What My 35 Years Have Taught Me

Today is my birthday, so sing and dance with me as I celebrate turning 35! Okay…you weren’t actually going to sing me “Happy Birthday” and dance while reading this, were you?! If you were, you are awesome! If not, you are still awesome! But, seriously, I want to use my birthday as a day to reflect on everything my life has taught me up to this point and share my life lessons with you with the hopes that it might demystify your own path in life. So, here’s my 35 thoughts for 35 years of living, learning and loving this life as best as I can:

1. Your health must be a top priority. I think it’s safe to say that most of us have taken our health for granted. I know I have before I committed to changing the way I lived. I found that without a strong and healthy mind and body I didn’t have much. So, eat healthy, exercise, and get enough sleep to take care of you!

2. You can’t please everyone. It’s perfectly natural to want to belong, be liked and respected. But true validation can only come from you. Stand up…speak up and stay true to your values. People will judge you no matter what, so make yourself happy.

3. Love yourself. It’s so easy to put everyone else’s needs ahead of your own. When you continually do this, you deplete your well-being. You cannot give what you don’t have so, it’s important to remember to fill your own cup before you pour yourself into somebody else’s pitcher.

4. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Perfection is unattainable. If you’re constantly seeking it, you will never be happy with yourself or your life. You have to be okay with making mistakes. It means you’re human, so find the lesson and move on!

5. Change is growth. Most people think of change as something scary and uncomfortable. However, what I have learned is that change allows you to learn, grow, and become a better version of you. It’s not about what you’re losing but about everything you’re gaining!

6. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Closing yourself off and not allowing anyone in doesn’t protect you, it creates distance and a lack of connection with others, which leads to loneliness. Let people get to know the real you. It allows people share in your celebrations, pick you up when you’re down, and to simply to say “me too” when you need an empathetic ear to let you know you’re not alone.

7. Believe that you are worthy. You are worthy of love, laughter, success, health and happiness. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The degree to which you believe this will be reflected in your reality. So live it, breathe it, and feel it…you are worth it!

8. Be present. Our culture places a lot of value on how much we can get done in a short period of time. A focus on production and mastering multitasking turns our attention to the future instead of the now. Be present to fully experience, engage and soak in all that there is at any given moment, because that may be all there is…this moment.

9. Let go of toxic people. Life is too short to live it surrounded by people who don’t appreciate you. Toxic people have the ability to taint those around them with their anger, manipulation and disrespect, when in fact it’s the person in the mirror they can’t bear to see. It’s not about you, so stand up for yourself or let go if you must. Invest your time and energy into those who will push you to be the better version of you.

10. Forgive. When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge. Those thoughts will linger until you decide to forgive in spite of the need to punish the person. Instead, give yourself the gift of peace, happiness, and freedom to move on from the hurt.

11. Laugh! Most of us are way too serious and guilty of turning minor situations into major problems. Then, there are the moments of complaining and worrying about things that simply don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. While it’s good to face tough situations, being too serious on a frequent basis can hinder your ability to truly enjoy life. So, let loose and laugh for goodness’ sake!

12. Don’t save things for special occasions. Every day is special and should be celebrated. Don’t wait for that wedding, vacation, or night out to wear your new dress, wear it now! Burn those keepsake candles, wear your gorgeous lingerie, use your fancy dishes, bling your hair, strut in your new outfit today, tomorrow and happily ever after!

13. Only you control your happiness. Happiness that is found in other people or things is not true happiness. It’s often short lived, many times shallow and absolutely fragile. The kind of happiness that is forever, deep and unbreakable is found inside of you.

14. Be grateful. It’s easy to take things for granted, but you never know when circumstances will change. Once they do, those people or things you had are gone. Be grateful for what you have now for, “this too shall pass.”

15. Don’t let fear hold you back. Fear is a natural feeling that we all share. It will creep up when you least expect it, but don’t let it paralyze you or hold you back from living out your greatness. Plan ahead or be spontaneous, then take action and run fear right out your life!

16. Stop comparing yourself to others. No matter how good someone seems to have it, more times than not, you are seeing their “highlights” and not their “behind the scenes.” You, me and that perfect looking person you once saw have personal struggles and obstacles that we have to overcome. Jealously and comparisons have a funny way of showing us what we think we need to make us happy. Make your life better by focusing on the positives and set goals to achieve your dreams. Pretty soon you’ll see your happiness and confidence soar!

17. Don’t settle…ever. Don’t settle for a crappy relationship, job, house, where you live, cup of coffee, meal at a restaurant, friends, etc. If you’re not happy with something, make a change! Nobody should live a life less than what they’ve imagined.

