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Happy Birthday: 39 Incredible Life Lessons Learned Before 40

“Bro. That must have been a heavy sock.”

It is official. Today, I turned 39, and the milestone of turning 40 is approaching. This realization caused me to reflect upon a recent conversation.

Friend: Are you going to the gym?

Me: No, I strained my back pretty bad.

Friend: What happened?

Me: I reached down to pick up a sock.

Friend: That must have been a heavy sock.

Me: (Hangs up)

At this moment, I discovered an essential lesson about stretching and socks. I also wondered how honest I should be with my friends moving forward.

In the spirit of turning 39, let us delve into the 39 lessons learned while navigating this incredible thing we call life.

1. Embrace self-care: Prioritize your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Taking shortcuts might be easier, but it can also make the easy things harder. (Like picking up socks)

2. Cherish REAL relationships: Nurture old and new connections that bring unconditional kindness, laughs, and memories that make you smile. Whether watching Paw Patrol with our tiny superhero, listening to records with wifey, or going to the bookstore with my parents, REAL relationships are everything.

3. Pursue your purpose passionately: Explore what gets you excited and determined. Once you figure out what that is, make time for it. No excuses. (Speak4MC)

4. Love: True love sets your soul on fire. Give it everything you have.

5. Learn to ignore: Prioritize your time and energy by setting healthy boundaries. It is okay to ignore certain people and ideas. The only thing you can’t get back is time wasted.

6. Practice gratitude: Recognize the beauty in the little things and be thankful for what you have. You are the first and last voice you will ever hear. Ensure that your internal voice understands the beauty that surrounds you.

7. Travel: Discover the world, broaden your horizons, and immerse yourself in different cultures. Go to a town, city, or state that will challenge your preconceptions. Talk to a stranger. (as long as the situation is appropriate).

8. Seek change: Adaptability is the key to personal and professional growth and success. Change is happening regardless of how much you might resist it. Be the change.

9. Don't fear failure: Failure gives you a gift that no other experience will: The advantage of seeing who you are and who you will become.

10. Learn to put the water down: Holding onto grudges weighs you down; forgiveness sets you free. The longer you hold on to a negative feeling, the heavier it becomes.

11. Laugh often: If you aren't laughing, you're missing the joke.

12. Invest in self-education: Continually learn and evolve. Apps like Elevate & Babbel help train your brain, challenge what you know, and push your limits to learn. The results are highly gratifying.

13. Embrace your emotions: Trust your gut instinct when making decisions. No matter how logical your thinking is, the emotional part of your brain gets the final say. Understand what you are feeling and trust yourself.

14. Embrace empathy: It's through exposure to new perspectives that our perspective changes. Empathy is a superpower, and you can shape the world.

15. Take time to self-reflect: I am reading a phenomenal book on choices vs. outcomes called “Thinking in Bets.” Highly recommend.

16. Seize opportunities: Don't let fear hold you back; take risks and pursue your dreams. Every opportunity is an opportunity!

17. Be patient: Life is unpredictable; learn to follow the plan and trust the process.

18. Celebrate small victories: Every step forward counts; acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments. We need recognition of achievement. If we don’t see success, we will fool ourselves into believing the goal is impossible.

19. Be kind to yourself: Treat yourself with the compassion only you can.

20. Practice active listening: Give others the gift of an interested ear. Sometimes, the only thing someone needs is to be heard.

21. Find joy in music: Happiness is listening to your favorite song at the perfect time. (I just bought a record player.)

22. Trust your strategy and respect the process: Have faith that everything will work out, but do what you can to ensure it does.

23. Embrace alone time: Spend time alone to reflect, recharge, and reconnect with yourself. If your cup is full, nothing else can go in.

24. Let go of toxic relationships: Refuse to give energy to people who pay no attention when they drain it.

25. Live through your values: Be true to yourself and your values. No one respects a hypocrite.

26. Be resilient: The person you are during adversity is you in your purest form.

27. Practice humility: You will be wrong. Handle it well.

28. Take care of your body: Exercise, eat well, and get enough sleep. No excuses.

29. Embrace our diverse world: Appreciate and learn from different perspectives. Just because someone doesn’t look or think like you doesn’t mean they can’t/won't like you.

30. Celebrate your friends: Cheer for your friends and help others be successful.

31. Practice public speaking: There are few better feelings than crushing a presentation or speech. Prepare to be great.

32. Value kindness: Whether it is a stranger holding the door or a text from a family member, appreciate and celebrate the moments of unconditional kindness.

33. Learn not to know: Sometimes, trying to make sense of people's choices can be maddening. Sometimes, you have to move on, not knowing.

34. Prioritize your mental health: Seek help and support when needed. Strength is acknowledging your exhaustion. Weakness is pretending you can do it alone.

35. Embrace your tiny place in the universe: The world will spin with or without you. Please focus on the efforts you can make to improve it.

36. Learn to appreciate conflict (when it pushes you forward): Set boundaries but never create barriers to solutions. Conflict has benefits if you dare to navigate it with purpose.

37. Cultivate a culture: Whether at work or in your household, cultivate a culture you are proud of.

38. Live for today before tomorrow comes: Let go of what kept you in yesterday. Today is waiting.

39. Prove them wrong: No, seriously, it's time. Go.


*Statements on this blog reflect the author's personal opinions and do not represent any other person, company, or organization. The purpose of this blog is general knowledge and to bring awareness to tools, techniques, people, and organizations that bring about positive change. The reader is strongly encouraged to perform independent research about the topics discussed.

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