29 Truths … As I turn 29

Today is my 29th birthday. My last year in my 20s!

It’s interesting. Someone recently asked me if I was dreading entering my 30s next year, and the answer is no! I think it is a privilege to age, and with our little one coming in February, and more babes to come (hopefully), my 30s will be my most challenging and rewarding years yet.

So, as I ring in another trip around the sun, here are 29 truths that I’d like to share:

  1. Make your bed every day — even if it’s right before you get in it.
  2. Set boundaries. Get comfortable saying “no.” If the person you are setting boundaries with does not respect you, tell them.
  3. Your family doesn’t get a free pass for toxic behavior.
  4. That being said, you choose your own family and circle. Sometimes your friends are more loyal to you than your own family. Embrace that. Welcome them in.
  5. If you can’t find something, clean up the clutter.
  6. Be proud of your body. It protects you, nourishes you, and keeps you safe. Love yourself.
  7. Your health comes first. It comes before any job, any person, family or friend. Take care of yourself and put yourself first.
  8. It is more than OK to watch the same movies and TV shows over and over again if it brings you joy.
  9. The book is, in many cases, always better than the movie.
  10. Write down what you are grateful for each day.
  11. Read lots of books. You’ll love it. And start that book blog and bookstagram! You’ll make some lifelong friends there.
  12. Know your worth.
  13. If you recognize that someone needs help, reach out to them. Don’t put it off until the next day.
  14. Travel when you can — even if it’s within your own state.
  15. Success is not measured by material things.
  16. Fight for the things you believe in.
  17. Don’t compare yourself to others.
  18. If you are with loved ones, put the damn phone away and be present.
  19. Try new foods!
  20. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. And, remember, failing isn’t always a negative thing.
  21. Don’t Google things when you are pregnant. Just call your doctor.
  22. Basic human rights is not something you can, or should, “agree to disagree” on.
  23. Eat that slice of cake.
  24. Trust your doctors — not a random man on YouTube or articles you find on Facebook.
  25. Recognize your triumphs. Never be afraid to toot your own horn.
  26. Have those tough conversations. They are uncomfortable, but you will feel free.
  27. Everyone has a story.
  28. Light a few candles when you are down … it really helps!
  29. Never forget your truths.


What are some of your truths? I want to hear them!

Practicing Gratitude

In a previous post, I shared that November is one of my favorite months. Now that autumn has arrived in New England, the leaves are fully peaked and the air is chilled. It’s the perfect weather to get lost in a bundle of blankets and curl up with a good book and a hot mug of tea.

November is also the perfect month to practice gratitude. For those who live in the U.S., Thanksgiving is just around the corner. And for those who went to public school, the notion of “being thankful” was drilled into our heads every November for years. I should ask my mom how many art projects I brought home every year that consisted of my hand looking like a turkey, each finger listing what I was grateful for. She probably still has them!

As an adult, I laugh at the turkey hand memory but appreciate that my teachers attempted to instill a sense of gratitude in us during this important season. I have been a bit “gratitude” obsessed for a few years now (see these blog posts from 2015 and 2016), and for good reason: keeping and cultivating a sense of gratitude is a key component to your happiness. It helps center you in the present moment as you reflect on what brings you joy in life.

Since I started therapy in 2013, I have been keeping regular gratitude journals. Before bed each night, I silently think of three things I am grateful for — whether it is a certain moment that happened in the day, a person, or a general part of my life that sparks gratitude. It helps keep me focused, and works to eliminate the negative thoughts that tend to plague me as I try to fall asleep at night.

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, it felt like there wasn’t a lot to be grateful for. This pandemic has impacted the lives of so many; to think of anything positive during this time made me feel guilty. But, I had to do it. Despite the guilt, I continued to reflect on my own gratitude, listing my three items each night before I closed my eyes. I won’t say that it always kept the nightmares away; it didn’t always chase away the fear and negative thoughts. But it did help ground me in the present; it helped me be thankful for my health and the health of my loved ones.

Over the years, I have also followed Dani on Positively Present. Dani is an incredibly talented digital artist and creator, whose original blog idea turned into a brand focused on positivity and mental health. Her work is truly inspiring and I enjoy seeing her content daily on Instagram. Dani has also released books, calendars, workbooks, and other products that I have on my birthday and Christmas list this year.

Dani has also hosted a #Gratitude30 Challenge for 11 years. Through #Gratitude30, Dani posts 30 prompts and challenges you to write down what you are grateful for each day. A few examples are words, nature, health, friendship, growth, family, and kindness. I have been participating in her challenge for a few years now, and I love sitting down each morning with my special colored pens and reflecting on what brings me gratitude. It’s a wonderful practice and way to get you in the swing of practicing gratitude each day.

No matter how you practice gratitude, remember that there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Even saying “thank you” to someone is a grateful act! Do you have pictures of loved ones at your desk at work or in your home office? That’s a great start, too! Take time throughout the day to reflect on what you are thankful for, and you will start to feel the difference.

How do you practice gratitude? Share some more ideas in the comments below.