Yesterday I celebrated my golden birthday (28 on the 28th)! I didn’t plan anything cool to celebrate, though I wish I had. I don’t particularly like planning things for myself, especially in these strange COVID times when there are a bit more hoops to jump through.
In the last 28 trips around the sun, I have learned a lot – more than I could ever recall in a simple blog post. To celebrate my birthday, I thought I’d share 28 things I’ve learned so far in this crazy little thing called life.
1. You should make that hair change you’ve been debating
For years, I wanted bangs but found every excuse not to get them. My face is too chubby, they might not look good, I’ll have to trim them regularly, etc. Well I got them, and I love them! When I look at pictures without them, it doesn’t feel as me.
2. It’s important to learn to be happy alone
Seriously, learn to enjoy time with yourself – you’re in it together for the long haul after all. I love going out to eat breakfast by myself and chilling by myself in my home.
3. Wear the clothes you want
Don’t worry if it’s too weird or not what’s popular. Also don’t wait for the perfect body. Clothes are made for your body, not vice versa. Stop worrying about sizes and simply wear what fits.
4. Always say yes to trips
If someone invites me to go somewhere, as long as it’s in the realm of possibility for me, I go! Even if means busting my butt to earn some extra money or moving things around in my schedule. At the end of the day, I know adventures will be some of my greatest memories and are worth much more than extra money sitting in the bank or material things.
5. People who love you will not try to talk you out of your dreams
Even if they think it’s crazy, they will be supportive of what makes you happy-even if they don’t always understand.They’ll voice their thoughts without trying to change your mind.
6. Being introverted does not automatically make you less than – even if society makes you feel that way sometimes
I’ve spent a long time worrying that being more reserved and quiet than others meant that I would always be overlooked for things, no matter how hard I worked. I struggle with job interviews, small talk, and connecting with new people, but I will work incredibly hard and am a loyal friend once I open up. It can be tough watching it come so naturally for others and feeling like doors open for them more easily. It’s okay if you operate differently. You are just as worthy.
7. No one is judging you as hard as you judge yourself
Do you notice one random dark arm hair, slightly puffy eyes, or bloat on random strangers you pass by? I sure don’t unless they directly point it out to me. We often fixate on things about ourselves and forget that in reality, we are our own worst critics.
8. You’ll always find reasons you can’t do something, but for every reason you can also find one for why you can
We tend to focus on the negative, especially when it comes to our own abilities. Flip the narrative and believe in yourself.
9. You don’t have to fit in.
Anyone who is worth your time will like you for who you are, even if you are vastly different than they are. None of us are exactly the same, so why would we pretend to be? Life would be pretty dang dull if we were.
10. You dodged a bullet with all those boys who never liked you back and those people who didn’t want to be your friend
When you’re young, both of these things seem like a big deal, but as they say – things happen for a reason and chances are you’re better off! If you’ve ever Facebook stalked someone you once had a huge crush on, it’s pretty clear that it was for the best that you didn’t catch that fish from the sea.
11. Some people will never grow or change and you can’t make them
It’s out of your control. There are people out there who will learn from their mistakes and take steps to better themselves, and others who will remain stuck in their ways. Don’t get hung up on it or trapped in their toxic cycles.
12. Trust your instincts
This is a big one. If you have a little nagging voice telling you something isn’t right, chances are it isn’t. People who try to make you feel crazy about your intuition are usually ones who know it’s correct and want to break you down so you doubt yourself.
13. No one can talk you out of a bad relationship, you have to learn and come to that conclusion on your own.
I’ve been that girl in that relationship where everyone saw the red flags and I didn’t. I’ve seen it many times with others as well. No matter what anyone tells you, you will refuse to believe it until you are ready to. Typically you realize it deep down, but need to take the time to come to terms that this isn’t the person you’re supposed to be with.
14. Order what you really want to order at restaurants.
I don’t care if everyone around you is ordering a salad. If your mouth is watering for that cheeseburger, order it. One burger won’t ruin your life.
15. The wrong companion will bring out the worst sides of you, but that doesn’t mean that’s who you are.
We all have good and bad in us, but there are certain people who bring out more of the bad. I’ve had boyfriends who made me feel crazy and act in ways I’ve never acted before and I’ve had other individuals in my life push me to saying hurtful things in anger. In those moments, it’s easy to feel awful about yourself and like all the good is gone, but trust me…it’s still there. Surround yourself with people who build you up and encourage you to be your best self.
