Sunday, August 4, 2013

30 at 30: What I've Discovered so Far

Today is my 30th birthday! In an effort to process this milestone I came up with a list of 30 things I've learned in the last 30 years.

1. Pray every day for 20-30 minutes. Don't just recite some prayers and petitions, but actually talk to God. Tell Him what you are thinking and feeling. Tell Him your joys and struggles. Be real with Him. Be vulnerable with Him. It's harder than you think.

2. Consistent exercise makes you feel better.

3. I don't like gardening. I want to like it, but the pay off isn't worth the effort, at least not in my backyard.

4. Children are a gift, not a right.

5. Don't compare yourself to others. Seriously, just don't do it.

6. Be generous. It's all God's money anyway.

7. I'm American. I don't like sports. That's okay.

8. Gossiping isn't worth it. I learned this one in high school and lost a lot of friends and made a lot of enemies along the way.

9. I have regrets. A life without regrets is a life that doesn't want to improve and doesn't think it needs forgiveness. I've made mistakes, said things I wish I hadn't, made decisions I'm not proud of. There are things I would do differently if I could do it again.

10. The secret to life is Jesus Christ and his Church. Despite popular belief, you can't separate the two.

11. Yelling at or belittling kids never works. And, you both feel worse after.

12.  Death is not the worst thing in this world. Yes, we mourn when someone dies and we miss them, but losing someone close to you doesn't have to consume you. The point of life is to get to heaven, when someone reaches that goal, even if the circumstances are tragic, eventually our sorrow can turn to joy.

My dad's last Birthday.

13. Dark chocolate really is better than milk chocolate.

14. I like to write. I didn't know this about myself until a few years ago, which makes me wonder what more I'll learn about myself in the next 30 years.

15. There is life after high school.

16. I'm weaker than I think I am. For some people it's important that they know they are stronger than they think they are. But for a person like me who tends to think they are super-human, knowing I'm weak is actually more beneficial.

17. Saying I'm sorry, and actually meaning it, is hard.

18. I married the right man.

Celebrating my birthday with a dinner date.

19. True freedom comes from being able to do the right thing, at the right time, in the right way, not from being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want to do it.

20. No matter how evil an act someone commits, they do it because they think eventually it will lead to happiness.

21. When I turned 20 I thought 30 was old. Now that I'm 30 I've changed my mind, 40 is old.

22. The only reason people don't pray is because they really don't think they need God.

23. 99% of what is on TV is a waste of time.

24. It's easier to maintain several surface friendships than it is to maintain a few deep friendships, but a few deep friendships are more fulfilling that several surface friendships.

BFFs from college.

25. Most everybody thinks their life is really busy. Busyness is all relative.

26. Love isn't a feeling, it's a conscious choice to want the best for another person and to have the courage to act according to that desire.

27. After spending three months in rural Argentina volunteering in a home for abandoned children, I learned that Mother Teresa is right, spiritual poverty is a greater poverty than physical poverty.

28. Not everybody is going to like you, no matter how nice you are. Sometimes it's how nice you are that makes them not like you.

29. Even the happiest people have bad days.

30. Have personal goals and work to obtain them. Without goals you will let life pass you by and not really experience it.

Checking off "get published" in year 29.


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