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photos by Lovely by Lauren Photo
Well, as much as I tried to prevent this birthday from happening, it came anyway. On Saturday I turned the big 3-0! So far I feel....no different whatsoever. Every bit as clueless as I was in my twenties! Not sure when the "older and wiser" will kick in but for now, I just feel so thankful for all of the sweet friends and family who made this birthday the best one yet. I was spoiled with all kinds of treats, gifts, and overall love making it such an amazing birthday weekend. A BIG thank you to my best Beanie, Elissa, who woke up at the crack of dawn on Friday to drive in from College Station with all kinds of special surprises that kicked off the weekend in the best way. Thank you to my girls, Shelbi & Dede, for going to the Third Eye Blind concert with me on Friday night and for the gorgeous Rebecca Minkoff bag! A huge thank you to my Mom and Dad for driving in for the weekend, helping with Bear, and just spoiling me rotten. And last but not least, thank you to Zach for the trip to Paris! Already counting down the days! Thank you to all the rest of you who called, texted, emailed, and sent the sweetest birthday wishes that totally made my day. I love you all and am so thankful to call you my friends!
As I stated before, I'm not quite to the latter part of "older and wiser" but while I'm still learning, there are definitely things I have picked up along the way. Here are 30 things I've learned in my 30 years of life:
1. Don't worry, be happy. Worrying does more harm than good. I have to remind myself of this often because I'm a natural worrier.
2. Be anxiously engaged in a good cause. Look outside of yourself. When I do that, I find that my worries seem to dissipate.
3. We're all just doing the best we can. My parents say this all the time and while it drives me nuts at times, it really is true. Let's remember to cut each other some slack.
4. Going through tough times only makes you appreciate the good times that much more.
5. Baskin Robbins Jamoca Almond Fudge Ice Cream is one of God's greatest gifts to the world.
6. Traveling is one of the best investments you can make. There's nothing money can buy that can match the experiences of a new culture and place.
7. Music makes life better. Turn it on and turn it up- dance like no-one is watching. Go to every concert you have the opportunity to attend and blare the radio anytime your heart desires.
8. Googling an illness/basically anything is never a good idea. Just refrain. And whatever you do don't click on "images".
9. It's better to be overdressed than underdressed. Always look your best and you'll never regret your outfit! Confidence is your best accesory.
10. Running sucks. It's hard on your joints, especially if you've got bad knees like myself. I'm not one for working out (shopping is my cardio) but if you are, more power to you. I still stand by this statement.
11. A new pair of shoes can cure just about anything.
12. It’s important to take care of yourself. I always make sure to do something for me each day so that I feel mentally and physically well to take care of others.
13. You really don't know what you have until it's gone. This is such a cliche life lesson but unfortunately, it rings true for most of us. I never imagined I'd lose my best friend at 26 years old and I miss her every single day.
14. There is no situation or life change that will make you happy if you don't appreciate what you have right now. So many of us live with a "I'll be happy when I move into a new house" or "I'll be happy when I lose ten pounds" attitude. I've learned that happiness in this life is all about the little moments that make you smile and feel good, not the "big ones" where you thought you'd finally "arrive". Happiness is a choice and there's so much to smile about.
15. Sometimes things actually do taste better than skinny feels. Eat the chocolate cake.
16. Forgive. It took me many years to realize that we're all just struggling to get by; once I realized this it became much easier to forgive and let go. Forgive others and forgive yourself.
17. Go to therapy — you probably need it. No offense. Make self-improvement a priority (because we all have s*it to work out). We spend all this time at the gym to be physically fit, so why not make your mind mentally fit? Being the “best” version of ourselves takes daily work, but is well-worth it.
18. Don't compare yourself to others. Theodore Roosevelt was right when he said, "Comparison is the thief of joy"- no happiness comes from this. Instead, focus on your own blessings and gifts.
19. Don't cheap out on a haircut. I've learned my lesson one too many times at the Walmart salon: you get what you pay for.
20. You can't start a new chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one. Sad stuff happens to all of us, but don’t let the things that have happened to you harden your heart or prevent you from future happiness. Find a way to let it go and learn from the experience.
21. Surround yourself with positive people. I can't put enough emphasis on how important this one is. Spend your free time with those who see the good in everyone and everything- those who encourage and inspire you. The ones who help you look at life from a different and more positive lens.
22. Being a victim is easier than taking responsibility. No matter what has happened, I’ve found people are kind and understanding if we take ownership of our own actions- being passive and pointing the finger only pushes people away. No one likes to be around negativity.
23. Becoming a parent is life's greatest gift. There's really nothing else that comes close.
24. "In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.” - Dalai Lama. This is so important- keep it on the current situation only; bringing up old resentments will only make everything worse.
25. Life is short: order pizza. I've finally conceded to the fact that I don't enjoy cooking. Baking, I love. Spending an hour preparing dinner that my son will likely push around his plate and request Spaghettios instead? Not my favorite. I don't feel guilty when I order the occasional (okay, once a week) takeout.
26. Family is everything. My parents instilled this in my brothers and me growing up and I'm so thankful they did- at the end of the day, family is all we've got. Stay close to your family and let them know how much you love them.
27. Always have something to look forward to. It can be as small as a solo trip to Target or as big as a trip to Thailand. Whatever gets you excited, focus on that and it'll help you get through even the toughest of days.
28. Someone that’s nice to you but not nice to the waiter is not a nice person. People often show their true colors unintentionally- pay attention.
29. Make your bed every morning. The state of your bed is the state of your head. Thank you, Mom, for forcing me to do this all those years! It finally stuck.
30. Have FUN! Life is too short not to enjoy every moment, even if that means having fun at work or while cleaning the house. I'll blink and be 60 years old; I want to look back and remember these next thirty years just as fondly as the last.
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