38 Life Lessons I’ve Learned in 38 Years

 My Pink Birthday dress is from Aidan Mattox ready to shop (HERE). Aidan Mattox can be found online as well as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue! 


Good morning, guys! It is my 38th birthday today (wow I feel old just saying that!). I’m not usually one to make a big deal about my birthday, but as always, it has given me an opportunity to reflect. I wanted to share some things that I’ve learned in my 38 years of my life. Some were hard lessons, and they took me up until year 32 to learn! I am proud of myself for how far I’ve come. Obviously, I still have room to grow, and I never want to stop growing and learning. I thought I’d share a handful of lessons I’ve learned — as a helpful guide for those just starting out. Hopefully when I turn 40 I’ll have a whole new blog post for you.

Self-discovery is a never ending process.  Every day I learn more about myself and the world we live in. And every day I strive to live in a way that is reflective of all I’ve learned. Even when you know what you need to do or how you need to be,  it’s not easy. But now that I’ve changed my perspective it is exciting to get out of bed every day. You never know what lesson is waiting for you.

      1. Life can be hard, but if it wasn’t it would be kind of boring. Life is exceedingly brief. You might feel like there’s a huge mass of time ahead of you, but it passes much faster than you think. Your kids grow up so fast you get whiplash. You get gray hairs before you’re done getting your bearings on life. Appreciate every damn moment.

2.Reminder: Instagram is Not Reality. A home is a home; a place where you kick off your shoes, have tea, go to bed and raise a family. It’s not an Instagram destination or a perfectly curated backdrop. Phrases you’ve probably seen on Instagram: “goals,” “I want your life,” “best summer ever,” “you’re perfect,” … I think you get the point (and yes I admit I’ve definitely commented on other people’s photos with some of those). Instagram is truly a highlight reel of everyone’s life. It is not real life. A person may choose to share the very best parts of their life (including me), but there is so much going on behind the scenes that you don’t know about. I know that I personally only choose to share a fraction of my life with the public. Remind yourself of that the next time you see someone’s “perfect life” on Instagram.

Think about what really makes you happy and fulfilled, not what Instagram and social media makes you think you need to have or be doing. If you find yourself on Instagram feeling inadequate, pause and think about why. If you find yourself following someone on Instagram that makes you feel like you need to be somebody else, unfollow them.

3. Learn to manage your stress Investigate stress management techniques that work for you. Ditch what doesn’t work and harness what works for you so that it becomes ingrained in your every day life and so you can easily call on it in times of intense stress.

4.Taking life too seriously. We’re all here for a limited amount of time and nobody has all the answers. In fact, most of us are just chugging along and trying the best we can. The point is: we might as well have a fun go at it! Laugh often. Be totally random and crazy. Love life and it will love you back.

5. Be kind. A simple act of kindness can make someone else’s day and it will help you feel better while you’re at it. Everybody wins when you’re kind.

6. Possessions are worse than worthless — they’re harmful. They add no value to your life, and cost you everything. Not just the money required to buy them, but the time and money spent shopping for them, maintaining them, worrying about them, insuring them, fixing them, etc.

7. Creativity is good for the soul. Allow yourself to explore. To try new things. It doesn’t matter if you suck at it. The point is you tried. And if you are telling yourself ‘you are too old’ give yourself a right slapping as you are never too old! 

