In honor of my 33rd birthday (which was yesterday!), I thought I’d share some lessons I’ve learned by …well, just living. So, without further adieu…here goes!
- Sometimes snarky can come across as bitter. If you know me, you know I love a good snark session…but over the years, I’ve realized that not everything requires a dose of snark, and that constant negativity (even if intended as humor) can be draining. I don’t try to be Mary Sunshine, nor do I post inspirational quotes on my Instagram every morning (or ever), but I’ve put in an increasing effort over the years to have a lighter, more positive outlook on life, and it feels refreshing.
- You really can fake it ’til you make it (to some degree). I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve started something (a job, a project, etc.) having NO CLUE what I’m doing…in fact, I feel this way when I start doing pretty much anything new. But I do my best to stay confident (and obviously ask for help when needed), and 9 times out of 10 I end up successful, or at the very least, competent. I guess the moral of the story here is: don’t be afraid to go for something that seems intimidating.
- You won’t necessarily lose touch with your friends if you don’t speak to them every day. In my late 20’s and even early 30’s, I had this thing where I’d panic that I wasn’t seeing my friends enough – I’d feel guilty that I wasn’t “maintaining” my friendships, and that all of my friends would move on without me. In reality, we had all just grown busy with our own lives – work, marriage, kids, etc. You know, adult stuff. And guess what? Almost all of those friends are still there – I may go months without contacting some of them (or vice-versa), but when we do speak, we’re able to catch up right where we left off.
- That said, it’s okay to grow out of some friendships. Not every friendship was meant to be, and it doesn’t have to be a big dramatic breakup…these types of friendships tend to fade out on their own. I used to try to hold on to every friendship with everything I had regardless of whether or not it brought me happiness, but I recognize now that it’s just not necessary (and the feeling is probably mutual on the other end). If a friendship is fading away, there’s probably a reason for it. It’s okay to let it go (and if it comes back later, that’s great)!
- Life can be about whatever you want it to be. When I was younger, I’d worry that I wasn’t invested enough in my career, or I’d feel like less of a feminist because I genuinely enjoy domestic things like cooking and keeping my home looking nice. But now I realize…it’s my life, and I can value whatever I want. Just because I love making dinner for my family doesn’t mean that I believe all women SHOULD be shackled to the kitchen. I’ve realized that I value family and home life more than I value having a high-powered career, and that’s okay – it doesn’t make me any better or worse than anyone else, it just makes me me. Maybe someday that will change, maybe it won’t – and as long as I feel fulfilled with my life, that’s totally fine.
- It’s important to have views and passion, but it’s also important to know when to pick your battles. I have pretty strong political views and I care deeply about the state of our country and social issues, but I’ve learned to choose when to speak up – and social media is rarely (if ever) the place. It’s one thing to genuinely want to inform and educate people, but I’ve learned to pause and ask myself if what I’m about to post is truly for the good of someone else, or if I’m just standing on a soapbox and trying to sound smarter than everyone else. 9.9 times out 10, nothing anyone says on Facebook is going to cause someone to change their opinion, and it usually just leads to a ton of drama and hate speech. I find the better thing to do is to actually BE involved locally, show up for elections, contact your representatives, and speak up when you see something wrong IN ACTION, in the real world.
- But also, it’s not cool to be indifferent.
- Genuine is better than “cool,” 100% of the time. This is one thing I’m still working on – my first instinct is to ALWAYS hide my excitement about things, not come across as too eager, not seem too “into” anything, not laugh too hard – basically just be chill AF, all the time. The problem is – that is one million percent not who I am. I’m extremely excitable, I get very into things, and I tend to be the one with tears streaming uncontrollably down my face if something’s funny. I don’t know exactly when I decided I need to be “cool girl,” but I definitely don’t pull it off and just end up seeming cold and standoffish. The real me is absolutely more likeable than this “cool” persona I try to pull off, and I’m putting a concerted effort into just being myself.