32 things i’ve Learned in 32 years

Today marks my 32nd trip around the sun. And in that time, I’ve learned a few things. I’ve succeeded. I’ve failed. I’ve had my heartbroken. I’ve been empowered. I haven’t seen and done it all yet, but I’m glad I’m in the headspace I’m in at 32 than at any other age so far.

I was really worried about my thirties as my twenties started to close out, but then at some point when I was 29, I happened to have a few different people say to me, “ya know what, my thirties were way better than my twenties! I became more stable, as did the people in my life. And all the nonsense and suffering of those younger years finally started to fade away with the dawn of a new decade”. Well, in summation, that’s what I was told. And I really took that to heart. It made me feel excited to close out my twenties, which had been rather tumultuous for me. Now that I’m two years in, I’m so glad that I listened to those people! They were right! Not only did they help me start off on a positive footing but I’ve had many major life changing wins in those two years, which are building me towards a much more stable foundation for the rest of my life. So if I could return the favor to those who’ve both come before me and to those who will follow. Here are 32 things I’ve learned in my 32 years…



  1. The opposite of Love isn’t HatE

    …it’s apathy. And apathy means neutrality. Apathy for me means peace, well at least in all things love and war. In my career, apathetic students are the hardest eggs to crack, at least if they hate me I can work with an emotional reaction. So apathy can be a double edged sword. Keep that in mind.

  2. Be Kind

    It seems like so many people struggle with this. But I find I catch more flies with honey than vinegar, so there’s something to it!

  3. Be Positive

    It’s absolutely a choice! And a habit. But a habit you chose. Just like exercising or eating right, being positive is a good habit to have. But it takes work. Though I’ve found it to be extremely rewarding.

  4. Read the Room

    This is so important and you’re either born with it or without it, but it’s a skill and honestly just an awareness that anyone can learn. It will no matter what, get your further with people, no matter who they are.

  5. Sometimes it’s just better to hold your tongue

    I was born with the gift of gab, anyone who has met me can attest to that! But this gift can be tricky to navigate. I can be passionate and fiery which can be inspiring or endearing, but there takes some maturity and grace to be able to wield this power well. I was once warned by a boyfriend that my mouthing of to a particular guy in public meant that he might have to answer for me, physically. It dawned on me in that moment that my “fiery” temperament could actually cause someone I loved harm. That was a tough pill to swallow but an important lesson I needed to hear. My ability to charm others with my friendliness has gotten me places but it has also put me in some sticky situations (See #4) which is why it shouldn’t be seen as weakness to hold your tongue. Sometimes it’s the more mature and frankly harder thing to do.

  6. Listen to your intuition/vibes are REAL

    This is one of those natural skills that I am NOT good with. It’s taken me a long time to learn this and I’m barely cracking the surface. But seriously, instincts and intuition are apart of us. They are there to protect us. Read the room, feel the vibe, if it doesn’t feel good, move on. Same with people. Usually your first impressions are all you need.

  7. What’s right isn’t always popular, and what’ s popular isn’t always right

    Sometimes you just need to look at a situation and write down all the options you have. And usually the option that you want to do the least, it the one you should probably choose. And you know it. That’s why you don’t want to chose it. It’s probably the right thing to do. (See #6)

  8. This too shall pass

    My grandfather always said this to me. The older I get, the more I cling to these wise words in trying times. I find comfort in these words because time can heal most wounds.

  9. positive mental attitude yields productive meaningful results

    Ugh, this is one of those “shit your dad says” and specifically in my dad’s case, he likely picked up at a cooperate training, but it really is true. No matter if you apply it to work, life, or beyond. 1 + 1= 2

  10. Learn Howto meditate & make time for it

    Gosh, how I wish that we did more mindfulness in Western Society. And now these words have just become buzz words (mindfulness, meditation, etc.) But seriously, if you’ve never tried it, it’s really not what you think. It’s just about calming the mind when it’s racing, taking time to appreciate the little things, it’s about learning how to train you brain to work the way you want it to when you need it to. We have this amazing ability to harness that power, why wouldn’t you want to do those things! If you want a simple, easy, and religion neutral way to try this out, I really recommend the Headspace app. I have the full version and really love it. I love how it makes meditation accessible and has exercises for any scenario like getting back to sleep or cleaning. If you’re looking to just get started with a great free app is Insight Timer is lovely, however I feel that it’s a bit more for the advanced crowd.

  11. Listen to your elders

    Maybe it’s being a high school teacher but watching my students make the same simple mistakes I did, tickles me and makes me want to save them all, at the same time. The smart ones that heed my advice just make my heart happy when I actually save them from a lot of work or heartache! I’ve actually always really valued the advice those around me, especially anyone older than me, but it really has helped to drop the ego and open my ears. Why suffer through something if you don’t have to?! Like…WHY?!?!?

  12. know your worth

    Easier said than done. But you are important and so are your ideas, your dreams, and your opinions. Your feelings are valid and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You don’t need anyone to be happy or to appreciate yourself, though it’s nice to have someone too. But you don’t need anything more than yourself and the knowledge that you are doing the best you can with what you know at the time. If you have nothing but good intentions, that’s all that matters.

  13. people make time for the people they want to make time for

    So if they aren’t doing that, drop ‘em and give who do those a chance.

