I had a birthday last week.
And 38 feels pretty damn good, if I do say so.
Here's what I've learned:
1. There will always be something to do.
I look to my left, and the foyer needs a thorough mopping. I look to my right, and there's clutter in the nook. There are always clothes to wash, a list to make, or a deadline to meet. And the world won't fall off its axis if I don't do any of it today. Or tomorrow. (Or even next week.)
2. We teach people how to treat us.
Boundaries and limits are necessary.
3. Patience really is a virtue.
I'm working on this one. Lord knows I am.
4. No matter what you do (or don't) some people have already decided that they will not like you.
Forget them. You'll live.
5. You can do what you love and earn money doing it.
It literally took me years to believe that this was even possible. Then it took me a few more years to summon the courage to try. My writing career has afforded me the opportunity to work for awesome organizations, including USA Football, whom I currently blog for, and Chicken Soup for the Soul, and I am eternally grateful for the work I've received as a certified yoga instructor. My advice to anyone on the fence about this is to take one step -- no matter how small -- and go from there.
6. Judging other moms is a beyotch move.
Raising kids is some seriously hard work. Cases of blatant neglect aside, we are all just trying to do the best we can with what we've got.
7. We just need to love our children and be there for them.
Screw striving for perfection.
8. You can give yourself a salon-grade blow-out, but eyebrow shaping is often better left to a professional.
If you give yourself a bad blow-out, you can always try again. But one false move with the tweezer or wax, and you've got to live with it for months. That's all I'm saying.
9. Women are goddesses, and our bodies are capable of superpowers.
Do I really need to elaborate on this one?
10. Thread count makes a difference.
Go ahead, try this one for yourself. Go to TJ Maxx, Marshall's, or Home Goods, and buy the absolute best sheets your wallet will permit. I mean, really, splurge. The higher the thread count, the better they feel. It's true. And since we sleep in our bed every single night, isn't the luxury worth it? If you're still skeptical, calculate the cost per use. They'll pay for themselves in less than a month.
11. It's imperative to count your blessings. Every. Single. Day.
And even more often than that, actually.
12. There is a lot of power in the word yes, and it feels good to say it.
13. Sometimes saying no feels even better.
14. Give someone The Business, if need be.
I don't like to read someone the riot act. (It's the Catholic guilt, I think.) But I will, if the situation calls for it.
15. Things that are temporary are just that, temporary.
The time I had to wear a retainer in the fifth grade. The nine months of both of my pregnancies. I thought all three would never end. But they did, and now I sort of miss those periods. Not wearing the retainer, though. That sucked, and I'm glad it's over.
16. A piece of really good cake and a glass of really good champagne is like better than...
You fill in the blank.
17. And speaking of libations, there is a difference between cheap champagne and expensive champagne.
But it's kind of like pizza: There is no such thing as bad -- only good, better, and best.
18. You can't eat anything you want if you want to remain a certain size.
Unless you're a freakishly thin supermodel. And even then, I think they're lying: I call bullsh!t on the whole "I pig out on cheeseburgers every night! Really, I do!" Yeah, okay.
19. But you can look better with age.
I'm no Naomi Campbell, but I like how I look now far more than I did in my twenties, or even my late teens, thanks, in part to #8.
20. We are all connected.
When we think about someone...and they call. When we're looking for something we didn't think we'd find...and, lo and behold, there it is. When we need an answer and don't know where to find it...and it arrives from the most random of sources. There are no coincidences.
21. Nothing is more valuable than your family. Nothing.
Spouses, kids, etc. They are not a given, and because of that, they are more precious than diamonds, gold, and platinum. Combined.
22. Worrying solves nothing.
I've learned this one by extensive experience, but old habits die hard.
23. Alone time is essential.
Whether you're cruising the aisles of a grocery store or meditating on your yoga mat. Quiet time -- everyday -- is necessary.
24. You can make time for what is important.
25. You can't control people, but you can control how you respond to them.
Ever feel like some people say sh!t, simply to get a rise out of you? Here's how you get at them, while maintaining your dignity: Ignore them.
26. Regret nothing.
27. I feel better after spending an hour outdoors.
28. Much of what annoys me doesn't matter.
29. Trust your gut, it'll NEVER lead you astray.
30. We all have something in common.
We may not all like each other; we may have different political and religious beliefs; and we may come from opposite ends of the planet. But we all have something -- at least one teeny-weensy thing -- in common.
31. Being the mom of a boy rocks.
32. Being the mom of a girl rocks.
33. Just plain being a mom rocks.
I realize that 31, 32, and this one, 33, have little to do with age, but I decided to include them because I learned these lessons a little later than others because I didn't have my first child until I was 34. Yeah, they drive me crazy sometimes. But, honestly, my son and daughter are, unequivocally, my greatest source of pride and joy.
34. Not doing what we love is bad for our health.
Like virtually everyone else, I've had jobs (and bosses) that I've despised, so I've learned this one by extensive experience, too.
35. Feelings aren't right or wrong.
36. A nice-fitting pair of jeans and a quality black jacket can literally be worn anywhere.
37. It really is refreshing to celebrate who you are in everything you do.
Take a look at my first few blog posts. They are much, MUCH different than how I write now. When I first started blogging a year ago, I wrote about all things motherhood. All. The. Time. Now, don't get me wrong, this isn't a crime -- and motherhood encompasses much of who I am as a person...but it's not what I wish to write about. All. The. Time. But when I launched this blog, I was under the mistaken assumption that I should...because "everybody else is doing it!" Now, I'm like, yeah...um, no. I'm a mother who blogs, but I don't identify myself as a mommy blogger. (Not that there's anything wrong with being one.) I just know that I've settled into my blogging groove only after I started deviating from what I thought I should be writing about and started writing about what I am compelled to write about. Same with my journey as a yoga instructor. When I taught my first classes years ago, my style was so...I don't know...rigid. (I know, that word seems inconsistent with the characterization of a yoga class, but it's true.) It took me a moment to realize that there are no rules -- and that if you do something different -- and it feels comfortable, and it works for you -- then, but all means, DO IT.
38. There is still so much that I have no flipping clue about.