35 Pieces of Wisdom for a Happy Life

So, I need to be honest for a moment. I was never going to write a post like this. I typically tend to write things FOR people to read, but writing this article is catharsis for ME. Because lately, I’ve been putting myself on the waaaay back burner. That one in the far right corner that you never use because the gas hardly comes out of it. That burner.


You see, it wasn’t until earlier this week that I realized that my birthday was mere days away. I was so busy with acclimating my boys to new schools, trying to make sense of our packed to the brim calendar, juggling clients, writing articles, sending donations halfway across the country…all the while getting my kids fed and dressed so other moms at school wouldn’t judge me. See? Back burner.

So this article is for me. And for you. Because turning 35 is a momentous thing (or so I’ve heard) and I have learned a ton these past thirty five years. I’ve had some great years, some years that went by in a  blur, and a couple awful ones. But each year has taught me a thing or to, and I’d like to share them with you in hopes of inspiring you, making you feel that you aren’t alone, and maybe giving you a laugh or two.


Without any further adieu, let me put on my birthday crown and stand on my soap box (makes my 5’2” frame look much more amazing, by the way) and share with you my 35 pieces of wisdom for a happy life:


  1. Stop scrolling and just go to bed. You’ll thank me in the morning.
  2. Just because someone isn’t your age, race, or ethnicity doesn’t mean that he or she is different from you. You will most likely be more similar than you ever imagined.
  3. Set all of your clocks 7-10 minutes fast. Then forget that you did that so you will actually show up to places on time without sweat dripping down the back of your shirt.
  4. There is no problem that a long walk, dance party, or cuddle session with a furry friend can’t cure.
  5. Motherhood can be totally awesome and incredibly awful all at the same time.
  6. You can’t choose your family. But you can choose how you react to them.
  7. You don’t need to have a cocktail every day, even if every blogger out there is talking about happy hour and “Mommy Juice.”
  8. Men and women can be friends. The “When Harry Met Sally” debate can finally be settled once and for all.
  9. Send REAL mail to people you care about. It’s like sending a giant hug in the mail.
  10. Outsource. Whether it is the dishes, packing school lunches, using Amazon prime, hiring a cleaning service…just do it.
  11. Make a big spectacle about family movie night. Pop huge bowls of popcorn, hem and haw over all of the movie options, snuggle in your pajamas…these are the moments you will all remember for the rest of your lives.
  12. Introduce yourself to people. You never know who you are going to meet and how they will change your life for the better.
  13. Go outside. Even if it is hot and humid or absolutely frigid, spend a few minutes outside each day. The fresh air will do wonders for your soul.
  14. Sometimes it is okay and even necessary to “break up” with a friend. Acknowledge the fun times you had together and move on. Some people just aren’t ready to grow the way you are, and that’s okay.
  15. You feel gross just about every time you indulge in greasy fat food, even if the first bite is delicious. Eat a salad instead and get a side of fries. It will ease your craving just about every time.
  16. Lots of random people on your social media feeds? Unfollow them. Save your social media as a sacred space filled with people you care about and messages and images that fill your heart.
  17. Read books with your kiddos. Under the covers. With hot chocolate.
  18. It’s okay if you sometimes long for pre-kid days. Especially on Sunday mornings. Because who doesn’t miss boozy brunches?
  19. When someone experiences a loss, show up. Even if you don’t know what to say. Here’s a thought: Look at your friend, tell them “I don’t know what to say,” and then give a hug. One of those long, tight ones. If you don’t say anything or acknowledge their loss, the silence is DEAFENING.
  20. Go out to lunch with your kids. They are typically more well behaved and focused so you can have a more enjoyable meal…and you can get a mimosa or beer and no one will judge you.
  21. Schedule a date night once a week. Even if the date night includes eating Oreos on the couch and binge watching reality tv.
  22. Only give obnoxious noisy and light up toys to kids if you don’t like their parents.
  23. Make your bed every morning. It sets an awesome tone for the day.
  24. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. They don’t care what you are doing. Seriously. They only care about what THEY are doing.
  25. Be an includer. Cliques are so middle school.
  26. Keep a good book on your nightstand, even if you don’t read it every night. Just having a book to turn to when there is too much noise in your life is sweet comfort to your soul.
  27. Make time to play. Whether it is with your kids, friends, or your spouse. You can’t help but smile when jumping on a trampoline (just try not to pee, mamas!).
  28. Don’t be afraid to say NO. Your time is incredibly sacred and valuable. Only give it up to those who you really want to share it with, whether personal or business.
  29. But at the same time, say YES more often. Especially to your kids. The shock of it all will definitely make life more fun and will open you up to opportunities you may have never tried before.
  30. Treat yourself. Whether you really love to eat ice cream right out of the container, live for mani/pedis, adore yoga…set up a consistent time to do whatever fills your weary soul and don’t feel bad about the cost, money, or calories one bit.
  31. Put your phone in a different room when you get home at the end of the day. There is no need to have it with you and it will distract you from the magic that is going on at home.
  32. Have a friend with a deceased parent? Then show them some extra special love on rough days like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
  33. Don’t feel guilty about hiring a babysitter. It is money well spent.
  34. Actually pick up the phone once in a while to talk to a friend. It is so much more heartwarming than a text.
  35. Celebrate your birthday any damn way you please. We are having a pizza and cake party with some friends and their kids during the day, then heading to dinner. Afterwards, I’m really excited to fall asleep on the couch while watching my favorite movie, “It’s Complicated.” Because Meryl Streep is my spirit animal and I give ZERO F’s if my birthday plan isn’t what other people would pick.


Here’s to 35 years!
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  1. Alli Smith says

    These are great pieces of wisdom! I do set my bedside clock 10 minutes fast. I never set an alarm because I don’t need one. I wake up at the same time every day, but knowing I have 10 extra minutes is so calming. I also keep my Kindle on my nightstand. I try to read a little every night.

  2. candy says

    Thirty-five is nothing wait until your in your late 50’s and still enjoying life to the fullest. Don’t look back and don’t ever regret the things you have done. Just learn from the mistakes. Happy Birthday!

  3. Jeanette says

    I totally agree with a lot of things on this list. My favorite one is the matter with the other person looks like or what they believe you probably have more in common than what you think.

    • Amanda says

      Most definitely. It’s something the world needs a reminder of right now with people acting so crazy and small minded. Ugh.

  4. Cheryl says

    Sigh, I miss thirty-five. It was such a great birthday. I felt like I was really coming into my own then. Hope you have a fab 35th year!

  5. Pam Wattenbarger says

    These are great tips for a happy life. I have been unfollowing a lot of people on social media lately to destress.

  6. Nancy L. says

    Oh my gosh! I can relate to each and every one of these tips! Words of wisdom and words to live by. The last one hit home. We recently threw my dad a huge party for his 80th and he said he enjoyed it so much that he wants to do it every year. (Um, what?) I was physically and mentally exhausted trying to make it an amazing event and now he wants one every year! lol He knows how to live life!

  7. Natasha Stevens says

    Hope you had an awesome birthday. I loved this list-entirely original her everyone of the items was applicable to me. Thanks for sharing!

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