33 things I’ve learned over the past 33 years


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Happy birthday month to me! A cancer, I was born on the 18th of July 1985. Gosh time flies! 33 years old? How (and when) did that happen?

I was on the fence about writing this one, because I’m no expert in life. But, I do feel I’ve learned a lot that has helped shape me into the woman I am now. The Eryn 2.0 if you will. 😉 I’m bolder than I use to be, more confident, and more open to life. Wait, does that even makes sense? Regardless . . .  here’s a a few things I’ve discovered in my 33 years on this earth.

33 things I’ve learned over the past 33 years

33 things I've learned in my 33 years of life

1. Invest in yourself.

Finally, in my mid 20’s I learned to stop being so cheap. No, not as in a cheap date. Just cheap in general. Pay for something? Naw, I can do it for free. I attempted (unsuccessfully I might add) to do my blog the “free” way for years, I tried to learn by searching Pinterest and not ever really investing in the programs I knew would work, because I was “savvy” and could do it solo.

Sure, sometimes it works out. But most often you only get part of the information you’re seeking. It’s okay to pay others for their wisdom. It could be a course, a book, a seminar, an event. It’s okay to invest in you. More often than not, I’ve learn so much more from these people and the wisdom they gave than I ever could have on my own.

2. Invest in your dream

Okay okay this one goes along with number one, but it still rings true. It’s okay for others to charge for their value. It’s okay to pay others for their help. That’s how the world works. You literally have to pay to play. The wisdom I’ve gained from paying honest people for their knowledge and in addition, the community I also received along with the learning, well I simply can’t put a price tag on that.

3. Be happy

I put being happy on the back burner so much it hurts to really stop and think about. It was always for good reason I told myself, this ‘waiting to be happy’. I simply wasn’t worthy of my own love just yet. Let me reach this “one last goal” and then I’ll have earned the right to enjoy at my own life. Funny how that one last goal always turned into just one more. Until one day I woke up and realized, with great remorse, that constantly waiting for the stars to align was costing me a beautifully magical life.

What a heartbreaking philosophy to live by. I’m here to tell you it is possible to enjoy the process. To be happy in the intermedium. Love life while working on goals. It’s not all about the end game. Want a spoiler? The end is you in a grave. Don’t wait for tomorrow to be happy. Be happy simply because. It really is that easy.

5. Stand up for yourself. Be a b*tch.

There. I said it. It’s okay to be a b*tch. And no, I don’t mean walk around with your nose in the air and treat everyone like they’re disposable. I mean it’s okay to stand up for yourself. Don’t let anyone put down your ideas, hopes, and dreams. I have a few choice people that I trust and open up to. Without judgment, they share their opinions about my wild ideas with honesty. Because they love me, not because they want to make me feel inferior or build themselves up. And if you do run into those who speak with judgment on their lips? Then girl, do that dramatic hair flip, spin around, and walk the other direction. Ain’t no well respected women have time for that! We don’t need to tear each other down. It’s 2018. Let’s show a little team spirit for our fellow women out there trying to do their thang.

6. Get that dress, you only live once

My mom grew up wearing other peoples clothes. She shopped some, but a lot of what she wore was hand me downs because she didn’t want to waste money on herself when she could be buying us stuff.

Let’s get something straight here: purchasing yourself clothing isn’t “something extra”, its a necessity! I’m not saying head to your closest Nordstroms, take out a credit line and go crazy. Purchasing yourself clothes you love and feel good in isn’t some compromise your family has to make so you can stroke your own ego. You hold significant value as a person and you have a right to feel and look pretty. Period. Buy the dress girl!

How rich you are doesn’t determine how awesome you are

One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone mentions their “friend” and then goes on to say how rich they are and how many houses they own and how cool they are. As if by association they rate a tad higher on the social scale. Um, this is degrading on so many levels, especially to the rich friend. Let’s choose to love our friends and brag about their attributes, not how much money someone you know has in the bank. Since when did wealth become a defining factor of someones worth? I love my friend because she’s a great running mentor. Or, I love my friend because of how amazing at DIY she is. How about, I love my friend because she has a heart of gold. Those holds value. They have worth. Sure, it may be cool they have money. But come on, who wan’t to be known as “the rich friend”?

