Today I turn 36 years old. I am not someone who is a fan of birthdays. I know some celebrate their week or month, for me – each October 28th, I just like looking back to see where I’ve been and dream of where I am going.
As I blow out an additional candle on the cake this year, the number 36 has hit me hard. My 22-year-old self is crying. I met one of my best friends when she was 36, me 22. We hit it off and despite the age difference, and have maintained a friendship over the years that is so special to me. I just always remember that she was 36 – and SO OLD. Now look who is 36.
This year, as I continue to use the “thirty something” term (something I plan on using for the next 9 years) – I thought I’d share 36 lessons I’ve learned over the last 36 years. Since text is boring and animated gifs of pugs and Bill Murray never get old, these are told with animated gifs. Enjoy!
36 Lessons Learned in 36 Years
1. Embrace the imperfect.
Imperfect is my story. My life is so messy. Embracing and understanding this truth has made me a much better (and nicer) person.
2. Grace: Learn it, know it, live it, show it.
Understanding that everyone is just human and that I am no better than anyone sounds stupid, but that wake-up call introduced me to grace several years back. Now she is my BFF.
3. Kids get harder the older they get.
I love babies. Now I know why. The older the kids get, the harder they get. SOMEHOW my love for them continues to grow.
4. Marriage is hard and the best thing ever.
Being married to my husband for the last 16 years has been amazing, and hard and stressful – but at the end of the day, having my best friend to walk through this crazy life with is pretty awesome.
5. Diet Coke is crack.
Diet Coke seriously is crack. Try to quit, I dare you. Oh the migraines!
6. LAUGH and get happy.
Laugh at everything and get happy. Dealing with the sads suck. Find something to laugh at and if you can’t find happy, go to bed and try again tomorrow.
7. Life is a roller coaster.
Life really is full of ups and downs. Strap in, throw your hands in the air and try to enjoy the ride.
8. Being an introvert is hard.
I like to talk to people, well kind of. Over the years, I feel myself becoming more of an introvert. It’s so weird, and so hard to explain to all of you extroverts! (Read Extroverts Guide to Introverts)
9. Your worth is not determined by your job.
It’s taken me 3 years to really understand that your job and paycheck doesn’t determine your worth. What you do with your life and how you invest in it and the people around you defines who you are.
10. A life less stressed far exceeds a life full of riches.
Not having the burden of stress and re-prioritizing wants vs. needs was life changing for us. While I love expensive things, it doesn’t mean that it’s worth the stress to acquire them.
11. If someone doesn’t accept you for who you are, they are NOT worth your time.
I have a nose ring, tattoos and use bad words. I love Jesus, believe in grace and let my kids stay up late. We homeschool and I drink. Love it or hate it – if you can’t accept it – I don’t have time to deal…
12. Technology is the life and death of me.
I live and breathe and uhmmm write constantly about technology. Yet, if left to my own devices – technology sucks the life from me and my family. Don’t let it kill you!
13. Every person who is brought into your life is there for a reason.
I’ve had the most random encounters that have led to amazing experiences and relationships. God works wonders with all things, remember this with whoever you meet.
14. Time flies when you are getting old.
Seriously y’all. I swear I was JUST turning 30. EEK.
15. Wrinkles suck.
My forehead, I see you wrinkles and I just haven’t been able to accept you yet.
16.You can avoid finding gray hairs.
I dye my hair regularly and don’t look for gray hairs. This is how you avoid finding gray hairs. Just don’t look for them people. This is also how you avoid negativity, don’t look for the bad just work with what you have.
17. Lead, don’t follow.
Don’t follow – lead the way!
18. Your children will say what you say and do what you do.
This is such a true statement of both good things and bad. I see so many traits of myself in my daughter, it is scary. I have to be extra cautious to not bite her head off for not liking MY FLAWS in her. The same is to be said with my 3 sons. The best I can do, is be my best and hope they absorb that.
19. Give the best way that you can give (but GIVE!)
It doesn’t have to be money. It just needs to be something. Find how you can create a life of giving and GIVE. Whether it be service, an ear for a friend or solid advice, find your give. BUT how cool would it be to be Oprah and give YOU A CAR, YOU A CAR, YOU A CAR.