16. Keep learning
As I get older, I also feel like I get dumber. We spend so many years of our life in school learning, that it feels like a giant step back when we aren’t any more. Read more books, watch informative videos, and take the time to learn about things you’re interested in.
17. You don’t have to do everything society makes you believe you do.
Don’t wanna get married? Fine! Don’t want kids? Cool! Don’t want to go to college? Awesome, it’s not for everyone. Don’t care to work 40 hours a week every week until you die? I don’t blame you! Happy in your studio apartment with minimal possessions? Nice! Want to galavant across the country in a camper van and sleep at truck stops? Sweet!
18. You don’t have to do everything with your significant other.
It’s okay if you want to take a solo trip. It’s okay to have separate friends. It’s okay to have your own hobbies. It doesn’t say anything about your relationship to want to do things on your own. In my experience, it can be helpful in many ways to have your own things going on!
19. Follow your interests
If you’re struggling with feeling happy or fulfilled, this is a good place to start. Certain things pull you towards them more than others. Chase those things.
20. Buying a house is a pain.
I went nearly 28 years without knowing how complicated this can be since everyone makes it seem so straight forward. Heads up, it’s more of a process than you think so be prepared! Well worth it though to get one you love <3
21. Being a stepparent is hard
Okay, being a parent is hard in general, but being a step parent is also hard in its own right. You sometimes feels stuck in the middle and like you need to tiptoe around in order to keep the delicate balance that is co-parenting. You don’t always feel like you have a say and no matter how long you’ve been around or involved you are, you worry about overstepping boundaries. Still, it’s extremely rewarding and makes room for extra love!
22. Don’t let insecurity keep you from fun
For years, I’d be so riddled with insecurity about my body that I would struggle to have fun and live in the moment. Swimming, beach trips, friendcations, physical activities, concerts, and parties were never as fun as they could have been.
Learn to let go and have the fun and go reread #7 on this list. Don’t be so in your own head that you spoil a great experience!
23. Exercise and fresh air do wonders for your mental health
No, you don’t have to go hardcore at the gym or anything, but simply stepping outside for a quick walk or getting up and moving around can do wonders for your headspace. I’ve learned over time that the more sedentary I am, the more mopey and negative I can be. It can be hard to move around with a desk job, but I know if I fit in at least 20 minutes of some form of activity I will be in a much better place mentally.
24. Start saving money when you’re young
Seriously, DO IT. I did not have a consistent savings account until oh…LAST YEAR. Sure, transitioning to work from home made a huge difference for me, but I also learned to budget and put at least 1/3rd of my remaining income into savings each paycheck. I don’t have to worry about having some money set aside in case of unexpected expenses cropping up and I can feel better about the things I do spend on knowing that I’m also putting some aside. P.S. Move the extra to savings right away, so you don’t have the temptation to spend it.
25. Keep reading books
I think it’s important for everyone to find something they enjoy reading. It has so many positive benefits, such as: knowledge on a topic you enjoy, exercising your imagination, better writing skills, and a hobby that doesn’t involve staring at a screen for hours on end.
26. You’re never really going to feel like an adult
Remember when you were little and you thought 28 year olds were SUCH adults? Let’s all laugh together. Yes, I’m technically an adult, but I feel the same way I always have. I will always be searching for an adultier adult for guidance.
27. It’s important to spend time around people who are different from you
If you’re country folk, go spend some time in the city or vice versa. Travel to other countries and experience other cultures. Say hello to someone you see doing a hobby you’d never try. We all have different backgrounds and I think it’s important to meet people with them. It’s the easiest way to open our minds and become more empathetic. It’s easy to judge or be leery about things we aren’t familiar with, but once you’re able to observe first hand you realize we may not be so different after all.
28. Pick your battles
I wrote a blog post about this topic not too long ago. Precious time is wasted being angry about things that won’t even matter years from now, and I feel it’s important to learn to choose which battles are worth fighting and which to let lie.
I also learned to tie my shoes and countless other things in the last 28 years. I’m not exactly where I expected myself to be at this stage in my life, but are we ever?! The best part about learning and growing is that our values and goals are ever changing with us. We’ll see what kind of wisdom I discover by my next birthday milestones!
What’s one thing you’ve learned over the years? Which life lesson could you use in your own life? Did you do anything fun to celebrate your golden birthday if you’ve had it already?