Reflecting today on the past 34 years of my life. How is it possible that I've been alive so long? I remember my dear Great Grandma making the comment at some point in her early 90s, "I looked in the mirror today and thought, WHO is that old lady? I still feel 22 inside." I can understand that statement better and better as each year passes. I'm certainly not old, and just the other day someone mistook me for a teenager. But time is passing more quickly than I knew it could and from what I understand, it only speeds up from here.
In no particular order here are the 34 Things I've Learned in My 34 years:
1- Most people are good. Yes, there are some nasty ones out there. But in my experience the vast majority of people will go out of their way to push your broken-down car off to the side of the road or open the door when your arms are full of library books.
2- Don't judge others. I can't imagine the battle you are fighting or the pain you are feeling, and especially so if I don't take the time to listen. Don't judge the grumpy Mama in the grocery store. You don't know the whole story.
3- Making stuff is fun.
4- The book is almost always better than the movie.
5- Social Media is not real. Don't compare yourself to the beautiful images you see there. (Still learning this one...)
6- Make time to do the things you love. As our lives have gotten busier I've realized it would be easy for me to let my hobbies and interests go because there are so many other things to do. It would be easy for those things to be crowded out. I have to actively fight against that--and get up early--in order to make it happen.
7- Real food makes a big difference in how I feel.
8- Go outside every day. Especially in the winter when you think you don't want to.
9- Traditions, even the little ones, are so important to the collective memory of our family.
10- Say I love you every chance you get.
11- Sometimes the kids who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving ways.
12-- Life will probably not turn out the way you've planned. But make plans anyway.
13- Go places. See things. It expands your mind and brightens your life.
14- Once small act of service each day, leads to a life of kindness and giving.
15- "If you're listening, if you're awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly. In fact, your heart is made to break; its purpose is to burst open again and again so that it can hold ever more wonders." --Andrew Harvey
16- Document what you learn, see and do. It doesn't have to be elaborate, but a journal or other memory-keeping method allows you to relive those glorious and difficult moments over and over again and learn from them.
17- Read. A lot.
19- Life can be Messy and Beautiful at the same time.
20- Live with less. Less stuff = more. More time, more money, more room.
21- Families are Forever.
22- Answer quietly, even when you feel like screaming.
23- You (and I) can do hard things.
24- You can do anything, but you can't do everything!
25- That big thing you've been wanting to do? Just start. You'll figure it out as you go.
26- Community is so important. Find your people and put yourself out there.
27- Sleep. Sometimes, when you're overwhelmed and overworked, the best thing you can do is go to bed early.
28- Make time for quiet. Whether you study scripture, or read other inspiring works, make time for that study and meditation.
29- Invest in what you believe in. Family, faith, service.
30- Heartbreak can draw couples closer than the happiest moments ever could.
31- Work will win when wishy-washy wishing won't.
33- Balance is not real. On any given day your life will look totally out of whack, you'll spend "too much" time in one area or another. Cut out what you can, make time to do what you love, take care of your top priorities first and everything else will fall into place.
34- A happy life is built, it doesn't just happen.
Here's to building many more years of a happy, semi-balanced, mindful life.
My love to you, dear readers, and thank you for your support.