4. You’re past doesn’t determine your future

You are not your past! I was talking to my life coach the other day. Yep, I totally have one of those “unnecessary expenses” (I hope you caught my sarcasm right there) and she has changed my life and blown my mind! One particular day I was expressing how I kept struggling with the same issue and couldn’t seem to get ahead. She sat quietly on the other end of the phone for a moment before saying, “you don’t have to let your past define your future. Just because you did it yesterday does not mean you have to do it today. You can choose to say no and do whatever it is differently.” There’s something to be said for keeping it simple. Hard to change? Yes, it could be very hard. But what do you want? It all comes down to how much you believe in yourself. Do you truly believe in you enough to make the change?

7. Love your body

My body has birthed two babies, ran multiple half marathons, and even ran a full 26.2. Its trekked up mountains, tended gardens, hosted parties and hugged many family and friends. Yet still I struggled with accepting how it looks. Internally I’m a picture of health, my doctor says not to change a thing. But still that isn’t enough. For me or for thousands of other women across the world. Waistlines mean more than true factors of health. We must be the change. Let’s forge the way for our daughters and granddaughters to not have to feel like buying a size smaller in a bathing suit makes them more valuable as a person.

Your life leaves a ripple effect. Good or bad. You get to choose.

Maybe you think you’ve got a lot of sway with people or maybe you’re an introvert with few close friends. Whichever it is doesn’t matter. You can’t help but leave a ripple effect, for the good or bad, regardless of if you’re trying to or not. Everything you do affects others. It just happens. You don’t have to try. But knowing this, you can try, as much as is in your power, to leave a ripple of goodness in your wake. Along with being kind, be someone who inspires. Live your life with integrity. Challenge those around you, make them want to be better because of your example. Live life boldly but never forget to be humble.

8. Speak kindness to yourself

Speak kindly to yourself daily and watch your attitude, and outlook, change. Whenever you catch yourself thinking how lazy you are, or how bad you look in the mirror, or how you don’t compare to your peers, stop and say three kind things to yourself. Truly. Do it for a month straight and you’ll notice a difference!

9. Dream baby dream

Dream big, dream often. <3

10. Do that thing you always thought you couldn’t

Most of us have that one thing we wished we did but it just never happened for one reason or another. For me it was running. I didn’t think I would be a good runner, so for years I never tried. But some part of me wouldn’t let it go. After having Tyrion a switch flipped and I started running, soon realizing how empowered I felt when hitting the road. If I’d listened to my past self (and even a few people close to me) I would have never tried. It’s such a part of who I am know I can’t imagine life without it.

11. Take in the world like a toddler, eyes full of wonder and excitement

So many people turn into pessimists as they age. They don’t look to the bright side at all but instead pull the worst out of every situation. Don’t be that person. Continue to be childlike in finding the wonder in the world. The alternative can lead to becoming a very jaded, cynical person.

12. Get up early and get going

Getting up early always makes my days better! I’ve never got up early, got ready for the day, and wished I was back in bed. Life truly is short, so why sleep it away!?

13. Work out daily

As I dig deeper into my 30’s it’s easier to tell who takes care of themselves and who doesn’t. In your 20’s you can get away with a ton, but in your 30’s? Baby it all counts. And I’m not just talking looks. I’m talking movement, how easily it is for people to perform their daily tasks. Working out helps with all of that: the looking younger, the health, and the ability to live life more comfortably. So do it for ease of life, not just to show off a hot bod.

14. Drink your water

A gallon a day . . . well I don’t know what rhymes with gallon but water sure does make life easier. Less wrinkles, less bloat, helps to maintain a proper weight, helps with energy and fighting fatigue. Water is the miracle elixir. So drink up!

