Well, last week I turned 33. I had as enjoyable of a birthday as one can when it falls on a weekday and you spend the day at work. The office got me bagels for a breakfast celebration, my dad took me out for a nice lunch, and I ended the day with a cake at home with Brandon, the kids and my in-laws.
Anyway, in my old age (ha!), I’ve gotten nostalgic. So I thought today we could just reflect on some life lessons/facts about me that I’ve figured out (or at least started to)!
1. I will make mistakes. This has been a hard one for me. I am a perfectionist, type A, total textbook first child. I don’t take mistakes lightly. I avoid them at all costs. But…I make them. And since I want to learn from them, grow, and move on, I’ve had to accept that they exist, and I will continue to make them as long as I’m on this earth.
2. People are watching. My husband, my kids, my siblings, my employees…people are paying attention. There are people in my life who look to me for guidance, love, support, and for me to be an example. I need to be mindful of that. I need to be practicing what I preach.
3. My husband is my best friend, and that’s okay. Listen, there are a lot of opinions on whether this is a good or bad thing. But I don’t care what those opinions are, because there’s no one who gets me like Brandon does. There’s no one I need more when the going gets tough than him. There’s no one who I want to celebrate the good stuff with more than him. We spend a lot of time together. And we like it. You can judge it, you can think it’s weird. But he’s my BFF.
4. Kids are super annoying. There. I said it. I love my kids so much it hurts, but OMG, they are so amazingly irritating. Like, every day. It’s a good thing they are so adorable.
5. I’m an introvert. We act like it’s such a bad thing in this society to be shy, awkward, introverted, and quiet. But I need my quiet time to be a fully functioning human being. Thankfully, my husband understands this and knows that I need silence to recharge.
6. I care less about what people think each year that goes by. Is this universal? Do we all care lots in our teens and twenties and then BAM! 30 hits and we’re like, I am who I am. Now please move along if you don’t like it.
7. I love working. Hear me out. I don’t exactly adore it every single day. I don’t wake up each day and think…oh goody I can’t wait to be at work at 8! But…I like working. I enjoy having space and time separate from my home and family where I can focus on another part of life. Even if I had the opportunity to not work, I’m pretty sure I still would.
8. Writing is my favorite way to process or give information. And I’m not kidding—at work everyone has come to expect epic Meghan emails. If I have a topic to cover, I’ma email you about it. But also, I just like to write to think. I’ve written letters that I’ve never sent. I never was going to send them. Sometimes, I just need to process my feelings by writing them down.
9. Working out makes a difference psychologically. We all know working out is good for our bodies. But for me the best part about working out (running, classes, walking, whatever), is that I feel better and happier. Not just during the workout, but in general. I really truly believe that working out is a great stress reliever.
10. Worrying is pointless. I wish I didn’t worry as much as I do, but I’m always trying to remind myself that worrying is pointless. Worrying doesn’t help prevent. Worrying doesn’t make me feel better. Worrying doesn’t make it easier for me to see the solution and work towards it. Whatever I’m stressing about probably WON’T happen anyway, but even if it does…is it that tragic? Usually not. Because I’m worried about stupid little things 99% of the time.
11. God is in control. Sometimes I like this and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes it feels good to be like, OK, God, take this from me–I can’t deal. And other times, I’m holding on so tightly to control what is not for me to be in charge of. Everything I have, everything I am, God gave me…and He gets to orchestrate my life. Everything He’s doing is for my GOOD.
12. Kids need their parents to be present. Like, really present. Not just physically, although I am. Maybe not 8-5, but still. I am present in their life. What matters more than physically being around them is spending time with them, hearing them, and loving them. Yes, my iPhone sneaks out sometimes. But I really try to not take my phone out of my purse from 5-7 PM. And even after 7 PM, I’m not using it during our bedtime routine. I want that time to be a time where Harlyn knows she has my attention.
13. Our attitude affects those around us. Have you noticed that too? If I’m in a bad mood, it’s unlikely that my family is going to be in a great mood. If I’m mad and annoyed at every little thing, I’m going to bet that it’s going to be a rough time for us all. Same thing at work. If I walk in and think it’s going to be a terrible day, it’s going to be. Everyone around you can feel your energy and it affects everyone’s day. I fail at always being positive, but I do at least recognize that my mood impacts those I’m in contact with.
14. You can’t make everyone happy. Okay, everyone knows this. But do you really KNOW it? So often, we try anyway. We walk this fine line trying to not offend, upset, or annoy someone. But no matter how lightly we tread, we will eventually find ourselves in this very situation…someone is not happy with us.
15. Don’t compare yourself with others. You know when you’re scrolling through Insta and you see the perfect family, the perfect house, the perfect vacation? And you feel a little jealous? Oh, yeah, me either. Comparison is just asking for the joy to be sucked out of life. And you’re comparing apples to oranges anyway. The junk in your life is being compared to the BEST parts and moments of someone else’s life. So…let’s try hard NOT to compare. Let’s make a pact on this blog post, right here, right now, that we will focus on all the things we have to be thankful for.
16. Saying no is okay. I think I’ve come a long way on this one, but I know that a lot of people, especially women, around my age still struggle with this idea. We think that being able to do 5 bazillion things is a badge of honor, that busyness equals importance, that the more we have on our plate to complain about the better. I say no to lots of things. I know how I am, I know what I can reasonably handle, and I refuse to jeopardize my health or the happiness of my family for a bunch of unnecessary yeses.
