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29 Lessons Learned in 29 Years - The First 10

It’s true. I’m a Virgo! In the spirit of celebrating my 29th birthday this month I’d like to reflect on some of the most important lessons that I’ve learned over the years. Like most, my story is full of twists, turns, and uncertainty. Lessons can’t just be taught. They need to be learned. And the best way to learn is through experience. My most important lessons to date were things that I needed to understand hands on. I’m going to break this up into 3 separate posts of 10, 10, and 9 to go over the 29 lessons I’ve learned. So enjoy reading a little more about me and hopefully you can take away something from these important life lessons! 

1. Lesson number one is a simple lesson that may be considered a bit cliche. But what is said about things that are cliche? Oh yeah, they’re often true! So don’t write it off just yet. My first big lesson is to always love yourself first. Only in recent years has it become more apparent that self love is crucial to a happy life. We can look toward the past and recognize that it hasn’t always been considered important to love yourself first and fully. We often put our own desires and happiness aside to please those around us. Parents, peers, significant others. No one likes being referred to as selfish. And it’s very easy to fall into that mindset. Taking time for yourself or doing something nice for yourself can often lead to feelings of guilt because we aren’t giving that attention to “more important” things or people. But let me tell you..nothing is more important than your own happiness. You cannot love fully if you do not know what it’s like to fully love yourself. We always have things that we want to improve and work on and, in fact, it’s a wonderful thing to always have goals but do not let that list of things fool you into thinking that you are less lovable because you aren’t where you want to be. Loving yourself means that you understand no one is perfect and everyone is lovable. So celebrate your accomplishments, recite positive affirmations, and give yourself a just-because treat sometimes. It’s always worth it.

picture that says "self love isn't selfish"

2. Part of loving yourself is making sure that you are taking care of your mental health. And one of my favorite ways to keep my mental health up (aside from meditating daily) is to laugh daily! Yes, laughter is the answer. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the seriousness of the world. As an empath I know from experience how upsetting it gets when there’s suffering and it feels like there’s no way for you to help. So we sit in guilt that doesn't belong to us. Part of loving the self is living in the present moment and when you do that, it becomes easy to have a laugh every day. Laugh with friends, laugh at a TV show, laugh with yourself. It’s the best break.

3. Speaking of living in the present moment, this is lesson number 3! Living in the present moment is no easy task. Sounds easy. Sure does. But it really isn’t especially on a typical day. We are so used to the normalized work week schedule that we get stuck in a routine. On a typical day we tend to daydream about our next vacation and when we vacation we’re dreading going home. It’s a vicious cycle but you do have the power to stop it! Sometimes I need to actively remind myself to get out of my head. It’s hard! It’s easier to disconnect and start circling around what you don’t have instead of enjoying what you do. So when I notice myself doing this I recenter and point out something that I can physically see that will put a smile on my face. It could be my cats, it could be a photo on the wall, or it could be reading a positive quote. Once I incorporated this into my daily life it naturally manifested into a habit.

photo that say "make today great"

4. Gratitude. Oh yes, gratitude is a very important lesson that I’ve learned. As kids we learn to say please and thank you but it wasn’t until I got older that I really discovered how important it is to truly feel gratitude. Giving thanks should be a daily practice that isn’t just for Thanksgiving and dinner time. I start off every morning by reciting at least 5 things that I am truly grateful for. My home, my memories, experiences, people, things, or even just the breath that I am taking. Starting every day with a reminder of everything I have has completely turned my life around.

5. Lesson number 5 is how important it is to spend time outside! And I don’t just mean going for a 10 minute walk every day. If that’s all you can do then by all means that’s wonderful! But what really improved my mental health was when I started prioritizing time outside. Our planet is so healing all on its own and when you spend time outside with the intention of healing, boy is it healing. Gardening was one of the first ways I began to connect with the outdoors and then I began hiking and camping whenever I could. So don’t lock yourself inside all the time. Earth is waiting for us to hang out!

trees in the forest

6. Treat yourself every day. You heard me! Just do it and don’t feel bad. This is absolutely part of loving yourself but this is a more specific way to do it. I ask myself toward the end of every day, “Did I treat myself today yet? How so?” It could be a fun snack, a nice end-of-day beverage, watching my favorite show, doing a calming and fun activity, pampering my skin, you name it. Whatever brings a smile to your face and gives you something to look forward to every day. Doing this daily is an expression of love that you are showing to yourself. And we all know when it gets easier to show ourselves love, it gets easier to show love to others. And no better way to keep relationships strong than to show your love.

7. Lesson 7 - Be open minded! Growing up I was always taught to try something at least once before deciding I didn’t like it. I usually think of food when I think of this lesson but it’s really a lesson for everything in life. Being open minded means you’re always open to being educated and to being adventurous. We have to be open minded in order to discover what we like and don’t like in life and that always means trying first! While I do have boundaries (like food preferences) I will always try to give something the benefit of the doubt.

8. Alrighty the next lesson that I’ve learned over the years is that patience is key! This goes along with living in the present moment. It’s so tempting to get down on yourself because you have all these ideas or accomplishments that you want to achieve and bring to light but it hasn’t happened yet. But you can’t just snap your fingers and it’s done. You have to practice patience. For me, I know exactly what my dream home looks like in my head. And instead of feeling down about not having it already, I choose to trust that my patience and hard work will manifest into my dream home. Trust and patience go hand in hand.

9. Consistency, consistency, consistency. So much easier said than done, right? Being consistent is another one of those cliche but very true life lessons. Becoming stagnant can be easy if you aren’t careful. And when we become stagnant we become stuck. Anytime I feel like I’m stuck in a rut I ask myself, “what’s the next best step of action I can take?” Starting out making soap was tricky in the beginning. It can be so intimidating to do something you’ve never done before, we all know it. And all those fears of not being good can manifest into stagnancy. If I didn’t practice consistently making soap then how would I have gained the confidence and knowledge about soap making? I wouldn’t be here without consistency! Check out my first ever bars of soap 

my first ever small batches of soap

10. I’ll end this part of my list with a simple lesson that I have learned. I used to feel so naked without a face of makeup on. I was so reliant on makeup to feel beautiful that I just felt ugly with a bare face. Don’t get me wrong! There is absolutely nothing wrong with loving makeup and the way it makes you feel. But it can easily be a slippery slope into talking down about yourself without it. As I’ve gotten older I’ve grown to adore my face without makeup. So much that I barely use it anymore! And when I do it’s treated as an act of love, not an act of desperation.

There you have it! Those are the first 10 most important life lessons that I've learned over my 29 years of life. Don't forget to check out the next 10 in my next post!