Happy Friday Fabbies! How is this year treating ya’ll so far? The year is moving fast as hell if you ask me! We were just celebrating New Year’s Day right?! It was also recently International Women’s Day, so cheers to all of my fabulous women reading this blog. In my previous blog post I mentioned that I only blogged two times last year, and didn’t even write my usual “Birthday” Post like I do every year. (New Year though! I’m back on the blog okay?!) I did, however, share 40 things that I learned in my lifetime on my Facebook Page over the course of about 3 days leading up to my 40th birthday back in November. I got so much great feedback on sharing what I had learned, that I knew that I would share those things on my blog. So today, while *ahem* a little late, I am sharing 40 Lessons that I have learned in my 40 years of living on this planet. While I still have so much more to learn, I do know that many lessons can only truly be learned by having lived through them, as Life is always our greatest teacher. And while some lessons may have come with emotional bruising, those lessons are necessary for us to improve or level up in some way in order for us to become versions of our best selves.
Okay here we go! 40 Lessons I’ve learned in the Last 40 years:
P.S. some of these things will include random anecdotal stories that have happened in my life that pertained to whatever lesson I’ve learned.
1. Learn to enjoy your own company. The most healing, profound, and therapeutic moments have had happened to me whilst I was by myself. As a parent I know that finding time for solitude and being alone may be challenging sometimes, but it’s so so important that we spend time with ourselves. Many of us carry opinions and likes/dislikes of certain things that we inherited from our caregivers/family members, not even realizing that you yourself don’t even feel that way. In order to see what you truly feel and who you really are, you have to consistently spend time with yourself, by yourself. This may look like taking yourself on a walk, taking yourself to lunch or dinner, taking yourself to the movies, learning to meditate to spend time with yourself, taking solo trips, etc. I know that some people are terrified of doing things alone or just being alone in general, but baby let me tell you: The more you explore yourself, the better you’ll help other people explore you. The first time I took myself to the movies was in 2010. I went to see Eat, Pray, Love while I was living in Memphis. Before going to the movies I filled up an empty bottle of water with wine , had a bag of chips and gummy worms, stuffed them all in my purse and off I went! It was 1 of the most fun times I had had that year, and I was 100% by myself. I laughed. I cried. I enjoyed! During that time I learned that going to the movies wasn’t as intimidating as I had previously thought, and that dang, this is actually fun! Other movies I’ve seen by myself are:
–Bridesmaids (when I was living in Milwaukee)
–Fifty Shades of Grey (when I was living in LA)
It’s been forever since I’ve done to the movies alone, but I will take myself out to lunch in a heartbeat present day! Since going to the movies for the first time alone, I’ve also traveled solo, taken myself to lunch and dinner alone countless times, gone to events, fashion shows or wherever all by myself. Doing things like this solo also builds confidence. It teaches you that you truly don’t need anyone else but you to have a good time, and that while hanging with other people is fantastic, hanging out by yourself is pretty dope too.
(Okay I promise all 40 things won’t be long like this. Some will be short )
2. Speaking of travel, as someone who’s done A LOT of traveling in my life, may I suggest that you pack a small extension cord with you when you go on trips. Hear me out: when you get to your hotel/airbnb/friend’s/grandma’s house, you never know how far the electrical outlets are gonna be from your bed/couch/wherever you’re sitting. You know they make phone chargers shorter than Michael Jordan’s hair, so having an extension cord handy will help remedy the problem of you trying to charge your phone and still be further than 2 feet away from your charging device. Extension cords are also good for when you have to use other things like hair dryers, curling irons, Bluetooth speakers, etc, or if you have lots of things you need to charge that need to be close to you. (Laptops/iPads). The dollar tree, Walmart, target all have small ones that you can get for cheap and keep on standby for trips.
3. Sometimes when we are feeling physically ill, it is a result of unprocessed or chaotic emotions that we have not yet dealt with. I‘m sure we’ve all been there: so nervous you can’t eat. Nauseated because you’re sad, depressed, or anxious. Our feelings and our bodies go hand-in-hand always. Because we live in such a fast-paced society, sometimes we experience major things that have an effect on us, and don’t make time to actually process the feelings of what happened.
