The first birthday memory I have is an image of a white frosted cake with little plastic smiley face picks stuck on the top of it and vague images of my parents and grandparents standing around me, singing out their “Happy Birthdays” with grinning faces. My mom tells me I was only 3 years old, but it was my first taste of the joy of being celebrated by the people I love who were genuinely glad I was born. And thus began my love for birthdays (and possibly my love of parties!). Tomorrow will be my 45th year to have cake and be celebrated by the people who know me best and still choose to love me in spite of my many imperfections. I’m guaranteed to be spoiled, once again, and I know this because it has already started this week. I looked out the window a couple nights ago to see my husband hanging a tree swing for me because I had mentioned that I liked them one day, in passing. One of the best ways he loves me is by paying close attention. It’s not a huge deal to some, but I had recently been reminiscing about the tree swing my dad made for us when I was really young, and seeing Dave through the window, risking life and limb to make this happen was true love for sure.
On any given day, I still have to stop and remind myself that, yes, I’ve lived a lot of years now, and while I may feel like I’m still 20 or 21 years old, I’m actually now the mom of a 20 and 21 year old, along with two more kids and a husband to take care of as well! I can’t begin to understand the science behind the speed of life, but somewhere along the way, as I gained a few age spots and wrinkles, I also gained some understanding and perspective that my 21-year-old self had no knowledge of at the time. Five years ago, I shared these 40 Life Lessons I had learned, and today, I’m sharing 5 more, because, as many of you know, I just wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t!
41. Life doesn’t always look like we expect it to, and that’s okay. In the past 5 years since I last shared my life lessons, I think more things changed than in any other time period of my life! I’m talking crazy, huge things that changed our course forever, as many of you have watched. But, God has been reminding me through all of that that He is the One that directs my path. He knows better than I do, and I can trust Him with every detail.
42. Lower expectations lead to higher levels of happiness. This may sound self-sacrificial at first, and totally against the popular culture that tells us we’re worth it and we deserve more… and that’s because it is. I’m still working on this, as I will be the first to admit. But I’ve learned this: entitlement just enslaves us. Some of the happiest people you will ever meet are those who don’t expect their blessings. Especially in relationships, when we focus more on loving people instead of all the ways we expect them to love us back, we win every time.
43. Give without remembering and receive without forgetting. Be generous when you give and even more generous with your thanks when someone gives to you.
44. Life is too short to major on the minor. This has been a huge one for me in the past few years. People are more important than preferences, so learn to let things go faster, speak a little softer, love a little harder, and laugh a little longer. Only the things that will matter for eternity are the things that should matter to us here.
45. Follow Jesus sooner so you can love Him longer. This is the key. Do not wait on this. There is no person, place, or experience that can give you a life like He can, and it’s only through knowing Christ that we can truly be all we were meant to be.
Whatever age you are, I encourage you to write down your own life lessons you’ve learned. They can be valuable to someone else and a great reminder for you as well! As always, thanks for supporting me and stopping by this blog to connect with me here. This is a fun part of my life and I’m glad to have you all as friends!
P.S. I know you all are thinking you now need a tree swing, and you’re totally right. Too much fun! (Find a great deal on one via my affiliate link HERE.)