Last Friday was my 30th birthday. I remember when I was in high school and thought 30 was old. Old! I laugh at the idea now. I certainly don’t feel old, but I did buy my first bottle of anti-aging cream a few weeks ago. Cue dramatic crying now.
On a more real note, I had a great weekend. On Friday, I got off work early (day job remember?), went home and took a nap, met up with some great friends for a delicious dinner and was home and in bed by 11pm! I guess that means I am getting kinda old, huh? All well, it was a perfect day in my book! And it wasn’t over yet. Saturday morning I got to hang out with some awesome ladies for a Galentine’s Day Brunch (pics to come tomorrow!) at Beaver’s which just opened a new location in the Galleria. After a few mimosas, I went home and took another nap! I’m laughing at myself now.
That afternoon, Richard and I made our way to downtown Houston for a stay-cation! We made reservations at the new Marriott Marquis, which has an awesome lazy river in the shape of Texas! I was surprised at how warm it ended up being and we were actually able to enjoy the pool area and get some sun! After an amazing steak dinner at III Forks, we walked over to the Toyota Center for the Rockets game! I’m not a big fan of basketball, but I have to say that the game was really exciting! It feels like you’re so close to the court and it’s so fast paced! It was such a fun night!
After getting to sleep in the next morning, we grabbed some Starbucks (of course) and headed to grab some breakfast at the Walker Street Kitchen, which was on the first floor of the Marriott. This place was amazing. Not only was the food great, but the service was incredible. I had a hankering for breakfast tacos but they weren’t on the menu. I just happened to ask the waiter if they had any and before I knew it, the head chef brought out breakfast tacos right to our table! Who does that?! Everyone was just so nice there and I can’t say enough about the experience we had at the Marriott. I would definitely recommend it if you’re in the area.
During our stay-cation, Richard and I had a lot of good conversations. One of the things we talked about was all the things we’ve learned so far in life. So I put together a little list of 30 things that I’ve learned in my 30 years so far!
- There’s more than one way to do things. I have to admit, I can be a little bossy sometimes. As I say that I can hear all of my family laughing at me right now! But I can say that I’ve really been working on understanding that there is more than one way to do something. Is the dishwasher loaded how I would like it? Not all the time, but hey, at least they’re getting clean!
- No is a complete sentence. You can’t give 100% of your time to everyone for everything. Sometimes, you just have to say no. Saying no allows you to say yes to other, more important things that are a higher priority in your life.
- Naps are awesome. I think most of us probably hated naps when we were younger, but now? I literally look forward to days when I can just nap in the middle of the day!
- Live on less than you make. All of my friends have probably heard me say this at one point or another. I’m an avid David Ramsey fan and I think living below your means is so important in order to save for your future. I’m all about “living in the now”, but there’s a very real future ahead of you, and you need to have money for it!
- Quality over quantity. This one is pretty obvious, but it holds true in a lot of aspects of life – relationships, jobs, shoots, clothes, etc. I’d take 5 amazing friends over 30 average friends any day.
- You are who you hang around. Plain and simple. If you hang around losers, you’ll be a loser. If you hang around hipsters, you’ll turn into one.
- Work smarter not harder. Sometimes working hard isn’t enough. Anytime I feel defeated, I think about what I can do to be more effective and efficient, rather than just putting in more time.
- Under-promise and over-deliver. This phrase is literally the basis of my small business. I truly feel that wowing clients and over delivering on your promises is the way to keep clients coming back. I mean, how awesome would it be if when a contractor tells you a remodel is going to take a month, then finish it in 15 days? And what if they came under budget? You would refer them to everyone!
- Read more. This quote by Charlie Jones hits the nail on the head. “You’ll be the same person in 5 years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” I wish I had more time to read. It can be hard in our culture where there’s so many digital distractions, but if you can sneak in the time, you’ll benefit from reading a good book or two. I try to sneak in audio books any chance I get – on the way to photo shoots, traveling or waiting for your car to get an oil change.
- Home is where your heart is. When you’ve moved 6 times in the last 8 years, you learn that home is where you spend your time, where you desire to be, where you feel comfort. Home is sometimes more of a feeling, than a place.
- All you have to do is ask. If you don’t know something, chances are someone else doesn’t either. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! It will only benefit you. This also hold true to asking for something that maybe wasn’t offered at first. A few times, I’ve asked for something that wasn’t on a menu and I’m always surprised at how accommodating the chef will be! I don’t think I’ve ever regretted asking a question, so don’t be afraid!
- Don’t worry about things you can’t control. I’m pretty much the opposite of a worry wart, because there’s just no point in worrying over something that you can’t control or something that hasn’t even happened yet. I recommend focusing on something productive instead!