And note, creativity IS contagious. Hold an afternoon craft party with your girlfriends, hit the beach with some pencils or paints with you family. Create a group Pinterest board to brainstorm ideas and inspire each other. Best of all, play, create and have fun!
8. Never stop learning. The lesson’s just keep coming as you grow older, even when you wish they wouldn’t, however the secret is to never stop learning as that’s where the personal growth happens – even from the shitty stuff. Yes, there’s something to be said for hindsight!
If you are making the same mistakes again and again, it’s time to sit up and take note. What can you learn from these experiences? And what changes can you make to break the cycle?
9. Once you find your *it* everything falls into place.
10. Open yourself up to opportunities. Be it in work, life or relationships, open yourself up to the opportunities around you – even those you can’t see. I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere in life if I hadn’t started opening myself up to people about where I was in life, what I wanted to do, what I was interested in or that I was looking for new opportunities.
11. Walk your own path. Live your dream, chase your passions and walk to the beat of your own drum. It’s scary and it can be hard work but it’s all worth it in the long run due to the sense of fulfilment you will experience.
12. Do not compare yourself to others. If you do so, you are insulting yourself.
13. You will miss a ton, but that’s OK. We’re so caught up in trying to do everything, experience all the essential things, not miss out on anything important … that we forget the simple fact that we cannot experience everything. That physical reality dictates we’ll miss most things. We can’t read all the good books, watch all the good films, go to all the best cities in the world, try all the best restaurants, meet all the great people. But the secret is: life is better when we don’t try to do everything. Learn to enjoy the slice of life you experience, and life turns out to be wonderful.
14. We either make decisions from a place of courage or fear depending on what feels better- and how secure our foundation is (our sense of self). When your child asks for your attention, always grant it. Give your child your full attention, and instead of being annoyed at the interruption, be grateful for the reminder to spend time with someone you love.
15.  Things are always better when you have kids to snuggle with.
16. Giving is so much better than getting. Give with no expectation of getting something in return, and it becomes a purer, more beautiful act. Too often we give something and expect to get an equal measure in return — at least get some gratitude or recognition for our efforts. Try to let go of that need, and just give.
17.  Realize you will fail.  It’s ok, tomorrow is a clean slate.  No one is perfect. No one is perfect.
18. Rest is more important than you think. People work too hard, forget to rest, and then begin to hate their jobs. In fitness, you see it constantly: people training for a marathon getting burned out because they don’t know how to let their straining muscles and joints recover. People who try to do too much because they don’t know that rest is where their body gets stronger, after the stress.
19. Gratitude is one of the best ways to find contentment. We are often discontent in our lives, desire more, because we don’t realize how much we have. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, be grateful for the amazing gifts you’ve been given: of loved ones and simple pleasures, of health and sight and the gift of music and books, of nature and beauty and the ability to create, and everything in between. Be grateful every day.
20. Never be afraid to leave the familiar and go somewhere new. Even if by yourself. You will survive.
21. Failures are the stepping stones to success. Without failure, we’ll never learn how to succeed. So try to fail, instead of trying to avoid failure through fear.
22. Do less. Most people try to do too much. They fill life with checklists, and try to crank out tasks as if they were widget machines. Throw out the checklists and just figure out what’s important. Stop being a machine and focus on what you love. Do it lovingly.
23. Love comes in many flavors. I love my children, completely and more than I can ever fully understand. I love them each in a different way, and know that each is perfect in his or her own way.

24. The older you get, the less you care about the way you look and care more about being comfortable, even if you’re wearing Mom jeans and Sketchers.

25. If you can dream it, you can BE it.  Open your heart up to possibly.
26. Surround yourself with people who are heading in the direction you want to go. You are the sum of the five fabulous people you spend the most time with.
27. Knowing yourself is the best way to love yourself.
28.  Love and companionship are the most important things in life. Let the people who mean the world to you know it and spend as much time with them as possible.

29. Try living somewhere else for a little while just to see what it’s like, what you can learn, and who you can meet. If it’s not for you, you can always move back home.

30. Other People’s Acceptance. Being a people-pleaser is exhausting work. The day I realized it was mission impossible to even try to do so, I began to feel so much lighter. I still love being good to people, however, I do so in a way that honors my own true desires first. After all, when we take care of ourselves, we can better serve others.

31. Perfectionism. The need to be perfect stifles our creativity and drives us batty in the process. It’s not even an obtainable goal. As humans, we’re built to make mistakes. Besides, there is much beauty in owning our imperfections. It’s the tiny little cracks and dings in our armor that let the light in.

32. Holding grudges. If you’re a human being on this earth, than at some point some other human has probably done you wrong. It might have even stung pretty badly. Probably even pissed you off? But, the worst thing to do is hold onto to that toxic anger and those feelings of resentment. Instead, choose an enormous act of self-love: Forgive, let go, and set yourself free.

33. Other people’s drama. The beautiful thing is that no matter how much drama someone is bringing to our space, we actually get to choose not to participate in it. It can be so easy to get sucked in. We want to stand up, defend, shut down. But it’s totally not worth the energy it sucks from our soul and sacrificing those precious happy life moments we’ll never reclaim. Run, don’t walk away! (And never look back.)
34. Start a retirement fund before you even know what a retirement fund is. Invest in riskier stocks the more time you’ve got on your side.
35. Sunshine and laughter are the best anti-depressants. Oh, and Netflix. Definitely Netflix.
36. Eat your protein, a crap-ton of veggies, some fruit, and soak your clothes in sweat five days a week. You will be unstoppable.
37. There are few joys that equal a good movie, a good walk, a good hug, or a good friend. All are free.
38. I have a lot left to learn. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that I know almost nothing, and that I’m often wrong about what I think I know. Life has many lessons left to teach me, and I’m looking forward to them all.

As always, thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who comes back to my blog day after day. I am truly grateful for you all. xoxo


Len Parent

“The most important thing to remember is that you can wear all the greatest clothes and all the greatest shoes, but you’ve got to have a good spirit on the inside. That’s what’s really going to make you look like you’re ready to rock the world.” —Alicia Keys

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