Tuesday, September 4, 2012

39 Things I've Learned in 39 Years and How They Help Me Live My Best Life Now!

I turned 39 a couple of weeks ago and I've had so many thoughts about my life running through my head.  For one, I can't believe I'm 39, because I feel at least 10 years younger!  It seems like just yesterday my friends and I were all turning 30 and we were excited to move out of our 20's and into a more stable 30's kind- of- life!  For me, the 30's have been awesome!  Lots of dreams coming true, lots of realizations, and finally feeling like I've become the person I set out to be.  I've learned so many things about myself and so many great lessons about life.  I have one more year left in the 30's and I'll be consciously practicing each one of these 39, making this year the best one yet!!!!  :)




Here are my 39 things in 39 years in random order:  


1. The Golden Rule.  Treat people the way you want to be treated.  This one is easy when people are nice to you but when they're not... well, you should still do it!  :)  If you want respect, be respectful.  If you want people to listen to you, be a good listener.  If you want love, give love.  I have watched the crankiest, moodiest people transform by getting a random compliment or an unexpected gesture of kindness.  BE the change you wish to see...

2. Thoughts are things.  When you think about something, different areas of your brain fire up.  This can actually be observed and measured during a brain scan.  When you think of something good, you feel good.  When you think of something bad, you feel bad.  When you become conscious of your thoughts, you have the power to change your thinking for the better and when you do that, it changes your life for the better!

3. You can have everything you want, just not at the same time, and it's better that way!   What if all of the sudden you got everything you ever wanted all at once?  Do you think you'd be happy?  How long would that last before there was something else you wanted?  Enjoy the things you have in your life today and look forward to more great things in the future.  Learn to prioritize.  Ask yourself questions, what do I want more?  What do I want now?  We don't really want it "all" anyway, it's just a saying!  We want everything that would make our lives feel happy, full, satisfying, and inspired!  Find out what that means to you and you will have your own version of having it all!

4. Letting go is hard, but let it be easy.  This applies to everything.  People, places, stages in our lives, our stories, houses, relationships, feelings, guilt, worry, everything!  In order to make room for something new, we have to let go of something.  Learning that letting go is a necessary part of living and growing can be tough.  Let it be as easy as possible and keep moving forward!  I'm experiencing this now as my first baby goes off to kindergarten to create a life of her own!

5. Babies and children are magical, like fairies.  They're beautiful, sparkling little miracles, full of pure potentiality!  They need to be loved, they need to be cherished, they need to be respected, they need to be loved!  They remind us everyday how to live life in wonder and excitement!  Let's remember to nourish that spark.  Let's learn from them, while also teaching them to believe in themselves and in the good of the world.

 sweeties
                                     


6. Marriage is a choice.  It's so awesome to have a sizzling falling in love story with lots of romance and fun, but after time goes on and life gets real, what really matters is that the two of you are in it together.  And by in it together, I mean you keep loving each other, listening to each other, supporting each other, and growing together.  It's "I've got your back," and "I'm here for you."  It's "We can do this," and  "We're a team."  It's "I love and accept you for who you really are," and "I will help you be the best you can be!"  It is NOT always perfect, but there are many magical, beautiful, perfect moments to enjoy and to look forward to creating in the future!

7. There's nothing like a good girl's night!  Us girls need time to get together and just be girls!  We need to get all dolled up, talk about everything, eat fantastic food, drink lots of drinks, laugh til we cry and/or pee our pants, dance like we're Britney, and do really embarrassing things that we'd probably never do in the daylight but it's totally acceptable and in fact, encouraged on girl's night!!!  I love love love them and now that I'm thinking about it, I need one soon!

channel your inner britney!


8. It's your show and you're the star!  This is your life.  You write the script.  You can be the lead in a fun, exciting, adventurous and fulfilling romantic comedy, or you can be the lead in a dreadfully sad horror/drama where the hits keep coming.  Most of us live somewhere in between.  Sometimes it doesn't feel like it, but we always have a choice.  We are responsible for ourselves and our lives.  We all have the power to create the life of our dreams.  The question is, will you go for it?  :)

9. Sleep is your friend.  I have always felt better, performed better, and achieved more when I've had enough sleep.  I'm not talking about everyday having to be 8 hours because I know some days it's impossible  especially when you're excited for something happening in the morning, but getting a good nights sleep most days is ideal.  Not only do you feel like smiling more and doing more, there are many health benefits associated with getting enough sleep.  I hate when people say, "You'll sleep when you're dead!"  Um, no you won't!  You'll be dead!  I appreciate having a zest for life but living it like a zombie or a cranky b*#$%  isn't cool.  Try to get the sleep you need to be your best as much as possible!

