And Counting! 32 Life Lessons on my 32nd Birthday

Today I turn thirty two. That sounds pretty darn tooting good, doesn’t it? I want to make this occasion with a short blog post. Here I am at thirty two. Just past evening last night (or today, I guess), Zsolt asked me about my sixteenth birthday. What was it like? he asked. For the life of me, I can’t exactly distinguish it from my seventeenth birthday. All I know for sure was that I had watched The Sound of Music too many times and had this picture of sweet sixteen involving dancing around a gazebo on a moonlit night singing “I am sixteen going on seventeen.”

32 years old birthday

One thing for sure, I feel more sure of my self sixteen years later after having turned sixteen. My self-confidence isn’t perfect, but somehow, through some miracle of life, I’ve managed to connect myself with the very best of people who are fantastic and supportive and such good friends (which includes my family). When I walk down the street in my bright red trousers, thick pink glasses, rainbow hat and polka dot jacket, I feel beautiful. (Sixteen year old Catherine would have never left the bedroom, let alone the house, in that outfit.) And I have a more secure sense of myself.  Okay, I’m still a bit of a drifter, but at least I know what I like and don’t like in a very clear way.

Okay, it’s 6 AM when I am writing this, but here goes nothing. For my 32nd birthday, here’s a list of 32 things I’ve learned over the years. Damn, this is going to be a long list!

1. Good people are worth investing in, and they’ll invest in you too.

2. Walking down the street in red trousers with pink glasses, a rainbow hat and a polka jacket is the best way to dress.

3. When it comes to Love, don’t settle. Love is far too important to settle.

4. The best way to become anything is to start by admitting it aloud. For example: I am a writer. I am also an entrepreneur.

5. Birthday are always better with cake and a loud round of Happy Birthday.

6. The outside often reflects the inside. To feel better, clean something.

7. If you expect to work with amazing people, you will end up working with amazing people. Like love, this is an area where it’s not worth settling.

8. 6 AM is not a good time to wake up and make a list.

9. School is great, but travel and adventures are better.

10. Hollandaise sauce is really easy to make – use a double boiler, but don’t leave the top pot directly on the steam. I hold with a mitt and lift to control the temperature.

11. Everyone is normal in their unique way.

12. Successful people are great people. There’s no use in being intimidated or thinking they see themselves as better. They are hard working and have tapped their talent. Better to learn from them than be insecure.

13. Assholes aren’t worth more time than it takes to read this sentence.

14. Holy hotdog, am I seriously only on number 14? Okay, I have learned not to make a list at 6:15 Am.

15. The best way to travel is by boat – big, luxury boats. It’s beyond first class.

16. Everything is easier the fifth time you do it. Keep going.

17. Say hello and smile.

18. Even hot guys can be nice guys. I’m thinking of my husband here, who was a jock and who I would have never gone near when I was sixteen because he is far too good looking.

19. Being invisible can have its advantages, but damn, it feels good to be seen.

20. Life won’t unfold as expected, but fuck that – chase after your dreams. Even if the road to realization doesn’t go as planned, you can make it there nevertheless.

21. Sometimes it is useful to know that we are a tiny spec of life in this infinite expanse of space, and when you zoom away from Earth we literally disappear into the nothing because there is so much out there. I’m not saying we are not important, I’m just saying that when life feels unfair, it is good to remember the vastness of what is out there – and how “unfair” probably isn’t a concept in space.

22. Everything you experience will leave an impression.

23. I should really be in bed right now.

24. Things can and will get hard. But not always. And often times they get better. It’s a bit of a cycle.

25. Once that really big thing happens to you in life, you can never go back to the way you were before. It’s like #22, but a thousands times that. It’s okay to cry for the loss.

26. Some people will find you intimidating.That is both reasonable and bizzare, but maybe it means you are doing something right? I don’t know. Check back with me when I am forty and making another damn long list.

27. Hope is important.

28. Paprika – it’s an under appreciated spice, but so totally worth your while.

29. If a guy ever wants to “save you,” run in the other direction. (Unless you are hanging on the ledge of a cliff or something similar. I am more talking about that desire to fix what is not broken)

30. Feminism is good. There are many things that are good – Feminism is one of them. (I realized I was a feminist around the age 16 or 17, and it surprised me.)

31. When you wear glasses, people assume you are smart. If you stand straight, people will assume you are confident. If you smile, people will assume that you are kind. There is a trend here.

32. Every birthday matters.

Bonus Lesson:

You can always go back to bed. 🙂 I will see you later.