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My 41 Best Life Lessons 📍

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

I know I am supposed to dread my birthday and aging, but the truth is, I love birthdays, and I am grateful for each year that I have and the growth and change each year bring. Now, I could pass on the wrinkles and stretch marks but never on the wisdom gained from each year.





As my birthday weekend concludes, I want to share the 41 things I have learned so far:

  1. Experiences over Things. We live in a world that tells us to consume, have more, and do better, so we hustle and buy things we get rid of a short time later. So, choose experiences and create memories. Experiences will stay with you forever; you will tell stories (many of which will become embellished) about the adventures, places, and people you encountered.

  2. Stop Asking for Permission. You get this one life in this body, so why are you looking to others to give you permission to live a life that excites you? You don't need someone else to tell you what you can or are qualified to do. You get to decide how you show up, what you say 'yes' to, and be mindful of who you allow to influence you.

  3. Be Humble and Hungry. I will never forget when I sat across from my boss and heard her tell me, "Pamela, you are ambitious like a capital B." It was the first time in a professional setting that I understood I was being told to calm down, be small, and be grateful instead of wanting more and working for it. Subsequently, I have learned that you can be humble and hungry. Now I teach women how to be ambitchous. ;)

  4. It's ok to fall apart. Life can be challenging; there are ups and downs and twists and turns. You don't have to hold it all together and pretend to be ok. Let yourself experience the emotions so you can move past them. I heard this great saying, "It's ok to fall apart, tacos do, and everyone still loves them."

  5. Save Yourself. We grow up thinking that life will be easier if we find the right friend group, get the right degree, and have the right partner. None of those things will save you from life's curve balls. It's unfair to wait for someone to save you; you have control over your life. You save yourself.

  6. Discipline over Motivation. Motivation is fleeting, and discipline requires constant attention and dedication. I will not always be motivated to exercise, but the night before, I can be disciplined to set the alarm, lay out the clothes, and decide what class I'm taking or get an accountability partner.

  7. Life happens on the other side of your comfort zone. Just on the other side of Netflix and Chill (which are some of my favorite things, so no judgment), there is a life that sets you on fire! The next career, the friendship not yet made, the hobby, the dance hall… all things that scare you because they aren't comfortable; they are waiting for you. Your best life is waiting for you right outside your comfort zone. Be brave.

  8. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Ever heard the saying there is your truth, my truth, and the absolute truth? That's because the truth usually sits somewhere in the middle. We view situations from our perspective and past experiences; this adds an unseen layer to any situation, and we all have different lenses. Be kind and empathetic to others; with time, people show you who they are, be kind but don't put up with nonsense.

  9. Be in the moment. We all run so fast from one task to the next, often without pausing to appreciate our accomplishments. We are looking at our various screens and miss the world around us. In the words of Ferris Bueller, "If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." Don't miss life, be in the moment.

  10. No one can read your mind. See #13 and 18

  11. Be curious. Ask thoughtful questions, be open-minded, and be genuinely interested in learning more. Being curious has allowed me to challenge the status quo by asking thoughtful, non-judgmental questions. Curiosity builds bridges and opens you to expanding your knowledge and breaking down outdated belief systems.

  12. Be Kind. It takes so little energy to assume good intent and be kind. Or, said inversely, don't be a miscreant buttface. You never know what people are facing; choose kindness first, often, and as your default.

  13. Brene Brown said, "Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind". The queen has spoken. Seriously though, be clear and specific with people. That is how you show kindness. Don't dance around the hard things so you can be perceived as likable or because conflict is complicated.

  14. Conflict avoided is conflict multiplied. When we avoid conflict, hard conversations, or being direct with our expectations and needs, we simply defer the conversation and multiply the conflict. See #13

  15. Wear a swimsuit, shorts, and a tank top. At the end of your life, no one will say, "But her thigh gap was amazing," or "Never saw her arms jiggle." The people you love, and the lives you impact will speak of your character, values, and actions. They will tell stories of your laughter, adventure, kindness, and curiosity. Wear whatever you want; the least interesting thing about you is the jiggle when you wiggle.

