Next year I will celebrate my 40th birthday. When I think of 40, I think of midlife crisis not life lessons. Although, for me a midlife crisis does not mean buying a sport car, extremely altering my physical appearance or running into the arms of a younger man. My midlife crisis is full of questions that don’t have answers, scrutinizing self refection and career uncertainty (or not even having a career anymore). So, I decided to share a few life lessons I learned in my 30s to ease some of the anxiety. I started this list on my 36th birthday and added to it each birthday. I am not proclaiming to be a wise woman. But, I am proclaiming to be a woman full of imperfections and testimonies to share. And be prepared…this post is Bible heavy.
Your body needs to refuel. We refuel our electronics, why not our bodies? Don’t ever feel guilty about resting your body. It is a part of healthy living and benefits your heart, weight, mind, and more.
2. God loves me
Regardless of my mistakes, my choices in life or my behaviors, I know one thing to be true, God loves me. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.~John 3:16
3. Build a relationship with Christ
You have been wired with a need for Jesus. Building a personal relationship with Him will give your life a sense of purpose and need to live life to the fullest. If you have ever felt like your life is missing something, try building a relationship with Christ, that just may be what you are missing. What will it hurt?
4. Find your tribe
I may or not see them regularly, we may or may not talk once a week, but they are my people. Their chatter is some of the most consistent voices I need in my life. I can say and be me without worrying about judgement or intentionally hurting feelings. They are my prayer partners and bible study warriors. They have a pass to “tell me like it is”, I know they have my best interest at heart, they allow me to follow my own path, they love me anyway if (and/or when) the pieces fall apart and never do they say, “But, I told you so.” (even when they really should).
Go to the store, get a journal and start journal writing. Journaling helps you put your life and all those life lessons in perspective. You can process where you have been, where you are and where you are going.
6. Stop worrying
Worrying is a form of pride. When we worry, we think we can fix it or that we have all the answers and clearly we don’t. Do not worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God.~Philippians 4:6
7. Live life with no regrets
Life is a journey. We are all on that journey and our purpose is to experience life to the fullest. Follow the light you have, the truth you know, and don’t look back. For what?
8. Learn from your mistakes
You will not stop making mistakes. Mistakes make you stronger and wiser. Learn from them and share them with others for their own good.
Get up. Get out. Do something. You know why. We all know why.
10. Eat better
You are what you eat and that is the truth. Stop eating crap. All it takes is little changes and eventually your entire body will thank you. Plus, you KNOW you need to eat better.
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I have opened my mouth more than ever before in my late 30s. I still have a LONG way to go, but I am better for it. My relationships are stronger and I have been released from the unnecessary weight of silence.
12. Stop trying to be perfect
There is only one Jesus and he ain’t you. We will never be perfect so now I say, “I’m not a perfectionist. I’m anal.” Seriously, all we can do is be the best version of ourselves.
13. Let it go
From the classic movie that every parent has seen entirely too many times, Frozen, LET IT GO! Whatever it is, whenever it happened, let it go. It is doing nothing more than adding negativity and bitterness to your life and it’s not worth it.
14. Get off the comparison train
William Jones, Mary Jones, the entire Jones family has issues too. So, I had to stop one day and ask myself, “Why are you comparing yourself to them?”
15. You will fail
I have failed and succeeded more than once. In every failure there is a lesson that leads to another success. So, I keep failing! God will take our greatest failure and turn it into our greatest strength time and time again.
16. Live debt free
Debt is evil. It makes no sense to me. I have learned that you can live a life without credit cards and loans. If I can’t pay for it, I don’t need it. I have failed and succeeded at this so many times in my lifetime and I am determined to continue in success one step at a time.
17. Start your day with quiet time
For a little over 6 years now, I have been intentionally waking 30 minutes earlier to have my quiet time with God. I complete my bible study, prayer, and meditation. This has allowed me to give to God and receive from God. I am being obedient to him, yet I am receiving several blessings in the process.
True forgiveness is choosing not to think about it anymore. Consider the debt PAID IN FULL! Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.~2 Corinthians 5:17
Becoming a listener takes practice. Listening is a true art form that requires patience and even restraint. When listening to others or even that voice in your head, you must restrain yourself from “talking back”. Just let the words flow through your mind. Only respond if there is a request for one. Otherwise, shut your mouth and LISTEN!
20. Take the first right step
It may be a small step, but take it. It is your step to take. You will never know unless you take that first step.
21. Everybody’s got their something
It may seem like that other person is perfect. They appear to have it ALL together. The truth is, they don’t. Everyone is struggling with something, self-worth, depression, debt, illness, body image, the list could go on. We are all flawed. It’s how we manage our flaws that makes the difference.
22. Find your something
Discovering and following your passion for work or hobby allows you to feel that your life has a purpose and meaning. It gives you a release from the hardships of daily life.
23. Challenge yourself
The real stuff happens when we step out of our comfort zone. I have done my fair share of putting myself out there-yoga, crossfit, running, kickboxing, swimming, presentations to corporate leaders, teaching teenagers, managing adults, writing a blog, starting an online business, becoming a work at home mom, moving across the world-the list could go on. I’m so over it that now I just jump right in. Either I will sink or swim, but I’m going to learn something and the end result is usually life changing.