17. Pick your battles. I know you’ve seen this before, but man…I need this reminder still to this day. Do you KNOW how many times I need to bite my tongue each day? Letting small stuff go is an easy way to be happier.
18. Nothing is beneath you. I feel like so many people today think that something is beneath them. I’m here to tell you: Nothing is beneath you. I’m the General Manager of a healthcare company. Wanna know where you’ll find me 1-2 days a week? Scrubbing toilets and showers. Yup. We don’t have our cleaning lady on Mondays or Tuesdays, so guess who cleans patient bathrooms? MEEEE!! And that’s okay, because it’s got to get done, and my title doesn’t much matter. Also, as an important side note, if you know much about Jesus’ ministry, you’ll recall that he washed feet. The savior of the world who died for us came to earth and washed the dirty, disgusting feet of others. Pretty sure that should prove that we are not “too good” to do anything.
19. Life is not fair. If you have a child, I’m sure at some point, you’ve heard them say, “but that’s not fair!!!” And to that I say…you got that right, kid. The sooner we grasp this, the better off we are. Life is not fair, things are not always even. As adults, we do this a lot. (See #15!): It’s not fair that Jane has a better job, Suzie’s husband cleans more, and Beth’s house is double the size of ours. But I don’t recall one time ever where someone promised me that life was going to be fair. Do you??
20. Don’t judge. It’s so easy to say not to…so hard to follow through. Let’s just remember that the next time we see a mom in Target about to lose her mind that we don’t have a CLUE what her life is like. She deserves the benefit of the doubt. I hope that when someone sees me yell at my kids, they smile and give me a look of understanding and solidarity, understanding that I am most likely not the worst mom on the planet. I’m just having a bad day.
21. Experiences are better than things. Brandon and I decided this year that instead of birthday presents, Christmas presents, and anniversary presents, we would take a trip. So we went to Punta Cana in November, and that was so much better than anything either of us could have opened.
22. Sleep is amazing. Why do we spend so much time when we’re young fighting sleep? Why is it cool as teens to stay up late? Why do we pull all nighters in college? You know what my idea of a good time is at 33? Pajamas at 5 PM, TV in bed at 8 PM, and going to bed between 9:15-9:45 PM. Lame? Sure. But sleep is one of my most favorite things.
23. It’s okay to ask for help. Yes, truly it is.
24. Happiness is a choice. Rachel Hollis talks about this, but it’s sooo true and is worth mentioning here. If you want to be happy, decide to be happy. Do things that make you happy. And just a quick note: I am not speaking about clinical depression. Depression is something totally separate from this and I am in no way stating that you can cure depression by deciding to be happy. But, there are steps you can choose for yourself if you are suffering from depression and/or anxiety. I’d encourage you to talk to your doctor.
25. Make time for yourself. What do you like to do for you? I like to run, read, watch Christmas Hallmark movies, and get my nails done.
26. Read (a lot!). Speaking of reading, do it! Read the fun stuff, read the how-tos, read the self-help, read whatever. And read to and with your kids!!!!!!!
27. Talk positively to yourself. I’ve mentioned this before in the context of my running, but I talk to myself. Sometimes out loud…mostly in my head. And not just when I run, either. Sometimes I need to remind myself that I can do it. That I am worth it. That I’ve dealt successfully with something similar in the past. That I’m the mother my kids need. That I’m forgiven. When you tell yourself the same things over and over, they become what you believe. So be mindful of the things you say to yourself. Be nice.
28. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Remember way back 2000 words ago when I told you that I’m a perfectionist? Well, along with that, I tend to take everything seriously. I am super hard on myself. And while I do try so hard to lighten up (and shout out to Brandon on this one for all the progress I’ve made simply by being married to him), it can still be hard sometimes. I’m 1000% better than I used to be, but I have more work to do.
29. There’s no substitute for hard work. I can’t think of anyone who built a great marriage, a great family, a great company, a great blog, a great anything, that didn’t put in a lot of hard work. So get to work. If you want something to be successful, you can’t just sit by wishing it would be.
30. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Another one that people say a lot, but I had to learn the hard way. I’m the one who will think of something stupid I said 3 days ago, and then proceed to worry about it for the next 3 days. Thankfully, with age, I’ve mellowed out a lot and tend to let more and more roll off my back!!
31. Prayer is powerful. I’m not the best at praying. I get really distracted. God and I are working on it currently. But you know what? These past few years especially, I’ve seen God answer prayers in ways that are beyond what I could have ever imagined. Sometimes, I get stuck in this thing where I think God isn’t answering. But what I find more and more is that He is just answering differently than I expected. And by differently, I mean…he took my request, did something exactly opposite than what I thought He should do, and it came out better than my wildest dreams.
32. Overthinking is overrated. Remember back in school when teachers would tell you to go with your 1st instinct on the answer to the test? Remember how many times you’d get back your test and the answer you erased was the RIGHT answer!?!?! Grr. We do this as adults too. We know what the answer is, but we delay. We start overthinking it and talk ourselves right out of the best decision. Of course, I don’t mean we should make crazy decisions, and never take time to think things over or pray about them. But there comes a point when we need to just JUMP. IN.
33. You’re more resilient than you think. In the past year, I’ve learned this over and over again. I could actually cry just typing this final number 33. Please hear me friends: you can handle it. Whatever it is. Life might get hard. You might feel stuck. You might feel like you cannot finish. But you CAN. You absolutely can.
As I close the LONGEST BLOG POST I’VE EVER WRITTEN, I hope that something today has stood out to you. I hope that you’re learning these lessons right along with me, or that you already have. What’s something you’ve learned over the years?