29 Things I've Learned In My 29 Years

Three weeks ago I stepped into the third decade of my life. In the days leading up to my birthday I couldn’t help but reflect on some of the most important and valuable pieces of information I’ve learned in my years on the planet. This list is not in any order of importance, nor is it a complete list of all the valuable things I’ve learned. This is a snapshot of what I feel is most worth sharing with you as I begin my thirtieth year. My hope in writing this is that you might find some encouragement/support/insight/or seeds of hope that you can take into your own life and use for your own benefit. Shall we begin?…

1. Choose love over fear, every time. I have come to realize that most decisions in life can be made from one of two places. Love, and fear. When you choose love, you allow yourself to experience the fullness of life. Fear is an empty shell, it is there to keep you small. When I have chosen to make my decisions from a place of love, it has always given me a rich experience or outcome. Have the courage to choose love.

2. If you don’t ask, the answer is definitely ‘no’. Whatever the situation, when you ask for what you want it can go a few different ways: Yes, No, Maybe, or some variation in between. If you don’t ask however, maybe because you are scared of the potential outcome, the only answer you allow yourself to receive is “No”. Since you didn’t give the other person even the option to say “Yes”. So ask! You might just be surprised with the answer you receive.

3. Some of the best advice I’ve received is from a woman I’ve never met, but I have admired her since I was a little kid. Cher. When I was a teenager my parents bought me a DVD of one of her concerts, I must have watched it a hundred times. Something that’s stuck with me all these years is her advice on how to decide whether to do something or not. When going between ‘should I do it, should I not do it…’ her advice was something like “To hell with it, JUST DO IT. You can always look back and say, “S#%t, I shouldn’t have done that.”” And there you have it. Most of my big decisions in life have been made using this advice. Is that bad? Ha! Maybe, but it has lead to many many incredibly interesting experiences, so I’ll take it! Thanks Cher <3

4.Learn to forgive. Forgiveness does not mean that it excuses the bad that someone did, it means that you no longer carry the toxic energy around with you. Forgiveness is not for the other persons benefit, it is for yours. Additionally, probably more difficult but just as necessary, learn to accept the apologies you never received, and forgive those people too. Let that past stuff go.

5. What is meant to be will be. Take a deep breath and take solace in this knowing. I am a firm believer that what is meant to happen in our lives will happen, one way or another. It just might not happen in the way you expect, so be open and pay attention. How you choose to walk along your path is up to you. Will your pace be hurried, or will you allow yourself to indulge in the beauty around you? The rain will fall from time to time. Others will join your path and some will stay, some will leave. The wild roses are already growing along the edges, whether you notice them or not. It’s up to you to stop and smell their sweet perfume. A very wise woman once told me “You are exactly where you need to be, doing what you need to do, to learn what you need to learn.”. Read that one again, and let it sink in.

6. There are few things better than a great hug and having a good laugh. I encourage you to fill your days with an abundance of both.

7. The things that crack you open the most have some of the greatest learning opportunities, look for the lessons. The earth-shattering, heart-breaking, spirit-deflating events might rock the foundation of your life. It can seem completely impossible to ever get beyond the all-consuming energy swirling about these events. But when you do, when you finally do, you will see just how much they caused you to grow, learn, and become more of yourself. Pain and chaos are teachers. Do your best to escort them out of your house, but pay attention to them while they are there for tea. Even the darkness has wisdom to share with you. * note: Please ask for help if you feel like you cannot do it alone. Please.

8.Mistakes are part of the human experience. We make them all the time. In fact, dare I say that if you are not making any mistakes, ever, you are not really living. In order to live fully, we need to test out different things. Some of those things will end up being mistakes, and some of those things will end up being masterpieces. Your mistakes will redirect you to your masterpiece. Keep going. Really, keep going!

9. Always, above all else, listen to your intuitive heart, it knows the way to your most incredible experience. The more you listen, the easier it becomes to hear.

