33 Lessons in 33 Years

I recently came across a fun post, 32 Lessons from 32 Years of Life. The timing was perfect as I was pondering what to post about on my birthday (Yep, Pisces here.), and I had actually been toying with the idea of this type of post.

I hope you find these short lessons useful, and please feel free to chime in with your own at the end. So, here goes… lessons I’ve learned from 33 years of living:

1. You’re only as good as your word. Don’t break it. (Read: If You Say You’re Going To Do Something, Do It!)

2. Take care of your body. It’s the only one you have.

kicking toward the finish line

Running makes me happy and clears my mind. What’s your favorite activity?

3. Own your decisions. You are responsible for you — not anyone else.

4. Pay it forward. Karma has a way of reciprocating. You’ll  benefit more than those you help anyway. Trust me.

5. Make time for you. It’s not selfish; it’s necessary to recharge and be at your best.

6. Some “vices” are OK. If you really enjoy something, do it (unless it harms others).

7. Pay attention. You’ll learn so much by being observant, in business and in life.

8. Learn from the past, look forward to the future, but live in the present. It’s the best show there is. If you’re constantly reliving things or worrying about future events, you’ll miss a lot of wonderful moments.

9. Learn to give — and receive — constructive criticism. (“This is terrible” or “you’re stupid” is not constructive.)

10. Listen, listen, listen. It will take you far in life.

11. Follow your gut. It’s your instinct for a reason.

12. Try new things — foods, adventures, travels. You never know what you’ll fall in love with. (Like ice skating, for me.)

ice skating

Snow, wind & ice. Lots of ice. Enjoying some time on the pond — the best part of winter.

13. Respect your values and beliefs. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, it’s OK to walk away. (Read: Gray Area: Do Ethics Still Have a Place in Business?)

14. An interview is a two-way conversation about an opportunity. Relax.

15. The devil IS in the details. Handle those and the rest will follow.

16. Do something special for yourself monthly, or more often if you can. Because you’re worth it. (Thanks, L’Oreal.)

17. Don’t project your bad day outward. Just because you’re in a bad mood, everyone else doesn’t have to be.

18. Social media’s great, but get social in real life too. (Read: Social Media’s Nice, But It’s Not IRL)

19. Embrace the mundane. It’s 80% of life. (Listen: This is Water, David Foster Wallace)

20. If you feel like getting dressed up to go to the store, go for it. Likewise, if you head out in workout gear, it’s no big deal. Life doesn’t hinge on what you’re wearing. (Granted, there are occasions where your dress is dictated by the occasion. Embrace it.)

21. Sometimes, you can buy happiness. Just don’t try it all the time.

22. Value those close to you. Don’t take them for granted, because some day they won’t be there.

Color Run Akron 2013

My sister-in-law, brother & I after Color Run Akron.

23. Make the extra effort. It usually pays off — even if no one’s watching.

24. Have a strong handshake, a genuine smile and a killer pair of earrings. (Gentlemen, I hear cuff links produce the same effect.)

25. Laugh a lot. It’s the best medicine, and you don’t need a prescription.

Yours truly, enjoying the moment

Yours truly, enjoying the moment.

26. Don’t waste too much time worrying. It really doesn’t change things.

27. Think through major decisions but don’t be afraid to act. Indecision can be paralyzing and leave you watching from the sidelines.

28. Be impulsive every once in awhile. Do something crazy at least once in your life.

29. Celebrate birthdays. Age brings wisdom and life experience. Appreciate them.

30. Think — every single day. It never goes out of style.

31. Listen to your body. It’s amazing what it can tell you.

32. “Never being satisfied” makes a great motivational poster but leaves you feeling empty inside. Always wanting more can leave you broke and alone. Enjoy your achievements and appreciate what you have. Remember, perfection is unattainable.  (Read: What’s your riddle?)

33. Be genuine in everything you do. It’s easier in the long run, and people will appreciate you for it. Eventually, you’ll even find people who like you for who you are.

“And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life…”  –Lester Burnham, American Beauty

stick em up!

Bonnie & Clyde… back in the day.

I’ve never really grown up (vertically challenged here), but I have learned a lot. Like a good hat can make up for just about anything, even a really crappy day.

Share Your Lessons

What lesson(s) have you learned?

Do any of these lessons resonate with you? Do you disagree with any?

Maybe we can all learn to navigate this crazy thing we call life a little better.


Life lesson: Connect with others!
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What’s your riddle?

You know, the one that’s still stumping you, no matter how hard you try to solve it. That puzzle you keep turning over in your mind like a Rubik’s Cube, knowing there’s a solution out there somewhere. What’s your riddle?

                                          The Waste Lands, Dark Tower III   Wizard and Glass, Dark Tower IV

Recently, I’ve been catching up on Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, some of the few King masterpieces that I haven’t read (or devoured). (Yes, you could say I’m a fan.) Today, I finished The Waste Lands (III) and began Wizard and Glass (IV), and the scene that had me hooked was all about riddles. The main characters – Roland, Eddie, Susannah and Jake – must stump their antagonist, Blaine, with a riddle he can’t solve. Of course, Blaine is a demented spirit/ghost powering a train who’s losing his mind and has a nearly endless knowledge of riddles.

The Ka-tet: Roland of Gilead, Eddie, Susannah and Jake (with Oy)

The Ka-tet: Roland of Gilead, Eddie, Susannah and Jake (with Oy)

In typical King style, I was turning pages faster and faster to see if the ka-tet (along with their furry companion, Oy) lived or died. It also made me think more about riddles, a concept that our ‘world has moved on’ from, it seems. However, riddles actually apply today as well as ever.

We all have that riddle that we’re trying to solve, big or small.

Some of us battle addictions while others have a fear of failure. Some can’t put down the bottle while others have built a wall and won’t let anyone in. We all have something. What’s your thing?

 Mine is perfectionism. I’ve always felt this driving need from deep inside me to be perfect and excel at everything, which is impossible. I do understand that, and I’ve come a long way from my youth, but perfectionism’s an ugly force that still rears its head to me today. I know that I’ll always deal with it on some level, just below the surface, no matter how much progress I make. That’s my riddle that I can’t quite solve even after years of looking at it from every angle, considering different solutions. (As you can imagine, that doesn’t sit well with the perfectionist monster inside of me. Talk about irony…)

Perfectionism still stares me right in the eye.

Perfectionism still stares me right in the eye.

So there’s my riddle. What are you trying to solve? About your life, yourself, your situation? Whatever it is, know that all riddles can be solved eventually. They may take years or much sweat and stress, but they can be solved.

OK, don’t leave me stranded. Leave a comment about your riddle, so we can all bring our daily battles to light. If you don’t feel comfortable exposing your riddle, then just let me know that I’m not alone in my fight.

So, what’s your riddle?

Stephen King book covers courtesy of The Dark Tower Official Website
Amazing drawing of the Ka-tet by John M. Prinkey courtesy of Elfwood

Enjoy the sunshine!

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