So it happened. I'm not going to lie, I was not exactly thrilled with this birthday. I remember when I was in my early 20s, thinking about 35 seemed so far away. And it seemed so...adult. I don't feel any different. In fact, sometimes in my head, I think I'm still hovering around age 29. The one thing that's definitely different from 29? The things I've learned in the last 6 years. I know I don't know everything (although I tell my kids I do) but here's what I do know (in no particular order...)
1) You need to learn to forgive others.
And actually forgive them. Not just say you do and then hold on to the pain or anger secretly. This isn't really about forgiving them. Yes, it is, technically, but in reality, when you forgive them, you change your own heart. You let go of the negative *insert whatever they did emotion here*. It doesn't change them, it changes you.
2) Let yourself laugh...a lot.
If you really know me, you know I laugh, A LOT. And I don't have one of those small laughs that sounds like a giggle, or a laugh that is silent. I have a laugh that could be heard in Texas. It's more of a cackle. To be honest, I've always thought of it as kind of obnoxious haha. But it is what it is, and I let it fly. At this point in my life, it's kind of my signature. And people tell me a lot that it makes them laugh. And that's the ticket.
3) Take the job you didn't think you could get.
Or the trip. Or the interview. Do something you think is risky. Do something you don't think you're ready for. Move across the country. Talk to the executive. Run the marathon. Prove yourself wrong. And if you need to, fake it till you make it.
4) Family and friends can't be replaced.
Don't make excuses. Make time. Call your parents and your siblings and your grandparents. Take the Friday off work that you can't afford to take because it's going to put you behind even though you work ahead to take the day off and drive the 8 hours for a two day stay with them. Call your best friend. Plan the trip that you keep saying you're going to plan together and haven't yet. Don't let distance keep you away from your friends. There's only one and you never know what tomorrow will bring. Don't put it off anymore.
5) Kids really do change everything.
I'm not telling you to have kids. I'm not telling you to not have kids. I'm telling you, they change EVERYTHING. The way you think, the way you look at life, your social life haha. Your sleep. Before you have them, you can't really picture it. And then when you do have them, you can't picture it without them. It's amazing and stressful and the biggest responsibility you'll ever take one...but also the most rewarding.
6) Make sure you love your job.
I LOVE my job. I have so much passion for it. It fulfills me in ways that other things in my life can't. And that's perfectly okay. It's supposed to. I love giving listeners a chance to win something they can't buy. Or send them somewhere they couldn't afford to go on their own. Or help our community in a way other jobs can't do. I love raising money and awareness for St. Jude. I love collecting toys for Toys For Tots. I love bringing people music they've never heard of. I love connecting listeners with their favorite artists. I JUST LOVE MY JOB. And when you don't love it anymore? Find something you do.
7) Don't feel guilty about taking time for yourself.
It's needed. Trust me. We all work and raise babies and stress about money and bills and our relationships and let me tell you, if you aren't centered and clear-headed, the rest of it won't be, either. Go to the gym. Get the massage. Get the mani/pedi. Spend the money at the blow-out bar that you think is too frivolous. You deserve it. And you need it.
8) Love yourself.
This is a big one. Maybe the biggest one. Because if you don't love yourself, you're not really able to give yourself to others. And they need you. They need you to be there. To be present. To not worry about being in the pictures because you think you're too heavy. To not question everything you do and be stressed all the time. To not be in the moment because you're worried about if everything is going to get finished and look like it does on Pinterest (it won't, by the way. Unless you're my friend, Crystal. I hate her. Okay, I love her. You know what I mean.) This is one that will be a constant work in progress. It is for me. I have to constantly give myself some slack. And sometimes it works, and sometimes I still stress and cry and get upset. But I know I'm a good person. And I try hard. And people see that. And they love me for it.
So no matter what age you are, take time for yourself. Love what you do. Love who you're with. Just put as much love out there as you can. It makes life worth it.