20. Everyone should have a sister.
My sister is the best. Well not really, because that would just totally give her a complex. She knows she is #2 and I am #1 – but still she is pretty awesome and everyone should have one. And since God gave me 3 boys and 1 girl, I pray my daughter finds a special friend (or someday has a special sister-in-law) that can fill that void. P.S. My brother is pretty bad ass as well, except he doesn’t like to go get blow outs at the Dry Bar with me.
21. Gossip sucks.
I use to be all into the gossip thing, but then realized that by partaking I am just putting myself up to be talked about. Choose your friends wisely and watch what you say to your gossipy friends.
22. Be brave.
Life has so many challenges. Put on your brave panties and do what you need to do to conquer it.
23. See everything that you can see.
This year we set out on quite a few adventures seeing all that we could see. It was amazing and awe-inspiring. Here is to hoping year 36 brings a ton of new places to see our way.
24. You really are your biggest critic.
Stop criticizing yourself. No one really thinks of you as bad as you think of yourself.
25. Your past will always haunt you, if you let it.
I was such a bitch in high school. I had no care for much and anytime I encounter anyone from those years, I keep thinking “They must hate me.” My past is not me. The present is. Let go of the pass and embrace the new. That being said – remember people change. Don’t judge someone for who they were in high school.
26. Whenever a beach is nearish, get your toes in the sand.
We were 90 miles from the coast when vacationing this year. We had a spare 4 hours which meant we had just a few minutes to stick our toes in the sand. WE SO DID IT and it was so worth it. Smell the fresh ocean air, wiggle your toes in the sand and find a place where you can listen to the waves.
27. Remove toxic people from your life.
There are some people who just don’t understand right from wrong. Show them love and grace, but don’t allow them to ruin your zen.
28. Boundaries are a wonderful thing.
Dr. Henry Cloud wrote a book called Boundaries. Read it.
29. “That’s what she said” never gets old.
I know, inappropriate, disgusting, so immature. Yes! That would be me.
30. Be open minded.
While I don’t have much going for me, I do have this. I am TOTALLY TYPE B. I can laugh, change plans on a whim and roll with an open mind. This has made life with 4 kids doable.
It’s just a conversation with you and God. Nothing formal is needed. It’s okay to be mad. It’s okay to be honest. And it’s okay if your prayer isn’t answered the way you want it to be.
32. Always wave to your neighbors, even if they don’t wave back.
We have nice neighbors… well most of them. There are a few that just don’t seem to have the ability to raise a hand and waive or say hi. It’s okay and if my waiving annoys you – sorry i’m going to keep doing it.
33. Buy a plush mattress.
We aren’t fancy folk. There aren’t many pieces of furniture in this house that we’ve spent significant money on. BUT… one thing we TOTALLY splurged on when I was pregnant with our fourth child was a nice plush mattress. Even after 4 years of use, nothing beats falling into a nice comfy bed. (Nothing says OLD like splurging on a MATTRESS, ha.)
34. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff.
It really is all small. This life is way too short. Don’t sweat it.
35. Give everything and everyone a chance.
There are so many things that I have gone in with a pre-conceived notion and so many times I m blown away at my stupidity. Give everything a chance, even the things you think “NO WAY.” Remind me of this though, next time I am invited sky diving (not. going. to. happen. people.)
36. Time is the only commodity you can’t buy.
I was watching a documentary on Tiny Houses and someone had said this… “Time is the only commodity you can’t buy.” (or something of the sort…) – PEOPLE this is so TRUE. We can buy just about everything now a days. TIME (not the magazine) is not something you can just throw in the basket at Target. Live each day to the fullest.
So there are the 36 share-worthy things that I’ve learned in the last 36 years of living. I can’t wait to write 72 things I learned in 72 years. Check back in 36 years for that one.
Mom to 4 kids, Molly Thornberg aka Digital Mom is the blogger-in-chief here at digitalmomblog.com. She likes to keep it real, overshares on her personal Insta-stories, tries her best to show grace and always appreciates a funny meme. Molly appreciates the unique things in life, and is a Ennegagram 7w8.