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Thirty-five random lessons learned

I’m nowhere near where I expected myself to be but exactly where I need to be. At three and a half decades old I’m feeling a bit wiser, like “hey you twenty-somethings …. pay attention to your elders”. Today [April 4th] my momma celebrates 35 years of being a mom as I celebrate the years of growing into the hot mess I’m learning to love. By wiser I also mean like knowing this blog post should be in list format because I feel like lists are a big thing; easy to read, easy to skim through when you don’t feel like reading, and a good way to make sure I stay focused on fulfilling the title of this blog post.

  1. Finding joy and being happy is only a portion of the journey. We all want to be happy but the hard days and the sad moments are just as important to our growth. Feeling all the emotions makes us better companions for all the different people we are meant to meet.
  2. You are more important to someone else than you are to yourself. There is a person in the world who needs you, maybe you haven’t met them yet or maybe you don’t talk to them anymore but a part of who they become is because of you. I don’t think it’s fair to assume our choices only impact us, we aren’t meant to be that selfish.
  3. Money will make life different, easier, happier, harder, stressful, or carefree. Money matters, but the role you give it in your life is your choice.
  4. Ice cream is essential for emotional growth. Sadness is generally eased with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Karmel Sutra and special occasions are often celebrated with a scoop or two. You know what’s fun, eating ice cream for breakfast – the kid in you will love yourself for it!
  5. People outgrow each other. If we are lucky to keep people for decades that’s something to cherish, but I feel most people are only in our lives for long enough to teach us lessons and we need to celebrate the moments we had rather than feel bitterness over the ending.
  6. If you don’t give yourself personal care, you’ll die. If I’m a houseplant it’s obvious I need sunshine and water, but replace sunshine with pedicures and water with wine… also replace houseplant with seasonal depression.
  7. If you are a horrible speller or suck at house training a dog, you can still be an amazing parent. The tiny human(s) granted to you are gifted for a reason, regardless of your flaws. Also, refer back to #2.
  8. Respect is given, not always earned. Often those who seek respect have not earned it, but you are a better person than they are when you notice authority and show respect.
  9. Winter sucks and those who enjoy it should not be trusted. Also men with two first names should not be trusted, or their parents…. who does that to their child, it’s madness.
  10. You need friends, even when you feel like being alone. Having a person who comforts you and celebrates you, face-to-face or through social media is like vitamin D – you can manage without it but you’ll be pretty bitchy.
  11. In every relationship one person loves the other more. That’s it, and in my marriage it’s me.
  12. There is always a paper trail and liars get caught. Never cheat on your taxes, important tests, or poker. I actually have never played poker because I know my face shows too much.
  13. People suck, sometimes they just suck the joy right outta your day. Do not engage. Growing means learning when to defend yourself and when to walk away.
  14. Majority of species grow and leave their families, except humans and I think this should just be accepted. Family is everything.
  15. Doing the thing that terrifies you is a pretty damn good motivator, be brave.
  16. I don’t think normal exists anymore so don’t worry about being just like everyone else.
  17. Scallops are the most delicious mollusks and if you don’t agree, you’re wrong.
  18. The number on the scale means very little in comparison to how you feel in an outfit, nobody can see the tag you are wearing but everyone can see your confidence and THAT is more impressive.
  19. It only takes one ‘Yes’ to make your dream come true, but all the times you hear ‘No’ are the opportunities that move you forward.
  20. Being bored is the best thing for your child. Also, drinking from the garden hose or dog dish is probably more beneficial than negative and I’m not certified to make that claim but I have let my child eat goldfish crackers from a toddler tray in the middle of the parlor and she’s fine, plus this is in print on the internet so it must be true. Also, don’t believe the internet to be exclusively true.
  21. Date your partner continuously.
  22. Know your worth, and know you are worthy. No person has the right to treat you in any way you don’t give them permission to. You are beautiful and smart and desirable, if they don’t make you feel that way they don’t deserve you.
  23. People will hurt you, emotionally. Friends and family members will hurt you too, and those stories leave a scar.
  24. Laundry can wait. Deodorant should not.
  25. Buy the boots because you work too damn hard to not buy yourself a little happiness.
  26. Hoe your own garden. Unless the people banging harvest baskets at the gate have as much at risk as you do, their opinions don’t matter. Put all your energy into believing in yourself.
  27. Be flexible in accomplishing your goals, as you grow your needs change and your wants drift so you might need to tackle your goal from different directions over time.
  28. If you say you’re going to do something, you better freaking do it. Likewise, if you enjoy being a hermit then commit to nothing and accept it when the invitations quit coming.
  29. There will always be someone who thinks it is their job to monitor the proper use of grammar, and they’re stupid…. don’t let them ruin your day because you were texting in warp speed and didn’t Swype the proper you’re.
  30. If you’re gonna have one you might as well have two (Pistol Annie’s lyrics for the uncool kids). Side note: I’m talking about glasses of wine here, mainly.
  31. Don’t try so hard to keep up with the neighbors, chances are they have a lot of debt and an unhappy marriage anyway.
  32. Doing a cartwheel is not like riding a bike. Hell, even riding a bike sucks after 30 so just don’t.
  33. Every night be thankful for what you have instead of asking for what you want. Also, when asking for opportunities to help others be sure to actually move your feet.
  34. You can’t please everyone, you’re not a highland…. and actually if you do want to make someone’s day compliment them, or buy them a Scottish Highland, ME – buy me a highland I already know my hair looks great.
  35. Tell your parents you appreciate them for everything they sacrificed for you, and apologize repeatedly for being a pain in the ass because when you have children, you’ll REALLY want them to take your rambunctious brood for a day or three.

Basically though I know a lot, I still don’t know it all. I’m really looking forward to my mid-thirties. I’m thinking for my birthday I’m going to splurge and get my car detailed because hangovers and morning chores don’t mix, but future bucket list/gift ideas include: a sleeve of tattoos, traveling beyond Madison, Wisconsin, a nose ring, taking a cheese making course, writing a book, raised garden beds, more self care, and no longer giving a fuck what other people think of me. Cheers to thirty-five and feeling alive! Xo, Nicole

3 Comments

  1. Christen Christen

    I love this! I love you! I love how your express yourself in words SO perfectly! I. Will. Buy. Your. Book.
    Drink the wine girl! Happy birthday! 😘😘

  2. I love this website. The author has a great perspective on things.

  3. Beth Schwab Beth Schwab

    I’m sorry some bag of dicks used your Facebook blog to harm you. I’m always delighted to read your words(thoughts). You are a terrific writer. I love your list of 35! 13, 18, and 23 Whew. I’ve ourlt grown some friends and made more along the way. It’s both good and bad at times but more oft than not I think God is steering me and I just have to let him take the wheel.

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