We just work and work or distract ourselves with things and not actually deal with our feelings about it. Well those feelings end up getting stored in your body…until you face your feelings. An example of this would be constipation. When you’re constipated, your body is literally holding on to a bunch of shit that it cannot push out, because your body is storing unprocessed feelings you have previously ignored or weren’t aware of. Anytime something is feeling “off” in your body, examine what you got going on in your world. How are you feeling? How is your mental? Are your thoughts negatively impacting you? Our bodies have an amazing way of telling us when something is “off” or unbalanced, and this can come in the form of headaches, panic attacks, constipation, nausea, stomachaches, back pain, etc. We can literally make ourselves sick by not processing our emotions. Our bodies are telling us to examine our minds (and overall lifestyle), and get in tune with our thoughts and feelings.This looks like letting yourself grieve a loss (crying as much as you possibly can, going in solitude to pray, journal,) perhaps talking to a trusted person or therapy, and feeling the feelings. Like I tell my kids: we are not robots, and we are here to experience every emotion fully, and then learn to move past the feelings to get to a place of balance.
4. Proof of desire is in the pursuit. This pertains to anything. If you desire something, whether it’s a person, job, goal, or whatever, your actions will always prove how much you desire said thing. We can all say we want_________. But what we are actually doing to pursue it?
The proof of what we want is always in what we DO, not what we say.
5. In order to do things right, you must first do things wrong sometimes. One of the 2 most powerful feelings and energies that exist are love and fear. So many of us let fear drive us. It prevents us from trying new things, it makes us doubt ourselves, it makes us terrified of making “mistakes”. Some of this fear comes from our childhood where we were severely scolded for making mistakes and our parents expected us to be perfect. Of course we all know that nobody is perfect, but trying to shoot for “perfection” in whatever you’re doing is crippling you. You have to give yourself grace and know that you are not going to get everything right. You are going to make mistakes. You are going to be bad at some new things you try at first, but this shouldn’t discourage you from continuing to try. As we continue to live we are gonna keep making mistakes. We are gonna make the wrong decisions. However, the more you continue to try new things, try new hobbies or whatever, and put yourself out there, the more you build your self-esteem and confidence, and eventually, you’ll start figuring out what works and what you can do ”right”.
A quick example of this would be: kissing a few frogs before finding Mr. or Mrs. Right, or learning how to cook and burning up a few meals before making a delicious dinner for the first time. You gotta get some things wrong first before you get some things right.
6. Love is a verb. You can say you love someone all day but what are you doing to actually show them you love them? Again, words are words, but baby those ACTIONS are always gonna prove just how much you love (or don’t love) someone or something. Are you showing up for the people you say you love? Are you making them feel seen and heard? Do you give them space to be themselves? Are your actions further proving your love to them?
One of my favorite quotes is: “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say”. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
7. Apologize when you are wrong. Sounds simple enough right? Then how come many of us can’t do it? Being able to hold yourself accountable for your actions is a superpower. It shows you can be vulnerable, you’re self-aware, and that you can stand in the fire of your mistake. If you have children and you did something to them that warrants an apology, apologize to your children too. I find myself having to apologize to my children more times than I’d like to admit. This just shows them that I too, am actually a flawed human being just like them. I don’t do everything right. I lose my cool unnecessarily so sometimes, and guess what, they need to hear it. Example: the other day I was frustrated at something, and Zé kept calling my name from the other room. I snapped at her “Whaaaaat!?” (Even though she wasn’t the cause of my frustration). I immediately was like dang that came out way too harsh. I then walked into the living room where she was (who was looking at me like what’s your problem Mama dang!?) and said “I’m sorry for snapping at you like that. I was projecting my frustrations onto you. Can we do a re-do?”
Sidenote: my kids and I talk about projections and our feelings often lol. They will ask me or each other, “are you projecting right now?” My favorite thing is to ask them can we try again where I’m using a different tone or response, and it almost always helps bring us back to balance. Showing your kids or anyone that you can take a step back, look at your error and try to make it right shows great strength, and also takes practice. When you model being able to apologize to your kids, they grow up to be adults who can apologize too.
8. When you have a good dining experience at a restaurant, be sure to not only tip your server, but also tip the chef. The chefs be in the kitchen sweating, moving fast and working hard to make your food taste amazing, and they should be shown the same love that a good server gives you. My favorite thing to do is to pay the bill, tip the server, then add extra for the cook and say “Compliments to the chef please. They showed out on my meal today.”
Also, good tippers are always remembered.
9. A good rug and some good curtains will take any room from just okay to yassssss. When you’re decorating your place and you don’t know where to start or don’t have extra funds to really do it up like you want, you can always start with investing in a good rug and some nice curtains for your windows.Those 2 things pull a room together will real quick and also makes larger spaces feel more cozy.
