[photo: Faith Danielle Photo]
I’ve been 33 for less than a whopping 48 hours now, but I think it’s safe to say I love this age. I truly don’t miss my 20’s and I have yet to even think of my 40’s. I’m just very content right here, right now. At 33.
I wasn’t always this content though. It took a lot to get here. So, I figured I would share some of the wisdom I’ve obtained thus far, at the wise young age of 33.
1. Saying no is a way of showing yourself love.
When someone or something doesn’t serve your highest and best self it is okay to say no to it. Even better, it’s okay to say no without feeling the need to explain yourself. It’s called boundaries. Your time and energy are valuable and protecting them is a form of self-love.
2. Be kind to everyone, because you have no idea what they’re going through.
Everyone is battling something that no one knows anything about. If you picture everyone you come into contact with throughout the day as an individual who may be struggling, it will help you choose kindness.
3. Timelines society places on you and that you place on yourself are not real.
That’s right, folks. If you hop on social media and everyone’s popping out babies but you and you’re left feeling behind or less than in someway, it’s all in your head. It’s all your own doing. Stop torturing yourself with imaginary timelines and be present. Whatever is meant for you will be for you.
4. Speak up. Or just speak at all.
Your voice matters. In boardrooms, in classrooms, in politics, in situations that don’t feel right; your voice is welcome. What you have to say is important. You aren’t Ariel from The Little Mermaid. You have a voice. Don’t allow the sea witch, your boss or anyone else take that away.
5. Stop seeking advice from people who aren’t where you want to be.
Some people have to talk things out in order to process them (I know, because I’m one of those people). I understand wanting to seek guidance, but make sure you’re seeking it from the right crowd. If you’re in a loving relationship and simply going through a tough time, you may not want to take advice from someone who hasn’t had a successful relationship themselves. I know Becky is your best friend, but she’s not an expert. It’s like asking a baby how to bike.
6. There’s so much more to life and the weekends than drinking.
I’m not saying a boozy brunch isn’t fun, but I am saying it’s not the only thing you can do with your weekends. Quality time with friends is important, but the keyword here is quality. If you’re drinking to fit in or numb yourself from life, then you aren’t doing yourself any favors. You will be happier and more productive seeking out activities that don’t leave you feeling worse than when you started them. Cheers to finding balance.
7. Go to therapy.
If I could make this all 33 things on this list I would. Taking care of your mental health is the ultimate act of self-care in my opinion. It’s not always easy, but trust me, it’ll transform your life for the better. You don’t have to wait until something is “wrong” to go either. Think of therapy as maintenance for your mind. The check oil light is on and it wants you to heal it.
8. Listen to your gut. It’s always right.
Yes, always. Every.single.time. Trusting your gut is trusting yourself and when you can truly trust yourself it’s a beautiful thing. Whatever your gut is saying is what you’re truly saying. Listen.
9. Speak to yourself like you would the kindest person you know.
Grace, love and compassion are all things we usually reserve for others. We accept their mistakes and shortcomings, but rarely do the same for ourselves. Instead, we tend to label these things “flaws” and judge ourselves like mean girls. Life is hard enough. Don’t make it harder by being your own mean girl.
10. Stressing will not change the outcome.
I once read that when you stress about something that hasn’t happened yet, you’re making your brain go through the situation twice. I don’t know about you, but once is enough for me. Let things play out. Use the time you’d be thinking about what could go wrong to think about what could go right.
11. Be authentic.
You’ll never be able to please everyone anyway. You’re not a taco. Being authentic is how you’ll attract real friends and partners into your life. If you’re changing to feel accepted or to fit someone else’s narrative in hopes of making more friends, pleasing people or finding love, it’s not going to end well. Eventually, the burden of not being yourself will become too much and you’ll feel lonelier than ever. Sounds depressing and well, it is. I’ve been there. Be yourself and you’ll attract people who want to truly be themselves, as well. Those are the best kinds of people for your soul. Good friends and good partners love you for you.
