What I Know For Sure

I had a birthday this week. I turned 43. It seems like yesterday I was turning 39 and published the 39 Questions Answered About Me and My 39 Years post. Forty-three sounds old, even though I don’t feel old. In fact, I feel more alive today than I every have before. But birthdays and this time of year always get me a bit reflective.

At the end of every issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, Oprah Winfrey writes a column called “What I Know For Sure.” It’s essentially her parting thoughts on the monthly theme or issue at hand. I don’t read many magazines anymore, so I’m not sure what wisdom Oprah has been espousing as of late.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the things I know for sure (and probably more relevant, the things I still have no clue about). So for my reflective birthday blog post, I’m sharing 13 “truths” I’ve come to learn about myself and how I view the world. What I’m completely unsure about is fodder for another blog post entirely.

1. It’s easy to say “follow your dreams.” It’s a much harder thing to actually do it.

2. Chapstick and hand lotion are essentials for your car in the Midwest winter.

3. The phrase “Do what you love and the money will follow” is bullshit. It takes a lot of hard work and courage to do what you love, and the money is never guaranteed.

4. Never consider indulging in books, music, television shows, art and movies a guilty pleasure. It’s essential for survival (at least it is for me).

5. No matter how hard you try, the Tupperware container collection will never match the lids you have. Just surrender the fantasy.

6. The world can be depressing. Find beauty in the simple and small things in life, and in people who make you smile, laugh and understand who you are.

7. Don’t use credit cards. And if you do, pay the balance off each month.

8. Watching the seasons physically change is a comforting reminder that change is inevitable and life is always moving on. No matter how dark and bare a tree looks in February, in May it will be full of green life again. The change coupled with consistency is comforting, and I’m grateful for the peace of mind my physical environment gives me.

9. Nobody’s looking out for you but you. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you deserve.

10. In writing, sometimes less is more. Killing off excess words like “that,” “the” and “just” does wonders. Trust me, your writing will be stronger.

11. Everything happens for a reason, usually one that moves you forward to a place you weren’t ready to go. I always try to remember this when the unexpected and bad things happen.

12. It’s easy to let your life be ruled by fear (I did it for a long time). But what’s on the other side can be incredible.

13. I truly believe words have the ultimate power to heal, forgive and comfort (as well as hurt and harm). I try to use my word powers for good. Because that’s the only way I know how to make a difference and keep moving forward in life.

That’s what I know for sure on my 43rd year on earth. What do you know for sure?

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