10. Never underestimate the power of a beautiful piece of music. Music knows how to light up even the most shielded and timid parts of your soul. Find your jams, flood your world with amazing music that pumps you up.

11. I sincerely try to use this tool every time I open my mouth, it doesn’t always go as planned, but the intention is there. Some of the best wisdom I have come across is a Sufi saying:

12. Always ask “Why?”. Never take anything as fact, just because a person in a position of authority says so. You might ruffle feathers, but asking ‘why’ something is done a certain way will ensure that you are acting in accordance with your values. It is also a crucial part of learning. If you don’t understand why something is done, your creativity is stunted. On the other hand, if you learn why something is done, it gives your mind the creative space to imagine other, possibly more effective methods while troubleshooting.

13. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, you might be surprised at how many people genuinely want to help you out.

14. Your high school years are NOT the best years of your life. In response to a senior student who wrote that in my 8th grade year book. To be fair, she hadn’t experienced life outside of high school yet either, but it’s something that I’ve remembered all these years. *a message to current high schoolers: If you are in high school and you are reading this, take my word, life gets SO much more rich and exciting and expansive once you are finished your school years! If you enjoy it, awesome, keep on enjoying. If you are not enjoying it, trust me, it gets better, hang in there!

15. Your attitude towards wealth and rich people will be reflected in your own wealth. Examine your attitude towards money and wealth. If you were raised to believe things such as ‘money is the root of all evil’ or ‘rich people are greedy and selfish’, how can you ever expect to attract or allow abundance to flow into your life? Those thought patterns are literally telling the universe that you do not like money and you don’t want it around you. Shift your attitude towards wealth and the energy of money and you will have a much easier time building your wealthy endeavours.

16. If someone ever makes you doubt your own heart or your own worth, run away from them as fast as you can. Or moonwalk away from them, whichever suits you better… but go. Seriously, they’re bad news.

17. Cultivate a great group of friends. Do not tolerate vicious or perpetually negative people. Everyone is deserving of love, but not everyone gets a seat at your table. Say yes to happy, encouraging, loving people. You’ll have great dinner parties!

18. When in doubt, go outside. Spend time in nature. Let the sun bathe you in its warm glow and soften your worries. Let the wind touch your skin and whip your hair around annoyingly so that it sticks to your lipgloss. Listen to the rustling of the leaves, and the songs of the birds. Take deep, nourishing breaths of the fresh clean air. Breathe it in. Let it fill you up and remind you that you are a beautiful child of the universe. And that everything will be okay. Get outside. Ride a bike, climb a mountain, go to the beach, swim in a lake, climb a tree, play in the grass… just go outside. Nature has a way of recharging the body and mind, let it fill you up.

19. Sometimes you just have to do things you don’t want to do. I still have a hard time with this one. I’m not suggesting you live in daily misery, but yes, sometimes you have to do the things you need to do so that you can do the things you want to do. ie. Dishes.

20. Travel. Travel far. Travel often. The experiences you will have and people you will meet will help to shape you in ways that no other experience can. Experiencing the magic outside of your home borders presents an incomparable rattling of everything you thought you knew. It will make you happier, it will make you stronger, it will make you more compassionate, it will make you more courageous, it will make you more confident in your own abilities. Even if (especially if) you’re terrified to travel on your own, do it. I was scared beyond comprehension, but traveling showed me who I truly can be and how capable I am. It has made me a better person, and continues to fuel me.

21. Show your loved ones how much you care about them, as often as you can. They are the treasures of your life.

22. Always do what scares you. No, really. You will surprise yourself with what you can actually do even though you thought you were too scared to. I have a rule of thumb, if it scares me/makes me nervous/makes me want to run back home to my mama and daddy, yet I know it will contribute in some way to my personal growth, do it. Don’t think on it, just do it. If you are scared to do something, and you do it anyway, it makes you stronger.

