Next week, while we’re in South Africa, I’ll be turning 34. It’s hard for me to believe I’m not 17 or even 25 any more. But it’s true.
As I’ve been reflecting on this past year, I was thinking about what I’ve learned as a 33-year-old and areas I’ve grown in. Here are three important things I’ve learned and/or really grown in this past year:
#1: It’s Okay If It’s Not Perfect
This might seem like I’m stating the obvious. But here’s the truth: I chased after perfect for a very long time. I wanted to be organized, exact, detailed, thorough, on time, and just plain together.
I’m not saying that it’s wrong to pursue excellence, because it’s not. But this past year, I’ve really embraced that life is often messy. That things don’t always go as planned. That people are okay with me not having my act together.
And it’s been really freeing.
For instance, I had to get my driver’s license renewed last week because it was expiring on my birthday. The last time I’d gotten a new license (10 years ago?), I had painstakingly agonized over getting my signature as perfect as I possibly could using that clunky pen and touchscreen you have to write on.
This time around, I signed my name and pressed enter without even so much as a second thought. When they handed me my temporary license, I instantly noticed how messy my signature looked compared to my last driver’s license.
To me, that messy signature was a visible reminder of how much more relaxed I am about life and how much less I’m stressing about getting things “just right” these days.
#2: The Best Friends Are Those Who Cheerlead AND Challenge You
This past year, I’ve come to really appreciate the beauty of life-giving relationships — the kind where it’s a two-way street and there’s abundant give and take. I’ve intentionally worked at investing in relationships with people who not only love me for exactly who I am, but who challenge me to be the best version of myself that I can be.
I don’t want relationships where I’m being coddled. You know, the kind where people are only saying quiet affirmations, telling me how amazing I am, and generally just stroking my ego.
Nope, I don’t want that at all. Yes, sometimes it feels nice, but it’s unhealthy and it does nothing to spur me on to grow as a person.
Instead, I want to surround myself with people who will not only be my cheerleaders, but who will also have the courage to speak truth to me when I need to hear it.
This weekend, one of my friends called me out on something I said on my makeup tutorial on Periscope. I had said that my face without makeup on is “SCARY”. She challenged me to consider what kind of messaging I was speaking to myself and about myself.
Her words really impacted me and I was so grateful that she had the courage to speak words of truth that I needed to hear.
#3. You Aren’t Going to Please Everyone
You just aren’t. And as a 33-year-old, I’ve gotten really secure in this.
I sometimes forget, but for the most part, I’m really and truly okay with disappointing some people. Because it’s just a fact of life: you can’t please everyone all the time. But you can sure exhaust yourself trying.
This past year, I’ve grown more confident in who I am and who I’m not. I’ve grown confident in who I’m called to serve and inspire and who I’m not. I’ve gotten much better at saying “no” and at walking away from opportunities that weren’t a fit for my gifts or season of life.
I’ve also become a lot more content. There’s a lot of talk about “hustle” and “growth” as online entrepreneurs, and while I don’t want to become stagnant as a person, I’ve become really okay with no longer feeling the need to chase — after fame, after numbers, after opportunities, after more.
Because of these things, when someone tells me something they are disappointed in (that I don’t have this option on my site, that I’m not attending that conference, or that I blog or don’t blog a certain way), it doesn’t bother me like it once did.
Just two weeks ago, I got three lengthy emails in the space of a week outlining why these three different individuals didn’t find my blog helpful. I had Jesse read these emails and we talked about them.
We looked to see if there was truth or wisdom in them that I needed to learn from. And ultimately, we decided that what these readers are looking for is not what I’m offering here. There are many people offering what they are looking for and I’m happy to point them in the direction of someone else who can better meet their needs.
But instead of being all hurt or bothered that I was disappointing these people, I realized that I have to focus on doing what I’m gifted at and what I’m passionate about. In doing so, I will bless and encourage those people who need to hear the message I have to share.
P.S. Watch my 3 Important Things I Learned When I Was 33 video here.
Would You Do Me a Birthday Favor?
If you’re usually a quiet reader here, I’d LOVE it if you “de-lurked” this week and either left a comment on this post introducing yourself or sent me an email introducing yourself.
Hearing from my readers is one of my favorite things, so if you have a moment, I’d love to hear a little about you — where you’re from, how long you’ve been reading here, and anything else about you/your family that you’d like to share. Thanks SO much!
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