12. It’s okay to ask for help with things.
I actually applaud it. When you ask for help you’re silencing your inner ego and taking back your power. The inner ego thinks you should be able to handle everything while still having a perfectly prepared well-balanced meal on the table by 6. Well, I have news for you. Unless that ego can come help you fold laundry, you should ask for help. The only person expecting you to be the “perfect” friend, wife, sister, mother, daughter, boyfriend, husband, co-worker, etc. is you and possibly people who are projecting their own insecurities. You are no less than because you hired a dog walker, babysitter or cleaning person. Being able to ask for help is the real flex.
13. Productivity doesn’t equal self-worth.
Want to hear something crazy? You are just as amazing on the days you sit on the couch watching old episodes of 16 and Pregnant as you are on the days you run errands and check off everything on your to-do list. Your self-worth isn’t determined by your productivity that day. You need rest. Couch days are just as important as your, “get shit done” days and you’re equally as wonderful doing either.
“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” -Unknown. Experiencing new places, food and cultures is unlike anything else. It’s humbling, rewarding and magical. Traveling replenishes the soul. Even if you can only afford to go one city over to do something you haven’t done before; go. Life is short. Book the ticket.
15. Your experiences aren’t necessarily that of others.
Listen and be open to learning. Just because you haven’t experienced racism or that guy “never acted like that” towards you, doesn’t make it any less real for the person that experienced it. Your experience is not that of the collective. Your experience is simply that: yours alone.
16. Fill your social media with things that make you feel good.
Mute is a glorious thing. If you’re feeling like a savage and want to block or unfollow, feel free to do that too! Your social media is supposed to be an experience catered towards you. That’s what algorithms are for. However, you’re the one feeding the algorithm. So, if you’re only looking at perfect accounts and #fitspo posts that leave you feeling less than, apps will continue to show you more of that. You can’t blame the apps for giving you more of what you’re choosing to consume. Take control of your social media and fill it with all the good and you’ll start feeling better whilst scrolling.
17. Take care of your skin. The earlier the better.
SPF is your best friend. Use it daily along with other skincare items like under-eye creams and anti-aging serums. Don’t neglect your neck, hands and ears, because they’ll start to show signs of aging too.
18. Stop judging your parents.
Before your parents were parents they were just adults trying to survive for themselves. Then you came along. Parents have their own set of life experiences, traumas, struggles, etc. They did the best they could with what they knew at the time. No one said they had to be perfect and that’s actually impossible, since there’s no “right way” to raise a child. You’re most likely the only one who’s expecting them to have not messed you up in the slightest. Let go of the blame. If they didn’t do the best job in your eyes, work on reparenting yourself through therapy and self-help. View them as humans and you’ll free yourself from the resentment that holds you and your relationship with them back.
19. Pray and practice gratitude daily.
I realize that not everyone believes in God, so this is subjective. However, having faith in God and being spiritual has gotten me through the hardest times in my life. Your beliefs are your beliefs, but I encourage you to seek out whatever that thing is for you. Gratitude, like praying, is a practice that also helps you gain perspective and appreciate all you have in the present.
20. Never stop learning.
You don’t even know what you don’t know. Listen to podcasts about topics that interest you, read books and take classes. You may be done with school, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop there. Intelligence is powerful.
21. This is temporary.
Whatever hardship you’re facing, it will pass. A breakup, a layoff, a loss of a friendship; they’re all hard, but these feelings won’t last forever. Start viewing things that aren’t going your way as opportunities to receive things that are truly meant for you.
22. Know your worth.
If a potential employer asks your starting salary, shoot for the moon! You’ll probably land around $5-10k less, but it’s better than not trying at all. Also, know that you can negotiate. Their first offer is called an “offer” for a reason. Chances are a male is already making what you’re asking for in that same position, so don’t sell yourself or your bank account short. If you have the experience you should be compensated accordingly.
23. Stop eating & drinking things that don’t make you feel good.
You know how every-time you eat that “one thing” your stomach gets upset or your face breaks out? Well, I know this is a novel idea, but stop eating or drinking it. Your body tries to give you clues all day long, but it’s up to you to pay attention to them and make the changes necessary to thrive. Food is your body’s fuel, so the less junk the better.
