On March 29, I turned 28.
Like many people who take birthdays as a time to reflect, some feelings were a little complicated.
While I don’t necessarily feel anything negative about getting older (in fact, what a great privilege!), I do feel a certain sense of loss and grief for the collective trauma of the past few years: inside, I still feel like the 24 year old who just heard about a global pandemic for the first time, right before celebrating a birthday. The later part of my twenties has been such a blur, dealing with conflict and loss and change on a massive scale.
But, I’m working through it. I’m also remembering and embracing all of the wonderful moments that have happened since then: the successes and wins and moments of pure happiness.
I’m 28 and great (lol) and leaning into a year of more growth and adventure ahead. In the meantime, I thought it’d be fun to share whatever wisdom I’ve been lucky enough to pick up and carry with me.
To continue with a theme I started back on my birthday in 2020, here’s an updated list—some lessons I’ve learned over the years.
1. Make a habit out of saying yes more than no. For me, the result has yielded more adventure, stories, experiences, opportunities, surprises, and memories.
2. Speak to yourself the way you’d talk to a friend: with compassion, understanding, and love. Would you criticize their every move, negate their celebrations with a “but,” or ignore their achievements? If you wouldn’t say carry a harsh tone to someone else, you don’t deserve to hear it yourself.
3. Blue skies and sunshine really do make all the difference.
4. Sometimes making the big, crazy, unhinged decision will be the most rewarding, exciting, and satisfying thing. Speaking from experience: make the move, start the business, and (again) say yes—even when it’s scary.
5. My cure to most ailments include comfortable sweatpants, cuddles with my husband and pup, and a really good TV show.
6. I can do hard things. (You can too.)
7. The grass will always be greener—my ongoing goal is to cultivate a thriving garden where I am, here and now.
8. When I go on vacation, I need enough relaxation time so that when I return home, I don’t feel like I need a vacation to recover from the vacation. (I wholly recommend extending a few days onto a busy trip if you can, to remedy this! Dedicated entirely to relaxation and pool/beach time.)
9. We’d all be a lot better off if we discussed the tough subjects and stopped avoiding conflict at every turn. Whether it’s politics or religion or sexuality, maybe we’d be in a different place if we knew how to address things correctly with each other.
10. Fake it till you make it is actually fantastic advice! When I tell myself that I’m a capable, intelligent, social, powerful woman, it doesn’t take long for me to believe it and accept it as fact.
11. Home takes time. Whether it’s furnishing or creating coziness or adjusting to a new setting or executing a vision, nothing happens overnight and that’s okay.
12. An object at rest stays at rest. If I want to break cycles of depression, it helps to imagine myself as a force. I have the power to disrupt.
13. I’d rather build bridges than walls.
14. There’s no feeling quite like spending time with your people. Even when its few and far in-between, savor the hell out of those moments and soak them up.
15. The phrase “guilty pleasure” is weird as hell. There’s nothing guilty about liking something. We’re all allowed to stop judging our interests, whether they’re feminine, light-hearted, or exist in a counter-culture.
16. Productivity isn’t a test of morality. It’s a symptom of capitalism, and years of messaging tailored to help our society function: you don’t have to be a “productive member of society” to be a good person. One does not negate the other. You are allowed to rest, to exist, to be still, without feeling bad about it.
17. Similarly, your job does not define you. It’s a fact about you, not who you are.
18. There’s a lot of benefit to being proactive. (Easier said than done, but when it’s done, it’s a game changer).
19. Voicing what you need can be scary, but it’s worth it in the end. (Applies to needs of all kinds, from sending a follow-up email to setting a boundary.)
20. There is such incredible privilege in “not liking” or “not following” politics. Everything is political. It’s important to be informed and stay engaged; at the very least, consider that many people can’t just choose to tune out police brutality or the fear of their marriage being overturned. Don’t turn a blind eye to things that matter, just because they make you uncomfortable.
21. A good partner is hard to find. If you’ve got one, my best advice is to cherish the hell out of them.
22. The word “should” is full of judgement and adds a layer of comparison to my life that isn’t helpful or kind. Rather than thinking about what I “should” be doing, look like, or operating, giving myself some compassion is more helpful and grounding. I’m allowed to show up and exist as I am, without constant internalized judgement.
23. There’s no timeline to success. Go at your own pace.
24. Jennie Finch used to preach that in softball, there’s really two things you can control: your attitude and your effort. That’s stuck with me, and I find it still feels relevant for most situations.
25. I’m my best self when I’m reading books consistently.
26. To the best of my understanding, the overall goal here (and maybe purpose?) is to live a happy and healthy life, with as much love as possible.
27. It’s okay for me to recognize my gifts out loud. I’m allowed to take up space and be loud about my talents. I don’t have to be humble and small to appeal to others: I can promote myself, share my work, and show that not only do I know I’m a good writer, but I’m proud of it too.
28. Define what you like and seek those things out regularly. Don’t save your favorites just for your birthday.
Thanks for sticking with me! Cheers to another year of learning, growing, and living it up.
So much wisdom, I love this.
Sunshine with Savannah says
love YOU my dude
Awakening Wonders says
Happy belated birthday wishes! Thanks for 28 inspirational thoughts! You are wise beyond your age – what a gift!
Sunshine with Savannah says
Thank you so much – both for reading and for your incredibly kind words!