30 for 30

I turned 30 last week. Below are 30 thoughts, truths and tidbits I'm sharing from the 30 years I've been blessed to walk this earth. But first, to set the tone and because I couldn't have said it better myself, read this.

#30- It’s OK if you don’t know what you want to do.

This is a biggie for me. I've always struggled with this and still do. I remember in high school feeling so much pressure from the college advisor to pick a major. I also remember her telling me that I couldn't/wouldn't/shouldn't always depend on my pretty smile and cute clothes to get me where I wanted to go. I'm certain my parents didn't pay extra for that one. I'm sorry, but looking back I'd put lots of money down, that struggling with picking a major at 17 or 18 years old is the majority not the minority. Needless to say, the only major I picked was being a major pain in her ass. I was really good at that. Hopefully, they've adjusted their college advising techniques in the last ten years. Assholes. I remember feeling so hopeless at a time when you should be filled with hope. There are a lucky few, my husband and brother included, who went to school for something they were passionate about and now both have very successful and fulfilling careers in areas they LOVE. Oh, the envy. I'm learning to be alright with the fact that I'm good at lots of things. I've had a plethora of jobs. Some stuck for a while, some didn't. I'll probably have loads more and guess what, it's OK!

#29- Quality over quantity

Always. And with everything. I'm talking jeans, relationships, food, bourbon (I'm still working on the quantity part with this one!) Y'all get the idea here, wouldn't everyone rather have a handful of amazing friends than loads of flaky acquaintances? Always quality, because you know what? You deserve it. 

#28- Be nice

Plain and simple, what you put out there you get back. 

#27- Summer is the best season

I might lose some of you here but I just can't help myself. Maybe because in contrast to the cold winters humidity seems like a dream. Call me crazy but I'd prefer to be wearing next to nothing knowing that there is sweet relief at the nearest watering hole than be freezing my ass off and wearing 20 layers of down.

#26- Hangovers hurt worse than they use to 

No fucking joke. I use to be unstoppable and it was nothing to stay up ALL night long and roll into work the next morning like nothing even happened. I'm sure my employer could tell 'something happened' but that's beside the point. Now, it's slightly different. I try to incorporate plenty of water while drinking. I know it's a bad idea to mix types of alcohol. Sadly, despite my efforts to combat the inevitable, I still feel terrible the next day. It starts before that though, you wake up in the middle of the night (like 2:00ish) because you cut yourself off and were in bed by 11:00, and you're already severely dehydrated. You chug water and lay back down only to realize your head is pounding. You contemplate getting back up for Advil but decide against it because the medicine cabinet, which is just in the other room, feels like miles of uncharted territory. You check the alarm clock and fight back the tears. The next day is literally a bust even if it is a Saturday. You spend most of the day recovering and promising yourself it won't happen again. Good luck. 

#25- Dogs are better than cats

Never have I experienced a purer form of unconditional love as I have from my sweet dogs. It's mind-blowing to know that no matter what you do to them, you still are the center of the universe. Amazing. Oh and, they potty outside.

#24- Responsibility is hard no matter your age

When I was a kid I had it pretty much made. My responsibilities were next to nil but the ones I did have; homework, pets, still seemed challenging. Today there's so much more or maybe there's just so much more riding on those responsibilities that seem to make them more difficult. Mortgage, cars, relationships, jobs, I could go on. Feel that pressure? I'm sure you've heard the, 'I don't want to adult today.' Regardless of your age, your responsibilities probably challenge you. I'd wager that if it's important to you, no matter the effort needed, you'll figure it out. 

#23- Saying goodbye is NEVER easy

I'm not talking about the 'see you next time' kind of goodbyes. I'm talking about the 'this is it' goodbyes. I don't care if it's closure at someones deathbed or funeral, putting a beloved pet to sleep, the ending of a relationship, leaving an area/city with no intention of returning. This shit is hard and to be honest, I feel like it keeps getting harder. 

#22- Don’t beat yourself up

The world is challenging enough, the last thing we need is to be fighting against ourselves. We all make mistakes. Do yourself a favor and learn from them and MOVE on. Beating yourself up gets you nowhere and gets you there fast all while accomplishing nothing except damage. Just don't do it. 