23. Never let anyone steal your sweetness. Being vulnerable takes courage. Your courage lights the way for others to step into their courage as well. You will be hurt, some people will try to tear you down (do not keep them around). Boot negativity out of your life, and the lingering residue of those nasty beings should be eliminated as soon as possible. Above all, do not shrink or become bitter to accommodate someone else’s small life. Just don’t. You’re not here to be small and dull. Even if they are convinced otherwise. You are in charge of your life and the sweetness you show to others will be reflected back in waves. In the words of Taylor Swift “Don’t you worry your pretty little mind, people throw rocks at things that shine”… Shine on.

24. Do not waste your life doing some mundane work that does not fulfill you. You were put here with a dream and a passion in your heart. That dream is there for a reason. It is meant to guide your life. Our longing is our calling. Find what awakens your spirit and do THAT! A life should never be tainted by regret. When you are 98 years old you will be much happier having followed your heart than the rulebook. Live your life how YOU want to live it. Write your own story.

25. Never stop learning. There will always be more to learn, more to experience, more to explore. Always keep an open mind and a willing heart. Curiosity will guide you to fascinating places. Learn about the world, learn about the people in your life, listen to stories, read whatever interests you, learn languages, learn to play music, learn to move your body, learn about your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual self. Keep learning, growing, developing. Never be afraid to answer ‘I don’t know’ it will give you an opportunity to learn something new. Explore your natural curiosity.

26. Love deeply. Even if you have been completely shattered by a past love. It’s worth it. I promise. The full magic of life can only be experienced when we live it with a totally open heart. Believe in fairytales, believe in magic. There really is a beautiful sweetness in the world that is only consistently experienced by those who believe in it.

27. Don’t worry what other people (may or may not) think of you. This is a game that we all play with ourselves. In reality, what someone thinks of you is more of a reflection of who they are, than who you are. Not everyone is going to like you, and that’s okay. You’re not going to like everyone either, that’s also okay. Do not waste your time analyzing other people’s opinions of you. Live your life, do your thing, be true to who you are, be kind always, and those who dig your vibe and come to like/love you will naturally be attracted to your circle. Don’t worry about the others… really, don’t give it a second thought.

28. Take care of yourself. Take care of your emotional wellbeing, your spiritual wellbeing, your physical wellbeing, and your mental wellbeing. Learn to set clear, concise boundaries that are in alignment with your values. Set your boundaries and continue to reinforce them when they are challenged. This is essential. Treating yourself with love and kindness is absolutely necessary for living a healthy and happy life. Be your best friend. Do things that make you happy every single day. Do fun things every day. Make sure you’ve surrounded yourself with people who love you, and make you laugh so that at the end of every day when you ask yourself “did I have fun today?” the answer will always be a very adamant YES!

29. Dream BIG. Really, really big. Do not let the opinions or ‘cautionary tales’ of small minds around you, diminish or shrink your ambitions. Will Smith has a great quote that says “Being realistic is the most commonly traveled path to mediocrity”. Make your decisions based on what your heart tells you, not what you have been told is “realistic”- this word makes me shudder. Many people have gone before you who have accomplished great things that no one ever thought possible. The first person that has to believe in your dream is YOU. So have a good chat with yourself and give yourself permission to believe, without a shadow of a doubt, to believe in your dream. Keep hold of that belief, do not let anyone sway your conviction (some will try- run away from them immediately, they have bad mojo that you don’t need). Hold fast to your belief and adapt and adjust when you need to, but keep going. Stay steady on your path. You will achieve your dream. Be adaptable, be willing to re-calibrate, adjust the sails, and shift course when needed… but stay true to your heart and your dream and never, NEVER let anyone make you doubt yourself or your ability. You are here to create magnificent things. Be brave.

In summary: Play, Love, Stand up for what you believe in, give yourself permission to live exactly as you wish. Be Brave. Write your story. Begin now.

Now it’s your turn. What are some of the most valuable lessons that you’ve learned in your life thus far? Post your comment below!

xo daphne