Open your eyes. The world is beautiful and you are not alone it in.
  3. Allow yourself to feel. It’s ok to show all types of emotions as we go through life. There is no shame in crying. It’s okay to be happy and angry, to laugh and to cry, to smile and to frown. Life can be a roller coaster, ride it your own way.
  4. Baby steps are ok. Most of us learn to crawl before we walk. Some take longer than others and that’s fine. Take baby steps if you must, progress is progress no matter how small.
  5. Communicate. Many of us secretly wish that our loved ones (spouse especially) could read our minds. This is somewhat of a complicated request because we don’t want them to read all of it, just the parts that affect them.  I know it’s a good feeling when someone is in-tuned with you so much that they sometimes know what you’re thinking but expecting them to know everything will lead to frustration and disappointment. Use your words.
  6. Choose your friends wisely. Your friends will shape your life whether you believe it or not. Choose friends that have admirable qualities, you will become like them.
  7. Make memories. Explore and make memories with those you love. Life is short and we don’t know how much time we’ll get to spend with them.
  8. Count your blessings. Those who are happiest give thanks for the simplest of things. You don’t need to look too hard to find a reason to smile. Do it…it’s contagious.
  9. Stay away from toxic relationships. Flush toxins from your body and your life. Nothing good can come from them… Nothing.
  10. Spend wisely. Many of us work hard for our dollars, it’s senseless to throw it away on things we don’t even need. Act your wage…Don’t go broke competing with the Jones’s.
  11. Stand up for yourself. People will test you to see how much they can get away with, nip it in the bud.
  12. Know your worth. You are enough even if no one ever tells you. You are worthy of love and respect. Live your life believing that.
  13. You teach people how to treat you. It’s ok to call someone out when they step out of line or do something that offends you. Be polite but call it what it is. Don’t “play along” on the assumption that they’re joking.
  14. Don’t settle. They say when you settle for less than you deserve, you end up getting even less than you originally settled for. Believe me, that’s true. It’s ok to compromise but be sure you’re not consistently selling yourself short. Don’t set aside your standards because someone can’t rise up to them.
  15. YOU ARE ENOUGH!!! Everyone has insecurities especially in this society we now live in. But know that you are enough and act accordingly.
  16. Hard work pays off. If you work hard for what you want, you will get it….eventually:). Don’t lose patience. Don’t lose hope.
  17. You don’t need to know everything to do something. Start where you are, use what you have and grow from there.
  18. Feel gratitude not indebtedness. It’s somewhat natural to feel like we owe someone something when they do something kind for us but don’t. Instead, choose to be grateful, not indebted. Feeling indebted to someone will suck the life out f you. Trust that they did it because they wanted to. That should be the only reason to do something for someone anyway. If you’re on the other side – i.e being the one showing the act of kindness, ensure that you’re doing so because you want to not because you expect something in return.
  19. Discover who you are! Get to know who you are before society dictates that. In a world where following others is the trend, to find yourself and be just that is quite an accomplishment.
  20. Don’t be quick to judge. Give people the benefit of the doubt. You never know what battles people are fighting internally. Sometimes it’s really not about you.
  21. You will make mistakes…Learn from them and move on.
  22. Set goals and work towards them. Do something new every chance you get. 
  23. If you want empathy, you need to learn to show empathy. Try to walk in someone else’s shoe. Listen openly and wholeheartedly.
  24. Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to love you doesn’t mean they don’t love you the best they know how.
  25. We are more alike than we are different. If you look close enough, you will find a piece of you in almost everyone you meet. Connect with that piece and build.
  26. Love hard but not mindlessly. If it’s hurting, it’s not working. Know what love is and what it isn’t.
  27. Don’t listen to naysayers. They don’t know your true potential. Only you know that. Pursue your dreams regardless of what they say.
  28. FaceBook (aka FakeBook) is not real life. It’s is more like the “edited for TV” version of “life”. Live your life in the real world, that’s what matters. Do it for life, not likes.
  29. Love those who love you. Sometimes we take for granted the love that is given to us so freely. We spend our time and effort chasing loveless relationships, trying to score points with people who don’t care for us. Love is a two-way street, if it’s not coming back your way, move on.
  30. Be healthy. Make your health a priority. It doesn’t matter how much you achieve in this world, if you don’t have your health, you won’t be able to enjoy it.
  31. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. We often jump to the conclusion that the next person has an easier, happier life. This is often so far from the truth. What I’ve realized is that many people want something the other person has or at least they think they do. It was quite an awakening when my friend told me recently that she envies me for not having children. Little did she know that I’ve envied her for those same children.
  32. Your drive is more important than your smarts.  You could be the smartest person in the room, if you’re not driven to succeed, nothing will happen for you. What drives you?
  33. Families are tied at the heart, not at the hip. Though they grow separately, they will always be together.
  34. You are in charge of your own happiness. Do more of the things that make your heart smile.
  35. You were created to be great and to do great things. Go Do it!

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