10. I mentioned yesterday that I’ve lived in 15 different cities and 3 countries in my almost 40 years of life. What I’ve learned from moving around so much is that ”home” is really wherever you have peace in your heart. Your external environment could be a beautiful tropical oasis, but if you don’t have peace in your heart you won’t feel comforted being at home in this paradise. In order to truly feel “at home”, you have to know that your peace, happiness and tranquility begins inside. When you have peace in your heart you can make any place a home.
11. Dye your hair that color you’ve always been wanting to try. You only live once.
12. And then get that tattoo you’ve always wanted to get. Life is short. Decorate your body if you want. The way I see it, we are the ones that have to look at ourselves everyday in the mirror. If you want to add a little razzle dazzle to it then do it! You have my permission.
13. You can learn anything on YouTube. I’ve learned how to do SO many things from watching YouTube videos. I’ve learned how to braid my hair, fix broken electronic devices, put together my kids’ toys and more.
An unexpected thing I learned was how to light a water heater.
You know how in the States you have gas in your house and you pay the bill every month? Well in Mexico in order to have gas, a gas truck has to bring it your home, locate then load your gas tank
Until it’s full or with whatever amount you’re willing to pay, then they leave. You keep the gas until it runs out, (maybe a month or 3 weeks) then the truck comes and loads it again. Crazy right!? Well we didn’t know this when we first moved to Mexico. So imagine waking up and then the gas is off. (No gas also means no hot water! ) We ended up finding out that the traditional method to get gas in Mexico was what I just explained. So we called the gas company to bring us some more gas. They loaded us up, then they left. When I went to turn the stove on though, it wouldn’t cut on. I then learned that oh, when the gas runs out the water heater is off. I then had to go find where the water heater was at our house, and figure out how to cut it on. While I was scared as hell that I’d set myself or the house on fire, thanks to YouTube, I now know how to light a water heater to cut the gas back on.
14. It’s okay to say “no” without giving a drawn out explanation as to why you said no. You don’t have to over explain yourself, concoct a story, or bargain with anyone. Just a simple “No” or “no thank you” will suffice.
15. It’s only a joke if we’re both laughing.
Beware of people throwing shade in the form of jokes. If it’s truly a joke then both parties should find it funny. Jokes disguised as shade or hating come from people that aren’t really your people.
16. Sometimes you have to live who you weren’t to learn who you are.
Life is a journey of self-exploration. Who we were at 20 might not be who we are at 30, 40, 50, etc. But in order to come to these conclusions, we have to experience life in its totality, with all of the hardships, devastations and disappointments that come with it to fully realize who we actually are.
An example of this would be people who have lived their lives a certain way for a long time only to realize that their old way of living was not making them happy, and that that was not who they actually were. They may have been playing a role to please their parents, their partners, family members or whomever, but over time they realize that that person was not being true to their authentic self.
I follow an Asian Financial guy on YouTube name Charlie Chang who tells the story of how his parents wanted him to become a doctor his whole life. He went to college to study medicine with the intent to become a doctor. He applied to countless medical schools, only to get rejected by every last one of them. He knew deep down that going to medical school wasn’t something he wanted to do anyway, so he began trying all kinds of things to make money, found his niche, and is now wildly successful doing things that not only interest him, but has made him a millionaire several times over.
Sometimes you have to live who you weren’t to learn who you are.
17. Praise your children often.
The world is going to criticize them enough whenever they leave your house in the form of mean people, wannabe bullies, harsh speaking adults, and whoever else. The world can’t wait to tell us (especially us black and brown folks) that we aren’t good enough or lacking in some way, so It is our job as parents to continually speak life into our children so that they can go out in the world feeling self-assured, confident, and seen.
The voice in a child’s head is often the voice of their parents. They grow up with this voice and sometimes carry it with them forever, so make sure that the voice that they are hearing is that of praise, abundance, and love.
18. Sometimes a good playlist, a bottle of wine (or some maryjane hehe) is all the medicine you need after a terrible hard day.
19. You can never have too many:
-pairs of shoes
-socks (they get lost all the damn time)
-hats (hellooooo bad hair days)
-books to read
-perfume bottles (they really become part of the decor)
-period panties (sorry men, I’m just saying )
-cute underwear (men and women )
-fruit to eat
-hair care products
-herbs and vitamins
-bottled water (doesn’t hurt to have extra cases just because…you neverrrr know)
If y’all want to add more feel free! These are just what I thought of off the dome!