10. Dogs are awesome!  I love dogs.  My dog, Peanut, is my first baby.  She's been in costumes and hats and sweaters and sleeps in our bed under the covers.  She wakes up every morning excited to start the day (and get her treats).  She is always happy to see me and has been there for me through so much in the last 14 years.  She's faithful to our family and loves the babies.  I've cried in her fur and she's licked my tears.  She never judges me, even when I'm wrong.  She doesn't even care if I haven't showered yet.  Dogs are the best!  I'm so lucky to have her in my life!


our angel and lil devil


11. Sometimes life hurts.  If you want to better yourself, you need to open yourself to the possibility of it and when you open yourself up, you may get hurt.  Being vulnerable and allowing yourself to fall, make mistakes, and even fail, offer you some of the greatest opportunities for growth.  Don't let your fear of getting hurt hold you back and don't let the fear of hurting someone's feelings keep you from doing what you need to do to be your best self!

12.  "Up North" Michigan is one of the greatest places on earth!  Anyone who's from Michigan or has visited Michigan knows that "Up North" is a little piece of heaven!  Michigan is, of course, surrounded by the beautiful crystal blue waters of the Great Lakes and it's also full of many inland lakes, rivers, and creeks. You can find fresh water just about everywhere in Michigan which means up north could be a lot of different places to a lot of different people!  As a child, I wished I could live up north and I feel so happy and blessed that I was able to make that dream come true!  Up north is permanently engraved in my heart!


  lake michigan near petoskey
                                                       

13.  It's not all about getting "there," you're already there!  At one point in my life I realized, when am I going to feel satisfied?  When do I get to feel good about what I've accomplished and where I'm at?  Then the answer came...anytime I choose!  Celebrate the steps!  We tend to ignore how great right now is and wait to be happy when we do this and accomplish that.  Celebrate each step on the way and once you do reach a goal celebrate even more!  Celebrating the steps also helps you to keep going when things get tough and when you're trying to do something great, there's always going to be at least a few (or many!) shaky spots!

14. Take life seriously, but not that seriously.  I used to worry, A LOT!!!  I used to try so hard to plan and control everything and be perfect.  I thought I should be able to do everything and anything I thought of and that I could always do better.  I felt like I was slowly torturing myself with this incredibly high standard of perfection that I could never live up to.  I was taking life too seriously and I had to stop because it was affecting my happiness and my health.  The good news is, I did stop!  It's great to have goals and high standards but if you're spending too much of your life worrying instead of enjoying it's time to reflect, refocus, and redirect!  Life is good!  Life is fun!  Don't worry, be happy!

15. Three words that changed my life:  small - frequent - meals When I was in college I met a person who had lost over 100 pounds doing one simple thing.  He ate 5-6 small meals throughout the day instead of 3 (or 2) big meals. At the time I was skipping breakfast, eating a small to regular lunch and eating a huge dinner because I was so hungry by the end of the day.  Instead, I started eating a small breakfast, a snack, a small lunch, another snack, and then dinner.  I would have a small snack in the evening if I needed it but I didn't always need it.  I lost 15 pounds in a month doing this and now it's become my lifestyle.  Whenever I get off track and need to lose a few, I always turn to this and it works every time!

16. Quitting my job to stay home and raise my daughters was the scariest, riskiest thing I've ever done but it allowed for priceless, immeasurable rewards!  It was a dream I needed to fulfill but I had no idea how it was going to work out.  I still don't know how we've managed to pull it all together but we have and we're so much happier for it!  Not only have I been able to spend this precious time with my daughters, I've learned so much about faith, love, trusting myself, being open to help, enjoying the simple life, and stretching every penny!  And there is no doubt, even when it's gotten really really hard, for sure, it has all been worth it!

 proud big sister!
                                       
