33 Lessons Learned on my 33rd Birthday

Today is my 33rd birthday and I wanted to share with you 33 lessons, observations, and truths I’ve learned along the road.

  1. Your parents will fail you in some ways. This is because they’re human. You must learn to find the different types of support you need from the people and places who can provide it. This will sometimes be your parents, and it will sometimes involve actively leaving your parents out of it.
  2. Scary things are only scary because they’re outside your comfort zone. Your comfort zone always has room to expand if you just find the courage to press against its walls and stretch them out.
  3. On that note: Overwhelmingly huge goals can seem quite manageable when broken down into small steps. You should take one small step toward something that’s important to you every day.
  4. Life without carbs is not very much fun!
  5. You should not take the advice of someone who doesn’t share your values relevant to the issue at hand.
  6. Set your alarm clock 5 minutes earlier than the time you think you’ll need to get up.
  7. Clothes that must be ironed are essentially disposable. Ironing boards are purely for extra shelf space.
  8. Trust your intuition. It knows what’s best for you, even if it’s not what you want to hear.
  9. Do not give up what you want most for what you want right now.
  10. A grateful,  positive attitude goes a long way.
  11. Pay yourself first and save a little more than you think you can manage (you’ll surprise yourself and manage it just fine). And don’t wait until you’ve paid off every penny of debt you ever incur to start saving. You’ll never save anything that way.
  12. On haircuts: Call me boring, but stick with what you know works.
  13. The way your body looks does not actually matter all that much.
  14. Read everything before you sign. Don’t sign something you don’t understand.
  15. Not everyone is going to like you, and in general you won’t like the people who don’t like you. This is not a problem, it’s a natural screening system to help you find Your People.
  16. Having a practical skill or two will save you many dollars. Learn to change your own car oil, cook a great meal, hem your own pants & skirts, do your own web design, or SOMETHING.
  17. Travel. It will enrich your life in ways you cannot imagine.
  18. If you can’t afford actual travel, read a book and you can be in far away lands in mere moments. Bonus points if you can read in the sun, or on a beach.
  19. Friends are the most precious resource you’ll ever have in life.
  20. Puppies are the cure for EVERYTHING.
  21. Your job doesn’t need to be your life’s passion. (But it needs to not actively make you miserable. That is toxic.)
  22. If a person’s words are out of sync with their actions, pay attention to their actions.
  23. Don’t grind your teeth.
  24. You will not always agree with the decisions of others. If it doesn’t actively affect you, stay the hell out of it. Live and let live.
  25. Most of the obstacles you present as reasons to lose your shit because you’ll never achieve your dreams are completely surmountable. (Not that I had a recent temper tantrum worthy of an overtired toddler because I kept spraining my ankle and would NEVER! HIKE! AGAIN! When all I needed was an ankle brace. That would never happen)
  26. 4:59pm on Friday is the best moment of the week.
  27. Keeping an old car that’s fully paid off is a good financial decision, until it reaches that point that it becomes a money drain due to repairs. At that point, get rid of that sucker ASAP.
  28. You will hurt people if you reject them, and you will hurt them even more if you try to soften the blow by giving them hope that things will work out when you know they won’t. Sometimes it’s cruel to be kind. Just be respectful but blunt and tell them it’s over.
  29. A walk in nature will connect you back to yourself if you feel out of sorts.
  30. Life is a constant game of trade-offs.
  31. The sexy 4 inch heels that you can barely walk in and pinch your feet will never see the light of day. BAD IDEA. ABORT MISSION.
  32. It will make you feel really old to know that kids who were in kindergarten when you were in college are now in college. Despite this…
  33. 33 is not old. I’m not really sure how it happened that I became a 33-year old person. I swear I was just in high school, and then I blinked and I was here.

8 thoughts on “33 Lessons Learned on my 33rd Birthday

  1. Suburban Sweetheart

    “Set your alarm clock 5 minutes earlier than the time you think you’ll need to get up” made me laugh because I literally set mine for two HOURS before I need to be up. That’s how much I hit the snooze button. YES, IT’S A PROBLEM.

    Also, happy birthday! 🙂

    1. A Little Coffee Post author

      I feel like there are two schools of thought on the alarm snooze function, and I am firmly in the camp of SNOOZE IS EVIL. I’d rather have that time for uninterrupted, actual sleep than sleep where I have to roll over and shut off the stupid loud noise every 10 minutes. So when my alarm goes off, I know this is going to sound radical, but…. I just get up. It sucks but then the worst part is over! What I meant is that if I think I’m going to take 1 hour to get out the door, I give myself 1 hour and 5 minutes because I always manage to find 5 minutes’ worth of stuff to make me late.

      1. Julia

        Totally agree! My husband sets two alarms each morning and then snoozes each of them about 5 times. It drives me insane. All you’re doing is cutting into your quality sleep with obnoxious beeping. Thank god when I work, I am not in the same city as him or it would really irk me! I figure the alarm goes up, turn it off, take a second and get your butt up. Even with some 3am and 4am wake up calls, its like you said, the first act of getting up is the worst part and then its over!

  2. Shannon

    My 33rd birthday is tomorrow. I’m excited, because 33 is not old to me. I am not afraid of age. I like what you have here!! My favorite car ever died 2 days ago, so I bought a new one yesterday. Terrible day because I was not expecting the financial responsibility of a car payment again, however at least it looks good and works. No more spending $ on repairs. Trying to not let that get to me and just enjoy the last minutes of being 32. Hopefully the sun tomorrow will bring lots of good things and hopefully some stuffed french toast. Because carbs are essential the older you get 🙂


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