20. Where my fellow procrastinators at?! If you can complete a task in under 5 minutes,do it right then. Don’t put it off. This leads to a mile long to-do list and you feeling overwhelmed. If the task will take you longer than 5 minutes, then that can be put off for later, but everything else that can be done in 5 minutes or less, go ahead and get it done then. It’ll save you time, worry and stress. (And this time of year I know many of us have long to-do lists )
21. It. Is. Okay. To. Cry. Y’all. Please cry. Men. Women. Children. We need to cry. Crying is simply a release. When you tell somebody “Don’t Cry!”, you’re telling them “Suppress your feelings!!” When we cry, it is our bodies’ way of bringing us back to a place of balance. If we find ourselves crying out the blue, it’s because we have repressed emotions that need somewhere to go! Cry y’all! Release! Make the ugly faces! Get it all out! Your body is a wonderful instrument and will oftentimes lead you to do what it naturally wants to do. If that includes crying so be it. Let your sons cry without shame. Men you are not robots. You feel things too. Cry it out. Your body and soul will thank you afterwards.
22. It’s okay to have dessert. Don’t feel guilty for letting yourself have some of earth’s greatest treasures. Just don’t eat dessert all day long like my daughter would like to.
23. Being a parent is hard. It’s literally one of the hardest things we’ll ever have to do if we choose to have children. Give yourself grace that you’re not going to be a perfect parent, that you’re gonna make mistakes, that you’ll sometimes want to pull your hair out, that your kids will push you to use every ounce of patience that you could possible muster, that you sometimes want to disappear to small island just so you can have peace and quiet. It’s okay to feel these things. Again, we’re human beings experiencing real emotions. However, being a parent also means being self-aware, and doing everything in your power to manage yourself, before you can even think about trying and manage your kids.
“The sign of successful parenting is MY behavior and how I control it; not my kids’ behavior.”
24. Tell the truth. Even if your voice shakes.
25. Give people their flowers while they are still living. If you have a person or people in your life that is there for you, supports you endlessly, and you know without a doubt has your back, let them know. Tell them how much you appreciate them. Buy them lunch out the blue. Call them and tell them. We always see how after a person passes on how people come out in droves to sing their praises and say how great they were. The people need to know and hear these things while they are still living their day-to-day lives. Words mean a lot, and people need to be shown gratitude just for their existence in your life.
26. Food trucks/Food stands no matter the country, sometimes have far better food than what you would eat at a restaurant. Y’all. I’ve done the research. When you get food from a food truck or food stand (think about the Fair and carnivals to give you an idea), it’s something about them making the food right there, fresh ingredients and piping hot goodness that just trumps some restaurant foods. When I lived in Italy there was a food stand near our house that served hot sausage sandwiches with peppers and YALL. Til this day I haven’t had anything like it!!! It was beyond amazing! And that was 11 years ago!! The tacos are the best from food stands here in Mexico, and I’m sure y’all have had your own experiences with food trucks/food stands to know that the food is almost always fire!! I ordered a vegan hot dog in Dallas at 3 am after the club from a food stand and I’m telling ya! It’s nothing like it.
Support your local food trucks and food stands. People Cooking food outside is always a win.
27. Finding a hobby that you do just for you is incredibly rewarding. Our lives can be so fast-paced and chaotic sometimes. We’re raising children, working jobs, taking care of sick relatives, running errands, etc. Doing all these things can sometimes make us neglect ourselves. It is so so important that we find the time everyday to pour into ourselves. This may look like developing a hobby that fills you up and makes you happy. This could be journaling, cooking, painting or drawing, reading, or doing whatever makes you able to relax and block out the noise from the outside world. Think about what you used to love doing as a kid. Explore that. Do that! Our inner child inside WANTS that. I would especially suggest finding a hobby or trying to learn something new if you’re feeling “stuck” or depressed. If we use our energy to do something that feels fulfilling to us, it does wonders for our mental health.
The next thing I want to learn how to do is knit!
28. Ladies the “butterflies” that you thought he was giving you was just gas. Go lay down.
29. Failure is a manifestation of learning and exploring. If you’ve “failed” at something, that just means you were learning, exploring, and thus gaining experience and wisdom. There are no failures. Ever. Just lessons.
