In a couple of weeks, I’ll turn 50.
I like to think that I knew it all back when I was in my 20s, but let’s face it, we don’t know sh*t during that decade.
As I hit the halfway mark of my life (or more likely over the halfway mark), I realize I still may not know it all, but I know a whole lot more than I did.
When I look in the mirror, I may see the fine lines around my eyes from a lot of laughter and a few grey hairs from all of the stress, but mainly, I see a woman who has lived a pretty great life so far and learned many great lessons along the way that she needed to be happy.
I share them here not because I think people don’t already know them, but sometimes, we can all use a reminder. May they be of benefit:
1. Trust your heart, not your head.
Our heads are great for things like making financial decisions or which road to take to get somewhere. But when it comes to big life decisions, your heart knows the way. I’ve realized my nasty thinking has talked me out of many good choices I should have made, had I listened to my heart.
2. There is no such thing as “the one.”
Sorry, die-hard romantics. There is no one person to complete you. There are many people we can partner with throughout our lifetime, love with all our hearts, and be happy with—I’ve had several. Trust me, if you ever think “the one” got away like a bus, there will be another one coming.
3. Don’t buy what you can’t afford.
My parents taught me to only use credit cards to build credit, not to buy things I didn’t have the cash for. It’s the best advice I’ve ever gotten.
4. Everyone deserves a second chance.
We all make mistakes and wish we could have a do-over. Allow people second chances. It’s when they want a third, fourth, or fifth that we need to be smart and set boundaries.
5. We teach people how to treat us.
Speaking of boundaries, if yours are loose, expect people to often cross over them. When we make bad things look okay, we teach people it’s okay to treat us that way.
6. You don’t have to have it all figured out.
Honestly, nobody has it all figured out. We put too much pressure on ourselves to figure everything out in life. Life is a mystery, so enjoy the plot twists.
7. People aren’t responsible for our happiness.
I spent years thinking someone else could make me happy. Thank God I took over that job myself—I’m doing a much better job now that I’m the one in control.
8. Karma is real.
If we put the good stuff out there, it always comes back to us. Unfortunately, the same goes for the bad. It’s the universe’s way of allowing us to experience both sides of every situation in life.
9. Never say never.
What we think we’d never do, could be the experience we needed to have (and we may find that out later in life). Be open to the possibility of everything.
10. There’s no such thing as a failed relationship.
Every relationship teaches us something and has a purpose. Just because it doesn’t last “forever,” it doesn’t mean it was a failure. Who came up with the idea that something needs to last forever to be successful, anyway?
11. You are not a loser if you never got married.
I truly believe that over 50 percent of people who get married want to do it because it feels validating that they are “chosen.” If you’ve been in any relationship, you’ve already been chosen. Don’t think for a minute you’re any less special or lovable if you never walked down the aisle.
12. Let sh*t go.
Seriously, people do things all the time with no ill intent and can be quick to judge or get rubbed the wrong way. Giving people the benefit of the doubt is worth the effort, sometimes.
13. If people talk sh*t about other people to you, they’re talking sh*t about you, too.
14. If you don’t want anyone to know something, don’t tell anybody.
Maybe you can tell your best friend, but again, if you really don’t want anyone to know, it’s always safer to keep it to yourself.
15. Perfection doesn’t exist.
Cut yourself some slack. You’re human and you’re going to screw up at times. Live, learn, and aim to do better next time.
16. People speak through actions, not words.
Some people aren’t great with words, but they show they care through their actions. Others talk a big game and never deliver. You can always trust how people show up.
17. Be open to life looking different than everyone else’s.
We are all on our own unique paths and have different lessons to learn while we’re here. Comparing our life to anyone else’s will make us miserable until we accept that maybe we’re exactly where we’re meant to be right now.
18. Don’t react, respond.
If you feel triggered by a person or situation, hit the pause button and breathe. Take at least 24 hours to cool off and think things through before responding or taking action. We don’t make the best decisions from an emotional place.
19. Forgive, but don’t forget.
Our world would be a better place if we could learn to forgive others. It doesn’t mean what they did is okay, and it doesn’t mean we have to have them in our lives. Forgive them for yourself, but never forget the lesson they taught you.
20. Boundaries are everything.
No, you don’t have to say “yes” to everything, and you don’t have to feel guilty about it. It’s okay to let others know, “that doesn’t work for me,” or “I’m not comfortable with that.” Boundaries equal respect.
21. You can’t fake chemistry.
It’s either there, or it isn’t. Don’t force it.
22. Be willing to not fit in.
Fly your freak flag and do “you.” You’ll never be happy trying to fit in when you’re meant to stand out.
23. Whatever you judge in others is what you’re trying to heal within yourself.
Maybe it’s rich people, people with different colored skin, or the Karen who helicopter moms her kids. I’ve found that when I’m judging someone, it’s because it’s triggering some wound in myself I don’t want to look at.
24. Parents have no idea what they’re doing.
Not even Karen.
25. People are most honest when they’re drunk.
Let’s face it—our best conversations with friends are typically when we’ve had a few. Walls are down and courage is up. This can be either good or bad, but either way, nobody is lying when they’re sh*t-faced.
Lastly, although there are only 25 here, there are easily 25 to 50 more we could all share with the world.
The important ones are the ones that resonate with you and help you live your best and happiest life.