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As my 37th birthday quickly approaches I thought I would share some of the life lessons I have learned as an adult. If you are young take heed, maybe this will spare you some pain. If you are like me, you are not going to listen, no matter what. Or, maybe you are around my age and can totally relate. Either way here are some things I have learned the hard way that I wish I would have realized when I was younger.
- Sometimes you become unrecognizable even to yourself. I never knew how much I would change my viewpoint and opinions on everything. There is TREMENDOUS growth continually evolving into a more mature version of yourself constantly and consistently in your adult years. The person that I used to be, the things I did, and my viewpoint are nowhere close to who I am today.
- Your body is your temple. This is the only body you get for however many years you are on this Earth. I wish I would have realized a long time ago how important it is to treat my body and take care of myself mentally and physically. Everything I put into it and every injury I endured left a lasting impression that is hard to ignore these days. I am learning now that it really would have made a difference if I would have treated it better. From knees to skin damage and wrinkles from tanning, exposing myself mentally to things I knew I couldn’t handle, to eating unhealthy and smoking, it eventually all catches up to you.
- I am worthy. I would have valued myself, raised my standards way higher when it came to men and friendships, and everything really. I would have been way less accepting of being treated like crap. Being around the wrong people wasted a lot of time and made me feel terrible.
- Your family won’t always be there. I would have valued my family way more! I would have cherished every get-together and made more of an effort to be engaged with my extended family. Between the death of my stepmom and most recently my grandma, life is not the same nor will it ever be like it was. Family grows apart and people make less and less effort to see each other, and that makes a huge impact on everyday life.
- Negativity is poison. Being a positive upbeat person doesn’t come naturally to me, unfortunately. I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop and stay cautious of things that can always go wrong in an effort to prepare myself. THIS has stolen a lot of joy from me. Looking at the bright side more often takes a huge load of stress and anxiety off me and allows me to be more present. It is hard to do, being sure to always be mindful of poisonous thoughts, but is so worth it.
- Only God can judge. I have also learned that another huge joy stealer is being consumed by what other people think. I used to live by other people’s opinions only doing what the majority was doing or what people thought I should do. This kind of people-pleasing makes you miserable real fast. With age and maturity comes wisdom. Now thinking about doing what someone else thinks I should just seem so preposterous to me now. I am living my life not anyone else knows what it is like to walk in my shoes. Only I know what works for me and what doesn’t.
- Trust yourself. Similar to number six; something I wish I realized so many years before is to trust my intuition. That gut feeling that tells you this is not right for you, the body symptoms, the unhappiness, the struggle it takes, those are all clear signs that something is not your thing. AND that is totally okay! I have experienced such intense panic attacks being in a place, jobs, relationships, situations, or social activities that were just not my cup of tea. I would force myself to muscle through seeing that this is what almost everyone else does so this must be what I need to do too. Once I stopped doing what didn’t feel right; Life was much easier in that regard.
- Trust God. I am still guilty of struggling with this one. It is just so HARD! I am a control freak, so it is hard to relinquish control to the Almighty sometimes. I am always quickly reminded though how much better His way is. Incorporating God earlier in my life would have spared me so much trouble and I regret that I didn’t include him more in my younger years.
- Don’t chase the guy. Just don’t! So many guys play the game. If you are getting very little interaction back while you are jumping through hoops, he’s not the one, NO MATTER WHAT HE SAYS, NO MATTER! So many unspoken rules that you are never revealed. Don’t put in more effort than what he is. Having one-sided expectations can mentally destroy you. It is not worth it.
- Having offspring is pretty amazing. In my late teens, I had no plans on having kids. It just seemed like something I wouldn’t be good at, and I didn’t want to mess up a whole person! However, God has always had different plans for me in that area of my life, and there I was 22 years old with a baby boy. After a couple of months of not being totally convinced of what all the hype was about, he looked up at me and grinned so big and wiggled around in excitement to interact with me and I was hooked and have been ever since. Children have a way of showing you what love truly is. When you realize just how accountable you are for their lives you don’t want to fail them.
There you have it, the 10 most important lessons I have learned so far. Several more come to mind on an even more personal level. Who knows, maybe there will be a part 2 one day or better yet, much more will be disclosed in my book one day soon.