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May 30, 2019

27 (Big-ish) Lessons for living an Unchoreographed Life.

This month I celebrated my birthday.

And today I’m celebrating my unbirthday.

Growing up I had a faded, folded, much-used (and slightly abused) copy of a Disney cookbook. Inside was a recipe for “The Mad Hatter’s Un-Birthday Cake.”

This page was dog-eared, stained with vanilla extract and flour.

It was one of my favorites because it let me celebrate any freakin’ day I wanted with a freshly baked cake. I didn’t see a reason then not to celebrate the every day, and honestly? I still feel that way.

Birthdays are wonderful, but this year on my birthday I realized that I miss the “unbirthday” celebrations in my life. Those small, everyday moments of celebration that mark the passing of our lives. The moments where we feel most ourselves, when we’re living—truly alive and aware of the thin line we walk each day as we dance the dance of the day-to-day.

Let’s laugh.

Smile.

Commiserate.

And most of all, let’s dance this dance. 

Those unchoreographed stumbles might just be where the wisdom can be uncovered.

And so, in no particular order, here are 27 (big) little things I feel the wiser for having learned before I hit my third decade around the sun.

  1. It’s not a life requirement to believe people, but you should believe who they show you they are.
  2. When in doubt, bring wine. 
  3. Life is too short to worry about cankles. It really is.
  4. If you’re always saying “no” people will eventually stop asking. Throw caution to the wind and surprise them—and yourself.
  5. Every now and then turn off your damn phone. It’s difficult to let serendipity come knockin’ when the only direction you’re looking is down. It’ll pass you right by.
  6. Ask for help. Humans really want to give it, they just need to be given the opportunity.
  7. Broken hearts are bruised hearts in disguise. The bruises will fade.
  8. Nature and green, living things are more important than we think—ignore them at your own risk.
  9. The most fruitful people-watching can take place between yourself and a mirror.
  10. Check on the people you love. Sometimes the loneliest people are those standing in the middle of a crowd.
  11. Tea solves a lot. Coffee too, but mostly tea.
  12. It’s just as important to know yourself as it is to maintain the ability to surprise yourself.
  13. Pain is subjective. It’s never helpful to compare yourself to someone else. Instead, dig deeper and stretch that empathy muscle.
  14. If you don’t try, you’ll never know. It really is that simple.
  15. Days filled with doubt can be cured by this one reminder: Everything on this planet has a purpose—you included—even if you don’t uncover it until tomorrow.
  16. Thank you cards will never go out of style.  
  17. Always say goodbye. And hug. Hugs are basically human catnip once our bodies and souls remember how healing they can be.
  18. Chances are, it’s been done. Do it again anyway.
  19. Grow something. A plant, a beard, a child—just have a hand in the growth of something outside of yourself. It’s good for the soul.
  20. Find people in life that are willing to help you move. Those are the keepers.
  21. You will never be able to perfectly fold a fitted sheet and that’s okay. Life is too short for that sh*t anyway.
  22. Family, no matter what form it takes, is worth it. Always. We all need those people who will help us fight battles and slay dragons. And hey, remember to also be that person for others.
  23. Talk to strangers, and if possible, strangers from other places. Everyone was a stranger to you once upon a time.
  24. Make a habit of thinking bigger than yourself.
  25. You will have at least one horrific haircut in life and that’s okay. Consider it a method of developing your self-identity outside of your appearance. Looks aren’t even close to being everything.
  26. It’s impossible to have a fulfilling, deep conversation without listening skills. You can try it, but it just is.  
  27. Small acts add up faster than the big ones, unless you’re playing Monopoly and in that case, you’re screwed if you only have the small stuff. 

    ~

author: Molly Murphy

Image: @elephantjournal/Instagram

Editor: Nicole Cameron

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Chérie Ann Jun 8, 2019 1:39am

Hi Molly, thank you for your list. A lot are really good thoughts and some made me smile too. On the fitted sheet one though, and I can’t believe I’m writing this but yes you can fold a fitted sheet pretty perfect. I showed my mom when I was a kid how to do it! OMgosh!!! :).
Blessings, Chérie.

Jeffrey Radcliff Jun 7, 2019 6:04pm

Thank you for these suggestions. What awesome reading!

Ellie Jun 7, 2019 5:58pm

Oh how a cuppa heals!
Thanks for a great list!

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Molly Murphy

Molly Murphy believes in small acts of kindness, the ability of a cuppa to heal just about anything, black-and-white movies and handwritten letters. Molly hoards pens as any self-respecting writer should and she doesn’t share them. In a previous life, Molly was a plant-based personal chef. She has since hung up her apron and can be found playing with words at Elephant Journal.

For more, follow Molly at her website, on Instagram and Facebook.