39 things I learned in my 39th year

I know this may land as a surprising sentiment coming from someone who thrives on providing insight and inspiration, support and strategy around some of the most growth-focused topics imaginable, but … sometimes, you need to take some time to just ‘be’.

After a year of heartbreak and hustle, I could feel burnout lurking behind every corner (you too?).

So, I signed myself up for a month of rest and delight … my birthday month.

My actual birthday involved a lot of tears and Princess Cake crafted by the Suns.

The rest of the month involves a handful of deeply nourishing activities. 

Including, one powerful life design practice.

I have a tradition(ish) of spending my birthday month reflecting on where I’ve been and what I’ve learned, before consciously designing where I’m going. Remember this? 

This year was packed with deep grief and growing, profound love and liberation, and life lessons that reflect the beauty and brutality of being human.

Here are 39 things I learned in my 39th year: 

  1. Neither freedom nor joy can be sustained without relentless compassion.
  1. Healing  – of ourselves, others, and the world – happens in Right Relationship.
  1. When we can be ourselves and be with each other, we are in Right Relationship.  
  1. We were all born worthy.
  1. The willingness to change is the willingness to live.
  1. True love is experienced when we can witness others, as they change, without judgement.
  1. We all have a place. We all belong.
  1. The good things we do don’t make us good people. The bad things we do don’t make us bad people. We are people. We make good choices or bad choices and often choices that are a blend of both.
  1. We are all capable of committing harm.
  1. We are all capable of giving love.
  1. We are capable of healing.
  1. We can all learn how to give more love and more healing and commit less harm.
  1. People in therapy are often in therapy to deal with people who aren’t in therapy. Don’t be that person – go to therapy.
  1. The quality of our lives, relationships, careers, parenting and well-being cannot exceed the level of personal development we have attained.
  1. When we heal, our world heals. When we grow, our world grows.
  1. Control is the antithesis of love.
  1. We cannot live a pain-free existence, but we can alchemize what’s hard into what’s good.
  1. Love is a verb. It exists when we have good intentions to cherish ourselves and each other and we align our actions with our intentions.
  1. We are all works in progress.
  1. It’s easier to grow together, when you grow together.
  1. We repeat what we don’t repair.
  1. Discomfort is inseparable from growth.
  1. We can strengthen our capacity to find comfort in discomfort.
  1. What we tell ourselves about our past hurts, betrayals, wounds, traumas, and disappointments will strengthen what we love or what we fear.
  1. At times, we all do things that undermine our best interest, strongest desires, and truest intentions. Even the most savvy and sophisticated people get in their own way (often without realizing it).
  1. We can own our scars and strength in a way that allows us to reclaim our worth, speak our truth, and hold onto our power.
  1. It takes a lot of surrender, self-trust and resilience to be human these days.
  1. Life is complex, there’s always much more going on than we can possibly comprehend, and we can’t know what we don’t know.
  1. Life is long. We don’t have to master it all right now.
  1. Some loss just doesn’t make sense.
  1. We are all here for an undetermined period of time (the fact humanity exists at all is a damn miracle, beyond what I can rationalize when I really think about it).

Mortality, while brutal, is also beautiful (we probably wouldn’t figure out what matters most if our time wasn’t limited).

  1. Time is precious (don’t waste it judging or criticizing, holding grudges or gossiping, being hard on yourself or hateful to others, don’t hang on to what burdens you or holds others down).
  1. Make the most out of what’s left of life (be conscious about your values and act in alignment with them, live each year as though it’s your last, lift yourself up and help others rise).
  1. Life is better when there’s less scheduling and more flowing, less gripping and more letting go, less desperation to know and more openness to wonder.
  1. We never know what we are capable of, all we can do is give it a shot.
  1. What we fear and don’t face, will follow us forever. 
  1. When we go within, we’ll find the freedom and answers we seek.
  1. We can’t avoid the mess of life, but we can live it and love it as best you can.
  1. Possibly, the most important thing in life is how we remember living it.

Forever in your corner.
Celebrating you.