Monday, January 26, 2015

30 things I’ve learned in 30 years

I turned 30 yesterday, and thought I'd capture the event with a fun and inspirational blog post.
These might be things I've learned as a child, a teen, or in my 20s. I might have learned them in family life, or by living alone, in married life, or by living overseas. But one thing is sure: they're all things I've learned for myself in the past 30 years of my life!

  1. Books are magical and once you open one, anything is possible.
  2. If you're craving chocolate, don't hesitate to buy a few quality ones. You'll be satisfied much sooner with much less than if you'd bought an equal amount of cheap chocolate, and you'll feel much better, too.
  3. Hymns are precious. Sing them often. Savour their words and hide them in your heart.
  4. Once you learn what makes you happy in life, invest in those things and don't worry about all the rest, the ones other people think will make you happy.
  5. Love people and places, and don't worry about the fact that, in so loving them, your heart may eventually be broken. It is always worth it. Especially if those you spent time loving are children.
  6. 10+ years is too long to live as a foreigner.
  7. Be open and willing to try new things. But, once you've tried something once and know it's not for you, don't be afraid to say so and stick to your own thoughts and ideals if people try to convince you against your will.
    (This goes for everything from food to organizational methods and everything in between.)
  8. Travel. Near and far. Fancy or budget. In car, plane, boat, train, bus, subway, RV. It doesn't matter how or where. Just go. And take your kids with you often. It will be the best education you could ever give them.
    (If you travel in a foreign country, try to use the local language and currency as much as possible, and please research local customs and cultural practices ahead of time and do your best to respect them.)
  9. Find a favourite Bible verse, or chapter, or book of the Bible, or Bible character, or all of the above, or some of all of the above. Reminding yourself of your favourite verse or Bible story when you need to hear it is invaluable.
  10. Learn your love language and tell others around you what it is. And learn theirs, too. The best gift you can give someone is a gift in their own love language.
  11. Always choose quality over quantity. (Thanks for teaching me this, Mum!)
  12. Always bring a book with you on errands or pretty much whenever you leave the house. It will save you from boredom time and time again. (This is for any kid readers out there, although I've found it to be very true in adult life as well.)
  13. Stop using the word "bored" or any derivative of it. If you're bored, find something to do that will keep you from feeling that way. (Thanks Mum and Gram for teaching me this!)
  14. Such a joy and freedom comes from ceasing to watch TV or follow the news. Life becomes so much sweeter and worries fade away.
  15. Learn an instrument. Any one will do. Learn a bunch if you want. And learn how to read music. It is a skill that you will use for the rest of your life.
  16. Camp. Camp in all kinds of places. In absolute wildernesses and in your backyard. Take your kids. Teach them how to be self-sufficient in the wild. And for goodness sake, teach them how to make a fire!
  17. Stop using the word "busy" or any derivative of it. If you're so busy that you feel the need to tell people about that fact all the time, it probably means you need to slow down a bit...
  18. Keep all facets of your life organized. It will be so much sweeter and more joyful if you do.
  19. Listen to the advice of those you love and trust. They only want what's best for you, and often times they know a good deal more than you.
  20. Find a mentor. It could be a family member, someone from your church, a teacher, a neighbour, or someone from a club or group you attend. It's never a bad idea to have more trusted adults in your life to talk things over with.
  21. Spend as much time as you need to choose your future profession. Research careers, do tons of job shadowing, spend a year or two at the start of college doing generals within a lot of different majors. You will not be wasting your time, but rather using it very wisely.
  22. Never hesitate to pause for a good picture. The memories it will bring are precious. But don't get so hung up on taking photos that you forget to enjoy the moment in real life as well.
  23. Sing as a family. Sing melody all in unison. Sing in harmonies. Just sing. Hymns, praise songs, kids songs, silly songs, learning songs, pop songs, songs in other languages. Doesn't matter what kind, when or where. Just sing.
  24. Read as a family. Read a lot. And listen to audiobooks on long car rides and road trips. The memories from reading and hearing those books will last a lifetime. (I highly recommend the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. Hours of quotable quotes and great stories that truly tap into what it's really like to be a kid! The audiobooks recorded by Stockard Channing are amazing.)
  25. Keep some kind of record of your life. Use a diary, journal, blog, photos, a combination or anything else. These records are so precious to look back on months and years later.
  26. Spend time every once in awhile being creative. There are so many different outlets, so many ways to show creativity. Choose one, embrace it, let it embrace you. Move on to another if that one isn't working. Or choose a few methods if you need more than one way to express yourself.
  27. Take time to explore in the woods, play in the rain, stomp in the puddles, build in the sand, swim in the water, climb up the trees, make tracks in the snow, hike up the mountains, and just be out in nature. Time spent this way is never wasted.
  28. Make time for God. It can look completely different for different people, but take some time every day for communion with Him.
  29. Build a community. Get to know those who live near you, who go to your school, who attend your church, or who you meet in any other way. Connecting with others is always beneficial.
  30. Love your life and live it as fully as possible!

Now it's your turn. What are some things you've learned along your life journey so far? I'd love to hear from you and glean nuggets of wisdom from your experiences!

*Idea from this post on Making Room


  1. I love this, Ali! It's a gorgeous list and there is so much wisdom there. Happy birthday!

  2. I learned that you are wiser then me.
    And that I love you more and more.

  3. Now that is a great list! I can always tell that we're related when I read your writing. We have so many things in common! (*_*)

  4. Great post Ali! Each point is awesome! I agree with #21 for the most part, but that is a topic that I have SO many thoughts about that I can't even explain them all. I almost feel like starting a blog about the pros and cons found in the many different educational systems, but I'm not that great at writing/keeping up blogs. I think it's an extremely important thing to spend a lot of time trying to figure out your future profession, but I think there are much more effective ways of doing that (mostly by focusing on actual experience in the field) than taking generals and than the way high schools and colleges are going about it. Anyways, another topic for another time. Thanks for taking the time to write and share this blog post of wisdom!

  5. Nice one! I'll try and keep it up;)