#21- It actually is all about you

Really, it is. Now this is interesting because being compassionate and caring about others shouldn't get in the way of putting you first, like we're all taught. People may accuse you of being self absorbed, selfish, etc. by practicing this but that's a load of serious horse shit. Last time I checked, this is my life and consequently I'm going to live it for me. I have no proof that there will be another shot so I'm going to live this one up. And no, I'm not sorry if you can't handle that. Honor yourself. You aren't any good to anyone else if you don't take care of you first. 

#20- Traveling makes you a better person

It does. Traveling expands your views in every sense. It opens your heart. It makes you happy.  There is a great, big, beautiful world out there and you should go see it, experience it, live it. I guarantee that it will adjust your perspective and fill your soul. 

#19- Facebook might be the devil

I'm not really going to elaborate because I don't think it's necessary. If you love someone tell them, hug them, write them, be present. I don't know why people find it a platform to vent about personal matters, update us on every.single.detail. of their day, bash people, rant, etc. It kind of makes me sad. To end on a positive note... Facebook, you are an amazing networking tool.

#18- You are in control

This is in the same realm as #21. This is your bull (life) you should ride it like you mean it. If you don't like the direction something is going in, change it. If you don't like the way someone talks/treats you, don't listen to them. If you don't like your job, find a new one. If you are unhappy, change what's making you unhappy. Seriously people, you got this. Ride your goddamn bull.

#17- The grass isn’t always greener

This is in the same realm as #19. No ones life is perfect and neither are their ass' despite what is conveyed on social media. You've got a great thing going, you really do. You've got gifts, talents, looks, personality that NO one else does. Love what you've got. 

#16- Butter makes everything better

Don't even try and disagree. Butter, it's pure perfection. Steak, coffee, waffles, muffins, asparagus, pasta, you name it, I promise butter will make it shine, literally and figuratively. All of these delicious things are simply a vessel for butter. Yum. 

#15- Complaining doesn’t help

It doesn't. Complaining sucks. It sucks to listen to too. You know that person, you see them coming and your stomach drops because you know that they're about to unload a giant load of shit on you. It's awful and as human beings we also tend to be sponge like. You actually are affecting people around you-- they feel what you're putting down, good or bad. Venting is different, sometimes you got to get something out. I make an effort to explain this to my husband or friend before unloading my load of shit on them. This way, they are prepared and if they can't handle it they also have an opportunity to run. Don't be a Debbie Downer. 

#14- Make sure the ones you love, know it

Life is so so short, y'all. If you love somebody you have got to tell them or show them. Whatever works for you but this is certainly a regret you don't want to live with. 

#13- Wear sunscreen but make sure it's the good kind

Well, this one is a pain-in-the-ass no brainer. Here's the deal though, the shit they slathered on us as children, turns out it's bad for you. Use your brain and do a little research, there are plenty of safe and effective natural products available. Your skin will thank you.

#12- You really are what you eat

The older I get the more this resonates as fact. I can't tell you how many times I've been on a real healthful eating kick and we go out to dinner and I eat something that's normally forbidden, I bet my 30 year old self will be feeling that later. Sometimes I feel achy, tired, low energy, angry, it's not worth it. At least not all the time. Let me break it down for you-- you love your car, right? You wash it. You vacuum it. You take it for service intervals at the mechanics. You also put in decent fuel. You can't expect your car to perform to it's full potential if you gave it subpar fuel, can you? Your body is the exact same way except for the fact that you can buy a new car. That beautiful bod of yours, well it's the only one you get. 

#11- Smiling is better than frowning

There have been scientific studies done that have proved that smiling will actually change your mood... you can't actually smile and be that miserable. Obviously, I have no idea what these studies are or who performed them but I'm going to agree with them. If you're not having the best day try smiling and see if you can't turn your outlook around. Also, think of who you may help along the way. Seeing someone smile in the checkout line is worlds better than seeing some bitter bitch. AND smile lines are prettier than scowl/frown lines, no lie. Smile more, everyone, including you, will appreciate it. 

