As an adult, there are some things I should have figured out by now and for some reason, these happen to be the lessons I keep repeating. I thought I might share a few of those with you that have been ever-present for me this year.
Lesson #1: Wear sunscreen.
This one is pretty obvious. I get that your skin is the only one you’ve got and I haven’t been very good to mine. However, there’s a basic rule with the ownership of Irish skin that you put on sunscreen. My people don’t tan… we burn, look like a lobster, peel and the process begins again. (Srsly, a dime for every time I heard “you look really red.”) I don’t know what makes me think I can “outsmart” that by avoiding the reapplication process. Every.time.I.try. Put it on your face, put it all over you and repeat.
Lesson #2: Don’t let money control you.
This one has kicked me in the teeth more times than I’d care to admit. I wish I’d paid attention to the experiences I could have had with money vs the stuff I could accumulate. This is priority number one for 2018. If anyone invents an app that would make me have to solve an impossible math question before Amazon will let me hit “buy now”, please let me know. I don’t want to work to pay my bills and have nothing left – I want to work to pay my bills and then do the things that are going to make memories.
Lesson #3: Don’t let someone else’s timeline be YOUR timeline.
I have seen this one not only in myself but a lot of the people around me. It’s easy to get swept up thinking about what could/should/may have happened but that removes you from being fully present in your life as it happens. All the energy I’ve spent comparing myself to others has really amounted to nothing more than wasted time. It’s really been since my mid-thirties that I’ve started to embrace this feeling of going against the norm and really creating my own path. I want to figure out what my story looks like. Luckily, my parents have always been super supportive about all my ideas – no matter how crazy. Remember that time I up-and-moved to Iowa, mom?
Lesson #4: Say “yes”.
After some personal setbacks and years of making excuses as to why not, I decided this year that I’d just say “yes”. That means checking in with myself to make sure I’m not giving too much without taking some me time. I am an introvert, after all. I have found that I don’t usually regret saying “yes” to something after I’ve done it. This is the best way to make friends and memories; maybe even overcome some fears in the process. This has, by far, been the best thing I’ve done for myself. Am I tired and fried at the end of the day? For sure. Do I want to sit in my pajamas with my pup and eat pizza? You know it. But I don’t want to string my days together having sat on the couch – I wanna liiiiive.
Lesson #5: Let people know you.
While I wasn’t necessarily raised to keep private things private, I do feel like I really struggled with letting people see the real me through college and after. I molded myself to fit a situation instead of going in there, gangbusters, saying “this is who I am.” I used to save private stuff for my family and friends and then project a certain image to the world. In the last several years, that whole facade has fallen away and people truly are left with the real me. I don’t have the energy to fake it anymore. In the world we live in today, where real CONNECTION is scarce and mental health doesn’t get the attention it deserves, we need to stop pretending everything is okay and get a little more comfortable with being vulnerable. It’s quite simple for me… what reason would be good enough for me to be anything but myself; for me to have any other opinion than the one I feel passionate about; to fight for anything less than what I believe in with my whole heart?
I heard it said about being a parent that the days are long and the years go by fast… that’s how I feel about my 30’s. A minute ago I was turning 30 and now we’re looking down the barrel of 36. That said, I can’t wait to keep peeling back layers and seeing who I really am and what I have to offer the world. I can’t wait to keep choosing to make my life about what feels right to me – not what other people say is right. I certainly hope this has been a little bit inspiring for you guys, and maybe helped some of you feel less alone. I’m here – and I’m still learning.