Birthdays pass and we tend to take stock of our life, remember where we’ve been and look at the road ahead—sometimes with dread, and sometimes with enthusiasm. To mark the occasion this year, I thought I’d share some… pretty random thoughts.
While I’d like to think that I’ve acquired something akin to burgeoning wisdom over the last four decades, the fact of the matter is that I’m probably just crazier than ever. And I like it that way. If that’s not a setup to look forward to the decades to come, I don’t know what is!
39 Random Thoughts for my 39th Birthday
1. I’m happier and more confident at 39 than I was at 29 and at 19. I do remember being a pretty chill 9-year-old, though!
2. I stopped weighing myself in January of 2016. The amount of mental and emotional energy that this has freed is incredible. Letting go of striving for an arbitrary number lets you focus on so much better things!
3. Weather considerations aside, there are no rules that pertain to how one can and should dress themselves. Releasing from this mindset not only opens a myriad possibilities, but it makes life much more fun too.
4. Kindness is underrated. Asking yourself what the kindest response is in any situation is not only literally the most appropriate answer to pretty much anything, but will make you a better human. Because kind doesn’t mean meek.
5. Life’s better when you let your geek flag fly freely. I was rather alone in this growing up, but I’m wholly unapologetic about it now, to my own delight.
6. Related to the above, my middle name is Galadriel. For real. Since birth. I though it was time I let that be known on the Internet.
7. You can’t go through life sharing too many hugs. That’s just not possible. Make your hugs heartfelt and frequent. I know there’s some science out there backing this up, I just can’t be bothered to dig it out.
8. Whether we ignore them or not, our emotions always manifest themselves in our body. Deliberately staying in touch with that connection can give us valuable input about what’s really going on.
9. Many uncomfortable situations can be improved by taking several deep breaths, drinking a glass of water and going out for a short walk.
10. Your thoughts will always have more power than you think. Paying attention to your self-talk is the first step to transforming your life.
11. It’s OK to be an introvert. It doesn’t make anyone socially flawed. The more open we are about this, the easier we can all navigate life together (even if that means spending more time apart).
12. As cliché as it sounds, books will always be there for you. While technology can be distracting, only literature can help us enter a different universe while physically remaining in the same place.
13. Internalized misogyny is a thing, and it needs to stop. My heart breaks anytime I hear a woman repeat patriarchal messaging. We can demand better for ourselves and of ourselves.
14. I don’t care what you think about me — I really don’t. What you think about me is actually about yourself.
15. We should all find something at which we want to get better, and get to work. Too often do we reach a point, after a certain age, where we stop actively trying to improve our skills. Bettering ourselves, no matter in which area, is a gift.
16. Go through the exercise of defining who you are without relying on what you do. There’s a good chance it’ll be trickier than you think, but it’s a worthwhile exploration.
17. Relationships take work, no matter how good they are. That’s part of their magic, actually!
18. Sisterhood rocks. As someone who rediscovered female friendships in the latter part of her 30s, I cannot believe that I went without for so long. I feel very fortunate to have some incredible women in my life, with whom I share unbelievable connections.
19. The only way to get rid of negative emotions is to get rid of all emotions, which means the getting rid of the good ones too. Not something I’d recommend to anyone — I speak from experience.
20. Strength training teaches mindfulness and resilience. That’s rarely something people aim for when they start, but in my experience — not to mention the experience of my colleagues, clients and friends — it happens time and time again.
21. True confidence is being able to ask for what you need. It’s not going at things alone, despite what I believed for most of my adult life (I’m quite happy to have that behind me now!)
22. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Being able to laugh at ourselves is a gift like no other. It can defuse any situation, and just makes life all that more bearable, even in the tough moments.
23. Cooking is an unparalleled life skill to master. Not only does it allow us to eat exactly what we want, but it opens up the possibility of so much delicious exploration! Besides, think about all the money you’ll save on eating out. (Seriously, the food we eat at home is better than what we find at most restaurants.)
24. It’s OK to grow out of some interests. Some passions are closely linked to certain seasons of our life, and we can let them go whenever we choose, or when we feel ready to try something else. This is why it’s important not to construct our entire identity around what we do (see number 16).
25. Anytime consuming media — social or traditional — leaves you feeling less than, it’s a sign that you should step away from it, not that you are not worthy (because you are, undeniably!) Unfollow, unsubscribe, and deliberately choose to consume what uplifts you.
26. Food doesn’t hold the power to make us good or bad. It has no inherent moral value. The concepts of “clean eating” and “guilty pleasures” are damaging societal constructs, and we’d all be faring quite a bit better if we deliberately stepped away from them.
27. There’s a strong likelihood that, as a whole, you life might be more interesting that you imagine it to be. When you get stuck in the minutia of daily tasks, it’s easy to lose sight of this. Remember to zoom out from time to time, to better appreciate the entirety of your own journey.
28. Setting clear boundaries is one of the kindest things you can do, both for yourself and everyone around you. It helps create healthy expectations, gives you tremendous freedom, and allows you to lead life on your own terms.
29. Gratitude is one of the most powerful tools at our disposal. It leads to a more positive outlook every single day, deeper connection with our loved ones, better work opportunities, increased stress management, and the confidence to face any struggle. I’m not kidding.
30. Comfort can be found in a myriad places. Take the time to discover which comfort mechanisms work for you, so that you can have a strategy in place at any given time, without having to turn to unhealthy behaviours. Sometimes a cup of tea is actually all it takes.
31. Being a mother is one of the most challenging aspects of my own journey. The only way I can show up authentically in this role is by shedding my own expectations of what motherhood is supposed to look like — and don’t even get me started on societal pressure! For me, motherhood is messy as all hell, but it doesn’t mean I’m doing it wrong. I’m simply doing it my way.
32. You can go through life assigning meaning and intention to everything others say and do, or you can decide to systematically give others benefit of the doubt. It’s really your own choice. One of these strategies may make you happier than the other, though. Your call.
33. If you find yourself lying awake in the middle of the night, pondering all of your shortcomings — as one does! — very little is more helpful than having an enthralling fiction book on hand to get lost in. I speak from years of experience. Plunge into that book and leave those thoughts behind. Things will be less daunting in the morning, I promise.
34. Treating ourselves doesn’t have to have any specific reason attached to it, other than the fact that we are worthy of it no matter what. Waiting until we’ve “earned” pleasurable things or moments doesn’t serve us in the least.
35. The harder we work, the harder we should rest. This isn’t quite the same thing as “work hard, play hard” — cultivating quiet recovery is a talent that can serve us greatly.
36. Tapping into our intuition is often easier than we make it out to be. It’s closely linked to the above, actually. By quieting down the chatter, both inside and outside ourselves, we can tap into what our body and our soul is telling us, instead of remaining trapped into what our mind tells us we should or shouldn’t feel. Journaling and experimenting with tools like oracle cards can be an interesting way to delve into this.
37. Feeling resistance towards a practice or an activity may be a sign that we need it, or that it can bring us something that we’re missing. Of course, the choice is always ours — autonomy is the name of the game.
38. Find the music that speaks to your soul. It might not be trendy, and it might change over time, but it’s important that you also feed your ears and your brain in that way.
39. Show up in life with courage. It’s always worth it.