#10- Holding on to memories is better than holding on to things

I grew up on the most beautiful, magically perfect generational farm. That means, multiple generations of my family had previously lived there. That also means, that when someone left the farm or passed away most of their belongings were still there. The big house, that my grandparents lived in, was more like a southern museum. It was filled with family portraits, artifacts, treasure and loads of beautiful old furniture. It was so glorious. Along with all the beautiful things there was also a lot of stuff. Too much stuff. Long story short when the farm sold and my folks were tasked with moving all of those generations of things, it left an impact on me. My parents did a fantastic job of purging and probably could have done an even better job if their house was smaller. There were still so many items that did and still do seem hard for them to part with. I can cherish my grandparents memory easier without all of their things. Yes, there are some treasures I got from them that I will never part with but as far as feeling obligated to take something just because it belonged to them isn't going to happen. It's just stuff.  The memories I have with them are beyond priceless and the only space they take up are prime real-estate in my heart. 

#9- Get outside

It is always the best option. It feels good, it's pretty and it recharges your soul. Just for some ideas on how to fit in that daily dose of Vit D-- take your dog for a walk, go for a hike, watch the sunset, mow the grass, my new favorite- stand up paddle boarding (thanks to my amazing husband for the perrrrrrfect birthday gift!), host a bbq, you get it, now do it! Get up, unplug and get outside! 

#8- Laughing at it will help

I LOVE to laugh. Doesn't it feel good? It's just the best. Sometimes, I get it, you got to cry too. But laughing, I try to do it more frequently. Next time you're in a pickle, instead of getting pissed, which is kind of the norm, laugh. See what happens. I promise you that it won't make your situation any worse. Also, it's infectious. 

#7- Surround yourself with beauty

We live in a small house and despite all of our families offers at furniture and stuff we try and only let in the essentials. Another test it must pass is whether or not we like it. We only have one living room, with room for only one couch and one chair, all things we love. We have tiny closets in our small, old home and so we try to only fill them with things we love. If we buy a new shirt we donate an old one. We also have a small yard and my landscaper/designer husband made it beautiful (with lots of help from yours truly). Same goes for people-- if you've got to be around them, make sure your tribe is beautiful and that they encourage you to be the best you. This goes hand and hand with the memories and stuff. If you only allow yourself to possess the essentials-- make sure they're beautiful to you!

#6- Water has healing powers

We're approximately 75ish% water. Drink it, swim in it, sit beside it, experience it-- it'll make you feel better. 

#5- Hand written notes are worth it

Welcome to the digital age where people only communicate via text, email, or the least personable options available. Call me old fashion but there is something fantastic about writing and then sending a hand written note. Not to mention how wonderful it feels to receive one! It's almost like Christmas to discover, amongst your bills, a hand addressed envelope from someone you love. Goodie goodie gumdrops. Imagine the feeling you get, well, why not share it. And it's so darn simple. Invest in some cute new stationary and go wild. 

#4- Hugs make you feel good

This shit has been proven multiple times, a hug is more than just a hug. It feels good, it can change a mood, it can solve a problem, it can also smooth things over after a rough day. You name it, a hug can help. It's certainly more than skin deep. It does something inside, in our brains, our souls, our hearts or maybe all three. 

#3- Don’t yell

Confession-- sometimes (rarely) I yell. It's always over the stupidest shit. Seriously. I'll get frustrated with Pip, who hears me even when I whisper, and I'll yell at her. Like that's going to make a difference when her options are stalking a groundhog or going back inside. My yelling certainly isn't going to change her mind. OK, I also sometimes yell at my husband. For example we'll be having a discussion and I feel like he's not getting my perspective so I start yelling. What the fuck? Yelling at him probably really drives my point home. Or more realistically just makes him think I'm a nut job. Bottom line here is that yelling is never constructive. Be mindful and make an effort not to. I'm trying. 

#2- Always be the bigger person

This is huge, y'all. What if everyone did this?! I know everyone is like, 'I'm only one person, how am I suppose to make a difference?' Here's an idea. Don't be an asshole. Don't lower yourself to an assholes level. Rise above and spread the light! Apologize. Be thankful. Open a door. Smile. Remember from above, what you put out you get back? Don't be an asshole.

#1- Just do it

That thing/business/job/school you've been dreaming about since you were a munchkin. That trip you've been trying to take for years. Right right right, go fucking do it. Take out a loan, live on the edge, sacrifice, do whatever it takes (legally or not, I don't care) and make your dreams come true. You are a beautiful, wildly creative soul and the universe is just waiting for your input. DO IT!