Today is my last day as a 34-year-old.
In a lifetime, 35 isn’t old. It’s probably better defined as the era of your prime.
To my younger siblings, I’m old. To Scott, I’m young – even if it’s only by four months. To my kids, I’m old. My ob/gyn is checking off the advanced maternal age box – not that that will ever be checked.
35-years-old. There’s no hiding that I am an adult. I’m not old and wise but I’m not young and dumb either. I learned a few things. As I toast off 34 years, I can reflect how much I’ve grown since that bitter cold November morning in 1981.
34 things I learned in 34 years.
- People aren’t against you, they are for themselves. I saw this quote floating around Pinterest. This doesn’t mean people are evil or selfish. It just means the world isn’t against you. It’s nice to remember when someone is flipping me off on the highway.
- There comes a point in parenthood when others tell you, “your kids are so cute” to “your kids are so big.” And that’s a sad day. I’m used to it. I get it – they’re big.
- When ordering a beer or wine or whiskey shot at the bar, always ask for a glass of water with it. You’ll thank me tomorrow.
- No amount of advice, money, or prayers can prepare you for parenthood.
- Yes, you do too have room for dessert.
- The labrador retriever is the world’s friendliest dog. But damn, they are some shithead puppies before earning that world title.
- The book is better. *Except for Game of Thrones. That’s the only exception. **My own opinion. Don’t throw books at me.
- A pet’s death is just as traumatic as a family member’s death. You have every right to mourn a pet as you would a human. You have every right to tear up while writing a list of 34 things you learned.
- Everyone has a good, gossip-worthy story. No one is that boring.
- Marriages’ change. You are not the same people after 1 year, after 5, or after 10 years. Respect each other as you both change.
- Ask an expert, not the internet. I learned this from writing for a magazine. Someone that is an expert in their field puts every waking hour into their job. They are filled with information that is 100 times better than google.
- I don’t know why but music is a mood changer. Use it often.
- Having children means you will relive your past. Middle school. I’m talking about middle school. The only advantage from this seat on the roller coaster from hell is you can tell your kid about the light at the end of the tunnel. You can tell them how old bullies will write you and tell you they’re sorry.
- Everyone is human. Everyone makes mistakes. We have all had a shitshow at some point. Apologize when you can. Accept apologies and move on. Remember you are for yourself. Don’t be against the world.
- It’s acceptable to blow up at the word, “relax.” I am still female.
- Have the guts to say no.
- Have the guts to say yes.
- Speak about others as if they were in the same room. This also goes towards people hiding behind a keyboard. Keep unkind thoughts to yourself.
- People are put into your life for a reason. People are taken away for a reason too. You can learn from every one of them. Everyone has a story.
- Age doesn’t matter when you become a parent. The 25-year-old mom of a preschooler has a lot in common with the 45-year-old mom of a preschooler.
- Donate when you can. This can be material things or just your time. Never expect a thank you. (Scott taught me that one)
- Find your passion and focus on it. When you find it, be 100 times better than google.
- Time doesn’t heal everything. Time shifts everything but it doesn’t heal. You need to use time to adjust.
- Get dirty. Jump in the pool. Jump in the ocean. Jump in the mud. I guarantee you’ll smile. (Scott taught me that one too)
- Tip well. Maybe they’re having a bad day.
- Find a sports team and never let go of them.
- Take pictures with your kids. I didn’t say take pictures of your kids. I said take pictures with your kids. Selfies are acceptable. Your kids will thank you when they’re older.
- It’s always acceptable to bring a blanket to the movie theater.
- Learn how to give a firm handshake. My first internship boss taught me this. I was embarrassed at the time but I’m grateful he taught me. If I learned anything from that internship, it was the handshake.
- Compliment strangers. You’ll make their day.
- There’s nothing wrong with bringing a pair of flip flops to a wedding. Or hot pants under the dress if they’re serving whiskey.
- There is no material gift in the world that can top visiting a place you’ve never seen before.
- When playing roulette, always split the green zero and green double zeros. I’ve won a lot of money in Vegas with that bet. It’s also a nice reminder that the world isn’t black and white. Or black and red.
- Remember to tell your mom, “Happy Labor Day” on your birthday. The day is just as special to her. (My kids taught me that)