24. Be faithful
It took about 34 years for me to full grasp the concept of faithfulness. For me, being faithful gives me the energy and determination to put one foot in front of the other. We are a microwave nation that wants our results now. We have everything else available in an instant through the use of our tablets, computers, and phones. So, when being faithful takes longer than desired, I instantly want to jump ship. But, being faithful means staying the course. By being faithful, I am always rewarded on a larger scale than I could have ever imagined.
25. You can’t do it all
My husband has been telling me since college that I overdue it. I let my plate get full and then I end up trying to juggle several plates. And we all know the ending of this story. EPIC FAIL. I have tried to set priorities, discover my boundaries, and learn to say no. The power of the word, “NO”, is unbelievable. The world will go on with or without me. So, I’ve learned that if someone else can do it better, LET THEM!
26. Trust your gut
If you feel it, go with it. By trusting your instincts, you are trusting yourself first. And who better to trust than yourself? Or do you not trust yourself? If that’s the case, that is another lesson learned.
27. Being healthy is more than eating right and working out
I have learned the hard way that for me being healthy means getting sleep, taking time for myself, communicating, drinking water, making and keeping doctor’s appointments, AND eating right, AND working out. Being healthy is a lifestyle. It is more than a vanity complex.
28. Sometimes that deadline will come and go
Now, I know that some deadlines are not meant to be missed. I’m not naive. But, rest easy. Those other deadlines can be reset to ensure your best work is on display. I had a deadline for this post and it is already thirteen days late. All I can do is keep writing and move on. I can’t lose sleep or waste energy. That is really not helping my situation. I can only acknowledge my mistake and move on.
Live on less. Get rid of excess. If you don’t need it, rid your life of it. Clutter is an indication of the status of your life. By removing clutter, you will minimize your life which will help you focus on what really matters. I automatically feel 10 pounds lighter when I declutter.
I absolutely love to travel. My husband and I love to immerse ourselves in other cultures. Traveling allows you to temporarily step out of your box, try new things (and food), and relax. In many travel situations you will be forced to release control and go with the flow.
31. Give your kids the attention they deserve
Kids are only kids for a short number of years. This time will pass so quickly. I have never heard an elderly person say, “I wish I spent more time at work.” But, I have heard an elderly person say, “I wish I spent more time with my kids.” I will NOT have that regret on my conscious and I have learned to slow down and be present with my littles. I listen, respond, and show interest. Even if I don’t want to talk about, see or hear another video game strategy, Harry Potter revelation or Shopkins story.
32. Give to others
When I think about giving, I automatically think of monetary giving. But, giving to others does not necessarily mean a cash donation. I can give my time or even skills to help someone. It can be as simple as babysitting for another mom, volunteering my time at the kids’ school, or even visiting a sick friend. “For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, You shall open wide your had to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.~Deuteronomy 15:11
33. Being a parent is the most difficult career on Earth
God gave me these children because He knew I was adequate. So, I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time and when it gets hard it is HARD. But, I’m going to do it and I’m going to do it to the best of my ability as my service to Him.
34. Fight for it
Whatever it is, whoever it is, fight for it. You may not think so, but you have a little bit of fight left in you. Life is worth living if you have a fight to win.
35. Be grateful
I have so much to be grateful for. When I truly examine my life, my gratitude list is overflowing. I am grateful for every experience, every failure, every success, every mistake, every friend, even the gym membership I love to hate. I am grateful and blessed beyond measure.
This summer I lost a dear friend of 19 years. Her unexpected death was a significant blow to the heart. As we live life and shuffle through daily ups and downs don’t forget to cultivate your relationships. It’s important to make that phone call, meet for brunch or send that text. We have all heard it before and now I know, life is truly too short. This is the ultimate life lesson.I have learned to love hard even when the situation or other person makes it difficult. God loves me regardless of my many mess-ups, so, who am I not to love others? We love because God loved us first.~1 John 4:19
37. Don’t Procrastinate
We all have the same 24 hours in a day and I am planning better to manage my time more effectively to avoid procrastination. Procrastination is truly the root of fear. When we procrastinate we are ultimately avoiding tackling that one task that we are afraid to complete so we do everything else instead. Procrastination has gotten the BEST of me and I’m over it.
Sometimes, you just have to go. The research is done, you have seeked advice (or not), the pro/con list is complete and now its just time to go. Don’t overthink it. This is your life, Take the leap of faith at least once in your life. And leave the safety net at home, you’ll be better for it.
If there was ever any doubt in my mind that I could move out of the city I lived in for 37 years, that doubt is now extinct. An international move to Dublin, Ireland has me stepping out of my comfort zone and rebuilding my confidence everyday . My blankies are gone-no family, no friends, no community, no local grocery store. I have survived each and every new challenge thrown my way. I have learned that I can most definitely do it (whatever it is) even in another country.
Next year, I bid farewell to my 30’s. And although I am having a bit of an internal struggle with aging (another post for another day), I will raise my glass and have a good time wherever I am because in the words of Beyonce,
“This is for them forty somethings
Well raise up your glass and laugh like a mother***er.”
Hugs and love,
What is one life lesson you learned thus far? Please leave a comment below or share any of your life lessons and I will get back to you.
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