May 22, 2013

36 Things I Have Learned in 36 Years. ~ Mary Grace Peak

Photo: Heidi Lender

I have been living in a state of disbelief that I am 36 years old.

How did it happen? Where did the time go? Am I really an adult now?

I feel like I am 21. And at under five feet tall, I can sneak in with a group of fifth graders on a field trip and pass for a 10-year-old.

It’s not that I’m unhappy with my age or feel “old,” it just seems as though the past three years since I have been pregnant and became a mother have flown by so fast. It’s like someone floored the accelerator on my life and here I am, halfway through my thrilling thirties.

As I pondered the speed at which my life was going, I was inspired to take stock on my life and a list of things I have learned:

So here’s my list of thirty-six things I’ve Learned in 36 Years:

1. Be kind to yourself, always.

2. True love grows everyday.

3. Laugh: at yourself, at your situation, at your kid(s).

4. Hard work does yield rewards, but it can take a really, really, really long time to reap those benefits.

5. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people. You will feel the weight of the world lift from your shoulders.

6. Take a one week vacation every few months.

7. Drinking lots of water is not only good for you, but is a great anxiety reliever and mood lifter.

8. So is red wine.

9. And a good Guiness draught.

10. A deep tissue massage is not a luxury, but a necessity.

11. Find a way to hire a cleaning lady. It’s better to spend free time with family and friends, than scrubbing toilets.

12. Having it all means being happy and totally at peace with your decisions.

13. Parenthood is a humbling experience that kicks you in the ass everyday.

14. This one I stole from Eleanor Roosevelt: “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face…You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

15. Complicated and challenging situations usually work themselves out.

16. Never fight fire with fire. It’s not worth the energy and destruction.

17. Sex is the cure for most anything: anxiety, boredom, whatever.

18. Sometimes I have to sacrifice style for comfort. That means trading 4 inch strappy heels for flip-flops in the summer (sigh).

19. Never tweeze your eyebrows when drunk.

20. Trust your instinct. That little voice inside your head knows what it’s talking about.

21. Choose a profession that makes you happy so that you enjoy waking up in the morning.

22. A smile can disarm someone better than a rude remark. Especially if you’re wearing lip gloss.

23. Beer before liquor really does make you sicker.

24. The best decisions I made are the ones that were least understood by others.

25. Living in Washington D.C. for a few years was awesome but made me appreciate suburban life.

26. Dating is a game of numbers. You have to date a lot of “people that aren’t right for you” before you find the only one that is.

27. If you drive off with the gas nozzle still in your car’s fuel tank, the hose will rip right off the gas pump.

28. Motherhood brought meaning to the phrase “one day at a time.”

29. Read the label. If I can’t pronounce the ingredients, I am not eating it or slathering it on my body.

30. My daughter is my greatest accomplishment.

31. Count your blessings every day.

32. Getting your hair trimmed and colored does wonders for the soul.

33. Coming up with 36 things I have learned is harder than I thought it would be.

34. There are a lot of things I still haven’t figured out.

35. I am excited to see what my late thirties will bring!

36. Looking back on all that I have learned makes me feel proud of my life.

Wow, that took a lot out of me to write! I encourage you to do this exercise. It may take a couple of days, but it is very eye-opening.

Or, you could simply share your top three life lessons in the comments section. I can’t say I do all of these things, all of the time—but at least I have this list as a guide if I lose my way.

A list that will keep growing, just like me.

Wishing you peace, youthfulness and self-awareness!


Mary Grace Peak is a lobbyist by trade, advocating at the Connecticut General Assembly on issues such as women’s reproductive rights, children’s health and education, and growing Connecticut farming and agriculture. She blogs weekly over at ctworkingmoms.com because she enjoys sharing her adventures (or misadventures) as a first-time working mom. She is an avid Bikram Yoga practitioner, because the asana room is the only place in the world where she can focus and relax. Her most challenging endeavor is raising her fearless and independent three year old daughter alongside her loving husband, Matt.

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Asst. Editor: Edith Lazenby/Ed: Bryonie Wise

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