                                                    
17. YOGA is one of the best things that has ever happened to me!  I tried my first yoga video about 15 years ago.  It was way too advanced and I didn't really get it.  I tried again a couple years later, using a yoga routine printed in Shape magazine.  This was a little more my speed, just enough of a challenge, but totally doable.  By the time I went to my first class a year later I was already in love.  The benefits of yoga go on and on.  It's calming, it's strengthening, it's challenging, it's grounding, it's centering, it's exhilarating!  It reminds me to stay open and present during my practice and in life.  I'm a stronger, more confident, open and flexible person.  It has taught me focus and has helped calm my busy mind.  What I love about it most is that anyone can do it!  There are variations to every pose so you can always honor your body.  I could go on and on but I'll save it for another post!  :)

18. I have the best family and friends a girl could ever ask for!  My family and friends are so supportive and loving.  I grew up with a family who constantly encouraged me and helped me become the person I am today.  I'm grateful that I always have someone to turn to when I need it and I know that I've been blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing, giving people.  I realize that not everyone has been born into the kind of family I have, but I believe that if you seek out people that are loving, kind, and supportive, you will find them!  

19. Perfect is a matter of perspective.  This was another big one for me!  I used to be such a perfectionist that I felt super stressed, had frequent migraines, and feelings of depression.  I still have high standards for myself and my life, but since I've broadened my horizons, I've learned that everyone's idea of perfect is different.  This really surprised me!  I don't know why but somehow knowing that perfect is in the eye of the beholder really allowed me to let go of some of the anxiety I had about doing everything so perfectly.  Now I just do the best I can do in the moment and let any worries about doing more go.  As a result I'm rarely over-stressed, have very few headaches, and only have blue moments when I don't get enough time to myself.  (which I take care of asap!)

20. Never give up!  Sometimes you gotta do things you don't want to do so you can get what you want in life.  This means pushing yourself through when things get tough.  It means having faith even when others may have doubt.  It means taking a break when you need one and getting back up as soon as possible.  Whatever you do, don't ever ever ever EVER give up!  EVER!  :)  Your dreams coming true may be closer than you think!


ever!


21. Value yourself!  People might not see the value in what you do and how you see things.  You have to do that for yourself!  Don't look to others for validation.  Validate yourself.  You do matter!  What you think, say, and do matters!  Instead of trying to convince others that you are valuable, value yourself.  You'll feel more confident because of it and others will respect that in you!

22. Being a Mom is harder than I thought.  I love being a Mom more than any other role I have and I knew that being a Mom wasn't going to be easy.  But let's be honest here, until you know, you just don't know what being a mom is like!  The love you have for these beautiful babes is unbelievably huge and in all of that loving and giving and caring, you can so easily forget all about yourself.  Taking time to be myself outside of being a Mom has been an important part of my staying a happy, healthy person and it's definitely made me a much better Mom!  And of course, I appreciate my Mom even more now and am so grateful to her for all she has done for us and still does!  Thanks Mom!!!

happy moms!


23. Living in the Now  It took me a while to understand living in "The Now."  I thought it was a way for people to be irresponsible and ignore that their actions were affecting other people.  Then I read a book called, "The Power of Now," by Eckart Tolle.  When I opened my mind to what it really meant, I realized that it's a simple truth.  The past is gone, the future has yet to arrive.  Be the best you can be and enjoy the beauty of life right now.  Someday, you'll be gone.  Everybody dies and we don't know when. Don't let another minute pass without saying I love you.  Don't let another minute pass without doing what you can to make the most of your life.  You never know what's going to happen tomorrow.  Live your life now!

24. I'm more of a beach bunny than a snow bird.  So there's a saying up in Northern Michigan, "It's never too cold, you're just not wearing the right clothes!"  So I've done my fair share of layering up (and sucking it up) and investing in cold weather gear so I could be somewhat comfortable when there's 2 feet of snow and a windchill of -15* and I will admit, it does help.  But I LOVE my new outfit of a t-shirt, shorts/skirt, and flip flops!  I can wear this 85% of the year, maybe more!  My feet and hands are hardly ever cold anymore and I get to enjoy seeing the sun so much since it's out most days!  I will always have a special place in my heart for my gorgeous home state of Michigan,  but I LOVE living in Texas and the weather is just one of the many reasons!    