24. Fear is a really good liar.
While fear is great for kids around hot stoves and babies around pools, it’s not all that great for us adults. Fear tries to protect us, but it also likes to lie to our body in order to keep us from moving forward in our lives. Anything you haven’t done before or anything that has hurt you in the past is going to cause fear. Overcoming fear is the key to getting to where you want to be.
25. Love your body in your teens and 20’s.
This is usually the age where we pick our bodies apart the most, only it shouldn’t be! You’re beautiful and you’re going to look back and wish you appreciated what your body was then. Tight skin, a tight butt and a faster metabolism is nothing to take for granted. Love and appreciate your body now at whatever size it is.
26. Stop using a debit card.
Debit cards are pointless. They don’t help your credit, they don’t give you points and they accumulate ATM and other unnecessary fees. Use a credit card (if you can obtain one) for your daily purchases and pay it off every month. If you’re thinking, “I can’t pay off my credit card every month.” Well, then you may want to take a look at your spending, because you’re most likely not living within your means. Sorry, tough love. Credit card money is just as real as paper money, so treat it accordingly.
27. Hard lessons will keep repeating until you learn from them.
That’s right. Tough lessons won’t always show up in the same form or involve the same people or situations, but lessons you haven’t learned won’t just go away on their own. You have to be the one to resolve them. For example: If at every job you have you get walked all over then you should evaluate your boundaries or lack thereof. If you don’t, every subsequent job you have you’ll experience the same thing. You’re not a doormat. You’re a wonderful person who just hasn’t learned the lesson the universe is trying to teach you.
28. Heal your traumas.
If you want to make a difference in this world before your time is up: heal your traumas. Yes, the word is plural for a reason. No one in life is exempt from having experienced trauma. From your mother being late to pick you up from school as a child or experiencing the death of a loved one. It’s all traumatic and it all needs to be healed, especially if you’re planning to have children. If you don’t heal your traumas you will undoubtedly pass them onto your kids and them to theirs. Intergenerational trauma is a real thing and breaking the cycle is a gift you could give to not just your children, but to the world.
29. Stop taking things personally.
It’s nothing personal. Don’t internalize everyone’s bad mood or snotty remark as something you did wrong. People’s actions say more about them than they do you. Remember that hurt people hurt people. Likewise, don’t let your previous experiences misconstrue constructive feedback and turn it into criticism. Feedback isn’t you being judged. It’s actually an amazing opportunity to grow if you allow it to be.
30. Put your phone down and enjoy the damn concert and sunset while they’re happening.
You’re worthy of not sharing every little moment of your life. Yes, the sunset is beautiful, but so are you and you can enjoy the beauty of it even more without your phone getting in the way. Same goes for concerts. You paid for the ticket, so get your monies worth. You didn’t pay to be on your phone.
31. Support other women. Don’t just say you support other women.
Having an abundant mindset will allow you to truly support other females. Their wins won’t detract from yours. Their wins are yours to celebrate too. The sooner we realize there’s enough to go around, the sooner we’ll take over the world. Only slightly kidding. Cue Beyonce.
32. Talk less and listen more.
You already know your stories, so you’ll learn more by listening to other’s. Don’t just wait to talk. If you’re already thinking about what you want to say while someone’s still speaking, you’re not actually listening. Be a present and active listener. Before speaking, ask yourself: is it true, is it kind and is it necessary? If it doesn’t check all three boxes then it’s not worth saying. This isn’t something I came up with. It’s something that was shared with me and I find to be invaluable.
33. Give more.
Be charitable. Giving doesn’t leave you with less, it actually fills you with more of what’s important. It’s that feeling of what life is really about: helping others. Do your research and find what speaks to you and then take action. Donate your money, time or talents. They’re all equally as important for the greater good.
Is there anything you’d add to the list? Let me know, because I’ll have room for one more next year.