28 Life Lessons from 28 Years

28th Birthday, Aged to perfection

Today, I turn 28, which means I only have 2 years left in my twenties. Oh, no! Where did the years go?

Well, with age comes wisdom (or so they say). So I thought I’d share some of the wisdom I’ve picked up along the way.

1. Life is short, so live for today.

Time passes much faster than we expect (I swear I was just 18 yesterday!). So live for the moment, take chances, and cherish the time you have.

2. You create your own destiny/life.

Don’t blame your situation on others. Take responsibility for your life and mold it into a life that you are proud to be living.

3. You don’t always get what you want.

Yes, I believe you create your own destiny, but I also know you don’t always get what you want. Maybe that rock star gig just isn’t right for you and you have to quitΒ  pursuing drugs, sex, and Rock-n-Roll. And that’s A-okay! It doesn’t make you any less of a person and maybe you’ll just find something you need along the way. As the Rolling Stones once said, “You don’t always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes, you get what you need.”

4. Less is more.

We live in a society surrounded by excess – excess food, clothes, shoes, Facebook friends, etc. And what I’ve come to learn is that less is definitely more.

Less make-up allows your natural beauty to shine through. Less clutter (in life and your home) frees up space for new and exciting things. And are you really going to wear all those shoes in your closet? Or talk to all those friends on your Facebook? No? Well, then it’s time to simplify.

5. Dance it off.

Having a bad day? Dance! Feeling that after lunch energy slump? Dance! Need a cure for boredom? Dance! It’s hard to be bored, down in the dumps, or just plain sad when you’re dancing around the place. So put on your favorite song, pump up the volume, and boogie!

6. Keep learning.

Keep challenging your mind long after you’re done with school. Read, write, attend a lecture, or simply engage in intelligent conversations or debates. You must always exercise your brain.

7. You can learn something from everybody.

Everyone has something to offer no matter their station, race, color, education, and or age. So pay attention and learn from those around you.

8. Let your hair down.

No matter how hectic your life is or how little time you have, it is always important to relax and let loose. Go dancing, spend time with friends, or try something new. And, at least once in your life, do something wild and carefree. You have to have something to tell your grandchildren (or at least a good reason to plead the 5th).

9. It’s okay to put yourself first.

I must admit that I still struggle with this one today, but I’m getting better. After all, no one wants to be perceived as selfish or self-centered. However, a little selfishness is needed to follow our dreams, find our joy, and create the lives that we want. If we don’t take care of ourselves first, we will be unable to adequately care for anyone else.

10. Dress the body you have

Don’t buy clothes and stash them in the closet to wear after you lose those last 10 lbs. And for that matter, don’t put off buying clothes until you can lose weight. Design your wardrobe to fit your body, as is, not the designer airbrushed magazine body society says is perfection. Embrace your body and love yourself.

11. Even when you think you suck, you’re awesome!

There will be moments in your life where you feel like a failure or that you suck at life. Truth is, we all feel this way sometimes, but we must remember that there are people who love us, appreciate us, and are proud of us. We have many amazing qualities that prove we do not suck at life!

12. Laugh often.

Erupt in deep, gut-busting belly laughs often. It’s an instant pick-up, cure for the blues, and helps keep the joy in your life. Practice often!

13. Create.

Create beautiful music, delicious food, one of a kind crafts, or amazing memories. You will be so much happier if you take time to develop your craft and imagination.

14. Comparison is a kill-joy.

Don’t compare yourself or your life to others, especially the ones you stalk online. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – those are just the highlight reels, not the reality. You never know what hardships they are enduring, so don’t get sucked into a game of who’s got the better life.

15. Dream big.

Write lofty goals and smile when people gaze at you in disbelief. After all, once upon a time, the right to vote was merely a dream for women and minorities.

16. Be thrifty.

Don’t live like you’re one of the rich and famous, especially if you’re not. Being frugal in small ways can benefit you in the long run by allowing you to save money for that trip of a lifetime or your retirement fun. Plus, thrift stores have some totally awesome finds!

17. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people.

Eliminate the negative Nancy’s and naysayers in your life that will only bring you down into their cloud of negativity. Instead, focus on developing the relationships with people who encourage you, support you, and push you forward. And remember quality is always better than quantity.

18. Take time to unplug.

Walk away from the computer. Shut off the television. And put down the smart phone. It’s okay to disconnect from the virtual and social networking world for a moment to enjoy a dose of in your face reality. Engage in face to face conversations, go for a walk and enjoy nature, get lost in a good book, or just relax without the constant buzzing of Facebook notifications.

19. Learn at least 2 kick-ass recipes.

Not only will you be able to treat yourself to a couple of awesome meals, but you can pull this out for a special date or family get together. You’ll be sure to impress, while proving how well rounded you truly are!

20. Take lots of photos.

Pictures are a great way to document moments in your life (both special and mundane). Someday you will be glad that you have all those snapshots of your old apartment, nights out with friends, or lazy days with the family.

21.Β  What you do does not define you.

You are not a job or career. You are a complex human being with diverse interests, capabilities, and an identity completely separate from your work. Who you are is far more important that what you do.

22. Be young at heart.

Keep in touch with your inner child. At the very least, drop them a line every so often as a reminder to dream, play, and embrace possibility.

23. Act your age. Not.

There seems to be this idea within our society that age determines what we can and can’t do. Well, age is nothing but a number. So be who you want to be and do what you want to do. If you want to wear that mini skirt, go for it! If you want to go out and party every now and again, enjoy (responsibly). Or if you want to be in bed by 9 PM on a Saturday, sleep tight.

24. Say your p’s and q’s.

Always remember to politely say please and thank you. It is both a sign of respect and appreciation.

25. There is no one way to define success.

For some success is having the fancy job and making oodles of money, while for others it means finding joy in the things that you do. Success means something different for everybody. Just because someone is not succeeding by your standards, does not mean they aren’t succeeding at all. We must all live by our own definitions of success.

26. Change is constant.

So, don’t sweat the bad times because they will soon be gone, and cherish the good times while they last.

27. Try new things.

Learn to play guitar, go rock climbing, bake a cake from scratch, or jump out of a plane. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you keep challenging your comfort zones. You just might find a new hobby or create one of your favorite memories.

28. Be you (tiful).

Be the person you want to be. Develop your interests, embrace your body, and love yourself, as is. You’re perfectly imperfect and the people who matter will love you for it.

Do you strongly agree or disagree with any of the lessons on this list? Have you encountered any life lessons that you continue to live by in your life?

  • Sky

    Life lesson posts are always some of my favorites! Even though I’m nearly 10 years younger, almost all of these are things I’ve learned (or, more accurately, am in the process of learning). Especially 2, 4, and 10!

    • Yay! You are already wise beyond your years! πŸ˜€ I’m glad that you are already learning so many of these. I think once we learn them our lives become so much easier (or at least our attitudes become more positive).

  • I agree with every single thing on your list! It sounds like you’ve got it down in terms of self love, positivity and fulfillment. Happy birthday and here’s to a wonderful year!

  • Lauren Gardner

    Happy birthday! Hope it was a good one!

    • Thanks, Lauren! I appreciate it! And thanks for reading this post. πŸ™‚

  • Noel

    Really liked this post. Keep up the good work and inspiration.

    • Thanks, Noel! I appreciate the words of encouragement! πŸ˜€ And thanks for reading the blog!

  • eileen ragan | leaner by the lake

    “Dress for the body you have” is one I didn’t learn until the last few years and now that I understand what fabrics, cuts, and entire stores don’t work and those that do, I’m a much happier shopper…and more fashionable!

    Happy 28th!

    eileen ragan | leaner by the lake

    • Thanks! And I’m glad that you figured out what works for your body. It’s amazing what the right clothes can do for you and your self-esteem! πŸ˜€

  • I loved this!!!