29 lessons learned in 29 years

We’re in the REAL countdown now friends.

Last week was my 29th birthday! I’ve got just 12 months to finish my LIST!

My birthday dinner with my fiance was terrific. I had a delicious lamb dish and tried veal tongue for the first time at a terrific restaurant called the Chef’s Table at Kensington Inn. Apparently, it’s a Relais & Châteaux member! Fancy!

The New Yorker cover was a gift from the year I was born!

The New Yorker cover was actually a gift from the year I was born. The other two photos are from Kensington Inn.

And now because I’ve reached the ripe old age of 29, and because I’m sadly obsessed iwth lists, I thought I’d share my 29 lessons learned by 29 list.

Here’s 29 lessons I’ve learned by 29:

1. Don’t worry too much about what others think.

2. Learn how to drive. Even if you prefer walking or taking public transit, it’s an essential skill.

3. Let go of envy and jealousy: Celebrate the successes of others — better yet, be inspired by them. Jealousy is corrosive to the soul.

4. You won’t always like who your friends date or marry. But try to get along, for the sake of your friendship.

5. Don’t wear makeup to bed. Wash your face. Moisturize.

6. Not every rule is right. Not every rule should be followed.

7. Know where you come from — the best way to do this is to learn, at the very least, the correct spelling of your grandparents’ names, their birth dates and the cities they were born in. This will help you begin to map your family tree. Sites like Ancestry.com are a good place to start.

8. Build wealth. Strive to be financially self-sufficient.

9. Don’t become addicted to expensive beauty routines. You shouldn’t need to spend a lot of money to feel beautiful or comfortable in your skin (Sadly, I learned this the hard way by overdoing shellac/gel nail polish).

10. Refine your tastes. Nobody wants to have dinner with someone whose favourite meal is still chicken fingers and fries.

11. Deeds, not words.

12. Guard your autonomy. Try to avoid falling into the trap of becoming a “we” when you find yourself in a committed partnership. It doesn’t mean you love them any less.

13. Be kind to your parents. They’ve sacrificed and suffered for your sake.

14. Watch your cash flow. Know how much you spend on bank fees. Know what the interest rate is on your credit cards.

15. Learn to drink like an adult: Adult drinks do not have umbrellas. Adult drinks are rarely “fruity.”

16. Travel once in a while. It’s easy and comfortable to go on vacation. Travel is harder and more rewarding.

17. Flip flops are not an acceptable form of footwear for work unless you’re a lifeguard.

18. Find someone that you can be ridiculous with.

19. Once you find a partner, don’t abandon your friends. Friendships are essential.

20. Avoid checking Facebook constantly. Too much Facebook encourages feelings of dissatisfaction and envy.

21. Read books. Reading keeps you interested and interesting.

22. Run, hike, row, swim or practice yoga — choose something and do it. Testing your physical limits if part of knowing yourself.

23. Devote part of your life to something outside of your partner or your family. Having something that is all your own is a big part of having self-worth.

24. Eat meat. You’re really missing out if you don’t.

25. Long walks are restorative.

26. Comfort is overrated. Challenge yourself.

27. Learn how to change a tire. Learn about your computer/phone. Knowing the basics of the vehicles and devices you use every day prevents you from becoming helpless.

28. Be productive. Don’t let the days go by without anything to show for it.

29. Be brave. Courage and dignity are too rare these days and cultivating those qualities will set you apart from your peers.

What life lessons would you put on your list?

– Elle

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