37 years old – What I know for sure (and what I’m still figuring out)

Today I am celebrating my 37th birthday. I’m not worried or anxious about the milestone, but I am feeling reflective. I’m not sure that at 37 I ever thought I’d be where I am now.

And it’s not to say that I’m in a bad place. Some would say I live a fabulous life with a successful career, a loving family and partner, friends in all corners of the earth and hootspa to spare. The past couple years, however, have been a little more challenging than I could have foreseen…the health of some friends and family has been poor, others have passed away, my husband and I both changed jobs, our family was separated for almost two years, the housing market in our town crashed and subsequently we’ve been left with two homes to maintain for almost three years. On the flip side, ten months ago, I permanently moved to a city I love and am surrounded by family, along with old and new friends.

So as I approached my 37th birthday, I was reflective of what I’d learned. I found myself thinking about the heartbreak and joys of life and the areas where I’m still wanting to grow. I thought that I’d put some of these thoughts down. And well, who doesn’t love a list…

What I do know

  1. It is important to celebrate milestones – birthdays, baby showers, weddings and graduations aren’t just things that happen; they are occasions to be loved and to show love.
  2. Family is important – sometimes they have your back even when no one else does.
  3. Making friends as a grown-up is hard. It’s not like when you’re 20 and in school and everyone is looking to make a new friend. But don’t give up. Best way to make new friends is to ask someone to be your friend – trust me; it works every time I’ve asked.
  4. When someone you care for is making it hard for you to love them, that’s usually the time to love them the most.
  5. Marriage is by far one of the hardest projects you’ll ever have. Anyone who tells you that marriage is easy is either lying or is married to a lump.
  6. It is so important to be honest – not only with your friends and family, but to yourself.
  7. When managing people, you can and should always be fair, firm and friendly. If you can’t be all three and you can’t muster up the guts to have barfy conversations, you probably shouldn’t be in charge of people.
  8. As an employee, you should work hard and be nice.
  9. It’s ok to be wrong and apologize.
  10. It’s ok to be right and stand up for yourself.
  11. Lean in. Yep, that’s right. No one is responsible for your success and your career except for you. If you don’t sit yourself at the table, no one else will seat you.
  12. Yes, sexism does still exist in the home and in the workplace. We must not be complacent and must work together. Bosses are mostly men. No, it’s not fair. But I won’t let it stop me.
  13. Love is beautiful. Simply put. It doesn’t matter between whom. Loving someone brings out the best in us.
  14. Good people aren’t always good friends/spouses/boyfriends/girlfriends/bosses/colleagues. Not everyone is a great fit for the role that you want them to play in your life.
  15. Never take your or your loved ones’ health for granted. It can change more quickly than you think.
  16. Keeping in touch with people shouldn’t be seen as a chore, but instead as a way to keep your heart happy with memories from all parts of your life.

What I don’t know or, more aptly, what I’m still learning

  1. How to let people know that I love them even when they’ve let me down.
  2. How to balance life, love, career and me.
  3. How to fit in.
  4. How to be honest with myself.
  5. How to articulate what I want and what I really need.
  6. How to let go of bad things that have happened.
  7. How to forgive.
  8. How to not eat my feelings…even if they taste really good.
  9. How to be ok with not being in control of things that are out of my control.

The sweet spot – what I know for sure

  1. Worry less about what other people think and date nerdy guys sooner.
  2. Worry less about what other people think and ask out more guys sooner.
  3. Tattoos are awesome – but they are more awesome when you know what you really want. You don’t usually know that at 21.
  4. Write more letters and send more cards – it feels good to send them, and people love surprises in the mail.
  5. Find a partner who will love you, encourage you and challenge you. You both must be on a journey of growth, or else one will flourish and the other will wither.
  6. Reading books not only makes you book smart, it makes you people smart and street smart.
  7. If you see it in the store and you really like it, get it, because it won’t likely be there when you go back later. You can always return it.
  8. The more you spend on a purse, the longer it will last and the happier you will be. Cheap purses are only a quick fix to a long-term issue.
  9. Don’t waste your time with a shitty bra. Get a good one and for god’s sake, get one that actually fits.
  10. Speaking of which, wear clothes that fit. Dress for the size that you are and not for what you’d like to be. Clothes that fit are flattering and professional and make you look and feel sexy no matter your size.
  11. Never forget to say thank you. People appreciate being appreciated, and they resent being taken for granted.
  12. Tell your friends and family that you love them. Out loud. Not just in your heart.




  1. suenieuw · September 27, 2015

    Shelley, that was beautiful, as are you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jennifer Cummings · January 13, 2016

    I love your comment about purses, I will make sure Hubby gets that message too 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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