15. Let yourself be spontaneous

Load up the kids at 9pm and take them star gazing on a whim. Pack up the fam on a Sunday afternoon and head out on a hike. Everyone tuned out on their devices? Yell “We’re leaving!!!” and head out for froyo. Make memories and show your kids a routine is sometimes meant to be broken.

16. Don’t put off that trip

“Maybe someday” is the killer of dreams. Plan that trip. Put a date on a calendar. Start a fund. Actively work to make it a reality instead of wistfully dreaming about a someday far away when somehow it will happen.

17. Make a plan, change it accordingly

Don’t go through life living each day as it comes.  Make a plan. Have a three month goal, a year goal, a three year goal, a lifetime goal. Write them all down and look them over. Then break each goal down. Why do you want these things? What will you need to do them? Reverse engineer and start working toward them. Little by little, year by year you’ll be creating something with your life, instead of being taken surprise by it.

18. Have a space in your home you love

Have that one space you can go to that brings you instant happiness. You feel relaxed, at ease, creative, recharged. It could be a nook in a part of your house you do-up just for you, or it could be a whole bedroom or office. Make one. Use it as your safe space. Your area to unwind.

19. Read more books. All kinds!

Man oh man do I love books. Mysteries, how-to books, biographies, motivational. Give them to me. Reading is like working out for the brain. It keeps you sharp! Maybe you don’t love to read or find it hard to find time to sit down with a book? Books on audio are also wonderful options. There’s a great many amazing podcasts out there too. Don’t stop learning and reading. When you stop learning, you start dying.

20. Be a little more eco-friendly

You don’t have to go to the extreme of the no-waste family that don’t use trash cans, (I mean, “how do they even?”) but come on, there are a ton of ways to be a little more efficient and help out the environment. Buy in bulk, use glass containers at home. Purchase reusable containers for lunches and use less plastic gallon bags. Get those crazy hip steel straws everyones raving about off Amazon. (I have these ones!) Be better at throwing away less. It all adds up.

21. It’s okay to leave friends behind

This one took a while to finally do, but I had friendships that were sucking the life out of me. Most of us have one or two of those “friends”. The ones that constantly, yet subtly, put you down. Always trying to make themselves seem superior. Who are forever needing things from you but never truly giving.

These friends would call or text and I’d get a sinking feeling in my stomach. I didn’t want to hang out, but felt obligated because we’ve been friends for such a long time. Let me share something I finally realized: length of friendship doesn’t define how true the friendship is. It’s how you feel around that person. How inspired and happy you are in their presence. That is what friendship is. So lose the ones holding you down.

22. Make new friends

But I’m so busy. How do I find time to make friends?”

It’s not hard. Promise!

Find something you love to do, then find a group who’s doing it and join in. Go to a home bible study that your church puts on, find a running group if you love to run, join a gym like Crossfit that holds classes so you see the same people over and over. Get out there!

23. It’s okay to be lazy sometimes

This is a hard one for me. If I’m tired and want to stay in a vegetative state for a day, I guilt myself constantly instead of allowing myself the joy of being useless for a bit. We all need that time to unwind. To turn it all off and binge watch an entire Netflix series once in a while. Don’t ruin your downtime with thoughts of guilt about how you should be being more productive. Girl, you tackle that show and pint of ice-cream with no regret! Tomorrow will be waiting. You are allowed a true day off.

24. Don’t stay if you hate it. There are other jobs out there

Life is too short to stay at a job you hate. It’s very hard to detach from a bad day at a sucky job when you get home. We can’t just flip a switch and be happy-go-lucky the minute we walk through the door. Work stuff sticks with you no matter how much you try to forget or block it out. You have value and deserve to work in a place that knows that. So find a new job, or maybe become your own boss. Whatever your dream is, implement it.

25. Eat local

You hardly ever see me eating in a chain restaurant. I’d rather try some place local. They’re always more fun! Local coffee shops, local restaurants, local breweries, markets, and on and on. Not only is the food 99% of the time better, I love supporting those in our community. I find a lot of my local favorites on Instagram, but Yelp and word of mouth from friends and family will also produce some amazing results.