  16. Move Your Body, daily. Your body is your vessel through which you can experience life. Treat it with respect and kindness. I spent years punishing my body for not being enough - not skinny, smooth, and fit enough. I wasted years hating the reflection in the mirror, not wearing the swimsuits, and wearing long sleeves in the summer. For what? Nothing, nothing was gained, but fun times were lost. So, treat your body with kindness, move it, appreciate it, and know it's enough.

  17. Selflessness is not a badge of honor; it's an anchor. We are taught that to be a good woman, we should be small, humble, accommodating, and give freely of ourselves. These are inherently not bad traits, but when you build your life around selflessness as a badge of honor, you lose who you are. When caught up serving others in various roles, doing things for yourself can make you feel guilty. That's an anchor. You deserve the love, freedom, and prioritization you give others. Be for yourself.

  18. Set boundaries. Boundaries foster healthier relationships; at work, at home, and the community. Now let me be the first to tell you that setting boundaries is tricky, especially when you are setting them with people who have known you to be a 'yes' person. Setting boundaries requires confidence and self-respect - you are worthy of those things. If your boundaries push people away or they tell you that you have changed and they do not like it… they can stay on the other side of the fence.

  19. Life is going to knock you down. What matters is that you keep getting up. Knocked down 3 times, got up 4, and kept going.

  20. Build a Small, Strong Community. The quality of your friendships matters more than the quantity. We live in a world that values followers and blue check marks, but what is valuable is a small group of people who listen to you, support you, and call you out on your BS. This group pours into each other and becomes a solid and vibrant community.

  21. Fail often, fail fast. I was terrified to fail. Scared that people would discover I wasn't smart enough or capable enough. So I let my people-pleaser perfectionism say 'yes' to everything and work myself into oblivion. Up all hours of the day and night trying to make everything perfect. There is no such thing as perfect; it is restrictive and fear-based. When I began to let things be "good enough" and even fail at something, I learned and grew more from my first attempt at learning (FAILING) than I ever did in trying to be perfect.

  22. Leave things better than you found them. The piece of trash is on the floor; pick it up. The waitress with fabulous cat eye tells her. Take time to build up the team reporting to you. Do more than you need to because you can make things better. One day my kids will tell people how their mom routinely pays for the cars behind us at the Starbucks line, helps someone pick up a spill or surprises a random kid with the Millenium Falcon Lego set in Target. Look around for ways you can leave the world better.

  23. Other people's opinions are none of your business. What other people think about you is not your business. Especially random people who are not in the arena with you. The people you love and that have earned a respectable role in your life, consider their opinions, but they aren't the end all be all. You know who you are and don't need other people's opinions and expectations to weigh you down. Especially people in the cheap seats.

  24. Protect Your Peace. See #9, 16, 18, and 24 🙂Setting boundaries and caring for your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being allow you to protect your peace. Learning what keeps you grounded, healthy and joyful are essential to protecting your peace. When things spiral, how can you recenter? Some people journal, practice grounding, get a massage, and so on. Determine what helps you protect your peace and then honor it!

  25. Being loved as long as you meet conditions is not love. It's control. It is human nature to want to be loved, seen, and treasured by someone. It took me far too long to realize that if you chip away at who you are to meet someone else's expectations, you aren't truly being loved, seen, and treasured for who you are. That's not love; it's control.

  26. You are enough. Right now, already, just as you are. You don't need to learn more, do more, lose 10 pounds, or make a big salary to be enough. You are enough already. Stop comparing yourself to others and holding yourself back because you are waiting for (fill in the blank); you are valuable, worthy, and enough right now.

  27. Unlearning is as important as learning. I am a lifelong learner, and this will never change. But in the last few years, I have found the unlearning process to be just as valuable. I have unlearned stories I told myself about what it means to be a good wife, mom, employee, woman, etc. See #28

  28. Challenge the stories you tell yourself; constantly. So much of what we believe is a result of our environment and experiences when we were younger. A few years ago, I realized I was judging other women based on a narrative of how women "should" behave. I began to ask myself why I believed this, and from there, I created a technique called "DIG." This stands for Discover, Investigate, and Ground; learn more here on an Instagram post.