25. I love pink.  I can't help it.  I just do.  There was a short time in my life when I tried to toughen myself up a bit and I kind of denied my "pink-ness."  I wanted to be taken seriously and didn't want people to think I was too soft.  It didn't last long though and now I fully embrace it!  I love being feminine and I love doing things that are considered tough and if I can wear pink doing something tough, even better!  I'm not one of those moms who decorates their house with Hello Kitty or anything like that, but if something comes in pink, I probably like it!


allison's pretty pink big girl room


26. Breathe  When in doubt, when you're stressed, when you're scared, when you need help, when it gets to be too much, when you're running, when you're happy, when you're frustrated, when you're meditating, when you're praying, when you're loving, when you're appreciating.  Breathe.  Just breathe.

27. Listen to your body.  I can do the things I put my mind to but it's important to listen to my body and how it's reacting to it!  This is a big one!  It's great to push past limitations, but it's important to be respectful of your body and where you are physically.  I'm talking about how your body feels in daily life as well as how it's reacting to exercise.  If you have headaches, backaches, digestion problems, or other pains, your body is signaling a problem.  I used to have all of the above on a regular basis.  Now I have an occasional headache, but that's about it.  Don't accept that your fate is to live a life of pain!  Changing your diet, changing your stress level, having fun, living a life of purpose, doing things that are good for you and feel good to you, are all ways to relieve pain.  Listen.  What is your body trying to tell you?

28. Sometimes you just gotta dance!  I love to dance!  I think it would do everyone good if they did it more in their lives!  My favorites are: dancing with my besties at girl's night, dancing in the living room with my two girls (and sometimes 4 if my nieces are over!), dancing with hubby - anywhere!, dancing at someone's wedding, dancing in the classroom, dancing in the kitchen, dancing while cleaning the house, dancing at parties, dancing on stage, dancing on the couch (that was back in the CMU days!), dancing in my best friend's basement, dancing on the table, dancing on the bar (though it's been a long time!), spontaneous dancing, dancing where you're not supposed to dance, and dancing to forget it all for a while!  Oh, and don't forget to sing too!  :)

29. Be.  Just Be.  Sometimes, I get really caught up in the doing.  I used to feel like I always had to keep going, keep moving, keep thinking, keep doing, always always always, without stopping.  I really wanted to enjoy my life and I knew in order to do this, I had to slow down.  Moving up north and being in nature, being near so much breathtaking beauty allowed me the perfect opportunity to do it.  I would lay in my bed at night and gaze out the window at all the magnificent stars, amazed that there were so many more stars there than any other place I'd ever been!  I saw more shooting stars and made more wishes in those 5 years than in my whole life combined!  We would take long peaceful walks through the woods and along the beaches of Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay.  I learned to let go of the to do list, the pressures, the chores, everything, for at least a while and long enough to appreciate and thank God for the magnificence of the moment.  When I learned to do that, to just be, I learned what freedom felt like.  That's where the name for my business was born.  I felt happier and more at peace than I had been since I was a child when I learned how to Be.  Just Be.  

my bestie and I in our "be" shirts
(right before we went wine tasting!)


30. You must make time/space for what you want.  If there's something you want to accomplish and your life is already full, then there's no room for it, is there?  It's important to carve out time in your life to do the things you need to do to get what you want.  I'm still mastering this since I have a million things I want to do everyday, but I've learned how to prioritize better and I'm able to accomplish the things I feel are the most important.  This also applies to other things.  If you want to renew your life, clear out the clutter!  Let go of things that aren't helping you meet your goals and make room for new blessings to arrive.  If you want to have loving, supportive people in your life, let go of toxic relationships and focus on allowing great people in.  Make room for what you want in your life.

31.Teachers are amazing people!   I'm so over people blaming teachers for what's wrong in education today!  Are you kidding me?  Anyone who thinks that has NO IDEA what teachers are really all about!  I have met hundreds of teachers who give so much of themselves to make sure that our children are loved, encouraged, and prepared with as many of the skills they need to be successful in life.  Teachers sacrifice their time, money, health, sleep, and general sanity in order to give big to our children!  Teachers are always working, even on vacation!  I have met so many amazing teachers that teach me, inspire me, humble me, and make me a better person.  Even the ones that people think are crappy, often have done lots of awesome things too!  Let's give our teachers a break and support them.  Without them, where would we be?

