Thirty-Five Things it’s Taken Me Thirty-Five Years to Learn

IMG_1062Today’s my 35th birthday.  I think it’s supposed to be some kind of a milestone.  It’s quite annoying to look for an image for this blog and find the internet full of things like “Trying to keep calm – I’m 35” or “I’m too sexy to be 35.”  But I’m happy.  I think there can now be no more doubt that I am actually an adult and that surviving this long is quite an accomplishment.  Although it’s an odd day.  I’m sitting on the couch in my pj’s at 4pm, my leg still a bit jacked up, thinking about how birthdays are less and less of a deal every year.   Maybe this is why people have kids… so that days like this will be more exciting.  Regardless, I have thoughts.  I thought it would be hard to come up with this many, but hey… have I met myself?  Here are 35 lessons I have learned, epiphanies I’ve had, or life philosophies I have come to embrace in the last three and a half decades…  There are so many I left off… I’ll save them for my 40th birthday… when I will probably give you 80…

  1. Embrace your weirdness.
  2. Don’t apologize for enjoying food.  If you don’t want it, just don’t eat it.  Don’t try to make me feel guilty about enjoying mine.  Gosh, that’s annoying!
  3. My story is different than your story.  That doesn’t make it easier or harder or better or worse.  It just makes me different from you.  But we’ve all felt the same feelings.
  4. I know of nothing more powerful than a good hug.
  5. Feelings come and feelings go, and they never ask permission.  This applies to the good and the bad.
  6. There are relatives and there is family.  Hopefully the former is embraced in the latter, but the two are not interchangeable.
  7. The older you get, the younger you realize you actually are.
  8. The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know.
  9. Don’t be afraid of time.
  10. Work with your flaws.  Use them to find creative solutions.  I can’t tell you how many compliments I’ve gotten on my bathroom shelves that are intentionally designed so that “put away” means “leave out.”
  11. Define success in terms of people.  The happiest people I’ve ever met all have one thing in common: they all live their lives to invest in others.  Most of them are dirt-poor, but somehow that doesn’t matter.
  12. Parents don’t know everything, but they sure do know a lot.
  13. Legacy is a ripple-effect, and you might never know what yours is.  Don’t worry about it – just live how you want to be remembered.
  14. Teenagers are very often difficult grumpy mouthy know-it-all little humans who want to grow up.  Parents of teenagers are very often difficult over-reacting lecturing NO-it-all big humans who (75% of the time) worry too much.  It’s okay.  Everyone’s doing their job.  (And there’s always that 25% outside chance your difficult grumpy mouthy know-it-all little human is actually quite stupid.)
  15. God has better ideas than you.  If your life is turning out like you expected, then you need to figure out what the heck went wrong.
  16. Keep nursery rhymes alive.  Do you know about the man on his way to St. Ives?  Can you sing all the words to “London Bridge is Falling Down?” Does your kid know anything about Little Miss Muffet?  I rest my case.
  17. If you want to be an explorer, stay off the sidewalk.
  18. Learn about love languages, and learn to speak them all.  Fluently.  Love others with wild abandon.  The way Jesus did.  Just remember that true sacrificial love always hurts in the end… that’s why it’s called a sacrifice.  But yours will never hurt as much as Jesus’ did.
  19. British English is bloody brilliant.  Especially in Harry Potter and Doctor Who.
  20. There are times in your life when you just have to say, “I’m always alright.”
  21. Exercise, eat healthy, sleep well, keep your house clean, obey your budget, and don’t work too much.  And if you can figure out how to pull off more than 2 of these things simultaneously for more than a week you are a hero.
  22. Keep an eye on the people nobody notices, the ones who keep their head down and just do their thing.  These are the people who change the world.
  23. Seriously, girls, date the nerds.
  24. Don’t expect people to be as honest as you are unless you want to get burnt to a crisp, and forgive them ahead of time.  Unless you are not honest; then expect most people to be just like you.
  25. Life really does get better after 30.  So much better.
  26. Don’t spend your life waiting for “that thing” to happen.  If it does, great.  If it doesn’t, you just wasted your whole life waiting.  Go kill that bug yourself.
  27. Let your yes be yes and your no be no.  Be that person who is shockingly transparent and honest.  Be that person others can count on to actually keep their promises and not pass the buck and do what they say they will do.  Be that person that makes everyone mad when you actually do what you said you were going to do because they ignored you because they didn’t think you would and then they weren’t ready.  But if you’re going to live with this kind of integrity, stay out of any work environment where there are more than 3 supervisors above you… unless the guy on top takes the time to know and respect you as an actual person with feelings and ideas and stuff.
  28. Resting your mind is not the same as resting your body.
  29. Don’t confuse honesty or integrity for good intentions, professional conduct, or a smile.
  30. Mistakes are only failures if you don’t get back up and keep going.
  31. The only thing in all of His perfect creation that God said was not good was that Adam was alone.  So God made Eve so more humans could be made.  Because God made us with a need that He could not fulfill Himself.  Love people – you need them.
  32. Everybody matters, but everyone seems to think that rule applies to everyone except themselves. Or that it ONLY applies to themselves.
  33. Life is tough.  So what?  Embrace it.  Cry and feel sorry for yourself sometimes.  Ask for help if you need it.  If you give yourself permission to simply be, being will have a lot less control over you.  And it’s okay.  Feelings really do come and go, and they mean you are a living beautiful textured vibrant multi-chromatic feature of humanity.
  34. If you are the kind of person that has to obsess about things, embrace it and allow yourself to choose your obsession.  Pick something silly and unnecessary that makes you smile.  It’s much better than worrying about everything all the time.
  35. God is.  This encompasses all.  My favorite stanza of my favorite hymn, written by a madman:  Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made, were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade… to write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry, nor could the scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky.  Amen.

 

Plus 4 screws and 2 pins...

Plus 4 screws and 2 pins…

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About Thoughts by Sallie

I am a missionary kid who grew up in Mexico. I have 2 first languages. The two most amazing places that I have seen stars are in the Amazon rain forest and at the Sea of Galilee. I have moved 34 times in my life. I think that working with at-risk foster kids for 5 1/2 years is a greater accomplishment than earning a master's degree. My most favorite meal is popcorn, apples, and cheese. I am happiest when I am being hugged by a child. Jesus is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? My life's dream is to help children become more than they could ever imagine. I have Attention-Deficit Disorder, and I take medicine every day that helps me to think straight; it's not a cure, but it sure does help. I get lonely and feel very isolated sometimes. I love nostalgia. I HATE shallowness. I love taking pictures of windows. I am most proud when I see my friends grow and accomplish new things. I am most motivated by my love for and commitment to others. I am overflowing with thoughts. I am an ellipses. I am Rasha.

One response »

  1. That was awesome!!! Happy Birthday Sis

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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