28 lessons in 28 years

On November 28th, I’ll turn 28 years old.
Age is just a number to me, and doesn’t generally mean much. My papa always said you’re only as old as you feel. Sometimes I feel like a teenager, sometimes I feel like a little old lady. Rarely is it somewhere in between. Maybe one day I’ll feel like a regular adult, but if I don’t, oh well.
But being that I’ve been around for 28 years, I thought I’d share 28 lessons I’ve learned in my lifetime.
1) Life is full of unexpected surprises. My favorite is my husband. We were in school together from kindergarten up until we graduated high school together, and if you told me when I was 10 that I’d marry the smartest kid in our grade, I’d have laughed. We never talked. But we became good friends our senior year when we were co-editors of our high school paper, and continued to be friends upon graduation. It was not how I expected my life to go, but I’m so glad it did.
2) Sometimes friendships just end. It might not be anyone’s fault, people just take different paths in life and move on to other things. I’ve had many friends that I still hold a fondness for even if the extent of our relationships is liking each other’s photos on Facebook. And that’s okay because people will always come and go in life. I’m glad to have the friends I did when I had them.
3) Putting arm floaties on your feet does not allow you to walk on water. Yes, my best friend and I tried that when we were little girls. Yes, I told that story at her wedding.
4) Making money is not the most important thing in life. Do what you love, life is too short to do anything else.
5) Art takes practice. I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil and I’m still getting better every day.
6) Never stop learning. Sometimes I miss college lectures just for the chance to learn something new.
7) There isn’t a right or wrong way to do most things. I organize my books by author, others do it by color. Do what feels correct to you.
8) Vanilla extract is just vodka and vanilla beans. I haven’t bought vanilla extract in over 2 years.
9) Do something rebellious. My mom and I went and got pedicures the day before my wedding, and when I showed her the blue color I wanted on my toe nails, she smiled at me and said ‘I hate when you paint your nails blue’ and I looked at her with a big smile and said ‘I know.’ I was 26 years old, but just a little rebellion is healthy.
10) If you’re stubborn enough, you can do anything. How hard can it be?
11) Grandparents have a wealth of knowledge you should listen to. At the very least, they can usually teach you to swear in another language (at least in my experience).
12) It is so much easier and takes way less energy to be kind to someone. It can make someone’s day to just say good morning.
13) Ranch dressing on salad does not negate the health benefits of a salad. If that’s the only way I can enjoy vegetables, then so be it.
14) Changing your mind or opinion on something is okay. We all grow and change.
15) Some people are math people, some people are not. I am not, and I’ve made peace with that and married an accountant to do math for me.
16) A phone call is faster and easier than an email. The more you talk on the phone, the easier it is.
17) Don’t drink Fireball if you have acid reflux.
18) I learned to sew on a button, and that skill has come in handy more times than I can count.
19) All relationships look different. Some friends I call once a week on the phone, some I talk to daily in our group chat. They’re all my best friends, and we just interact differently.
20) If you have stairs, get a lightweight vacuum. Emptying a small vacuum 10 times is easier than lugging a heavy vacuum up and down stairs. Especially when you have dogs and have to vacuum a lot.
21) Learn how to lift things properly to avoid back problems as long as possible. Once you have back problems, they don’t go away.
22) You will always have yourself as company, so learn to enjoy time alone. Be your own best friend.
23) Have one email address for important things and one for junk. It helps keep your mind and inbox uncluttered.
24) Friends make every chore better. When we moved into our house, we had a painting party where our friends came over and we painted every single room in our house. Some of them did a terrible job, but it was so fun and an hour or two of touch up and clean up beats several days of painting our house by ourselves.
25) If I can’t change a situation, the best thing to do is adapt and deal with it. No sense in fighting something I can’t control.
26) Keep a family recipe box. It is my favorite thing to gift to people.
27) In the same vein, have an apron. Flour doesn’t just brush off of a sweater.
28) I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that if something makes you happy and doesn’t hurt anyone, do it. If I’m happy, then I can handle anything life throws at me.

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