The Wisdom of 33

And so, another year of my life has come and gone, but something about this one feels off. Usually, I’m excited to begin a new year, but this time I can only say that I am ready. I have resigned myself to it.

I have hardened my heart for what is to come. Sure, there will be happiness and new experiences, but there will also be more challenges, more disappointment, and more suffering too. It’s funny how the good stuff is never enough to sustain you through the bad. It’s funny how existing gets harder and harder. This is what it means to age.

Thirty-three has been the hardest to handle. My 30s have been great so far, but there have been some strange changes to my body and a sombering of the mind I wasn’t prepared for. I am definitely coming to understand the importance of exercise and eating right, but I’ve learned more than that too. I’ve learned to see the boundary between myself and I’m beginning to understand its purpose. I’m growing wiser, I think, and I thought I would share some things I’ve learned off the top of my head.

  1. You hardly know yourself at all.
  2. Toxic ways of thinking are contagious. Protect yourself.
  3. Some of your problems are your own fault.
  4. Minding your own damn business is self-care.
  5. If someone you don’t like, doesn’t like you, let it go.
  6. Listen when it isn’t your turn to speak. Breathe before you respond.
  7. You could be wrong.
  8. Your feelings are all in your head, and they are 100% real.
  9. A quiet life can be a good life too.
  10. Make things that don’t exist on the internet.
  11. Ask all the questions you need. Deal with the answers you are given.
  12. Yeah, it could be worse, but it could be better too. Figure out how.
  13. Your body is going to fail, be ready.
  14. Relax into your relationships.
  15. Get a dog. Get any pet at all.
  16. Have serious conversations. Explore the heavy stuff with people.
  17. Break the rules every once in a while, unless you’ve already been warned.
  18. People don’t belong to you, and you don’t belong to them.
  19. Schedule your mental health days.
  20. Look up at the moon and stars. Notice when the sun rises and sets.
  21. Share playlists.
  22. Think about death.
  23. Let people know they mean something to you.
  24. It’s never as bad as you think.
  25. It’s never too late.
  26. If it’s important to you, it is important.
  27. Even if you know you will fail, try anyway.
  28. Make a list of all the things you are avoiding, figure out why.
  29. Be honest with yourself, and with others, about your fears.
  30. Keep a journal. Write all the bad stuff out, then write 5 good things.
  31. Protect your focus—and all of your other boundaries—at all costs.
  32. Water your plants. Water yourself.
  33. Let yourself be sad, angry, bored, hungry. Let yourself be.

That’s all I have for today, but it’s more than I had a year ago, five years ago, and 10 years ago I had almost nothing. I hope what I have helps you, or at least reminds you of what you already know. I hope to have gained more wisdom next year. I’ll consider it a personal failure if I don’t.

P.S. My birthday was actually last Friday. I wrote this then but didn’t have the courage to post it until now. It’s hard to share my story sometimes, even when it’s being served up in a simple list post.

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Photo by Lora Mipsum on Unsplash

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