  29. Look for the Glimmers. We are all getting acutely aware of our triggers; glimmers are the opposite. Glimmers are the small moments, words, or actions that spark peace, joy, or happiness. Be on the lookout for the glimmers. After all, where your focus goes, your energy flows - so let it be upbeat and hopeful.

  30. Tiny, imperfect actions create momentum. You don't have to attempt to make significant muscle moves for progress to happen. When a goal, intention, or priority is too big, we can get analysis paralysis (where do I start) or overwhelmed. Instead, allow yourself to take tiny, imperfect actions. Take the next right step and the next one; they may not always be correct, but the movement creates momentum.

  31. You can't fit big goals into a small life. Why are you settling? Dust settles; you don't! Stop waiting for permission, believing you aren't enough, or fearing failure. Instead, dream big goals, live a great life, and don't let anyone (especially the negative voice in your head) tell you that you aren't meant for more. You, my friend, can have a beautiful life - go for it!

  32. You author your life; edit mercilessly. You author your own life; stop giving the pen to others. You should edit mercilessly. Write characters who no longer serve the plot out, bring new characters in, close chapters, and start new pages. This beautiful, scary, challenging, glimmery life is yours; get your favorite pen and write your story.

  33. It's best to live out of the art of possible instead of the past. We can learn from our past, but we can't hold ourselves or others hostages, to the past. The past is the past, not a prison. Give yourself a chance. Give others a chance. Live from the art of what's possible, not the pain of the past.

  34. "Should" is a cage. When you find yourself saying you "should" do something, let it create a moment of pause. Explore why you "should" do it. Do you need to? Is it part of your purpose, commitment, or value system? No? Then can you delegate it or ditch it entirely? Life is too short for "should"; be intentional with what you give your energy to.

  35. Be still and listen. The answers that you need are already within you. Be still, listen, and trust yourself.

  36. Rejection is redirection. The number of tears I have wasted on being rejected for something could fill a margarita pitcher. But each of those rejections led me to something different or unexpected. Rejection is not final; it's an opportunity for something new. I love new experiences and opportunities. Instead of tears of rejection, I make a spicy marg and welcome what's next.

  37. Good things come to those who work for them. Listen, good things come to those who wait because patience is a virtue, right? But good things come to those who work, persist, and invest in their 'yes.' Anything good is worth working for, so set your big goals and go all in.

  38. You complete you. I groan full-body when I hear "you complete me" being thrown around. You think someone completes you, cool, cool, cool, but may I suggest a different opinion? You need to complete your. Bring your whole self to a relationship and find someone who complements who you are. It's a lot of pressure on someone if you need them to feel happy or to complete who you are. What if two people brought their whole selves to a relationship, shared their happiness, leaned on each other, and decided to allow each other to grow? What would the divorce rate look like then?

  39. You belong. It is so easy to feel awkward, like an outsider, or that you don't really fit in anywhere. Let me be the first to say that is such an uncomfortable feeling. Instead of morphing, twisting, or contorting yourself into feeling like you belong, try something different. Embrace who you are, accept your weirdness, and appreciate what makes you unique - being yourself will attract the people that are part of your crew. You belong to you; you draw your people when you accept who you are.

  40. The little things are usually the big things. It's usually not the grand gestures that sustain relationships, employees, or communities - it's the small things that build credibility, trust, and affection. It's remembering a complex coffee order. Complementing someone's shoes. Filling up someone's gas tank. Sending a meme or quick text. Pour into people (and expect the same for them); one drip at a time, you can fill an entire sea.

  41. Have fun! Stop taking yourself so seriously. Make people laugh, laugh at yourself, sing offkey, and dance to your own beat. Life can be complicated, and there are times to maintain composure but don't be afraid to be light and make it fun.


and one more for good luck:


Cherish the important people! A few years ago, I lost my grandpa, a hero in my life, and very few days go by when he doesn't cross my mind. Looking back, I wish I spent effort cherishing our time together. Now, I make an effort to tell the important people in my life how much I love, appreciate, and respect them. If a friend crosses my mind, I text them that I thought of them. I hug my kids daily, try to do something kind for them, and tell them I love them. When my time is done here, the people that matter to me will never question how much they mattered; they will have stacks of evidence and memories. ♥

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