33 Lessons on My 33rd Birthday

33 Lessons on My 33rd Birthday

Today is my birthday and so I want to do a little bit of everything that I love and one of those things is writing. So I thought I might share with you 33 lessons I have learned over my lifetime, but before I do I offer these disclaimers:

1. I do not claim to be especially wise in any way shape or form. These lessons are things that I have found informative or useful, but that doesn’t mean they apply to all circumstances and may very well not apply to you.

2. Some of lessons are made up. In my desire to express some thoughts I have taken some creative license. So please don’t take the format of this post literally. Of course I do believe in all the lessons I present here.

3. 33 years is not an especially august age in any way, but I have been through a lot over these past trilogly of eleven years and these lessons represent some of that experience. Please don’t take this post as an endorsement of 33 year olds in general or even as an endorsement of my idea of the wisdom of this 33 year old specifically.

4. Finally many of these lessons, in fact most of them are the direct result of someone else’s wisdom, guidance, instruction, patience, and willingness to put up with my ignorant, cavalier, and misguided attempts at navigating my life.

I feel deep gratitude for all of these teachers and want to make sure you all know that much of what I write here and everywhere else wouldn’t even be remotely possible without their help.

And with that lets begin.

1. You will not remember being a baby, so really appreciate all this fawning over you.


2. Despite reports to the contrary, you are more cute then terrible.


3. Your first memories are likely be made of up small scenes like walking on cobbled streets or a lightning storm, but they may or may not hold any particular significance or be terribly accurate.


4. Be curious, learn, skin your knees, and absorb it all.


5. The simplest things we learn are the ones we take for granted, but the simplest things are where we can find great joy.


6. School may be hard unless you are perfectly average, just remember this doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you.


7. Summers seem like magic. Keep them that way.


8. 8 is a very interesting age, but of course later you may not remember what made it so interesting, so at least remember to forgive yourself.


9. Whenever there is a cool and uncool group, remember that often the coolest people aren’t in the cool group.

Cub Scouts

10. Remember before you were awkward you were innocent.

1988Tartan Dr

11. First friends are the most a valuable, except for any friend that sticks by you.

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12. Despite Facebook posts to the contrary, everyone was and is awkward from time to time.

family camping trip

13. Awkwardness shouldn’t be avoided it should be embraced, because often our awkward moments are the most real.

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14. Remember often not getting the person you have a crush on is very good luck.

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15. We always want to grow faster than we do, but it’s the slowness of growth that really gives great meaning to our lives.

Atlanta olympics

16. Don’t forget driving is dangerous,2014-02-02 14.58.05 so treat it with respect.

17. It’s so easy to act like you’re all grown up, but being a kid at heart is a great gift to the world.


18. Being an adult isn’t the same as being responsible.

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19. No matter how smart you think are, you will usually look back and say, “Man I was such an idiot.”

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20. As you mature your heart has a chance to grow or close, always try to take the path that leads to opening.

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21. There’s nothing wrong with having a little fun, but don’t be schmuck about it.

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22. Whenever you get a new job, listen closely and ask lots of questions. The only thing worse then a newb is one that pretends they know how to do everything when they don’t.


23. Just because your friends are getting married doesn’t mean you should. If you want to great, but if you don’t remember that it’s your life and your choice.

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24. Sometimes in life you begin to realize your not young any more, but your still not that old, appreciate this space where you can be so many things.


25. No matter how old you get, don’t forget who you are and whose you are.


26. Disenchantment is par for the course. The trick is not to let it drag you down. Keep being curious and trying new things, your ruts are still shallow enough to escape.

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27. Sometimes you will go on an adventure and it will rock, but there are always parts of an adventure that suck, but those are the parts that mean the most.


28. This is the most important year of your life, the decisions you make right now will effect everything else in ways you couldn’t possible imagine. So follow your heart.


29. There’s something to be said for sticking with something, even if it’s hard at the time.

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30. Being an age you used to think as old is interesting, because you don’t feel old.

Serious Headshot

31. Sometime the best choices are the ones where you have to choose between two things you love.

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32. Just because other people are having kids doesn’t mean you have to. If you want to great, but remember it’s your choice and your life.


33. If you care to write, do it everyday. Writing is like scratching an itch or changing your underwear. It is both satisfying and leaves you feeling fresh.

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3 thoughts on “33 Lessons on My 33rd Birthday

  1. Having been married at 25, a mother at 26, again at 30, and divorced at 36, I can say pretty good authority that I was only beginning to get a handle on who I was and what, or whom, I wanted, after I reached 40. If only biology would cooperate, I would advocate that NO ONE should get married or have children until they’re at least 40!!! Of course, I’m closing the barn door after the horses have reached the next county.

    As an aside, Dylan Thomas, my favorite “modern” poet, wrote a poem to commemorate just about everything, including his 30th birthday. I thought you might enjoy it. (He also wrote a poem on his 35th birthday….)

    Poem In October

    It was my thirtieth year to heaven
    Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
    And the mussel pooled and the heron
    Priested shore
    The morning beckon
    With water praying and call of seagull and rook
    And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall
    Myself to set foot
    That second
    In the still sleeping town and set forth.

    My birthday began with the water-
    Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
    Above the farms and the white horses
    And I rose
    In rainy autumn
    And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.
    High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
    Over the border
    And the gates
    Of the town closed as the town awoke.

    A springful of larks in a rolling
    Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling
    Blackbirds and the sun of October
    On the hill’s shoulder,
    Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly
    Come in the morning where I wandered and listened
    To the rain wringing
    Wind blow cold
    In the wood faraway under me.

    Pale rain over the dwindling harbour
    And over the sea wet church the size of a snail
    With its horns through mist and the castle
    Brown as owls
    But all the gardens
    Of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales
    Beyond the border and under the lark full cloud.
    There could I marvel
    My birthday
    Away but the weather turned around.

    It turned away from the blithe country
    And down the other air and the blue altered sky
    Streamed again a wonder of summer
    With apples
    Pears and red currants
    And I saw in the turning so clearly a child’s
    Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother
    Through the parables
    Of sun light
    And the legends of the green chapels

    And the twice told fields of infancy
    That his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine.
    These were the woods the river and sea
    Where a boy
    In the listening
    Summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy
    To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide.
    And the mystery
    Sang alive
    Still in the water and singingbirds.

    And there could I marvel my birthday
    Away but the weather turned around. And the true
    Joy of the long dead child sang burning
    In the sun.
    It was my thirtieth
    Year to heaven stood there then in the summer noon
    Though the town below lay leaved with October blood.
    O may my heart’s truth
    Still be sung
    On this high hill in a year’s turning.
    Dylan Thomas

  2. BEAUTIFUL! I will be 33 next Wednesday and I nearly cried at pic #7 – OMG the PURE BLISS and JOY of childhood! Being and feeling LOVED – awesome pic!

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