A few years back, Glamour re-published a list of 30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30. I turned 35 yrs. old a few months ago and this article inspired me to share my own grab bag of learnings — 35 to be exact — that I’ve picked up along the way.
Putting together this list has served me more purpose than I could have imagined. It was a nice reminder that every experience never goes to waste — all the good, (of course!) but the bad and ugly ones as well. As a matter of fact, moments that fall in the latter two buckets have been the most pivotal in my journey towards personal growth.
With that said, on to my list…
BY 35, I HAVE…
1) The wisdom not to completely trust a list created by someone else on what I should know and do at my age. Make your own list that perfectly captures your own experiences.
2) An electric toothbrush, floss and tongue cleaner as part of my essentials to keep my breath fresh and teeth healthy!
3.) A grave understanding that love can come in different forms and places, not just from a man or woman.
4.) A decent set of power tools in my home — there’s nothing more sexy than a woman who knows how to assemble things on her own.
5.) Values and convictions that I firmly stick to, which cannot easily be compromised by anyone or anything.
6.) A career that I’m proud of, not because of any title or dollar figure that comes with it, but from living out my purpose within the company.
7.) A teeny tiny set of close friends that I make an effort to keep in my life. Let’s face it, our busy lives do not allow us to have quality friendships with more than a few.
8.) What all women should value more than the bigillion dollars’ worth of brand name bags they own: integrity. (Though I can also appreciate a nice piece of leather! Newsflash: you can have both).
9.) Work-out home videos that leave me no room for lame excuses such as “it’s too cold outside.”
10.) A life driven by purpose — knowing the intention behind every action, no matter how big or small.
BY 35, I HAVE LEARNED…
11.) The most important decision you’ll make is the person you choose to marry. Looks isn’t a good barometer for the perfect mate. Search someone’s heart, know their values and focus on their potential. Don’t gamble your forever - it’s a very long time to live through miserably.
12.) Happiness is just a thought away. See the glass half full.
13.) We are all so much more capable than we think. Insecurity, not our circumstance, is our biggest enemy.
14.) The last stall in any public restroom is always the cleanest. The extra steps are worth it.
15.) Not to be too quick to judge people by their social networks. Take it for what it is — portraits of a life that people create online to depict a version of their reality — or a reality they wish for.
16.) Confidence is not a skill you develop. It comes from prepping and knowing your materials.
17.) We are always just a quick prayer away from a miracle.
18.) To strive to look your best is to feel your best. You should be your only audience that matter.
19.) To always do what’s right. People will respect and admire you for your strong conviction.
20.) Aloneness does not mean loneliness. Your greatest moments and happiness can happen in solitude. Mine did.
21.) To be humble enough to apologize when you’re wrong, but not do so until it comes from a genuine heart. Anything else is fake.
22.) Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes God will even reward your patience with a glimpse of what could have been (what I call “Phew!” moments) had He not intervened.
23.) The best acts of kindness and generosity are done in secret.
24.) The only thing on earth I have control over is myself.
25.) Absence doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder. Love requires intention and work — it’s something you cultivate with constant acts of patience, forgiveness and expressions of gratitude.
26.) Invest your money where it counts - building memories. Sharing moments with people you love has a bigger impact to our overall well-being than acquiring assets. Think about it, the happiest times of our lives don’t come in the form of “things,” but moments in life where we laughed, cried and made intimate connections. If you can’t relate, it is worth reassessing your priorities.
27.) People will remember you most by how you made them feel, rather than what you’ve said or done. (Maya Angelou quote)
28.) To be still. It never feels like it when you’re in the middle of a crisis or a trying situation, but things always works out just fine.
BY 35, THOUGH I HAVE REALIZED IT TO BE TRUE, I’M STILL LEARNING…
29.) The best gift you can give someone is to simply put your phone away — you can’t take back time spent with people but your Instagram friends can wait.
30.) To master the art of communicating is to master the art of listening.
31.) To wait five minutes. Whether it’s taking that extra bite or deciding buying a slightly different version of something you already own, waiting five minutes will always result in a better decision.
32.) To just do it. Stress is oftentimes caused by the constant and nagging thoughts in our head of things that we haven’t accomplished in our day to day. Just do it.
33.) That sometimes, the purest form of love is tough love. Be a comforter, not an enabler.
34.) That gratitude and appreciation are best expressed and received when spoken in people’s love languages. It’s not about you, it’s about them.
35.) To accept the things I cannot change, develop the courage to change the things I can and have wisdom to know the difference. (Serenity prayer)