My 28th birthday came slowly and quietly just as I expected. It wasn’t loud like my 21st or social like my 16th. It wasn’t ground-breaking like my 18th or laced with travel like I enjoy. It came expectantly and gradual. Unhurried and minimal. Simple, just like life has been. No big plans. Just gratitude. A day to appreciate the little things. A spa day at home. Peace and quiet. Surrounded by books, an essential oil diffuser, and hot tea.
But as I watched the sun peek from behind the clouds, I thought about those 28 years and what they’ve meant to me. They meant life, of course. But they were lessons too. Lessons I never quite learned in school, but essential nonetheless.
28 lessons worth sharing:
1. Sociology is best learned around a dinner or coffee table.
2. A child’s laughter is medicine for weary souls.
3. A person’s character reveals more about them than any accomplishment ever could.
4. Aromatherapy works.
5. Fear is a self-imposed prison. It poisons the mind and kills dreams.
6. Retail therapy isn’t therapy at all. It’s most likely an interest accruing credit card bill.
7. Resisting change is rejecting an opportunity to grow.
8. Overthinking is procrastination masquerading as thoughtfulness. At least it is for me.
9. Perfectionism is an illusion. An illusion I battle daily.
10. Hard times reveal relationships in all their flawed, authentic glory.
11. Nature offers the best exercise courses. Free and ever-changing.
12. Solomon was right. There really is a season for everything. Our job is to embrace it all. Even what we don’t understand.
13. I am more successful after 10 minutes of silence than eight hours of hustle and bustle.
14. Love is less like Hollywood and more like life on a farm. Steadfast. Disciplined. Consistent. Hard work. Life-giving.
15. Pride does to the soul what cancer does to the body.
16. A conversation with a good friend is the cheapest form of therapy.
17. Comparison is not only the thief of joy, as Theodore Roosevelt said, but it’s the thief of contentment too.
18. Any job/career that disrupts work life balance is not the one for you.
19. Nothing in life is free. The trick is to know what’s worth the cost and what’s not.
20. The method of communication is important.
21. It is so much better to know people than to watch them.
22. There isn’t enough makeup in the world to conceal a woman’s insecurities.
23. Travel. It’s the best way to step outside of your comfort zone.
24. The most wonderful thing about social media is also the most dangerous. (Insert freedom of speech.)
25. It’s better to save for what I want than pay the debt later.
26. My greatest gift is time. It’s through this gift that I’ve come to realize all the rest.
27. Grace is the gift of one more. One more breath. One more chance. One more day.
28. I have not arrived.
But even still, I am excited to carry on, knowing that every day brings new lessons. Two decades and eight years isn’t nearly enough to call a life full, but I’m so much more content than I used to be and that, perhaps, is the greatest lesson of all.
So whatever birthday or celebration you find yourself approaching, I think our lessons are the same. Live wholly. Live contented. Live thankful. We’ve been granted the gift of one more. May we use it wisely.
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