18. See the world. Sure! Possessions are fun, but nothing trumps experiences and the memories that come from them. Get out and explore the world around you!

19. Cherish and nurture important relationships in your life. If it gives you love, then give back. Make it a point to tell the important people in your life that you love them. Stay connected with them. Share the good, bad and ugly of life — it will only strengthen your bond. And, give them your time and energy to brighten their day. Maintain strong, healthy relationships to keep your heart full and theirs overflowing.

20. Find your passion. When you find that thing you love to do, every day will feel magical. If you haven’t found your passion, make it your mission to find it. The joy and excitement that comes from it will have a positive affect on all other areas of your life, making life that much sweeter!

21. Don’t let negative thoughts rule your mind. Every moment of the day, we have random thoughts floating through our brains that can pass by or be fed by our own energies. Many of the thoughts are negative and limiting, but you don’t have to believe in them or you will risk turning them into reality.

22. Always be learning. Each and everyday there are countless opportunities all around us to learn and explore.  Keep your mind young and sharp by challenging yourself each day by learning new skills, reading books, taking classes, going to conferences, or getting into amazing conversations with different people you meet!

23. It’s never too late. Age is just a number. Don’t let it hold you back from something you really want to do. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

24. Give things your all. When you give things your all, your life will have no room for regret. No matter the outcome, knowing that you gave something your all will rid yourself of self-doubt.

25. Volunteer. If you’re searching for more meaning, purpose and happiness in your life, find a way to serve others. You’ll add more joy to your life, while making a difference in the lives of others.

26. Time heals. When you’re in the midst of a difficult, hurtful, or trying time, it can seem as if time is standing still. You get stuck wondering if you’ll ever make it through…if it will ever end. I’m here to say it can and will end, because time heals wounds.

27. Let go of the past. Don’t be so hard on yourself for things you did or said in the past. You did the best you could with the knowledge you had at the time. Your past is a part of who you are, but it doesn’t have to define you. The here and now is what counts. Learn what you can from each experience and move on!

28. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t let the little annoyances from day to day get to you. What you focus on can expand outwards leaving your life a blurry mess. So, make sure you only focus on what really matters.

29. Take responsibility for your life. Blaming others for things that have been said or done takes your power away. When you take full responsibility for your life, it gives you the power to create the outcome you desire.

30. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Many people are afraid to ask for help for one reason or another. They don’t want to be a burden. They know people are busy with their own lives. The truth is when we don’t ask for help we carry the entire load ourselves. When we ask for help, it takes a big chunk of the burden off our shoulders and you might be surprised to know you’re your loved ones and friends are happy and willing to help.

31. Do things NOW. Oftentimes, people try to wait for “just the right time” to make their move. The truth is…there is never a “right time.” Do things now for you may never come across this opportunity again.

32. Be spiritual. Whatever that means to you, be spiritual. It will make you feel like you are connected to something bigger than you and lets you know that you’re not alone.

33. Everyone you meet is a mirror. We come to understand ourselves best through our relationships with other people. We can only be triggered by something that we have experienced ourselves. The traits we tend to dislike in others are usually the traits we do not like about ourselves. Every person we meet in life is showing up at just the right time in our lives to reflect something we need to learn or heal within ourselves. The people with whom you interact are showing you who you are and ultimately providing you with an opportunity to learn, grow, or overcome something.

34. Play! Allow yourself to be silly, draw, create, sing, dance and have fun! Giving yourself the space to play can be a huge stress reliever and bring much-needed happiness into your life.

35. See the good in others. It may be hard to see the good in others when you’ve had a rough day and someone cuts your car off. Or, you bicker with your spouse about bills. Or, you just feel like everyone around you is taking and never giving back. Breathe…see the beauty that is the human life for there is love to give, a smile to share, and a hand to shake. And then nod knowingly that we are all bumping around this crazy merry-go-around that’s called life and just doing our best with what we’ve been given.

Your life will be what you make of it. Whether it’s more negative than positive or exciting and fulfilling, you are the one at the helm steering your ship through the ocean of life. Feel the wind in your face and take chances that will lead to outcomes you never expected, but don’t wait for your next birthday to take a look at the lessons life has taught you. Start learning, loving and living and do it now!

This one is for you and me – let’s change together!

Kristyn Haster

About the Author

Kristyn Haster

Kristyn Haster is a Lifestyle Blogger, Weight Loss Trainer and Self-Confidence Coach living in Boulder, Colorado. As Editor of LiveLethal.com (Crazy Confident You) Blog, she helps woman break out of their shells, gain total confidence and fall in love with life again.

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