6 Things I’ve Learned Before Turning 36

[read time: five minutes] 

  1. Your thoughts become your actions, which becomes your reality. 

You know what kills me? I learned that THIS YEAR. When it finally clicked, I smacked myself in the head and went DUH! 

Let me give you an example. I wanted to change my life trajectory. I always wanted to “be” a writer but never did it. So I brainstormed: what can I do to “be” a writer? Write! 

That’s when I decided to begin this blog: it could be my creative outlet. Then, I really sat down to complete my novel – which has been an absolute pleasure and huge learning experience. As well, I began to write articles for magazines – something I love to do. 

2. Get enough sleep!

I have been a big champion of sleep, ever since I was a wee lass. It is important. Do not take it for granted. This is the time when your body has a chance to rest and your brain has a chance to heal. 

One of my tried-and-true tested ways of falling asleep is reading. This may not be the case for everyone. But, for me, as soon as my head is on the pillow with an open book, my eyes immediately begin to close. Because I love to read and want to read, I make the effort to go to bed earlier than required so I can be awake for a bit to read. The end result? I usually fall asleep “on time” – giving me at least 7-8 hours of sleep before my alarm wakes me in the morning. Try reading before bed! It works. 

3. Do not worry about what other people are doing. Worry about yourself. 

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” I love that quote, because it is true. Why sit and watch someone else’s (unattainable) life on YouTube, when you could be out levelling up your own? (On that same vein, why sit and read people’s blogs? Lol.) 

This tip hearkens back to the first one. If your reality is that you sit and compare your life to someone’s you see on the internet, how does that benefit you? 

Also – people’s opinions of you do not matter. This is hard for me to still live by, but it helps when I do remember it. 

4. Karma is very real: the type of energy you put into the universe is what you’ll receive back. 

When I used to drink, I was negative, angry, pissed off, pessimistic, argumentative… all the time. I was either drunk or hungover, and it affected my mood and how I interacted with the world and the people in it. Guess how I got treated back? That’s right. At my corporate job, the majority of my coworkers were horrible, shitty, mean, argumentative people and treated me as such. 

Fast forward six years – the amount of time I have been sober for. Now, I control my reactions to the environment around me and do not put out any negative energy (if I can help it, lol.) I meditate near-daily, which helps ground me and put things into perspective. 

A meditation I like: visualization 

This meditation helps me put things into perspective. First, imagine yourself in a beautiful forest. It can look any way you like. 

Imagine a stream. Watch it flowing by. 

Look up into the trees, and note how the leaves fall down into the stream. Watch as they gently flow away. 

Now, imagine that the leaves are your thoughts. Some times, the leaves may be bigger or take longer to fall, but eventually they will end up in the stream and float away. 

Author’s note: the first time I was guided through this meditation, I actually cried. 

A meditation I like: grounding 

This one is deceptively simple, and will help bring you to the present moment – which is all that matters.

List five things you can see.

List four things you can touch. 

List three things you can hear.

List two things you can smell.

List one thing you can taste. 

By the time you’re done, you should be more aware of your surroundings. Remember, you are safe; thoughts are just such and cannot hurt you. 

5. Drink enough water! 

Like sleep, water is a key element to our bodies’ function – it keeps us alive. People die from dehydration every day, unfortunately. 

Water helps to cool you down, keep you hydrated, and helps maintain brain function and regulate weight, among others. 

In hot climates, if you are recovering from an illness, or if you are physically active, it is even more important to get enough. 

I am not a dietician or a doctor. And, I know not everyone likes to drink water, for whatever reason. You do you. If you like your water filled with that squirty fake fruit stuff, I say go for it. Drink that water. Once again, do not take medical advice from me. Ever. 

6. “Friends who mind don’t matter, and friends who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss

As I get older, this adage could not be more true. If your friends are true, they will actually support you and your own opinion, even if theirs differs. If you – like me – have a visible difference in the way you walk because you are disabled, a true friend will not care about that, because they love you for all of who you are. 

I want to leave y’all with a quote from Brené Brown.

“You’ve got this flame, and this is your spirit, and this is your soul, and this is your light. Sometimes it’ll shine really really bright, and you want to surround yourself with people who, when it’s shining bright, think, ‘wow what a beautiful light.’ You want to be the type of friend that when your friend’s light is shining you say, ‘wow that’s a great light,’ and you want friends who protect your light. We don’t want to surround ourselves with candle blower-outers.” 

Published by Erica Black

Erica was born with a rare disease called an arteriovenous malformation in her right leg. She is now an advocate for those with disabilities. She left the corporate world in 2016 to pursue a career as a high school English teacher and began to blog along the way. She has a BA in English Lit and minor in Creative Writing. Her writing has been featured in The Martlet, The Globe and Mail, Heroica, and more. She enjoys cats, reading, and her daughter.

2 thoughts on “6 Things I’ve Learned Before Turning 36

  1. Wow, Erica! Well said, my friend. You provided such wisdom — covering areas that affect mind, body, and spirit. It’s so important to take care of all three components that make up the whole of who we are. And, I’m so incredibly inspired by the life-improvement journeys you’re taking. I especially enjoyed hearing about your novel. You know . . . us, writers, write. So, I get excited when I hear that someone is traveling on his or her writing journey. Whoo hoo! Not only do you have your blog, but you’ve got novel and magazine writing under your belt as well. You go, girl!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the part about asking what we need to do to be a writer. I’m currently in that phase myself—being realistic with what I’ll need to do to become a fiction writer, and not just hold on to some romantic image in my head without taking any action. Anyway, thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

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