Life Lessons for (and from) a Novice

In one month from today I will be 35. 35!?!?!!! Do you remember how old and gross that sounded when you were in college? Or even worse, in high school? 35 meant you were a real adult, like my manager at Steak ‘n Shake or my neighbors whose kids I watched. They fell into this vague age group that seemed mysterious to teens and early twenty-somethings—older, but not quite as old as our parents. When someone asked me how old those people were I would respond: I don’t know…35 or something. Now that’s me! I’m “35 or something.”

I remember the nights I spent in those 35-year-olds’ homes after I had tucked their kids into bed. I would sit on their couch and wonder why they didn’t have time to clean up their sticky kitchen table or why the only things in their pantry were fruit snacks and Cheerios or why they had seemed so freaking excited to go to dinner at Applebee’s?

The answers to those questions are so obvious now. As are many others. And while I’m admittedly not a beacon of wisdom, there are a few things that I have learned this past year that have helped me grow (up) quite a bit, so I thought I’d share. So from one life novice to another, here is what I know at 34 years and 11 months…

Life is not a checklist. It is meant to be lived, not done. Treat it as so. S l o w  d o w n.

Busyness is not a thing. Prioritization is a thing. If something is important you make time for it. It’s ok to feel busy, it’s not ok to use busyness as an excuse.

Self awareness is critical. For your relationship with others and your relationship with yourself. Understand your flaws, but know your worth.

Be cognizant. Look around. You’re surrounded by people who love and support you. Be kind and be appreciative. Recognize when others need you.

Expect Nothing. And everything. Or something in between? This one is hard. High expectations can lead to disappointment. Low expectations can lead to mediocrity. Find a realistic middle ground between settling for less and achieving the unobtainable. Be diligent and persistent, but most of all, be patient. What’s yours will come.

Me and a bucket of beer, as a true life novice at the mere age of 25.
Me (and a bucket of beer). At the time this picture was taken I was a true life novice at the mere age of 25 and knew none of the above.

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