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Today is my 45th birthday!
You know, sometimes, I don't think about the reality of being in my mid 40s until I 1) actually hear myself say my age out loud, and 2) attempt to twerk and my knees give out on me, but I digress. Forty five is an interesting age. Some people may not deem it a milestone, but in my eyes, it most definitely is. It's the stage in my life that I officially feel middle-aged. It's scary, yet exciting at the same time, you know? I'm anxious to see what the second stage of my life has in store for me.

In honor of my birthday, I thought I'd share 45 random things that I've learned over the past few years.

1. If you want things to change, you have to do the work. I'm not where I thought I'd be at this age. Sometimes, I may call up a trusted friend to vent about my frustrations, but never am I doing it just for the hell of it. I am always doing SOMETHING each day to become one step closer to where I want to be. It's always better to make the effort and get rejected or fail, than to never make the effort at all.
2.  Yoga is really enjoyable, and so fulfilling. As I've mentioned before, I began practicing yoga on a somewhat consistent basis, and although it's challenging at times, the experience is rewarding. I'm the first to admit that I don't really work out, so showing up for myself and my mind, body, and spirit on a semi-daily basis makes me feel like I'm on the right track to becoming a bit more active.
3. I've accepted that I am never going to learn how to fold a fitted sheet, and I'm okay with this.
4. I've always been a bit impulsive when it comes to spending money on things that I wanted. My excuse has always been "you only live once," and I still stand by that. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing, but moving forward, I'm going to work on taking my time when it comes to making certain purchases (as I sit here eyeing new dining chairs). Let's all take a moment to admire them in Sincerely, Tommy owner, Kat Avent-Deleon's Brooklyn abode. Give me all the mid-century inspired things. Honestly, I've loved these chairs since the first time I laid eyes on them many years ago.
5. If something no longer serves you or makes you happy, let it go. This goes for anything - people, a piece of furniture, a hobby, etc.
6.  Less is more, unless we're talking money.....and plants, then more is totally more.
7. Check yourself, often. I always have self talks when I feel I'm being too hard on myself, or if I approached a situation in a way that was less than mature.
8. Self-care is not a practice that you should have to make time for; it's something that should be a part of your everyday life. Like breathing. Take care of yourself. It can be something as simple as turning your ringer off for a few hours (the 'do not disturb' feature on the iPhone is literally my favorite thing), and flipping through the pages of your favorite magazine. Make time for YOU. You can't be your best self for others if you don't take care of you first.
9. Setting boundaries, as well as respecting the boundaries of others, is so very important.
10. Crying is therapeutic. Cry as often as you need to. Release those feelings.
11. Take yourself on a date from time to time. Visit a bookstore, grab your laptop and hang out at a cute cafe for an hour or two, go see a movie. I've learned many years ago that the relationship you have with yourself is the most significant one you'll ever have.
12. Trust your intuition. It rarely steers you wrong.
13. Love, true love, is really one hell of a drug.
14. Capture as many special and inspiring moments in your life as you can, whether it be by photograph or video. Thinking back to my first solo vacation to Jamaica a few years ago, I regret not snapping tons of photos. I was too busy living in the moment, which is great too. I mean, I have a few short videos, but not nearly enough. It was such a beautiful experience, one that I never want to forget. When I went to Mexico last year, I made it a point to not only take both of my cameras, but to actually use them in excess. I don't get to experience those types of out-of-the-country getaways often.
15. If you're not following Ari Lennox on Instagram, you're doing life all wrong. Watching her IG Lives makes you feel like you're chatting with a long distance cousin on FaceTime. She is such a fun girl. I have a special kind of love for regular ass famous people.
16. Compassion and empathy are a lost art.
17. So is common sense.
18. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz should be required reading.
19. It can be pretty challenging making friends in a new city. I've been in Columbus for almost four years (I know, I know, but it still feels new), and with the exception of one or two people, I can't say that I've made any organic connections. My hope is to connect with like-minded people whose interests match mine. I would love a photography buddy out here, a plant-loving interior decor enthusiast with great taste in music, a hip hop head who I can geek out over Madlib and Dilla with. That's not being too specific, is it?
20. Speaking of music, listen to jazz. Everyday. Not necessarily all day, but everyday. Indulge in a good jazz playlist, even if it's just for an hour a day. It's truly the cream of the crop of musical genres. I've been an avid jazz listener since the early '90s, and my love for it has only grown stronger over the years.