30. When you are rare, don’t let anyone treat you like you’re regular.
31. Speaking of tequila, if you’re going to drink alcohol, and you should do so responsibly, make sure you drink plenty of water before you start to drink, during and after. Drinking water while consuming alcohol helps keep you hydrated and helps you avoid hangovers. Alcohol is extremely dehydrating to your body, so drinking water throughout the day helps keep you nice and hydrated. No more hangovers
32. Flirting is cardio.
33. Kindness goes a long way. Make it a habit of being kind just because. Compliment people. If you see a stranger on the street and she or he looks nice or you like their hair/outfit/whatever, TELL THEM! You never how your kind words makes someone else’s day. If you get on the phone with a customer service representative make it point to be kind. Ask them about their day. Treat them like a human being. If you’ve ever worked in customer service then you know that customers can be down right rude! They will cuss you out, speak crazy to you and do the most! Don’t be that person. Be the person that when the representative hangs up the phone, they have a smile on their face. Life is hard enough as it is. Be kind.
34. There’s no reward for suffering. Leave an unhappy situation and go live ya life. This could be a job, relationship, friendship, situationship or whatever. If you are unhappy and suffering, free yourself. You don’t get a reward for staying somewhere that doesn’t serve you. Life is too short for that!
35. Which leads me to this one: “God will never let you be comfortable in places he never intended for you to stay.”
Read it twice if you have to and move accordingly.
36. Whatever you take for granted will be eventually taken away.
37. Handwritten letters are 1 of the most intimate and memorable forms of communication. When was the last time you wrote a letter or a note to someone? In this day and age where technology leads the way and everything is done digitally, the art of the handwritten letter is becoming extinct! However, the act itself is unforgettable. I’m sure you can remember back in the day whenever someone wrote you a note in school or whenever. You truly never forget! So why aren’t we doing it more!? The written word will always be one of my favorite art forms, because it takes time, is unique to each individual, and is such an intimate way to exchange energy. I have been known to put little love notes on the windshield of the car of my significant other, in his suitcase for him to find when he arrives to his destination, and I love to write thank you notes to whomever whenever necessary. If you’ve ever received a handwritten letter or note I’m sure it brought you such joy! Take the time to actually write letters (instead of emails or text messages) to people you care about. If you’re feeling fancy throw a poem on there too! It will make their whole month!
38. Sometimes the best view comes after the hardest climb. Stay down. Stay vigilant. Even when life is kicking your ass, know that your mindset is what will help carry you through to the other side. Life is hard for all of us. What separates one from the other is how well we keep our mental health in tact as we’re going through it. Pray. Meditate. And hold the vision. You got this!
39. Health is the real wealth. We have got to take care of ourselves y’all. Sickness and death is always lurking around the corner, and while we don’t have total control over our lives, we need to try to do our part to stay here as long as we possibly can. Not only do we want to live long and fruitful lives, but we also want to enjoy ourselves along the way, and it’s incredibly hard to enjoy life when you aren’t feeling well. It’s never too late to get on the path to learning about proper nutrition, movement of our bodies (walking, running, lifting, dancing, yoga, etc), and just feeling good overall. And it’s important to remember that our mental and emotional health is just as important as our physical health. We need each other. And we need each other to be healthy, thriving, and feeling good. Take care of yourselves.
40. Forty!!!! Learn the art of detachment. Having moved around so many times in the last decade, I have met some amazing people, lived in amazing places, and seen incredible things. However, eventually, I’ve had to say goodbye to these things and people. This has taught me in real time that so many things are fleeting. Not much stays the same. People come and go, businesses close down, but life keeps on going. It’s how we adapt to change is where the greatest growth takes place.When we moved to Mexico years ago a few large boxes of ours got lost somewhere along the way in customs. Those boxes had old pictures, clothes and “stuff” in them that I never got the chance to receive. I was pretty devastated at first. However, over time I learned that I could always print out more pictures and replace the clothes. I had become so used to saying goodbye to things and people that I quickly adjusted to the fact that we would never see those boxes again. And thats okay.The beautiful thing about life is that each day brings new opportunities, new memories to make, new places to see, and new experiences to be had. Moving around a lot has taught me that it’s okay to let go of things, because God will always replace what has left with better, or with exactly what I need. This goes for detaching from people over the years that I was no longer aligned with as well. It’s okay to let go.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t hold things close to my heart, because baby if somebody took away my 10 year old sequin Ugg boots I’d be pissed! However, I know that we serve a God of abundance and that He will always provide.
I say this as I lovingly let go of my 30s, of past disappointments and triumphs, and embrace the new. I truly look forward this new era, which is why I don’t fear or abhor getting older! Life is to be lived honey!
Life is good and generous. Always.
Cheers to 40!