My 33RD Year in Review: 5 Lessons Learned the Hard Way

Have you noticed that there are two camps of people when it comes to Birthdays?

Group A are the ones who let you know at the six month mark that it is indeed their half birthday. When it comes to their actual day of birth, you will most probably have been celebrating it with them the week leading up to it, stretching all the way to the week post said actual calendar birthday.

Group B avoids mentioning it at all costs. They sheepishly say thank you to birthday wishes when people inevitably find out the day of, but they are overtly uncomfortable with people making a fuss over them.

For 32 years I have been Group B.

Although I can’t fully embrace Group A, I think they may be onto something.


So much of life and what we are called to task on is TOUGH stuff. If we get the chance to throw our heads back, blow out some candles in the company of loved ones, celebrate another day above ground, it would be sacrilege to waste that.

I learned more lessons from 32-33 than quite possibly the cumulative. These are my “Year In Review” Takeaways…


1. Take The Trip.

Whether it’s 30 minutes away or international, say yes. Travel changes the blueprint of your soul. At first the trips were to help me heal and keep me from wallowing in the sadness of my failed marriage. Then it became a way of life. So much of who I am is still wound pretty tight, so travel helps me to expand my mind to think of alternative ways of doing things. To observe how other cultures interact. To increase capacity for empathy. And to always keep learning. One less Target run, bar tab, clothing expense can all go towards your travel fund.


2. Let People Help You.

Woof. This one was up there. As the oldest of six kids, I was used to doing the caretaking, not the other way around. When my former husband and I separated this time last year, everything was in limbo. I lived out of suitcases for months and by the grace of God people took me, fed me, gave me wine, gave me clothes, prayed for me, and simply sat to hold space for me. If I had battle-axed it on my own, I would have missed out on experiencing humanity.


3. It’s Time to Learn How to Communicate Properly.

There were a lot of factors in my marriage falling apart that I could not control. But my part in it was my lack of communication skills. Ironic coming from a writer. We are adults now so we have to take responsibility for gathering any tools we may be missing in this area. Establishing boundaries and having conversations surrounding conflict quite literally make my head spin. Not exaggerating on the dizzy factor. Speak up when it calls for it. Filter through the lens of: is it true, is it kind, is it necessary?


3. Embrace the Grind.

Late nights, early mornings, sending the extra email, saying yes to more commitments, showing up non-dependent if we feel like it or not, does extraordinary things for our growth and character. I know it’s more PC to talk about things like finding balance, but I challenge that. If all the instruments in the symphony played at the same tempo, volume level and intensity, it wouldn’t be too pleasing on the ears. It’s far more rewarding hitting a big scary goal knowing you worked your ass off to get there.


5. We Can Do Hard Things.

When I started my online business, I knew I would have to show up in a transparent/authentic way in order to connect with people across a screen. The problem was, I didn’t know how to do that. I hired a business coach with the expectation of doing a couple homework exercises to achieve said goal. Unfortunately life doesn’t run it’s classroom in such a way. When you ask for things such as patience, vulnerability, sensitivity, finding your true calling, expect the lessons to beat the shit out of you. But man is it worth it. We are capable of growth far beyond our comprehension.

If we are traveling through our day-to-day without taking note of the lessons we are learning, we are doing ourselves a disservice. They say your 20’s are the decade of immense growth and learning, but I’ve learned more in my first 3 years of my 30’s than than that entire decade.

What has life taught you in recent years? Share them in the comments below!