34 Things I've Learned About Life and Love

My birthday was this week, and I turned 34! While I don't really care too much about my age, every time my birthday rolls around, I do find myself wondering if I'm older and wiser or just plain old. I have to say the last few years I finally feel like I am wiser and not just some kid still trying to figure out life and how to handle my own feelings much less another person's. I've learned so many things in the last few years about life, love, and myself that I wish I'd know in my 20s, though I'll limit this post to 34 things to go with my new age.

1. I've learned that life never stops changing, whether you want it to or not. Those uncomfortable and sometimes difficult in-between times are what make up our lives, so it's best to just enjoy them.

2. I've learned that the older I get (and the older my peers get) the more unhappy some people become if their lives aren't working out the way they wanted. These people will never be happy for you and will only drag you down.

3. I've learned that men rarely let you down if you will simply listen. If they're not ready for something serious, they'll tell you. If they want more from you, they'll tell you. Unfortunately some will only tell you what they think you want to hear. You can spot that type of person if he or she never brings up any issues themselves and always avoids confrontation. Run, don't walk!

4. That leads me to this next one. If you've learned how to be happy on your own, you won't force something good with the wrong person. Instead of looking for what you want to see, you have the patience to see someone as they are, whether that means they're what you want, or you should just keep looking.

5. I've learned that a good man places a lot of self worth in providing for a woman and making her happy. If you're negative and complain too much, that's the quickest way to wear him down and push him away.

6. I've learned to play the long game in life. The older you get and the more difficult circumstances you go through, you realize that what your life will look like in five years is a lot more important than worrying about what it will look like 6 months from now. 

7. I've learned that people do change but only very rarely. If you feel as if you're wasting your time, you probably are.

8. I've learned that the key to forgiving someone for even the worst offenses starts with valuing life in general. Someone who is so angry or hurt that they take pleasure in hurting others, it's just a sad waste of a life. If you can find a way to take pity, you can find a way to forgive and let go.

9. I've learned that there are some things in life you should never have to ask for from the ones who really love you - an apology, forgiveness, a hug, a smile, sympathy, their time. If these things aren't freely given, you are completely wasting your time.

10. I've learned that being busy or exhausted does not make you more successful. It just makes you super cranky and eventually leads to less productivity.

11. I've learned that even the biggest grinches think about the same two things upon their death beds - God and family.

12. I've learned that success is actually quite simple if you can focus on one thing (or two or three in my case), work hard, and just give it time.

13. I've learned that the most truthful thing in the Bible to me is that while we may lose faith, God remains faithful. I've had my ups and downs with faith though mostly with religion and church, and during those times, he is always there and continues to work miracles in my life.

14. I've learned that no one - aside from your loving mother - is going to care as much about your life and your health as you are. You have to take charge.

15. I've learned that nothing is truly as waste of time if you learned something from it.

16. I've learned that true achievement starts with knowing your limits but holding onto your dreams. (Sorry, that one was so cheesy, but it's true!)

17. I've learned that my body was not invincible in my 20s. If you treat it poorly, it will resemble a used car beginning in your thirties - parts braking down left and right!  

18. I've learned that shit happens, and if you don't clean it up, you're eventually going to step in it.

19. I've learned that you can never really know what is going on in another person's head or heart. There comes a point when you just have to stop analyzing and guessing and simply let their actions be your guide. Because in the end, it won't matter why they did or didn't do something. What will matter the most is how it made you feel.

20. I've learned that real ministry is not about spreading the gospel. It's about meeting someone's needs and showing them love. (Evangelists may disagree with me on that one. Oh well.)

21. I've learned that children desperately need and deserve respect just as much as adults do.

22. I've learned that you can't always count on people to know how you feel. You should say it and show it time and time again.

23. I've learned that expectation breeds disappointment and resentment. If you can be humble and love someone selflessly, then you won't be so easily offended, because you are ultimately concerned with their happiness rather than whatever it is you feel entitled to.

24. I've learned that almost anyone is capable of being nice in the beginning of a relationship. However, if a guy is rude to a waiter or the cable guy, guess what? That's how he'll eventually treat you.

25. I've learned that my decisions in life aren't going anywhere. It's best to take my time and not base anything off of emotions.

26. I've learned that tears and raised voices NEVER get a point across more effectively...ever!

27. I've learned that sometimes people really do need time to digest things. It doesn't mean they care or agree with you any less. They just need time to sort through their thoughts.

28. I've learned that it's important to remember that men in the movies have scripts! Men in real life don't always know what to say or how to say it, but if they're trying, they deserve your patience and understanding.

29. I've learned that to a degree, men just don't connect and converse the same way women do (except maybe in the beginning when you're getting to know each other). Those long and deep conversations you need to have on a regular basis in order to feel whole...that's what your female friends are for. Give the poor guy a break!

30. I've learned that it's always best to be yourself in business, in life, in love. You can't please everyone, but nothing is more frustrating than trying to please someone by being something you're not.

31. I've learned that for the most part, people either like you or they don't, and there isn't a whole lot you can do to change their minds one way or the other.

32. I've learned that confrontation isn't always the key. Some people just aren't going to react the way you want, but that doesn't mean you can't still have a Godly attitude. Keep your heart open, because you never know if they'll come around. And if they never do, at least you didn't waste time being angry and bitter.

33. I've learned that being a strong woman means knowing when to be gentle and quiet just as much as it means knowing when to stand up for yourself.

34. I've learned that the hard times in life bring so much more value to the good times.

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