32. Big dreams+ Faith + Inspired Action = Amazing Life  Once you stop limiting yourself and allow your dreams to get bigger, things start to change.  When you start to really believe that your dreams can come true and you take that leap, and you trust yourself, and you trust that you'll be guided by something much bigger than you, things begin to manifest.  In some ways I can't even believe all the dreams that I've made come true in the last few years but then again, I can!!!  It wasn't just me, it was many things coming together and an ultimate faith that dreams can and do come true!  Try it!  You'll see!  :)

33. The quickest way to my heart is through my funny bone!  I love people and things that make me laugh!  I love that kids find so many things in life hilarious and a person with a big hearty laugh is always my friend!  Laughter eases stress, releases endorphins, changes your state, and just plain feels good.  I get a great dose of it everyday from my funny man Brad and his two silly sidekicks.  One of my favorite things to do is go to comedy shows and my hubby surprised me on my birthday with tickets to the beautiful Majestic Theater in San Antonio to go see Brian Regan.  (He was super funny, if you get the chance, check him out!)

34. Guilt and worry won't change anything!  Guilt and worry are two things that indicate you're not living in the present moment.  Instead of wasting your time feeling this way, take action!  Do something about it.  Sometimes, the only thing to "do" is to let it go because nothing really can be done.  Remind yourself that you're here now and all any of us can really do is make the best of right now.  I've become a lot better at letting these thoughts drift right out when they pop in.  Practice letting go and keep moving forward!


  truth
                                                                            


35. Pushing my body past limitations has strengthened every part of my life.  The biggest examples I have of this are having my babies and running the half marathon.  When you challenge your body physically, you learn what you're made of.  So much of what's happening in our physical body is related to what's going on in our minds.  If you can push past your mind's nonsense..."I can't do this, this is too hard, I can't breathe, this hurts too much," you can achieve a greater physical strength and endurance than you ever thought possible.  There's no way that I would've thought that I could run 13.1 miles, IN A ROW, ten years ago.  Now that I have, I know I can do so much more!  I'm empowered by that accomplishment and my body looks and feels the best when I'm taking good care of it.  This empowered feeling trickles into all other aspects of my life.  I know that I can accomplish other things that are challenging if I set my mind right and just do it!

36. Writing and Reflection are two of the most effective tools for personal development.  I started journaling when I was about 10.  I wish I still had some of those journals.  The journals I do have begin in 1997.  Through reflection, I have been able to identify some key areas in my life that I needed to improve.  I also have documentation of personal growth.  It's weird to read some of the things I wrote 14 years ago.  I've learned so much.  I've changed so much.  It almost doesn't even sound like me, yet I remember feeling that way.  Writing and reflection has been a really important part of my transformation into a healthier, happier person.

37. Gratitude and Appreciation  I have always appreciated the people and things in my life but about 4 years ago, I started writing in a gratitude journal.  Every night I would write 5 things I was grateful for.  I did that faithfully for a year.  That could have been one of the most difficult years of my life because so many crazy things were going on, yet it wasn't.  It was a great year and I think a big part of that was because I was very focused on my blessings and the things that I appreciated in my life.  Take time to appreciate what you have. Be grateful for all the wonder and beauty in your life and your life will begin to feel beautiful even through the hard times.  I still keep a gratitude journal though I'm not as consistent in writing, but I do take time every morning and every night for thanks and gratitude.  


i love jack canfield

38. God is everywhere.  God is love.  God is peace.  God is light.  God is good.  God is infinite.  God is the Creator.  God is in all of us.  God has many names... Spirit, Universal Oneness, Source, The Universe, Father, Infinite Wisdom, etc.  A super big A-ha for me:  God is NOT an elderly Santa Claus looking man lurking around everywhere, waiting for me to screw up, judging me, so he can write it down in his giant book of the life of Kristie and hold it against me.  This was a conflicting limiting belief that I held since I was nine and had my first confession.  The sinning thing really got to a sensitive girl like me and letting go of worrying about sinning all the time has transformed me!  It's allowed me to be so much more connected, so much more in spirit, and so much happier and freer in my life!  And no, it doesn't mean that I feel free to run around and do a bunch of bad things now but it means that I live my life consciously and free of all that guilt and worry.

39. Happiness is a choice.  If you truly want to be happy, it's simple, be happy.  If you're unhappy, try to figure out why.  What are you missing?  What do you need?  What do you want?  Focus on the good things around you, dream big, love much, and know that you can make a positive difference in your life if you decide to Just Do It!!!!


Love to You!

Kristie

P.S.  If you like this and think someone could be helped by some of these things please share!