A Year Wiser - 36 Life Lessons for my 36th

Last week I turned 36 years old (or, "basically 40" as I've called it). 35 was a pretty good year for me. It went by like a blur but it came with new highs & lows, lessons and surprises. MAD LESSONS, THO. 

Eboni over at Besties & Brunch did a nice post on the most powerful lessons she'd learned by her 35th. I figured I'd do something similar for my 36th. These are things that I've taken to heart and, though learned, still have to remind myself of from time to time. We're all works in progress, right?

1. None of us know what we're doing. Hindsight is 20-20, but looking ahead? We're all figuring that out as we go. YUP, YOU DON'T KNOW EITHER. 

2. Everything is subjective. People see things from where *they* sit. An opinion is just that - you can disagree.

3. Trying to reason with a narcissist? Don't waste your time. These are not reasonable people. They need professional help. But they won't get help because they won't own up to their shortcomings. Because they're narcissists. And the cycle continues. Walk away.

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4. Everything happens for a reason. There are no mistakes.

5. Pay attention to the energy you bring to other people. Keep negativity to yoself. 

6. Protect your peace. By and large, you're responsible for the energy you accept. 

7. Know thyself. Get to know your strengths, your weaknesses, what you love and how you want to exist in the world. Honor your gifts. Honor yourself.

8. I don't need a "frenemy." Either we're friends or we're not. 

9. Be open to change. Rigidity is death. Flow with the tide. 

10. It's ok to get mad/sad. Feel your feelings. You gotta go through them to get to the other side. But, on that note...

11. Feelings are not facts. Word to Myleik Teele for that one. What you feel and what is fact are usually not the same things. Again - everything is subjective. 

12. Children belong to themselves. Your job is to raise them - not own them.

13. Trust your intuition. It's usually right. 

14. Have integrity. Say what you mean. Follow through on your word. Be trustworthy. Keep confidences. 

15. You're stronger than you think you are. Wait until you're tested. You'll see.

16. There's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path. Word to Morphius. That's called having faith, my friends. 

17. Worry 'bout yoself. Stop criticizing/gossiping about others and get to making yourself better. Work on your fitness. Eat those vegetables. Get outside. Work out your feelings. Find some joy. WORRY 'BOUT YOSELF.

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18. You can't always get what you want. Life doesn't work that way. 

19. Time management is important. Time is like me walking past stranger-dudes cat-calling me on the street - NOT STOPPING. And the older you get, the faster time seems to go. Then you'll look up and you're "basically 40." Budget your time wisely. 

20. Talk less. Work more. People talk a lot and don't always back it up. Let your work, reputation and results speak for you. Well done is better than well said. 

21. Go for it. Eventually you have to take the risk. LEAP.

22. Spread love. I mean, duh. 

23. Make mistakes. Perfection doesn't exist. If you're growing, trying, reaching, you're gonna make mistakes. Fall forward and keep it moving!

24. Laugh. Laugh from your gut. Find occasions to have a good cackle. It does the body good!

25. Don't let praise go to your head or criticism go to your heart. Try to stay even-keeled. It will keep your ego and self-esteem in check.  

26. Travel. Get outside of your neighborhood. It's a big ol' world out there. 

27. Seek and spread truth. The truth isn't always convenient or pretty, but it's necessary.

At the same time...

28. Have tact. There is a *way* to say things. Y'alls president is a shining example of someone doing it wrong. 

29. Don't look for the short cut. Take the long cut. Everyone with any kind of sustainable success has taken the long way there. That's another Myleik gem.

30. Set your intention. How do you want to live your life day to day and in the long run? Think about it and be intentional about living it.

31. It's bigger than you. There are forces and circumstances that may impact you that you have no control over. Do what you can with what you have from where you are, but realize that greater elements will also have an effect.

32. Read. Bruh. Books, articles, essays. READ THINGS. (Or, like, listen to audiobooks. But always be learning.)

33. There's a difference between a boss and a leader. A boss can get caught up in titles and having power without actually having a vision or plan for the people they're supposed to be leading. Actual leaders know better.

34. Sometimes it's YOU. If you constantly find yourself in f-ed up situations that you don't want to be in, recognize that you're the common denominator. Check yourself. 

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35. Give back. There is always someone who can benefit from your wisdom, gifts and/or time. Give freely. 

36. Nothing is permanent. Good and bad experiences are both temporary. So, endure the bad if you can and savor the good for as long as you can. Because this too shall pass. 

A few bonuses...

Basically 37. There's room for everyone. Don't believe the lie that because it's "already been done" or that other black girl got the job that there's no room for you. There is room for all of us to be great.

Basically 38. Be kind. Be the kind of person other people want to be around.  

Basically 39. Haters never prosper. Be a supporter and watch how you thrive. 

Basically 40. Use your voice. People aren't mind-readers. You get in life what you have the courage to ask for. Word to Mama Oprah!  

What life lessons have stuck with you? LMK in the comments!