We don’t have to be ordinary. Make your best mistakes. ‘Cause we don’t have the time to be sorry. So baby be the life of the party. I’m telling you to take your shot it might be scary. Hearts are gonna break. ‘Cause we don’t have the time to be sorry. So baby be the life of the party.
— Life of the Party by Shawn Mendes
“I’m twelve years old.” I’ll admit, I say that phrase more often than not. The truth is, I’m not really twelve, but sometimes my mind and heart are. Sometimes they’re even younger . . . and I’m okay with that. That may be why many people find it hard to pinpoint my age when I have them guess. I’ll admit, it’s flattering when you’re in your 30s and people still think you’re a young 20’s gal. Pretty. Freakin’. Awesome!
Still, I am now another year older and though I don’t particularly “feel it,” I know it in my mind and heart because those are things most affected by my aging. I’ve learned a lot in my 34 years of living, and I’m excited for all the other things (wonderful and terrible) that I will learn as I continue to age. As I was driving to breakfast (Birthdays call for fancy schmancy breakfasts at the Whole Foods hot bar!!!) I reflected on some of the things that have shaped who I am as I’ve grown. I thought it might be fun to share some of them with you . . . and since today’s magic number for me is 34, I’ll give you a laundry list of 34!
- Fun doesn’t get old and you’re never too old to have fun.
- Hurt people hurt people.
- If you ever get an idea to write a story about sparkling vampires, don’t. Just stop right there.
- You cannot control the way people treat you, but you can control the way you respond.
- Flossing IS important! Flossing IS important!
- You don’t have to reward yourself with food. You are not a dog.
- Life is not a wish granting factory.
- God’s silence is not evidence that He’s absent, apathetic, or angry at you.
- You need people of all ages, backgrounds, in different life paths in your circle of friends.
- It’s a good idea to spend time with people that are not like you. They will help you see who you really are when you’re out of your comfort zone.
- It’s okay to cry.
- Confidence is silent. Insecurities are loud.
- Generous hands are never empty.
- Its okay to not be okay, but it is not okay to stay that way.
- I know there’s a lot people say who always talk about the youth as, “Yeah, they’re the future of the church, but I say they’re the PRESENT of the church. They don’t get a pint-sized version of the Holy Spirit when they commit their lives to Christ. They get the full deal, so you’re engaged with the future of the church and the current generation of the church.”
- Don’t let someone who gave up on their dreams talk you out of going after yours
- I am weird and quirky and random and awkward and that is wonderful. I’ve fought hard to stop hiding who I am and I owe it to myself to stay free from the lies that say that those are bad things.
- Get fit. Exercise and healthy eating are not dirty words. They are empowering and refreshing and the hard work pays off. Trust the process.
- God will never be handcuffed by your failures or unleashed by your successes.
- You are not alone.
- “I find men who might be giants of faith, who might be leaders of society, who might rise to subdue kingdoms, who might be noble amongst princes, but they go down, because they allow suggestions of Satan to dethrone their better knowledge of the power of God. God, help us tonight.” — Smith Wigglesworth
- You cannot out-give God.
- When my spouse is my source of life, I blame them as the source of our problems. I try to control him; I try to manipulate him into someone that is more like me. When my children are my source of life, I use them to impress other people. When my parents are my source of life, I make decisions based on how they think and feel.
- Bravery feels like wanting to cry, throw up, not sleeping very well.
- Adventures don’t come with details – errands do. And we were created for more than errands.
- Home is ultimately not about a place to live but about the people with whom you are most fully alive. Home is about love, relationship, community, and belonging, and we are all searching for home.
- “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill
- You cannot please everybody and you shouldn’t have to.
- Being a follower of Christ does not make you a ‘doormat.’ Your voice should be heard, your heart protected, and your worth understood.
- “Run mad as often as you choose, but do not faint.” — Jane Austen
- You can give up on someone as soon as God does.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously.
- “To be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody but yourself—means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight—and never stop fighting.” — EE Cummings
- Remember WHO you are and WHOSE you are.
To all my friends and family, near and far, thanks for being a part of my life—no matter how long you’ve been a part. You make it awesome and worthwhile and exciting. Here’s to another wonderful year in the 30s!