35 Lessons from 35 Years

35 years ago yesterday, I came hurtling into this world. I’d like to say it was graceful, but that would be a lie. Because it was anything but graceful, and I suspect it was anything but the labor process my mom expected.

I’m pretty sure my parents both expected the usual labor at the hospital. They had a doctor and those were the plans. But turns out, my mom is a tough woman and when she woke up that morning to contractions, she assumed the stomach pain was from the massive bag of Brach’s candy she had eaten the night previously. Oh, pregnancy cravings! 

Turns out, those weren’t cramps from candy: it was my parents’ first daughter popping out to say hello to the world. But bless my mom’s heart, she was sure they were cramps. As a result, my parents never made it to the hospital. By the time these first-timers realized that it was their daughter coming out rather than a mild stomach inconvenience, there wasn’t any time left. My dad and my visiting aunt delivered me in my parents bed.

True story.

Life Lessons

PC: Will Rochfort

But the point of this is not to regale you with the better-than-average story of my birth {although I suppose I may be biased!} I turned 35 years old yesterday and that mild milestone has got me thinking.

You know what? I’ve done some cool stuff in my lifetime. I also can’t believe I’m solidly placed in my mid-30s now. I swear, didn’t I graduate college yesterday?!

Ahem, no. It was actually more than a decade ago….

However, more than reminiscing about the good ol’ days, I found myself waxing poetic about the various screw-ups and life lessons I’ve acquired along the way. I won’t pretend like I know everything because that would just be silly. But I have picked up some kernels of wisdom that I thought would be fun to share.

35 Life Lessons from 35 Years

  1. Trusting people isn’t so hard. The difficult part comes in deciding who deserves your trust.
  2. People matter the most. Never let them slip to the second spot behind other obligations.
  3. Travel is everything. The more you see, the more you know.
  4. Being uncomfortable is a good thing. If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not growing.
  5. Shyness is a waste of energy. Trust me, I know this since I’m naturally an introvert. But it never does me any favors and I always find myself regretting my unnecessary stressing after the fact.
  6. Worrying doesn’t do anyone any good and is the least productive thing you can do.
  7. If you aren’t happy, change your situation.
  8. Social media is a facade. Some are more honest than others, but never forget that those cultivated photos don’t show the entire picture.
  9. Hard work will get you everywhere.
  10. Always give 10% more than the next person. The extra effort pays in dividends.
  11. You are good at something.
  12. Self confidence isn’t arrogance; it’s simply confidence.
  13. People will develop opinions about you and sometimes, they are wrong. Other times, they may be right. Either way, don’t let their beliefs influence your decisions.
  14. Make time for laughter every single day.
  15. Learn to balance work and play. Too much of either causes stress.
  16. Don’t piss off the planet.
  17. Be grateful. So much happens when you’re sweating the small stuff.
  18. Change is usually the catalyst to self improvement.
  19. True love is a real thing. Wait it out until you find that one-and-only, can’t-live-without, peas-to-your carrots individual. He or she is out there, but may require a touch of patience.
  20. An occasional hangover is just a reminder that stupid life decisions only have to be temporary.
  21. I don’t care if it’s running, CrossFit, Zumba, or spin class: find whatever exercise you love and stick to it. The mental clarity is unlike anything you’ll get from the couch.
  22. Personal responsibility is the best gift you can give yourself.
  23. Perspective is everything. Remember that yours is not the only one in existence.
  24. Sunshine and Vitamin D may be the two most healing forces on the planet.
  25. Type II fun will always make for the best stories.
  26. Shut down the phone and have dinner with your family or friends. Trust me, those notifications can wait.
  27. And do you really need to IG story that meal?
  28. Failing is scary, but avoiding something new for fear of failure is exponentially scarier.
  29. Everything in moderation, including moderation.
  30. Enjoy your damn food. Sometimes it’s more important to be in that moment rather than counting your calories or macros or analyzing the ingredients.
  31. Not everyone will like you, and that’s okay.
  32. You don’t have to like everyone. That’s also okay.
  33. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are still one of the best meals in the world.
  34. Dogs make everyday better.
  35. The best stuff happens outside.

Life Lessons



  • Reply Lynn @ The Not Dead Yet Blog at

    Happy birthday! Great list–some of these things I’m still working on and I’m older than you. 😉

  • Reply Michael at

    Wise behind your years. Great list! Oh, and belated Happy Birthday! 😊

    • Reply Michael at

      Dang it! *beyond, of course.

  • Reply Jessie @ Chasing Belle at

    I love the idea of doing this on every birthday! These are so wise and relevant. I have so many favorites and the last one is definitely up there 🙂

  • Reply Caryn at

    Yes to so many of these. Especially #33!

  • Reply Christine @ Love, Life, Surf at

    Love these lessons Heather! Happy happiest of birthdays!!

  • Reply Rachel @ Better LIVIN at

    Happy birthday Heather!!

  • Reply Erin at

    Great way to honor your special day – happy birthday. Love the list!

  • Reply Patrice La Vigne at

    Happy belated birthday Heather!! Great list!

  • Reply Lauren Ison at

    Just stumbled across your blog through Emily Korsch’s link to it on hers. Love this list! Thanks for starting my Tuesday off in a terrific manner.

  • Reply Liz at

    This is a great list to end my workweek. Thanks again for your writing and inspiration!

  • Reply Adelei at

    I just found your blog and I absolutely love it!! I connect with nearly every item on this list, thanks for sharing! (I’ve especially enjoyed your New Zealand posts, I’m studying abroad there come February)

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.