Okay, so I totally slacked on doing this last year. I fully intended to write out forty-one things I had learned. Then I got busy with HIIT training, a gift from a dear friend I made in Yoga Instructor Certification Training. And then another friend of mine made it a goal to do one hundred yoga practices in January of last year. And I was kinda watching it to get inspired and to support him, but also because that’s a really awesome goal, which ended with him getting one hundred and TWELVE practices in January, which is beyond impressive. There was the passing of a dear friend the week before my birthday. I fully intended to write the list “next week”. But then next week became the week after that, and when it comes to my own writing, occasionally, it gets placed on the back burner because three kids and paid work tend to take the lead in my life.
So here you are, Dear Reader: what I’ve learned in my life that stands out as I’m coming up on age forty-two. Or “Forty-Two’d” as my friend Geoff says, referencing my ability to stand strong with fortitude, no matter the circumstances.
1.) Stop apologizing for your joy. Whether it’s food, hobbies, music, people you spend time with, or movies you like to watch.
2.) Remember the little things. All those little things, those small moments of grace, those small moments of joy, of peace, of beauty, those add up to an amazing life.
3.) Walk away from people who try to change you to fit the definition of what they want you to be. You are who you are. Embrace it. Love it. Never apologize for it.
4.) You can walk away from situations and people that are painful to you or just no longer working for you without anger and hatred. You simply say “this is no longer working for me,” and exit with kindness.
5.) Don’t waste your energy on people who treat you like you’re expendable. Simply walk away. There are better people waiting for you, who will love you and treat you as you deserve to be treated.
6.) Treat people as they need and want to be treated.
7.) Love fully and without reservation and without condition.
8.) Never wait to say “I love you” out of fear.
9.) The people I love, admire, and respect most in the world are the people who treat all people with kindness and compassion.
10.) You have every right to feel whatever you feel in any given moment. It’s what you do with how you’re feeling that is what matters.
11.) We don’t only live once. We die once. We live every day if we do it right.
12.) Anything you want in this world, a healthier body, a job you love, good friends, and a healthy relationship to name a few, are worth the hard work it takes to gain it, and even more worth the hard work it takes to maintain it.
13.) Stop making excuses, and start doing.
14.) Stop telling the world how amazing you are and simply show how amazing you are.
15.) “K” in response to any message still pisses me off. Give me the half second it takes to hit “O” before you type in “K”.
16.) “Skinny bitch” is just as hurtful to hear as “Fat bitch”. I’ve heard both far too often in my journey to a healthy body.
17.) Ask yourself if you’re doing something because it serves a purpose in your life, or are you doing it out of habit.
18.) Be the type of friend you would like to have in your life.
19.) Sometimes, it’s more than enough to get up, inhale and exhale, repeat, then go back to bed at the end of the day.
20.) Never measure yourself by someone else’s yardstick.
21.) Try anything at least once.
22.) Sometimes, you just gotta flip a coin to make your decision.
23.) Take people at their word. If they tell you they’re happy in their line of work, have no interest in getting married, aren’t ready for a relationship, or don’t want a child, don’t attempt to change their mind set, or be offended when they turned out to be exactly who they said they were.
24.) If you present yourself as one way to the world, don’t be offended when you’re treated as such.
25.) I don’t care what you look like. I don’t care what your job is, where you came from, how large your bank account is, or what type of car you own. I don’t care about the labels on your clothing. What I care about is how you’ll treat the waiter or the person who empties the trash.
26.) Stop making excuses. Just do the damn thing you’ve wanted to do.
27.) You are under no obligation to apologize for your feelings. Feel what you feel when you feel it. You are however under the obligation to handle those feelings responsibly and not take them out on anyone else.
28.) You are not your past. What you did before, what you have survived to come out on the other side of, these are things that you did or went through, THEY ARE NOT YOU. You are who you choose to become.
29.) Be yourself. Always. The right kind of people will love you as you are.
30.) Listen to that little voice inside yourself that tells you when things aren’t right.
31.) Listen to that little voice inside yourself that tells you to take a leap of faith.
32.) If you woke up and are breathing, you’ve got good news, baby!
33.) Never allow those who are unkind to tell you your self worth and value.
34.) You can have as many plastic surgeries as you want, but nothing will change the date you were born.
35.) There is nothing as healing as unconditional love.
36.) If you’ve hurt someone, tell them you’re sorry.
37.) Give back to your community.
38.) I love those people who aren’t afraid to show their flaws. It makes them human, and therefore, possible to love.
39.) There are no mistakes. Only learning experiences.
40.) Eat the damn cupcake.
41.) No matter what the relationship is, abuse of any type is unacceptable.
42.) I finally know what I want to be when I grow up: Content.