Things I've learned in 35 years on Earth...

If you’ve been following along at my Facebook page, you’ll have noticed me posting little tidbits of wisdom that I’ve acquired, leading up to my birthday. Today’s #36 for me, and I have never felt so thankful, happy, and blessed to be alive.

Things I’ve learned in 35 years on earth…

Here are all the little wisdom nuggets I’ve shared, collected all in one place, plus a few bonus thoughts just for this post. What would you add to the list?

  1. When you go on vacation, always clean your apartment and put fresh sheets on the bed. You’ll appreciate it so much when you get home!

  2. Learn how to save money when you’re young. It’s a skill you’ll be thankful for later on in life.

  3. Don’t settle. If it’s not a “HELL YES!!” - it’s a no.

  4. No one is perfect. Not even me.

  5. Learn how to trust your instincts, and always follow them. They won’t steer you wrong.

  6. Find the balance between boundaries and forgiveness.

  7. Self-care is of the highest importance. You can’t take care of anyone else if you don’t take care of you.

  8. If you’re not happy with yourself, you won’t be happy in a relationship.

  9. Always choose kindness.

  10. Make time to sit in silence.

  11. There is always something to be grateful for…

  12. A “failure” is only failure if you’ve failed to learn something from it…

  13. Learning is a life-long process.

  14. Self-growth is messy but beautiful. It’s okay not to be the same person you were yesterday, and it’s okay if people don’t accept the new version of you.

  15. People are brought into your life for specific reasons - reasons you may not even realize until months or years later.

  16. Music transcends boundaries. When you can’t find the words, find the song.

  17. Believe in magic and always maintain your sense of wonder.

  18. Approach everyone you meet with an open mind and an open heart.

  19. Give more than what you take.

  20. Diversify. Make friends with people of different ages, races, sexual orientations, genders, etc.

  21. Always love. Give as much love as you can. There will never be too much love in the world.

  22. Embrace a growth mindset. Just because you did something wrong in the past, doesn’t mean you have to stand by it in the present.

  23. Trust that the universe is giving you exactly what you need, at any given time - whether it’s a gift or a lesson.

  24. The best things in life cannot be bought. Happiness and love come from within, and they are best cultivated through gratitude.

Wisdom Nugget #11: I ascribe reason to the things that happen

In my book, The Happy Break-Up, I've included what I like to call "Wisdom Nuggets." Wisdom Nuggets are short, one-page bursts of enlightenment I've gained in my time on this planet. You may choose to agree or disagree, either way, I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback. I present to you now, Wisdom Nugget #11:

It’s not “everything happens for a reason” – it’s “I ascribe reason to the things that happen”

Life is full of cosmic coincidences – some are good, some are not so good. When people say, “everything happens for a reason,” it’s generally meant as a source of comfort – but how comforting is it, really? In the wake of a horrific tragedy, whether it’s on a personal or a worldly level, saying “everything happens for a reason” feeds powerlessness and complacency to a situation that may be completely random to begin with.

Suppose, for a moment, we turn that statement around, and say, “I ascribe reason to the things that happen.” Now, we can take that random situation, and give it some thought. Instead of an arbitrary event, we can begin looking at the significance behind it – the causal chain of events, the human error and irrationality, or the freak accidents that led to it. And instead of assigning it an arbitrary meaning, we can ascribe our own meaning to it. How it specifically affected our own lives, and what we’re going to do about it. Suddenly, we find ourselves sitting in a position of power, rather than hopelessness.

When we think about this in terms of a break-up, it makes sense that we would try to comfort ourselves in thinking that there’s some cosmic reason for our heartbreak that we just don’t understand. But when we determine our own reason, we can be mindful of the elements that led to the breakup. We can be aware of what we’re willing to accept in a future relationship, and where we draw the line. Take back your power and create your own meaning, because one thing I know for sure is that if you don't figure out the reason things keep happening, you are bound to encounter the same issues, over and over again.

I ascribe reason to the things that happen - Cate Gennaro. Hand-lettered quote