30 Things on My 31st Birthday

Woman standing with party favors with text overlay "30 Things on My 31st Birthday"

30 Things on My 31st Birthday

Hi, love! How was your weekend? Mine was spent relaxing with friends and family. We even had a little pizza and wine party a few days early for my birthday. There’s nothing better than great pizza, salad and wine, am I right?

Do you usually get pretty excited about your birthday? Normally I do, too. But this year I feel a bit more subdued about it. And not because I’m turning 31 ; )

And definitely not because I’m ungrateful for having made another trip around the sun. But there’s a lot going on in my family that’s just making me feel a little less WOO HOO! and a bit more grateful for the time spent together.

As you’re reading this today, I’ll be with my Dad at his chemo appointment. I’m grateful to be able to spend the time with him. And to have the opportunity to go with him to appointments. But obviously I wish we weren’t going there at all.

Even with everything going on, there’s lots to celebrate and be thankful for. Today, I want to share a few things I’ve learned so far in my time here.

To me, learning is an evolving, fluid thing. Just because I’ve ‘learned’ something doesn’t make it right, true, concrete, or real.

It’s just what I’ve observed, given my experiences so far in this life, and how things feel to me.

I wrote to you recently about lessons I’ve learned as an entrepreneur.

But today I’m sharing 30 life things I’ve learned so far in my 30 trips around the sun

  1. Decide what kitchen ingredients are worth the extra money to you and do it. For me, things like olive oil, butter, and sea salt are worth a few extra dollars here and there. Also, a little goes a long way.
  2. When you travel, say “yes” to getting invited into locals’ homes. You’ll have the best experiences there (oh, and in Jordan, you’ll have the best homemade hummus and pita of your LIFE.)
  3. Know your core values and stand proudly in them. Are you vegan, anti-gun, liberal, or super into *NYSNC? Own it. It doesn’t make anyone else good or bad if they’re not, but there’s really no time to NOT be you.
  4. Stop buying so many clothes. Pay more attention to quality over quantity. And if a sweater says “don’t wear near a flame” on its tag, put it back.
  5. Spend time with people now, so there are little regrets later. That doesn’t mean always saying ‘yes’ or spending 24/7 together. That means owning your agency to choose to consciously spend time together now.
  6. “Be a leader, not a follower.” – my Dad.
  7. Buy lots of plants so you can experiment. Don’t overwater succulents. Seriously, a little goes a long way. Learn everything you can from Laura at Garden Answer. Say a prayer for those you ‘let go’ and move on. There are more plants to kill.
  8. What people think and say about you is none of your business.
  9. What happens in the future is none of your business.
  10. Experiment and try new things, even if you’ve tried them before and didn’t like them. I tried kombucha years ago and thought it tasted like crap. Now, I can’t go a day without a bottle of GTs or Health Ade. Sometimes things are just different the 2nd (3rd, 4th, etc.) time around.
  11. “To have a friend you have to be a friend.” – my Mom
  12. “Be interested and interesting.” – my Mom
  13. “Leave things as you found them.” – my Mom. It’s not someone else’s job to clean up after you in a public restroom, work kitchen, or at a restaurant.
  14. “The way you treat wait staff is the way you treat everyone.” – Ryan’s Dad, John.
  15. If you start a book and don’t like it, put it down. This is super important if you want to read more books. Not only will you not pick up THAT book, but you won’t start another. So surrender and pick up something new. Per #10, maybe you could come back to it one day.
  16. Your energy is like a pie. You can slice it up and dish it out however you’d like. Be careful who you think deserves some of it. If you use some of that pie energy for bad, how much will you have left for good? How do you want to divvy up your energy?
  17. Don’t hop concrete barriers in Turkey. Don’t try to cross into Israel with henna tattoos on your hands. Don’t take pictures of the military at the Jordanian border. Don’t tell off an Italian guy on a cruise in Italy for taking your lounge chair and towel. Don’t tell the French you’re a vegetarian. None of this goes over well.
  18. Know your simple pleasures and make sure you surround yourself with them often.
  19. Your space matters. If it’s cluttered, or not cozy, you won’t like it.
  20. Know your ideal client. Once you know her, you won’t be so afraid to write like you talk, about topics that matter to you, or to be honest.
  21. “Do a good job.” – my Mom. If you care about doing a good job, the rest will follow. That doesn’t mean you’ll make everyone happy (see #22), but you should take pride in everything you do.
  22. You can’t make everyone happy. Actually, it shouldn’t even be a goal of yours, because it’s not your responsibility. They are responsible for their happiness. And they’re responsible to tell you if something you did made them unhappy.
  23. What you put in/on your body matters but it’s not everything. Eat plants as much as possible. Eat things that sound like they aren’t made in a lab, too. But that favorite cookie, pasta, scone, etc. isn’t going to be the death of you.
  24. Be careful of the ‘truths’ you tell yourself. “I’m not a girls girl” / “I’m not good at ____” / “I don’t do _____”, etc. You might just be! You might not have found your tribe or groove yet. Keep experimenting and an open mind.
  25. Stay in your own lane. What she’s doing over there has nothing to do with what you can do over here. You are unique and have gifts to offer. It would be a shame to keep them from the world.
  26. Cooking is the window to your soul. Other people might not understand you and think you’re just obsessed with food. But you know it’s so much deeper than that. It’s how you show love, how you nurture and heal. It means a lot to you — so prioritize and protect it.
  27. The best partner for you is someone who’s your best friend, who also pushes you outside your comfort zone. You’ll try Indian food for the first time and learn more about the Packers, jazz, politics, and movies than you ever thought possible.
  28. The more you chase happiness, the less you’ll feel it. Happiness isn’t some lucky charms pot of gold hiding somewhere for you to find. It’s all around you right now. The more you work on seeing it where you are, the sweeter it will feel if/when things change.
  29. Being a lawyer STINKS. Whoever thought up a system where you track your entire life in 6 minute increments really needs a talking to.  But don’t worry, you’ll find a way to put all those years in law school and practicing as an attorney to very good use ; )
  30. Per #29, no experience is a wasted experience. No failure, just feedback. Everything builds upon everything you do. You can always take something away from an experience. I would never have been able to start this business if I didn’t become a lawyer first. And I definitely couldn’t have started it if I didn’t have my own online coaching business first, either. Some would call those ‘mistakes’ or ‘failures’ — I call them building blocks.

Phew! Lots of lessons learned. I feel like there are SO many I could share here, but believe it or not… I don’t like to write about every single thing that goes through my brain : )

I’m so glad we could spend a few minutes together today on my birthday.

If you have a lesson you’d like to add, I’d love to hear it in the comments! Or, I’d love it if you’d share which 1 of these lessons was most helpful for you.

Thanks for spending some time with me today. It means the world to me that you’re here.

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