Last week I celebrated my 29th birthday! I went back and forth on writing this post, but ultimately thought it would be fun to share my thoughts and life lessons I’ve learned over the past 29 years! It’s a lot of ground to cover, so I’m sure I’m missing a few key life lessons, but these are the 29 that stood out most in my mind. Here they are (in no particular order!)
1. Getting older isn’t as scary as it seems
I always thought when I was getting close to 30 I would be totally freaked out, but truthfully, I’m super excited for my thirties. My twenties have been amazing. I’ve met some of my best friends, met the love of my life, found my passions (this blog, for one!!!), but I think your thirties brings on a whole new set of amazing ventures! I’m excited to see what they have in store!
2. Be a Life Long Learner
Never, ever stop learning. Take courses, read books, learn a new language, explore other cultures, take up a new hobby. The moment you stop learning is the moment you stop living.
3. Success Means something different for everyone
This one is huge. Society has a knack for painting a picture of success. Get good grades, go to a good University, find a full-time, six-figure job, start a family. Etc. etc. etc. If this is what success looks like to you, that is absolutely okay. But it’s not what it looks like for everyone and that’s okay too.
What I’ve come to learn is that “success” is often equated with money. I think money’s important but it’s not everything. To me, success is waking up happy everyday. Being surrounded by supporting loving people, doing work you love and having the TIME to spend with the people you want to spend it with and doing the things you want to do.
4. Travel as much as possible
I’m eternally grateful to have traveled to so many amazing places all over the world. To date, I’ve traveled to 30 countries and 40+ cities, some multiple times. I realized early on that travel is always worth it. Traveling teaches you so much about other cultures and people, and as well as about yourself. Travel as much as you possibly can.
5. Read everyday
It’s so important to read books as much as you can! I went through a few years where I didn’t read many books (I did a lot of school readings, but no reading for pleasure). I’ve started getting into reading again over the past few years and especially this past year and it reminds me how important it is.
6. The right people will always stay
Lots of people will come in and out of your life. The right people will stay. The rest are there to teach you something or help you grow. Don’t waste your time on the wrong people. The right people will always be there for you, support you and love you no matter what.
7. Family is everything
I have the best family in the world. I realize not everyone has the same relationship with their family, but if you have a family that’s supportive, kind and loving, never take them for granted. Call them, take vacations with them, see them as much as possible. LOVE ON THEM HARD!!!
8. Kindness is never overrated
I’m not sure why some people choose to be unkind. You never know what someone else may be going through, so always, always, always be kind.
9. Jealousy is a waste
I think everyone has been on the giving and receiving end of jealousy at one point or another. It’s a wasted emotion and it’s a waste of time. When you’re jealous, you’re bottling up anger, and most of the time it’s irrational. Jealousy doesn’t change anything and can often make a situation worse.
We’re often jealous because we see something lacking in ourself. Stop comparing yourself to others, know yourself and continue to better yourself. Don’t waste your time being jealous. It’s not a good colour on anyone.
10. Get smart with your money
Learn about investing. Learn about saving. Don’t spend your money on unnecessary things. Make yourself a weekly/monthly a budget. Get smart with your money as soon as possible so you’re not struggling in the future.
11. Figure out what lights your soul on fire, and do lots of it
Life’s too short to do anything that doesn’t light your soul on fire, isn’t it?
12. Dogs make life so much better
We unexpectedly had to say goodbye to our family dog in November. I miss her everyday. Not having her around makes me realize how much better life was with her in it. Dogs love you unconditionally. They fill your home with so much love and happiness.
Never take time with your pets for granted. Play with them, take them on walks, kiss them goodnight before going to bed and when you leave the house. Show them as much love as you possibly can because they truly love you to the depths of their soul.
13. be present
With so many distractions these days, people are becoming less and less present. I see couples out for dinner who are both on their phones, friends getting together to catch up only to talk over each other with their own problems.
Being present is one of the best gifts you can give someone. Make sure you’re really there when you’re with someone. Listen to them, respond with thoughtfulness, put your phone away and give them your full attention. You never know what you may miss.
14. Comparison is the thief of joy
Thanks to social media, the comparison game is stronger than ever. It’s easy to get into the spiral of comparing your life to others’, but try your best not to. Focus on your own lane and your own amazing life. Social media isn’t real life. It’s people’s highlight reels. Remember that.
15. Recognize Your accomplishments
Too often we focus too much on our goals and forget to acknowledge our accomplishments. Don’t forget to reflect on how far you’ve come. I have so many big goals I want to see through, but I also love to think about where I was 2, 5, or even ten years ago. I’m living out so many dreams I had for myself back then.