  14. If someone isn’t bringing something positive into your life, why are you keeping them around?

    (See #13)

  15. don’t blame

    The Blame Game isn’t cute. People don’t want to be around someone who plays the victim and blames everyone else for their problems. It’s such a turn off. I’m sure you know someone that acts like this, don’t look like that. #NotCute

  16. there’ s nothing wrong with the word NO

    Learn it. Live it. LOVE IT. Seriously! I’m such a “Yes man”. I like to make other people happy and don’t like confrontation. But I’ve honestly had to get over that because other people were sucking the life out of me! People are always going to ask you for things, there are ways to politely decline without offending. Saying “you’re busy” for example is a perfect reason. They don’t have to know that you’re engagement is with your pjs on the sofa with Netflix later. That IS being busy. #MeTime

  17. Women need to support other women

    This needs to be done more. Girls! It’s our job to show the young women coming up in the world how to be a boss babe! Women famously spend a lot of time cutting each other down. I’ve never understood this. As a gender we’ve fought for so long for our place in the world, why would we waste time undoing all of that when we could be raising a generation of even stronger women. This works in business, in motherhood, in emotional support. Support the women in your life, young and old.

  18. make lists, set goals, keep a calendar

    If you feel like you’re floating through life and never going to achieve your dreams, then I suggest an old fashioned planner. Doing these things will make it possible to pretty much accomplish anything. Sure, flying by the seat of your pants seems carefree and sexy, but it could leave you tired, stressed, and eventually unfulfilled.

  19. Tell people that you love that you love them every chance you get

    You never know. And why not? It should make someone else feel good to know that you care. Say I love you, every chance you get.

  20. your thoughts are not who you are

    They just aren’t. They are an idea passing through your head like a car down the road. They come and they go. No sense grabbing onto one and trying to force it as fact. BTW, the same goes for other people’s thoughts too (See #21)

  21. other people’s opinions of you are not who you are

    I am guilty of believing what other people thing of me is true, but that’s just their opinion. And like thoughts, opinions are not who you are. You are what you put out into the world. And if you approach the world with good intentions, then you can’t feel ashamed for what others say or for what thoughts come your way.

  22. if you do something with only good intentions, then that’s all you can do

    I’ve said this one a few times already but I think it’s important enough that it gets it’s own spot on the list. Just be kind, put out positivity and love into everything you do. Come in with good intentions and the rest should just play out as it’s supposed to. And if it doesn’t, then it wasn’t meant to be.

  23. you can’t please everyone

    You can be the juiciest peach, but some people just don’t like peaches!

  24. shopping ain’t buying

    This applies to all faucets of life. Men, shoes, future vacation plans, job hunts, the list goes on. Just looking around for options is harmless. It’s commitment free! And it’s some of the best dating and career advice I’ve ever gotten!

  25. if you want to keep your relationships. know and accept they will grow and change. you have to too.

    One of the greatest yet hardest lesson is life is to learn that nothing is permeant. Nothing. So in order to live a relatively painless life, the earlier you accept this the better. Now this law applies to all things in life but I find myself applying it to people most often. To be able to actually keep a relationship (of any kind) you and the other person need to be able to accept that with time you will both grow and change. If you want to stay together, growing in the same general direction is key. But it takes two!

  26. if it is meant to be, it’ll be, so let it be.

    Don’t swim against the current. You’ll just get tired and likely drown. Step back. Do you. And let the universe do the rest.

  27. take care of your mental health. it’s real!

    Frankly, I hate that our society does not take this seriously. And I honestly believe it’s harder for men to deal with this because of stigma. Your mental health is connected to your physical health. If the prior goes offline, the latter will soon follow. I can attest to it. Take sick days. Take vacations. Make time for your hobbies and spend time with friends. If you need something stronger there’s no harm in taking pills or seeing a therapist to help you get back on track. This is not a sign of weakness. Weakness is for those who refuse recognize this and don’t help themselves.

  28. starting is important, but finishing is harder

    But finishing something you’ve started has got to be one of the most satisfying things. Am I right?? (See #18)

  29. adjust your expectations

    Gosh, this has been another hard one. But wise words spoken to me in my darkest hours. Expectations can be the death of you. If it’s possible to keep them minimal, you’ll find a lot more joy in life.

  30. everyone’s favorite subject is themselves

    This was really great advice given on the subject of talking to people. If you haven’t been blessed with the same gift of gab, start with this subject to get a conversation started. It’s more personal that the weather! And takes the pressure off the situation, likely for both of you. Ask about where they’re from, what they does, about their family. This is easy for endless topics to break the ice and keep them chatting with you.

    Now, as this blog has a particular focus on travel, here are my best two tips I’ve learned while traveling…

  31. try everything once! maybe twice.

    This applies to food and experiences. You might find out you like it or hate it. You will become more worldly. Or at the very least, you’ll have a great story to tell. My students cringe when I tell them how I ate snails in France and raw octopus on the streets in Japan, but turns out I loved them both AND I have the satisfaction of their smooshed up little faces when I tell it! And don’t be afraid to try it just once more, just to really know that you don’t like it!

  32. When traveling, buy it when you see it!

    You’re on vacation for heaven sakes! Buy the darn thing! Plus the odds of you remembering where that shop was and if they’ll still have it when you return aren’t favorable in my experience. And if you find another down the street for a cheaper price, then you may just have an extra gift to bring home for someone. Don’t be afraid to spend a little bit more money one something you really want. You saved to have the trip of a lifetime, bring a piece of that place home.



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