I was going to jot down something quippy like “30 bits of wisdom in 30 years,” but then there were just more things that I was excited about learning. So I have 34 things. I figure that means I learn an average of one thing a year and sometimes two. Perhaps at this rate, when I turn 40, I will be able to boast of having learned eighty things…

In the meantime, here are 34 things I have learned thus far…

1.            Birkenstocks are the best shoes.

You can clean almost anything burnt to the bottom of a pot with baking soda.

2.            When coming in from the cold, the absolute best way to warm cold hands is to hug someone.

3.            The best stories are about people. This is something I learned that relates to writing. You want action and flash, go see a movie. Books are all about getting to know a character.

4.            Most of life is ordinary. Most moments are not life changing or life threatening. This is okay.

5.            Life is process. I could hurry up to reach a goal, but then I would find another goal to reach. And all the time I spend focusing on the next goal is time that I’m missing out on the present moment. Life is process, therefore every moment should be savored and if not savored, experienced.

6.            Most emotional and mental problems will go away, or significantly diminish, if you take care of your body and have good friends. If you also pursue a relationship with God and engage in meaningful work, even more problems will diminish or go away.

7.            Some problems will go away on their own and all you have to do is avoid over-reaction until the problem is gone.

8.           Some problems don’t go away. Some of life is suffering. At the same time, some of life is truly good. All this leads me to understand that contradictory things are often true, and this is okay.

9.            People are beautifully complex and should not be treated carelessly.

10.            Look for the good in people. After all, every person you see is made in the Image of God.

11.            I can be passionate and even angry without being mean and rude.

12.            Being mad at someone is really hard when you’re both holding babies.

13.            No serious conversations after 10:00 pm.

14.            You only get to die on one hill. Choose wisely and don’t fight on all the others.

15.            There is no profit in being unkind. There is never a good reason to be unkind. Even when angry, there is a way to be kind.

16.            You need an average of 15 hugs per day for optimal health.

17.            Silence between people does no equal danger. Silence can be okay. Sometimes, comfortable silence can be a sigh of true intimacy.

18.            Mindfulness. Mindful breathing, mindful eating, mindful body movement, mindful tv watching, mindful para-verbal communication.

19.            Perfection doesn’t exist, therefore, I don’t need to stress out about attaining unattainable standards. I will content myself with doing the best I can do.

20.            Comparing myself to others only causes despair. I am meant to be who God created me to be and no one else, therefore I don’t need to stress out about trying to be someone I’m not.

21.            Don’t make your biggest decisions based on money alone.

22.            Making life decision out of a fear-based mentality just sucks.

23.            I can say “no” to people. I don’t have to please everyone.

24.            I can decide whose opinions matter to me and whose advice I want to take or leave behind. Lots of people are well meaning and lots of people love me and want me to be well. That doesn’t mean everyone I encounter will speak applicable truth into my life. At the same time, if I am wise, I will actively listen to anyone who cares enough to make the effort to speak honestly to me.

25.            Words are extremely powerful and should be used with caution. I can build hope with people or create cynicism, just using words.

26.            It never hurts to ask. The other person might answer how you want! What’s the worst that can happen? They say no. The world goes on.

27.            One should always be free to ask an honest question.

28.            True wealth is in relationships and experiences .Better to experience something now and learn from it, even if there’s pain involved, then to forever be thinking, “I wish I would have…”

29.            Very little in life can actually destroy me, therefore, there is very little in life worth fearing.

30.            Family is important.

31.            There’s always enough to share.

32.            Hiding who you are is an awful way to live and nobody should do it. Nobody should have to lie about who they are.

33.            We are more the same than we are different.

34.            God is good and worthy of all my attention, though I don’t always understand how, and that’s okay. You can’t escape the love of Jesus.