16. things aren’t always as they seem
People are good at hiding things. Don’t judge anyone without knowing their story. Someone could seem totally fine and be aching inside. Someone could have a smile on their face but may have just gone through one of the hardest losses of their life. You don’t know what you don’t know.
17. never settle for less
You deserve the best. The best friends, the best partner, the best career, the best food, the best life for you. Never, ever settle for less.
18. take care of your mind and body
Do these things as often as possible: Fill your body with healthy whole foods, exercise, meditate, laugh, talk about your feelings, get a good night’s sleep, spend quality time with friends and family, spend quality time alone, get your regular check up at the doctors, take vitamins, read, journal, dance, do yoga. Feed your body and mind. They’re the only places you truly live.
19. learn how to be alone without being lonely
I’ve always been really good with this. I love my alone time and I know how to be alone without being lonely, but it’s not the same for everyone. I know some people who need a partner to feel like they’re whole; who rely on others for their worth and happiness. You need to find happiness and content within yourself first and foremost.
20. Change Your mindset, change everything
Every morning when you wake up, you have a choice. You can decide to be happy and look on the bright side, or you can decide to be angry and feel sorry for yourself. Your mindset determines whether you live an incredible life or an average (or below average) life. I’m not saying you can never have off days, but if you spend more days in a negative mindset than a positive mindset, it’s time to change things QUICK.
21. High School Doesn’t Matter
I know so many people that had a hard time in high school, myself included. At that age, everything is so petty, being popular seems like the most important thing in the world and people are actually just mean. Don’t get me wrong, I met some amazing people in high school, but for the most part, I didn’t love my high school experience.
Over a decade later and I realize none of it really mattered. I would way rather have the most incredible life now than to have had my glory years in high school, that’s for sure!
22. things always get better
Whether you’re going through a heartbreak, a fight with your best friend, financial struggle, a traumatic loss, aren’t happy at work or school, are being bullied, or any other terrible thing that feels like it can be the end of the world, remember that things ALWAYS get better.
It may not happen right away and it may seem like you’ll always feel that hurt and pain, but it will soften. You will feel okay again. You will feel happy again.
23. Hobbies Can be your saving grace
One of the things that made my high school years more tolerable was dance. I started dancing competitively when I was 11 or 12 and danced all the way through university. I made some of my best friends at my dance studio and LOVED going to class and competing on weekends.
Dance was my saving grace in those tough years. It was my passion and my escape. It’s so important to find a hobby you love. It has the power to make an incredible difference in your life.
24. respect others’ time
If you want to waste your own time, that’s your business, but make sure to always respect the time of others. Don’t be late, don’t cancel plans last minute, don’t make someone wait around for an answer from you. Time is valuable and if you value your relationships, you need to respect people’s time.
25. if you want to change the outcome, you need to change your actions
If you’re looking for a new outcome, but keep doing things the same way, nothing’s going to change. Learn new things, try different strategies, better yourself! Things won’t change until you do.
26. pain is inevitable
Everyone is going to experience pain at some point in their lives. Physical pain, emotional pain, heartbreak…these are all things that are unavoidable. Don’t try to hide from pain, but don’t let it take over your life either. Pain can eat away at you if you’re not careful.
Know that it’s okay to feel pain, sadness and hurt, but let yourself feel okay after, too.
27. embrace failure
Our society is so afraid to fail. But failure is a KEY stepping stone to success. If you want to be successful you have to fail. You have to make mistakes in order to learn from them. I’ll leave you with one of my all time favourite quotes: “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will”. – Suzy Kassem
28. be grateful
Practice gratitude everyday. Write down at least three things you’re grateful for every morning or before you go to bed. Focus on the amazing things you do have rather than what you don’t. If you’re having a bad day, take time to reset and write down what you’re grateful for. It’s the best way to turn your day around.
29. Life is too short
This may sound cliche, but life is so damn short. You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow or even in five minutes. Your life can change in the blink of an eye, in the ring of your phone. Live a life you’re proud of with the people you love most.
Book that trip, tell your family you love them as often as possible, forgive, don’t spend a minute wasting your life. My mom always used to tell me that the years go by faster and faster each year and now I’m telling you…it’s SO true.
There you have it! The best 29 life lessons I’ve learned in the past 29 years! What do you think about this list? Do you have any lessons you’d add to it? Let us know in the comments below!
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