Here we are today on my 29th birthday. I'm almost 30! My 20s have flown by. I've done so much this decade that has taught me soooo much. So, for my birthday blog post this year, I decided I would share 29 lessons I have learned in my 29 years on this earth! 

1. You don't have to know what you want to be when you 'grow up'. I think I qualify as a grown up now and I'm still not sure that I know what I want to be! I know what I LOVE to do NOW. But shooting weddings is tough on the body! Will I be doing it in 15 years? Who knows! 

2. Don't settle in relationships. If it's not working for you, that's ok. You'll find your perfect person and know right away that it was meant to be. 

3. Just be nice. Hold the door for a stranger. Say please and thank you. All of that good stuff! It goes a long way.

4. Read a book every now and then. A REAL book. Not a book downloaded to a device.

5. Learn how to cook. It doesn't have to be gourmet, but you should be able to make a few meals and feel comfortable that no one will get salmonella. 

6. Learn to bake, too. Specifically chocolate chip cookies. You never know when you'll be raving cookie dough!

7. Appreciate your family! I understand more than most people I know what it's like to have strained relationships with family members and what it's like to lose family members when they're too young. You just never know when they won't be there anymore. 

8. Learn to change a tire. If you're lucky, you'll never have to use this skill, but you should be prepared.

9. Learn to let relationships go that just aren't good for you. Be it romantic or a friendship, realize when it's a toxic relationship. This has really proven true for me over the last few years.

10. Try something out of your comfort zone! Maybe it's skydiving, maybe it's whitewater rafting- just go for it! How often do these opportunities present themselves?

11. Give back to your community. I did this by joining my local volunteer fire department. For years I spent my free time going on calls, conducting fire drills, you name it. Maybe you can give back by donating food to a homeless shelter, taking old blankets to an animal shelter, or donate gently used clothes and shoes. 

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12. Make sure you know how to iron a shirt. Wrinkles are the devil and make you look like a slob at a job interview. Believe it or not, it was part of my middle school curriculum!

13. You'll never be ready. For a child, for a cross-country move, for that daring haircut you've been wanting to try. But go for it anyway! 

14. Eat the cookie! Your pants will still fit if you indulge in a little goodie every now and then. 

15. Don't be afraid of thrift shopping! Some of my favorite find have been from thrift shops. Furniture, clothes, handbags, you name it! Furniture might need a new coat of paint to freshen it up, but have an open mind when you stop in to these shops. 

16. Have fun with fashion. There are no hard and fast rules or trends that you need to follow! Wear what makes YOU feel good.

17. Don't over pluck your eyebrows. They may never grow back the same way.

18. There's something to be said for work life balance. It's certainly something that I strive for, but sometimes you've just gotta hustle and work late! 

19. When you're sick, go to the doctor. Get your annual check ups. If that freckle looks weird, go get it looked at. Take care of your body! It's the only one you have!

20. Go to the dentist, too. Even if you hate the dentist, suck it up and go. Tell them you're nervous- they're used to it! Get those regular cleanings and brush and floss like they tell you to. 

21. Keep learning. Always. It's might be a small hobby you've been wanting to try. Maybe when you're 40 you decide you want to become a nurse. Just go for it and don't let your brain get lazy!

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22. Adulting is hard. No one can fully prepare you for it. It's expensive! Your car will break down the same week that your property taxes are due. Two days later your mortgage will be due. Being an adult can sometimes seem like one giant expense after another, after another, after another. Just remember that you ARE and adult, and if you need to drown that stress in a pint of ice cream for dinner, no one can tell you that you can't. 

23. Don't cheat when you're playing board games or cards games. It's just not cool.

24. Friends come in to your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. One of my lifetimers taught me this years back and she's right on the money. Appreciate those friendships, learn from them, and remember that it's ok if they sort of fizzle out. Even if friendships drift apart or dissolve always hope from the best for those individuals and wish them well. 

25. Karma is totally a real thing. Don't be a jerk.

26. Get 8 hours of sleep. You'll never regret it. Even better? Try and get to bed at the same time each night.

27. Always assume positive intent. 

28. Be nice to animals. Adopt a pet from a shelter. Can't have a pet in your apartment? Donate towels and blankets to a local animal shelter. Leave out bird seed in the winter time. Take a shelter dog for a walk. 

29. Just have fun. Smile. Don't sweat the small stuff. Appreciate the warm sun, a cool breeze, and puppy dog snuggles. Just be happy. There's no reason to go through life being cranky and miserable. Find something that brings you joy!

If you stuck with me through that list, #youtherealMVP. Thank you for all of the birthday wishes! 29 is going to be a great year, I just know it! 

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