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31 Life Lessons in 31 Years

Photo by Simon Pais & Vero Monaco
Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment... ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Today, I turn 31.

When I was little, I used to think people in their 30s were really old. Now that I’m in my 30s, that perspective has quickly shifted.

Standing where I am today, I still feel like a little kid, except I’m doing my best in playing the part of an adult–trying to fit in with other grown-ups, and subsequently hiding the little kid within.

Having been obsessed with the topic of happiness and personal development over the past seven years (holy crap!), I feel like I’m becoming more and more in touch with the little kid inside–honest, candid, and established in love.

It is in the innocent wonder and the in-this-moment presence of the child where lies the secret to happiness.

Here are 31 life lessons I’ve learned, standing here today as a (slightly wiser) 31-year-old.

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One of the many things I admire about my husband is that he is very prone to taking action. He doesn’t stay stranded for long talking in circles about what he wants. He will consider thoughtfully about what he wants, mention it once, and then he’ll go out to do something about it.

Over the last few months, Jeremy has been obsessed with filmmaking using digital SRL cameras. He is a still photographer by profession.

One day, he came home with a proposal to invest some of our money in photo gear, so that he can learn at home, and get better. Knowing how important it is to develop our passions, I agreed.

A week later, two large boxes showed up at our house. That same night, after Ryan went to bed, he excitedly unpacked everything, and set it all up in our kitchen. He dragged me out of my office, and said, “Honey, let’s do a video!”

Not Enough Time? How to Stop The Illusion

Photo by Vadim Pacev
It is not enough if you are busy. The question is, what are you busy about? ~Henry David Thoreau

Do you find that there is just not enough time to get everything done?

How many times a day do you usually use the word busy? I often catch myself busy working, cleaning dishes, cooking meals, doing laundry, catching up on the email, running errands and so on.

Our modern lifestyle creates time famine that we are forced to live with; there seems to be never enough time for anything. Even if we manage to get most of our tasks and responsibilities done, our personal time and time with our loved ones suffer.

Just the other day I was doing my house chores in the evening. One of my three-year-old daughters came up to me and wanted to play. By habit I told her that “mama was busy” and this is when it hit me.

Pursuit of Happiness

Photo by Sandra Lara

I lost my mother to cancer when I was just 13. Experts at the time said that it would have a psychological impact on me, and friends and family later told me that it did.

I still don’t truly understand how it affected me and I believe the answers have been locked in a box in my mind with a key I cannot (or choose not to) find. Maybe there is nothing in that box, or maybe I’m just not ready to open it. Whatever the case may be, I’ve never really spent any time digging into the emotional impact of her death, and couldn’t tell you how the various intricacies of my psychology would differ today if she is still here today.

Having said this, there was one dramatic change that I did pick up on: I become fearlessly independent and driven.

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