Life lessons from 35 years around the sun
Every year I learn more, and the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know much. That doesn’t keep me from sharing what I have learned. Here are 35 life lessons, some serious, some silly. All true to where I am right now.
1b. A meal that begins with a refined carbohydrate never ends well.
2. It’s not friendship unless it’s reciprocal.
3. Unlike what I thought as a teenager and young adult, there are great benefits of being an underachiever.
When my goal was to exercise an hour 6 days a week, I didn’t exercise as much as I do now that my goal is to exercise 20 minutes, 5 days a week.
4. The pleasure principle of diminishing returns.
Mother always told me to eat slowly. Turns out she was right. The FIRST bite is always the most pleasurable. The second is great too. The third is good. It goes down hill from there. Why RUSH passed the most pleasurable part?
Thank you Martha. THIN patty (as opposed to huge) + grilled bun + shredded iceberg lettuce + cheddar.
6. Life lessons about happiness and sanity are simple.
No extremes, black and white thinking. or all or nothing thinking. The secret to happiness is moderation. (Thanks Nana)
7. The aims of Christianity are simple.
Honor God; love people.
8. The three keys to job satisfaction.
Feeling like you have some autonomy, something that challenges you and makes you grow, and people around you you actually like.
9. Another secret to happiness? Belonging.
That’s why nourishing your close relationships with family and friends makes you feel good.
10. If I want amazing Italian food, I go to Fabio. If I want amazing home cooked, southern meals, I go to the Pioneer woman.
They do not disappoint. (those two links are the only meatballs and mashed potatoes I will ever make.)
11. If you’re sick of salads, take a cue from Greek salads in Greece (thanks wifey!) – get rid of the lettuce.
The perfect Greek salad- cubed (not crumbled) feta, bell pepper, oregano, lemon, olive oil, cucumbers, tomatoes, capers, kalamata olives.
12. Life lessons about career bliss = being in “flow.”
Its a state of mind where you literally lose yourself in an activity. You are outside of yourself, suspended in time, not watching the clock, not wishing the day were over. It’s being so fully engaged, so deeply emerged in an activity.
13. On that note, if you can’t figure out what you are truly passionate about career-wise, ask yourself (or your parents) what you did for fun when you were 10 or 11 years old.
It may be the missing link. (That’s how I decided to focus on fashion and beauty. I did fashion design for my grade school career fair and was obsessed with eyebrows starting at 13 years old.)
14. Key to happiness is focusing on intrinsic goals
Stuff like wanting to help the world in some way, personal growth, having close relationships, feeding your need for creativity and inspiration as opposed to extrinsic goals ( money, status- popularity, image-looking good, having the right appearance). These goals are in opposition to one another.
15. Acts of kindness are the most effective action one can take to promote happiness.
Even greater than just counting blessings. Maybe this is because when you do acts of kindness, you see your blessings more clearly in light of the needs you encounter.
16. Nate’s perfect medium filet mignon.
Cast iron grill pan on medium high + montreal steak seasoning + grapeseed oil + 6 minutes on each side + 3 minutes in a foil “tent.”
17. Cortisol is directly related to abdominal fat and facial fat.
Three steps in preventing cortisol: getting enough sleep, avoiding alcohol, and avoiding caffeine.
18. Life lessons about apologizing. A perfect apology involves these three statements-
a. what I did was wrong
b. I feel badly that I hurt you
c. how do I make this better?
19. Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.
20. You only need two things for success.
Confidence and patience.
21. There’s great satisfaction in creating something out of nothing.
Be it a poem, a blog post, a scarf, a piece of jewelry, a recipe, a painting, a sculpture, a building, a new algorithm. If you’re Christian, you may believe as I do, that it’s because we are made in the image of our creator.
22. I need to get over my guilt and shame when nothing gets accomplished.
There is a time for leisure, to recoup, to feel rejuvenated.
23. “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music. -anonymous”
I think about this as it relates to my ambitions. One day I realized that I just need to do my own thing and expect that people are just not going to get it. And that’s ok.
24. Take selfies from above and full length pictures from below (and far away).
It sounds counterintuitive and against everything you’ve heard but try it, your legs will look soo long.
25. Spaghetti hacks.
Boil the pasta in chicken broth instead of water (for extra flavor), sauté diced zucchini in garlic before adding sauce (for extra nutrition), and add sliced kalamata olives after cooking (for extra punches of salty goodness)
26. When you go to get your hair cut or colored, instead of showing the stylist a picture on your phone, print a colored picture (8 x 11) and lay it on the table.
Why? Because the stylist only has a second to see the picture on your phone, and it’s a tiny picture. This way, it is in full view the entire time. (Thanks Allan!)
27. Life lessons about taking care of myself. Stop thinking of self care in terms of self- indulgence. (a luxury, a want)
Instead reframe it in terms of self-fortification (essential, a need, to strengthen you and fortify you).
28. Reframing changes everything.
Winters aren’t cold. They are cozy (Thanks Cup of J0).
29. Keeping a daily gratitude journal actually rewires your brain to train you to be an optimist, thanks to neuroplasticity.
Neuroscience shows that our brains are not in a fixed state but able to create and break neuron pathways.
30. Buy two.
Buy two headphones (one in purse and one in nightstand), two phone charging chords (one in purse and one by nightstand), and two face washes (one in shower and one in sink) to save you an extra move every day.
31. The perfect green smoothie even my toddler is addicted.
2 apples, 2 cups of pineapple, 1 handful of ice, 1 dropper of stevia, 4 cups of water, fill the rest of the blender with baby spinach.
32. Contrary to popular belief, it’s a great thing when your baby doesn’t nap in his crib but needs a stroller walk or a ride in the car.
I get my nails done, foot massages, try on jeans at Kohls, eat out at restaurants with girl friends, visit friends, and even play raquetball with my hubby while he sleeps, not to mention, I get more steps in every day and can bring him home in the stroller if I don’t actually want to go anywhere.
33. I’m more productive on my already busy days when I have things scheduled in.
Time tends to expand or shrink based on how much I tell myself a task takes. If I allot myself 1 hour to pack for a trip, it will take me 1 hour. If I tell myself I have all day to pack, it will take me all day to pack.
34. Life lessons about immunity. I cannot live without elderberry when I have a cold.
Neither can Noah or Nate. It makes the cold disappear in a few days and truly alleviates symptoms. (much better than Airborne, Zicam, and Cold-eeze– I’ve tried them all) I take the maximum dosage at the first signs of a cold and continue religiously for at least 3 days.
35. Paula Dean has the best green bean casserole on the planet.
Do you have any life lessons you want to share?
Need more life lessons inspiration?
A lesson on seeing beauty in yourself.
What beauty is according to Gwyneth Paltrow.