21. Watching Love Jones still feels like the first time, every time.
22. We all have shitty days, low moments. No one is happy all the time. If you're experiencing a shitty moment (or even a series of shitty moments), sit with those emotions. Process them. Honor them. Journal through it. Then, suck it up, woosaaah, and keep it moving.
23. Self-doubt is crippling. You are the only person in your way. If there is something you are interested in pursuing, just do it.
24. Your journey is your own; it is uniquely yours. Comparison is harmful in so many ways because you have no real idea what others have sacrificed or endured to get where they are. Focus on your path, and yours alone.
25. You're never too old for crushes.
26. The Frosta stool from Ikea is criminally underrated, and looks great in any space.
27. I can't want more for someone than they want for themselves.
28. Disabling all notifications on my social media accounts is a self care practice that I recommend for everyone.
29. I'm learning that it's best if I limit any form of contact from loved ones when it's "that time" of the month, especially the few days before my period begins (the deadly pre-menstrual syndrome). I'm not the most pleasant person during that time, and I hate lashing out at people when they don't deserve that kind of energy. I mean, some people do deserve it, but that's neither here nor there. It's just a really bad time for me. Those moments will be spent doing yoga and journaling out my anger instead of taking it out on everyone else. I think you really have to know yourself in order to be your best self, and I know what my triggers are.
30. I bought Jen Sincero's book titled 'You Are a Badass' about two years ago, and read the first 20something pages, but put it back on the shelf, and didn't pick it back up again until now. This is a great book, and I highly recommend it, especially to those who can sometimes be their worst critic.
31. It's true, a medium-well steak is better than a well done one. It took me decades to accept this.
32. I often fantasize about moving to another state, specifically one with beautiful beaches, but I don't think I have the mental bandwidth to learn a whole new city all over again. I barely know the one I've been living in for almost four years. I also think about what life would be like if I lived in a completely different country. I don't think I've reached that level of impulsion or bravery yet, and your girl's pretty impulsive, okay?
33. Do nothing without intention (thanks, Solange).
34. I've always known that I was a really sensitive person, but never knew there was a whole meaning and term behind it until a couple years ago ("HSP" - or simply put, highly sensitive person). Read more in depth about highly sensitive people here, because more than likely, you probably know someone close to you who is a HSP and/or an empath. I think it helps to try and understand them a little better than you think you already do.
35. Nothing makes a home feel more warm and cozy than plants, wooden pieces, and textiles.
36. Hospitals suck. Over the past few years, I've been to the hospital more than I can count. From unexpected visits stemming from my incident in 2015, to a couple years later being told that I have Graves Disease/Hyperthyroidism, to constantly getting blood drawn to monitor my thyroid levels, to getting surgery to have my thyroid removed, to the adjusting and readjusting of my meds to make sure I'm receiving the correct dosage. It's been a lot. My level of resilience has been tested quite a bit.
37. I love wearing blush, and lots of it. My all-time favorite is MAC's Sweet as Cocoa. It's a classic, and looks gorgeous on chocolate skin.
38. I love decorating and rearranging my apartment. It gets me completely out of my head. When you're engaged in something you love, there's no room for any negative thoughts and feelings. Incorporate a bit of music and a cocktail in the mix, and it's one of the most simple pleasures you can experience.
39. During the spring and summer months, I love to buy fresh flowers for myself. It's not something I do on a consistent basis, but there's something so romantic and adult-like about buying yourself a bundle of flowers, curated to your liking. I intend on doing this as much as possible this year, you know, to make up for such a crappy winter.
40. Nothing gets you out of a rut more than new lingerie, or so I've been told. *adds 'buy a sexy piece of lingerie soon' to my to-do list*
41. Making lists isn't as easy as it seems. I started writing this blog post almost a month ago because I knew it would take time.
42. Don't ever let other people dictate how you move. You are the captain of your ship, and if people can't respect that, it isn't your issue. Don't ever live by anyone else's expectations of you.
43. "No" really is a complete sentence. A gracious no though. How you say things does matter.
44. Moving away from home, my comfort zone, away from everything and everyone familiar, was one of the best decisions I've ever made. That's not to say that I would never go back (I am kind of saying that though), but just having the courage to do it randomly pops in my head from time to time, and it makes me so damn proud of myself.
45. When manifesting what you want for your life, it's not about being fixated on the thing(s) that you want, but more about how you want the thing(s) to make you feel. I never viewed manifestation in that way, until I listened to this podcast episode by The Analog Girl featuring my favorite wellness advocate and fellow plant mama, the beautiful Hey Fran Hey. It's a must-listen.
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