39 Life Lessons For My 39th Birthday

Today is my birthday. Each year I write a special post for my birthday. This year, I’m sharing some of what I’ve learned about life over the past 39 years.
For this year’s post I wanted to do something that’s been reflective of what’s been quite a year for me – one filled with highs, lows, and a LOT of moving parts. But I’ve come out of it in a great place and filled with plenty of new insights about life. Or at least, my life. So, I thought I’d share with you 39 Lessons I’ve Learned About Life in my first 39 years on this planet.
Here they are, in no particular order…

1. You’re not as strong or as weak as you think you are. Ever.

2. People change.

3. Working hard doesn’t always mean working smart.

Just because you’re working 16 hours a day doesn’t mean you’re being efficient with your time. You still have to work hard to succeed, but if you’re not also organized and efficient, you’re just wasting time.

4. Keep moving forward.

5. The advantages you’re given are meaningless if you’re not willing to use them.

6.Everything is connected — mind, body, and green.

I know I might be preaching to the choir here, but it’s totally true.

7. Goals and deadlines are important, but sometimes you just have to say, “I don’t know when, I don’t know how, but I know it’s gonna happen.”

8. Don’t let little things get to you.

Does it really matter who is right about who did what chore in the house? You might win the fight, but you lose the battle. Don’t sweat the small stuff because little things don’t matter.

9. No one is perfect.

This especially holds true for people we put on pedestals. No matter how great or enlightened they are, they’re still human. Everyone make mistakes and nobody is perfect.

10. You are a combination of the five people you spend the most time with.

It may sound like a cliché, but it’s true. If you really want to change your life, you have to change the people you hang around with. Spend time with people who support you and believe in you.

 11.Don’t take yourself too seriously.

You have to be able to laugh at yourself. Being wound too tight isn’t good for you or the people around you.

12. Balance and moderation are key. 

Sometimes we all need a cupcake. It’s probably not a great idea every day, but the occasional treat isn’t going to kill you. Life should be fun. Being obsessively healthy can be stressful and extremely unhealthy. Enter orthorexia.

 13. Your gut is always right.

Always, always, always listen to your gut. Whenever I’ve gone against my intuition, it’s been a disaster. Listen to your gut, it’s always right.

14. Don’t spend more than you make and don’t buy more than you need.

15. Being fit doesn’t mean you’re healthy.

The story that Lissa Rankin tells in Mind Over Medicine about how the fittest people in the world were some of the unhealthiest is spot on. Your thoughts, your mind, your environment — they all play a huge role in your overall health and well-being

16. Opportunities are never handed to you—you create them for yourself, whether you know it or not..

17. Consistency is more important than you realize.

18. You don’t have to go all the way, you just have to take a step.

19. If you’re not happy with yourself, you’ll never be happy in a relationship.

Every successful relationship starts with you. You can’t rely on someone else to make you happy. Finding a great spouse or partner is just the icing on the cake, but you’re responsible for the cake.

 20. Enough is enough.
We’re wired to want more and/or better: more miles, another personal best, more friends, a bigger bank account, more stuff, better recognition, a bigger house, another pint of ice cream, one more glass of wine, and the list goes on. Learn to be content with what you have and appreciate when your cup is full.

21. A desire to learn will take you far.

22. Unless you’re an actor or an actress, avoid drama at all costs.

23.  Friends come and go.

Just because you were close with someone 10 years ago doesn’t mean you’re going to be close to them today and that’s OK. People change and so do relationships. Sometimes people come into your lives at very specific times to help you get from point A to B, and then they somehow fade away. That’s the magic of life and relationships: they’re always evolving.

24. Dark green vegetables are good for everyone. 
I don’t think there’s a diet out there that says green veggies are bad. Bring on the spinach!

25. It takes a lot of strength to be weak.

26. The universe /God, tends to know your breaking point. 

I’ve often found that whenever I get very close to my breaking point, something magical tends to happen. Whether it’s a profound encounter from a stranger or a big break, something always seems to happen whenever I get to a point where I’ve just had enough.

 27. Time changes your perspective. On everything.

28. Just because you have all the puzzle pieces, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to solve.

29. 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.

30. Surround yourself with people who will be there when you need them.

31.Gratitude is the key to happiness.

The common theme behind every religion is gratitude. It’s powerful and it works! Always be grateful for what you have; no matter how bad things seem, there’s always someone who has it worse. When I was a kid my mom would tell me, “The boy with no shoes cried until he met the boy with no feet.” Remember, “Gratitude is an attitude!”

32. Vacations are good!

I love vacations. Vacations work! They help you relax and recharge. Now I understand why people take them!

33. Sometimes questions are more important than answers.

34. You have to fail in order to succeed.

35. Don’t compare yourself or try to be someone else.

There’s always someone out there who has more money, a more (perceived) perfect relationship, or a flatter stomach. Comparing yourself or trying to be someone else is a game you’ll never win. As Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.”

 36. Choose your words wisely – and listen to them.

37. Reflect.

38. Money doesn’t buy happiness.

I learned very quickly that money doesn’t buy happiness. And what’s also interesting is that most successful people are successful because they do what they love to do. So focus on happiness and the money will come, not the other way around.

39. You can only figure out so much about life in 39 years. Stay tuned…

Stay Happy! Stay Informed!

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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