As you may have guessed from my last post, it happens to be (around) my birthday week. I figured it would be fun to share a few things I’ve learned on this here fifth anniversary of my 29th birthday (hush. Just go with it).
**PS- If you want a guy’s take on this? Take a peek at Until I Get Married.**
1. The quickest way to my heart is through the correct pronunciation of my name.
As you may have guessed from reading my last post on dating, I have a problem with people glazing over my culture and not bothering to learn. I normally Bloombito my name for work purposes, so getting it pronounced correctly means you’ve gotten past my ‘company face’ and made it to the real me. Plus, nothing sounds sweeter than your name when…uh, moving right along..
2. The key to all authentic cooking boils down to ONE spice.
Every culture has one go-to spice that flavors almost every dish. Learn what it is, and keep it in your pantry. If it’s saffron (Spanish), cilantro (Mexican), basil (Italian & Thai), turmeric (Chinese) or recao (Puerto Rican), you’ll always be ready to impress. It’s a good look if you happen to invite over a foodie as well.
3. I don’t care what “experts” say. Everyone should do one cleanse in their lifetime.
There’s nothing natural about Popeye’s chicken, so I have trouble believing the body is “naturally equipped” to handle cleaning that gunk out all by itself. The best way to start off a new habit is by hitting the reset button (especially on your taste buds), so research a good whole-food plan (no liquids!) and stick to it for those few days. I am proud to be able to say I have cut out added sugars entirely after they helped me lose the taste for it.
4. Variety may be the spice of life, but monotony makes you a hell of a lot more productive.
Spend 24 hours with a successful person (especially a creative one) and you will be surprised by how regimented their day really is. Having certain things go the same way every day allows your mind the freedom of chaotic thought, where great ideas are born. Do your best to develop either a morning or evening routine, and stick to it. With that said…
5. You don’t have to be a fitness model, but break a regular sweat.
Exercise has always been the key to my comeback. I’m definitely not model-thin, but if I look back to any productive time in my life regular exercise had something to do with it. I sleep better, I breathe better and I work better after I’ve gotten some blood pumping.
6. Live alone for at least two years.
I was attached for the better part of a decade. Before that I lived with family and roommates. By the time I moved on my own I slept on a sofa for four months because I had no clue what my taste in furniture was. You are going to need some time to find out how you like your eggs (Runaway Bride reference, for the under-30 set). In that vein..
7. I don’t love eggs.
It took me 34 years to say that.
8. But there is nothing bad about brunch.
You have breakfast choices. You have lunch choices. Some spots you even have dinner choices. And there’s booze! And enough time to sleep it off! What’s not to love? I will never understand brunch slander.
9. However cereal is the devil.
I’m certain this opinion will change when I have children. But over-sugared, over-processed goop that only fills you for a half hour and now costs like six bucks a box (I live in NY)? NOT my idea of a good morning. But you know what is?
I said it. Testosterone peaks for women first thing in the morning. If you are not a morning person…become one.
11. There really is a lid for every pot.
I was involved in pageantry for quite a few years. You know who unquestionably ended up married the fastest after the pageant years were over? The quirky girls who everyone though the pageant organizers must have stolen money from, “because they sure aren’t contenders”. For every quirk you have there is a person that can’t get enough of it. Just be you. It’s a lot easier.
12. But don’t think you can’t improve.
There is such a thing as being a perfect work in progress. You can love yourself at each stage without falling into complacency. But while you’re improving..
13. Stop waiting for sh*t to be perfect to start living life.
I’ve missed dates, rescheduled vacations and accumulated three trunks worth of clothing waiting to be the “right” size before I took part. I still shake my head. Do what’s right for you now and you’ll notice more “right” comes along.
14. Love really only works when two people show up.
You can’t convince someone to love you. You cannot train someone to love you. You can’t wait for someone to love you. Stop wasting all those years you could be spending with someone who loves you back. Equally. Reciprocal love is worth it.
15. But never forget to put your oxygen mask on first.
Love begins with you. Love yourself. Take care of yourself. Heal yourself. The best gift you can give your future love is a whole person.
16. And do what you have to do to get there.
I have no shame in admitting that I have had help in healing- and you shouldn’t either. You wouldn’t nurse yourself back from a broken leg, so how do you think you can fix everything in your head by yourself? Therapy works. Try it.
17. Little things matter.
Every man I’ve been serious with has gotten a handwritten letter from me at some point. So it shocked me to learn almost none of my peers have ever received a love letter! The most impactful expressions of love are often the smallest. Pay attention and find something small that only your mate would understand. You will be remembered for a lifetime.
18. Men want solutions. Women want a sounding board.
This is how we process problems. This is how our mates can help us feel valued when we come to them regarding those problems. You are never going to get the other to understand why. Just do it.
19. If “dating” is hard, stop.
Just please don’t complain you’re not dating. Some people enjoy the chase (I’m not one of them). Find a way to meet people that works for you. People have come up with novel ways to do everything, why are you still trying to date the “old” way?
20. Just remember it’s not that serious.
A date is a fun event in which two people get to learn more about each other. That’s it. If it’s more complicated than that for you, do what you have to do to un-complicate it.
21. Take time to enjoy what is.
Yes, we all have goals. But if you are always looking forward, you’ll miss the beauty of the journey. Or worse, the people that stayed with you for the ride.
22. Practice being present, even if it hurts.
For the rest of your life, make sure you show up. Be present and accounted for.
23. Take time to feel.
You cannot “numb” yourself through a situation. Pretending it doesn’t hurt won’t make the hurt disappear. Allow it to come out, process it, and let it flow away with the tide.
24. Then let it go.
The most powerful quote I’ve ever recited was “my childhood my not have been perfect, but it’s over”. Learn the lesson (even if the lesson is, ‘sh*t happens’), then go forth.
25. Just because it didn’t last doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth it.
I don’t know who invented the school of thought that you must hate everyone that leaves your life and the memories they left but it is ridiculous. It is completely possible to remember (and even rejoice) the good someone brought into your life while fully understanding why they are not there anymore. Your time was only wasted if you weren’t true to yourself.
27. Fashion is how the world defines you. Style is how you define yourself.
Who cares if it’s in season? If it looks good on you, it’s appropriate.
28. Create a signature.
Whether it’s a scent, a style or a flower (seriously, I have a friend who accessorizes with a flower, every outfit) claim something uniquely you. At the very least, you’ll be easy to find at a party.
29. Family is your first lesson in human relations-make sure to learn it.
My family taught me the importance of understanding that love is daily work. Also, you may not like the person you love every day. And of course, those pesky boundaries.
30. But at some point you have to stop blaming them for the lessons you did not get.
I am now at the point where I have been an adult for the exact amount of time I have been a child. Let that simmer.
31. Faking it only works for so long.
So find someone you can trust yourself to be vulnerable around. Just make sure you give as much as you take.
32. The most attractive trait about you to the opposite sex will always be confidence.
Whatever you are at the moment, own it. When it changes, own that, too.
33. This too shall pass.
Exactly ten years ago I had lost my job, my fiancée, my living situation, my grandfather and my father. My mother had a serious health scare, and I had to hold it together and move forward. If you’ve made it this far, keep going.
34. My best days are ahead of me, not behind me.