- Eat the dessert. Don’t second guess yourself. Just do it. In moderation of course :)
- Don’t compare yourself to others. I think a lot of women in our culture have a hard time comparing ourselves to everyone. I’m here to tell you to STOP the comparisons. You can’t compare your real life to someone else’s highlight reel on Facebook. So put your blinders on and focus on your life, your family, and your own accomplishments. As Rachel Cruz says, love your life, not theirs!
- Forgive others. I’m not gonna lie, I can sometimes hold a grudge, but at one point, I found myself thinking, what’s the point? It does nobody any good. So in the words of Elsa, let it go!
- Disney movies are kind of dark. I had so many realizations over the last few years watching Disney movies with Grayson. Dumbo got drunk? The caterpillar was getting high? The boys in Pinocchio were smoking and drinking? How did I not notice this before? Strange…
- Be content. Sometimes we get caught up in all of the things that we DON’T have when we should be focusing on what we do have. You have a roof over your head, you have food on the table, you have people that love you. If you’re content with what you have, you will be a happier person.
- Kill them with kindness. I remind myself of this a lot. Every time I get overcharged for something, every time I get bad service at a restaurant, I remind myself that raising my voice and getting upset with someone will only make things worse. So as much as I want to throat punch the next person that asks me if I’m ever getting married, I instead smile and say “It’ll happen when the time is right”.
- Happiness is not a goal, it’s a way of life. In my opinion, happiness is a choice. When you wake up each morning, you can choose to be happy or choose to be something else. By surrounding yourself with positive people and being grateful for what you have, anyone can obtain happiness.
- Stuff is just stuff. I’ve learned over the years (from moving so much), that it really comes in handy to keep your stuff to a minimum. Sometimes we can get caught up in buying more and more things and before you know it, you’re house becomes cluttered with things that just really don’t matter. So rather than fill your home with more throw pillows and nick knacks, fill your home with memories and laughter instead.
- Don’t try to change people. People are who they are and they will only change if THEY want to. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. You wouldn’t want someone coming into your space and trying to change you, would you? It’s exhausting and frustrating anyway. It’s a lot easier to accept that person for who they are.
- Expect nothing in return from others. Having no expectation from others means that you’ll be pleasantly surprised when they do something nice! It also ensures that we’re acting in a more genuine manner. You should never do something for someone with the sole intention that they’ll do something for you in return.
- Be in the moment. As a photographer, this is important. We don’t always want to have a camera glued to our face. Sometimes, you just have to put it down and BE in the moment. This goes for everything. When you’re spending time with your family, spend it with your family, don’t play around on your phone. When you’re at your job, give 100% rather than surf the internet and avoid that inbox full of emails. Be intentional with your time and you’ll get a lot more accomplished.
- Enjoy the view. I don’t mean literally on this one. I mean that most of us spend a lot of our time working uphill towards something and when we get to the top of the mountain, we don’t stop and take a minute to enjoy the view. It’s hard sometimes to not look at the next mountain you have to climb, but try to make an effort to enjoy the view for a little while and acknowledge what you’ve accomplished!
- Traveling is good for the soul. It can really put the world into perspective. Sometime we get so stuck in our ways and keep within a 5 mile radius of home. Expand your horizons, see what’s out there, learn something new and gain new experiences. It’s even better when you travel with a loved one!
- My parents were right about everything. I should’ve turned the lights off when I left a room because it really sucks when you have to pay that bill. Honesty truly is the best policy and I should eat my vegetables, because they are good for me! I also realized they’re pretty cool now. I always look forward to hanging out with them!
- Your health is important. I always notice a difference when I’m consistently working out and eating clean. Our physical (and mental) health is important in living a happy life! After a weekend of eating out, I seriously can’t wait to get back on my meal plan and start working out again!
- This too shall pass. As I type that phrase, I can literally hear my stepdad’s voice saying it out loud. Anytime I was sick, defeated, frustrated… he said “this too shall pass”. And he was right. Nothing in life is permanent. Things will change at some point and sometimes you have control of when that change happens.
- Don’t be a flake. You know the type. That one person that always cancels on you last minute. The one you can’t count on. Nobody wants to be that person. Be true to your word and do what you say you’re going to do.
- Relationships are hard, but worth it. Now I’m certainly not an expert in this department, but from my experience, relationships (of all kinds) require work. A lot of work. They require time, effort and thinking of someone else before yourself. But, when you have a relationship with the right person, oh man can it make you happy! They can make you feel safe, comfort you, love you and support you. This holds true for friendships as well.
I know I still have a lot more to learn, but I can’t wait to see what the next 30 years holds! What have you learned so far?