“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.” ― George Bernard Shaw
Although in my mind I still tend to feel like (and laugh at the same things as) a kid, I’ll be turning 33 tomorrow, May 26th! Wow. It’s really true: age is just a number, and you’re only as old as you feel. Every year around this time, I enjoy taking a moment to myself to reflect on the year that just passed, oftentimes like a blink of an eye. Days, weeks, and months can go by so quickly! Knowing the way that I’ve chosen to participate in the world, it’s important to take these pauses and check in where I’m at, and where I might be going. This year, while highlighting the growth and transformation I’ve experienced, I’ve compiled a list of 32 lessons I’ve learned and relearned this past year as a 32 year old. If nothing else, I’ll always be able to look back on this to remember the thoughts, big and small, that have brought me to be the person I am today.
1. Upgrading to a Kindle has made life so sweet and easy. I love books and I’ll always have an affinity for them, but when I’m traveling, it’s so much more convenient to have a handful of books uploaded on a tiny, light-weight device. My shoulders are much happier for not having to lug around excess weight in books anymore.
2. Having a daily yoga practice is possible. It’s not always an hour or longer, but putting in at least 15 minutes a day can move some profound mind-body mountains.
3. Owning and running a small business has been an emotional roller coaster and has been full of some of the most valuable lessons towards self cultivation. I’m absolutely floored that I’m actually living my dream, and while living it, I continue to dream even bigger.
4. It’s never too late to start learning a new language. Hablo español? Si, hablo un poco de español!
5. Mercury retrograde is real. Enough said. When you hear that it’s currently happening, be gentle with all things communication, technology, transportation, and contractual. Actually, even when Mercury is not retrograde, be gentle.
6. Give me a bowl of air-popped popcorn with coconut oil, nutritional yeast, sea salt, and dill, and I will become giddy with glee.
7. Dancing will always be one of my most favorite things to do. Being able to go out and enjoy the dances around here? Working on staying awake past 9pm…
8. There’s nothing wrong with a 9pm bedtime.
9. It is possible to lower cholesterol! Diet, exercise, and de-stressing for the win! I do realize this is not the case for all people, but paying closer attention to your diet, exercise and de-stressing routines will definitely create a positive ripple effect on your health.
10. Acupuncture works. More times than not I find myself shaking my head in disbelief how this medicine is so unbelievably wise.
11. Friends certainly come and go through the seasons of our lives.
12. Moving to a new place can be scary, especially after spending years making friends and building community elsewhere. In the past year, I’ve made a great effort to get to know my surroundings, and it came back to me tenfold: Becoming involved with a yoga teacher training and reaching out to any and all interesting people I meet along the way has built the sweetest community here in Chapel Hill.
13. Get the hammock. Don’t spend months or years talking about getting the hammock. Get it. Add the bowl of popcorn from above. Die happy.
14. Free does not necessarily mean better.
15. Working as a team is invigorating. I’ve been blessed to meet some incredible health practitioners around here, and am in the midst of collaborating big ideas with one… stay tuned!
16. Animals need our lovingkindness more than ever. Save the elephants, save the turtles, please save them all.
17. Slow down, it’ll get done.
18. I can run more than 3 miles at a time. In fact, I ran 7 the other day! Mind over matter.
19. It is SO worth the time and money to get away for a few days and shake things up from the routine, especially when it’s a visit to loved ones that are just too darn far away. I’m grateful to be at that point in life where I truly value experiences and memories far more than the “things” that can easily be replaced. (If you are ready to de-clutter your life, read this.)
20. My body will continue to change through the years, and that’s just part of the graceful aging process. The only thing I can do is to keep coming back to embracing what I have now and continue to strive to feel the healthiest and most energized that I possibly can.
21. Laughter is the best medicine.
22. Being engaged to my sweetheart has changed nothing and everything all at the same time. It’s a sweet time for us to figure out how we want to make this completely our own, no deadlines, no pressure, just a love-filled celebration. If I could do anything differently, I’d trust the process more than I did leading up to it.
23. Deciding to have children will never come naturally to me as a “yes, it’s happening!” or a “no, it’s not for me.” However, choosing to be with the person who could someday create those children with me has been the most natural “yes!” I could think of.
24. Maintaining a healthy relationship takes work each and every day. A lot of the time it’s so much fun! I mean, what’s better than living with your best friend, having countless inside jokes, and trying to figure out how to be “adults” together? Yay for that! However, it’s not always that easy, and we are sometimes challenged to look in the mirror and face the things we try so hard not to see within ourselves. I think that could be the most beautiful part of a relationship’s metamorphosis: once the guards are down, the transformation begins, and you’re both better people for having worked on it.
25. Public libraries are the bees knees. So many resources, so much information. How lucky are we?
26. Social media will continue to be a blessing and an annoyance. Always proceed with caution, and treat everyone kindly.
27. Quitting a ridiculous coffee habit is very possible, and on the days I decide to make or treat myself to a coffee, I get as giddy as I am with a bowl of homemade popcorn. It’s a win-win. I drink Tulsi India Breakfast tea now. It has a little caffeine mixed with the calming effects of tulsi (holy basil). It’s really an excellent way to start my mornings.
28. Connecting with all things yin/feminine softens the hardness that I tend to create when I’m thrown into the “go, go, go” or yang/masculine aspect of our culture. If we are over-consuming our yin (whether due to over-activity, or because it was deficient to begin with), we begin to lose our endurance and reserves. We become over-reactive and hypersensitive. Whatever your gender, it’s essential for all of us to connect with our yin/feminine side. Balance is key and we can only ignore this part of ourselves for so long before symptoms of imbalance start to physically and emotionally manifest.
29. Taking chances, when aligned with that gut instinct and intuition, will always be worth it. I’d rather fail trying than not doing at all.
30. I’m grateful for Mama Nature. She guides me in understanding how the universe works which in turn guides me in understanding how we, as humans, work.
31. I have a lot to offer! I never thought I’d be teaching yoga classes and workshops, but I am, and I love it. I believe EVERYONE has something to offer, and finding your voice is part of that unnerving yet exciting journey that will lead you to where you belong. I dare you to step outside your comfort zone and try it.
32. It’s impossible to condense a year’s worth of learning into a list of 32, but to keep it practical and fun, I chose the number 32 since all of this was experienced, manifested, and cultivated while I was 32. Clever, huh? 😉 Here’s to my 33rd year, another revolution around the sun, and hopefully countless more lessons that will continue to expand my horizons and challenge me to do the things my heart is trying to lead me to do.
Happy, little 2-year old me in the Cayman Islands.