26. Do something kind, tell no one

I remember when I was about eight, my mom helping a family and telling no one. She put $100 cash in an envelope and dropped it in their mailbox. The family was going through a rough patch and when the mother opened their mailbox and found the cash, she was beyond touched. They were a proud family and would have tried to return the money had they known who it came from. But not having anyone to return it too? They used it and were so extremely grateful.

Maybe it’s donate to a charity close to your heart, or helping a family down the road who’s in a financial pinch with their monthly groceries. Whatever it is, do it out of the kindness of your heart and tell no one. Trust me, the high you’ll feel knowing you touched a life is reward enough.

27. Don’t post it all to social media

When I was first starting to grow my online biz I assumed being transparent meant sharing everything with my following. I didn’t want to seem fake and assumed the only way to do that was show them my whole life. Wrong!!!! It’s okay to keep some things private. To not share everything. It’s not called creating a highlight reel, it’s called respecting your family and your own privacy. People like a little mystery. Keeps things interesting. 😉

28. Remove yourself from some of those FB groups

OMGoodness, so many groups. And you probably only asked to be in like, five of them. Facebook can be a big stressor (I love IG so much more) so removing yourself from groups (and unfollowing some of those sour people you’re friends with) can help a lot!

29. Online clutter is a real thing

Every few months go through all your social sites and do a purge. Unfollow pages that no longer hold value for you. Unfollow people who cause you to stumble or question your own journey. Unsubscribe from those emails you never open that crowd your inbox. The noise from the online world carries over into our everyday life. Don’t allow it to be negative.

30. Declutter the house while you’re at it

Anxiety from clutter is real, and the older we get the more clutter seems to accumulate! I get stressed when my house is dirty and that leads to being unproductive which leads to other bad things. Take a room, a closet, a drawer and clean it out each day. Donate items, sell what you can, and get rid of the unnecessary. I know with 100% assurance your kids have to many toys. :p Clean house and you. will. feel. amazing! 

31. Backup & organize those photos

This one is huge!!!!! I lost photos this past year because my phone broke and I didn’t upload them to the cloud. I use to make fun of all things cloud related but after bawling my eyes out and working for hours to recover some of my photos I’m dedicated to learning about it now. I’m not saying use the cloud, but heavens! Use something!!!!! Trust no computer or phone to hold those precious memories. They will fail! And make sure to organize them. It will be way easier to find that one photo from when your kid was three at the pool when you’re 60 years old and searching through thousands of photos! 

32. Speak to kids like they are grown ups

I had to add this one because it’s such a pet peeve of mine. No baby talk! Unless they’re like, under one. I pride myself on taking to my kids like they’re adults, explaining things to them like they are adults, and making sure they learn how to speak correctly. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing as hilarious as a kid pronouncing something wrong when they are trying so hard to be correct. But some kids think baby talk is funny and continue it way longer than they should. Plus, dumbing things down for kids is doing them a disservice. They know more than we generally assume. So give them the benefit of the doubt and talk to them like adults. They will respect you more for it.

33. Don’t pretend to know it all

I reserve the right to change my mind on any of the aforementioned! Because I realize I don’t know everything and I’m okay with admitting when I’m wrong. Unless it’s to my husband . . . 😉 Only joking. 

Know it alls have been and always will be the most annoying people on the planet. Be open to listening to others ideas before making your informed choice. Deciding something based on no info is not mature or really deciding. It’s just being simple, stubborn, and shows a lack of intelligence.

Wow! We’re done!!!

There you have it, for what it’s worth. My 33 by 33. Some of these lessons have been way harder than others for me, yet they all hold importance. I can only imagine what more I’ll learn and how I’ll grown and change through the rest of my 30’s. Hope I have a lot more to say once I hit the big 4 – 0!

33 things I've learned in my 33 years of life, Eryn Whalen


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