31 Things I’ve Learned In 31 Years


In the wake of my 31st birthday, I wrote 31 lessons. These are my truths and I share them with you.

1. There really are consequences for every action — note: inaction is an action, too.

2. The dreamers can have their dreams. I’d rather make shit happen.

3. None of it is all that serious. So laugh — at all of it.

4. While everything is fleeting, family, whether chosen or blood, is God.

5. Work.

6. You can stuff a key in an unfit lock but it still won’t open the door. In fact, you’ll end up with a whole new problem, a broken lock.

7. Love unabashedly — just do it. So what if it leaves? So what?!

8. A woman should have, seek and WANT a female mate — someone to tell all her secrets to, someone who never judges, someone who gives ya a good smack when needed, and someone to cuddle when it all goes to shit, again.

9. Sometimes people suck… Moving on.

10. Never apologize for being angry, sad, or mad as hell. In fact, relish in the right to rage, rage, and rage.

11. There is no secret pill. Work out and eat well. So go ahead and have a chip — just not the whole bag.

12. If you read the Wall Street Journal every day… one day, it’ll start to make sense.

13. Love is not masochism.

14. Nothing has anything to do with you. So mind your own business. OR. Shut up and listen.

15. Learn to use a hammer. Take a peak under the toilet lid. Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you should expect a man to fix things. So go ahead, paint your own room.

16. Do community service. I still can’t see the reason not to.

17. BLAST YOUR MUSIC AT HIGH VOLUME because it feels good and you should dance just because it’s fun.

18. Things take time. That’s okay. You must learn to play ‘Hot Cross Buns’ before tackling ‘Phantom’. You’ll never play Carnegie Hall before tinkering with ‘Heart and Soul.’

19. Know your role. If you want to change the game, you have to infiltrate from within. You must know the rules before you can break them.

20. Indulge in simple pleasures. They’re free. You’re welcome.

21. You know the saying, “you’re born alone and you’ll die alone.” False. Think about it. We actually come into this world physically attached to another human being.

That said…

22. Give. Giving is endless. We’re in this together. So if a smelly old lady comes into the bodega and can’t buy herself an orange, then open up that pocketbook, the one you bought at Brooklyn Exchange for 25 bucks, and pay for her. That’s an order, not a lesson.

23. Don’t be a dick. There’s no legitimate reason for it. Instead of yelling at tourists, give directions. Wherever you’re going is not as important as being patient and kind to your fellow man.

24. Give thanks every day.

25. Have a point of view and preach it from the mountaintops. Never apologize for the lion’s heart raging inside your chest. We are gods and put on this earth to reach our own potentials. In fact, we owe it to ourselves and to our communities to do so.

26. Nothing is out of reach. Knock, knock, knock, or bang down the doors if necessary. Don’t stop. Never stop. Worst-case scenario? They say no. Big whoop. Find another building and get knocking.

27. There is a major difference between vicious gossip and being angry and needing to vent. Know the difference and if you must, choose the latter.

28. Travel.

29. Go skinny-dipping in the ocean (sorry, not sorry, Mom).

30. Our elders made one fundamental mistake: They didn’t give us due warning. They forgot to tell us how cruel and harsh the world could actually be. You will not become a CEO straight out of grad-school. You will not land a starring role in a huge feature film on your first try. You will not open and run a successful café without ever first making a latte. Big surprise you woke up one day and realized that life isn’t what you thought it would be when you were playing GI Joe versus Barbie in your parents’ basement. So now you know. I’ve just told you. What are you going to do about it? Refer to lessons 26, 28, 5 and then of course, number 3.

And OMG finally,

31. Wear sunscreen.

featured image – Onay Davus