I thought it appropriate to compile a list of the most valuable wisdom I’ve cultivated on my journey to 35. My twenty-something self would’ve never believed that I would be happily welcoming 35; but then again, I hadn’t yet gained most of these insights until I entered my thirties. As I aligned with the truths below I saw my life begin to transform into a healthy, inspiring life full of love, deepening friendships, adventure, and most of all a fulfilling life of purpose. Turns out 35 isn’t scary; 35 is PRIMETIME baby!
1. I have actually learned to pay attention to life… People come into your life for a purpose. Each day I come in contact with people that make an impact on my life. The 20 something me would say get the heck out of here to some of these people I meet but now I have reached 35 I can say I realize the purpose of each individual and some are good, and some I see are definitely not so good but it does teach me and I am glad I am a much more mellow me. hehehe (and those of you who know me from those younger days I hope not to hear of any of those non mellow years.lmao)
2. I have learned faith is the biggest key to life. When I speak with people I tell them to only rely on their faith and believe. I always tell them of a story of a few times that I believe defined me well. I was given an opportunity to participate with a race and meet some running hero’s of mine who inspired me over the years. I didn’t think twice of it, I knew I could handle it and I believed with only $100 in my pocket. I had never flown a day in my life and I got on a plane and flew to Miami and participated with this race and was fully sponsored the whole time I was there. Everything worked out as planned and I had a fantastic time. I knew in my heart it was a certainty and I let my faith take me there and didn’t let any doubt of loosing my job or not having money affect me!
3. I learned to listen… Before learning this strategy, I was married and I can remember clearly my husband saying things to me that I never paid any attention at all to until the night he told me he didn’t love me anymore and loved someone else. So now I am older and much wiser I believe in listening to everyone as well as listening to every experience that takes place in life. Most of all as I’ve been on my journey to Boston I’ve learned to listen to my setbacks, they lead you where you are to go…
4. I have learned to accept my own responsibilities. Ultimately we are only responsible for our own character and can’t build anyone else’s, although I have tried many times through my 20 somethings to do this and did find it is not possible.
5. I have learned what trust really means. Trusting my dreams, trusting my path in life, and trusting myself means more to me now than anything ever.
6. Fear is my motivator…. I have faced many giants in the past few years and I can happily say I remained one strong gal through each of them. I learned not only to face those fears but tackle them head on and they have empowered and liberated me in ways unimaginable. Stay Strong! Be Strong! It’s all worth it even if its hard for a little while.
7. You Define You. We are not solely defined by our circumstances or our history, in fact we can reinvent ourselves many times over. That 20 something Stephanie couldn’t grasp this fact, and I allowed so many boyfriends and toxic friends to dictate my life. It took me to only a few years ago to realize Hey I control me… WTH??? lol
8. No Borders, No Boundaries. When I was asked to go to the race I spoke of I had never flown in my lifetime, never been to the Atlanta Airport, barely had I ever been out of the state of Georgia. But none of that stopped me. I said yes, and then figured it out. The only boundaries to your growth and experiences are those you mentally put up, or those you allow others to put upon you. Since this event I can say I have traveled and visited 3 states in one weekend and this is definitely the lifestyle I love and the lifestyle I will have! I absolutely love traveling and sharing my strength with people all over the globe!
9. I learned that exercise is always a good idea. Exercise and running have been therapy for me, and when I speak with people I always recommend this to them. It has gotten me through many a hard times in my life I call it my Prozac. When my friends ask for encouragement from me the first thing I say to them is get your *ss on that road baby;) lol
10. Your life doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s. I learned this through hard relationships with friends, boyfriends and found that I am most happy with me. I am unique and I love me because there’s no one on this planet that can be me…
11. I learned not to take things so personally. This is something the 20 something me definitely wouldn’t do. In my 20’s you could say I was definitely a “Hell Cat”! I had to realize that the one that angers you controls you, and I consider myself to be way more laid back now days with things. Probably too laid back with some things…
12. I realized that it was in fact true that if you lay down with dogs you will get up with fleas… This is a lesson my father drilled in my head as a teenager, and I hate to say it has taken me to the age of 35 to actually realize OMG he knows what he is talking about! Relationships of any kind should help you, not hurt you. I learned to spend time with nice people who are smart, driven and like minded. Trust your gut instincts immediately when you meet people. I say this all the time surround yourself with people who will bring you up in life not drag your * ss down…
13. Your presence is seen a mile away! I have learned that if you maintain a positive and honest outlook on life it can be spotted immediately. I work with people now that have passions that I can see before they even open my door and I have the utmost respect for people such as this!
14. Find work you love to do. I have finally learned to overcome my fears and follow my true purposes of life by giving up a job that added negativity to my life. My beliefs are that if you experience negativity in one area of your life it overflows in other areas. It feels amazing to go into a job each day that I actually love, I just hate that it took me to the age of 35 to realize this, but I also do not believe in regret not regret, I will only look at it all as a learning experience. “The biggest mistake people make in life is not trying to make a living at doing what they enjoy most.”
15. There is no point in comparing yourself to others; we are all on our own unique journey. Man this one was hard for me to attain through the 20’s. I didn’t see my own beauty and listened to criticism from everyone. Now that I have reached 35, I have also reached a fact of life that everyone is beautiful, and who the heck am I to judge? I judge no one, in fact being unique is wonderful to me because I grew up in a small area where everyone was the same!
16. Don’t look for an amazing person to come into your life. Be the amazing person! Here’s a good lesson I learned through some rough times with what I call the regular dirtbag type boyfriends. I’ve had them cheat, lie, spit in my face, lock me out of my own house, stand me up, steal from me, toy with my feelings, and most of all break my freakin heart into! But the lesson I can say I have happily achieved from it all is, heck I am the amazing one here!!!! Hahaha
17. Change is one of the few things that remains constant. Welcome it. Since I’ve become receptive to change in my life things have began to change for the better for me. Change is inevitable in life so we all must learn to roll with it and I roll well now days!
18. I let it all go… Learning to let go was the best thing I could’ve ever done. I let go of caring to be #1 all the time,
I let go of always wanting to be right, and I let go of trying to be in control. I guess I just said I chilled the heck out!
19. I realized determination and persistence are essential qualities in life and not just what I’ve always been told were my aggravating ways. Growing up if I got something in my mind to do it stayed there until it was done. This drove my family and friends crazy, and I even see this quality in my son. I am grateful for these qualities now days because they have taken me places in my life and will only take me exactly where I want to be!
20. Let your passions be your guide. This is a lesson I learned by falling in love with running and fitness. I would get up early on Saturday mornings in my early 20’s to go lift heavy weight, and today at 35 I am still getting up early to run and lift weights but the weight factor has changed slightly… lol. This is my passions in life and it has lead me directly to a life of value I am happy with.
21. When someone you love enters the room, let your face speak what’s in your heart. As I have gotten older I have definitely learned to read faces well and dishonestly is one I read extremely well now days. ;Be real with everyone!
22. When you feel like you’re on the verge of an epic meltdown, smile! Just something I had to learn from dealing with the public for so long, its a hard job but it unfortunately has to be done. Besides your smile can make someones day brighter!
23. Don’t let sincere relationships drift away. If you find a kindred spirit, hang on tight. It is hard to find someone of honor and who actually cares for your feelings. I send my friends texts all the time letting them know I miss them if they are across the world or across town.
24. I have learned that the younger generation tend to see things in black and white. Experience lets you see the grey. I love the older generation!
25. This is a good lesson I have learned…Dorks are more fun! I love to laugh at myself and be crazy with those non-uptight People. I get called crazy on a regular but it is who I am… I’ve learned it’s always important to have fun and be silly. The funnier and sillier, the happier.
26. Don’t talk about people. This is a pet peeve of mine, I hate to be around people who dog others out. Like I have said before who the heck are we to judge? Don’t hate congratulate! Don’t gossip. Just don’t. It eats away at your soul, and it’s poisoning another one. If you only have friends that gossip, go meet some new people but stay the heck away from me! Lol
27. Just because I think I have something to say doesn’t mean I should say it. This is another big one the 20 something me would never do! Sometimes, the best thing to do or say in a situation, is absolutely nothing, smile and walk away!
28. I learned to fall in love with coffee. So my secret is out, I am a coffee junkie. I love the stuff, although when I was younger I hated it and I didn’t begin drinking it until I was 30. Now I can’t go a day without it.
29. Think—really think—before you hit that “Update” button on Facebook. Facebook is something that has gotten absolutely huge and can get out of hand, and tacky. No one likes to see dirty pictures, or read filthy messages on news feeds. I learned to restrict or block people from my facebook and it was like completely eliminating a problem. Yayyyy Problem solved. In fact, before I hire anyone I check out their facebook page it’s like taking a glance into their life…
30. I learned to never fight fire with fire. It’s not worth the energy or destruction, I have learned to pick things up and walk away. A negative person or negative attitude is wasted energy and I would rather use my energy on my runs!
31. Discover independence. True independence is achieved when you’re no longer dependent on anyone else. Being a single mom has definitely shown me my independence but I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way. Independence is scarce but totally ROCKS!
32. I have learned in my years to keep a journal. When I had my accident my family kept a journal of events that occurred when I was in the hospital. Those journals are priceless to me! I cherish them and have even been asked to sale a video I have of me learning to walk again that I have kept. So I highly recommend keeping a journal to look back on.
33. Budget time. Prioritize where time is spent. Time can be spent faster than money and it can be wasted just as much as money can. In my view, time is more precious than money, and this is something I learned by working in the dental profession for so long by working on a time schedule. Then of course with my marathoning time.
34. I’ve learned that success with anything comes at a cost- no matter what type of impact you may be trying to make on the world, good or bad there’s always going to be someone trying to drag you down or climb over you to get to the top. We all have naysayers, doubters, or haters. Their words may hurt us, haunt us, and tickle our insecurities. The important thing in life, is to take from it, learn from it, and carry on. I can only say from experience success comes from doing what you love, and working at it daily. This may hurt your ears to read but I could give a shit less what anyone thinks about or says about me and what I do! Another hard lesson learned right here, but has anyone stopped me:) lol
35. The most important lesson learned through my years is to Never Give Up on my dreams. I have dreamed for so long of the things I have been doing the past few years and I still have many dreams to achieve that I will get accomplished. I am doing these things simply because I have Never Given Up on much of anything in my lifetime! A big dream of mine was answered this week that I’ve wanted for 20 years. I have dreamed of walking the halls of the hospital I learned to walk again at since the day I walked out of those doors. I received a letter asking me if I was interested in coming to this hospital and speaking on Never Giving Up. I am so very thankful for a gift like this for my 35th birthday!
To end my entry I want to say that at 35 years of age I have learned that my life has been a beautiful struggle, and I am happy every bit of it was given to me. I believe getting older is something to celebrate. Life is such an amazing gift and I will embrace every piece of my 35th year. Never Give Up, Never Give In, Never Stop Trying, NEVER EVER GIVE UP!!!!!!!!!