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My birthday is in a week and this year I will be turning thirty but with that comes what I call birthday reflections where you basically think about everything that this past year has taught you. Every year on my birthday people ask me what lessons I have learned but struggle to come up with anything because you can’t put someone with anxiety on the spot and expect a serious answer. When people ask me about what life lessons I have learned I usually will say something dumb like I have learned no lessons because thanks to anxiety I can’t be put under pressure like that. This year there are a lot of reasons to celebrate because I turn thirty next Tuesday and also my blog turns five at the end of July which is a major milestone because most people that start a blog don’t get past year two. I have learned a lot of things in my thirty years of life and will learn tons more in the next thirty years but you wouldn’t know by forcing me to play twenty questions. If you ever wondered what important lessons I have learned in my twenties and before then but have given up on asking me because you know I won’t say anything serious. In this post I am going to give you a few life lessons that everyone should learn before you turn thirty.
You can’t force someone to like you because it won’t last long term- When I was in middle school I became really good friends with a girl that I thought would be a life-long friendship but it was very short-lived and let’s just call her Betty. When I went to high school Betty got jealous of my new friends because she didn’t have me to herself anymore like she did in middle school that changed her but not in a good way. My new friends did not like her because they thought she acted like a spoiled brat which she did at times and wanted me to force everyone to like her. When I told her that I can’t force people to like you and you either connect with people or you don’t but she got mad and had her mom go to administration and claim that I was being mean to her which I was not because I am only mean when I have a very good reason to be. The school forced us to be friends with her or at least put on a serious act because if there were any more complaints there would have been consequences. The rest of us could have gotten our parents involved and outnumbered her but we didn’t care that much and were just nice to her because it was at that moment I realized that friendship was dead and there was no repairing it. Can parents and schools force kids to be friends with one another? Yes but if you have unresolved conflict and don’t really connect with that person it’s not going to be a real bond and won’t last long term. Many of us would have been friends with Betty if she would have come to us with her concerns so we can try to work it out but since she quite literally put us in a situation where we were forced to like her no one wanted anything to do with her after graduation and she didn’t have any of the friends she thought she did because we all got so good at faking it. If your child is getting bullied parents should get involved but you shouldn’t force your kids to be friends with people they don’t connect with because it destroys possible friendships and won’t last.
Friendship are a two-ways street- For a friendship to work long-term, both parties need to communicate well and take responsibility for their actions because if it’s always one person it’s not going to work. I have been in a lot of toxic relationships where I fought almost every single day and somehow everything was always my fault. My friends would not take responsibility for their actions and would always claim that I was always the one who needed to apologize and I did even if it was for something I didn’t do because I wanted to keep my friendship alive. If you truly hurt your friends you should apologize but if you didn’t and they are the ones at fault you shouldn’t apologize for something you didn’t do because you will keep running into the same problems. Friendship is a two-ways street and the only way you will have a forever friendship is if both parties meet you half-way.
Life is too short to skip dessert- When I got my ACE which is the stoma I have that is connected to my colon my life forever changed but it’s not perfect and there are a lot of challenges that come with it. Every meal that I eat I am constantly thinking about my stoma because I can’t predict what foods will react to it that day and what ones won’t. My stoma problems will still be present on my birthday and I am not going to try to totally eliminate them but I am going to make them worth it. I am having Italian on my birthday because I love pasta and if I have a stoma issue which I may not it’s going to be more worth it than if I was eating broccoli. When you have a stoma there is always that risk that something major and embarrassing could happen when you are out but life is too short to skip dessert! Sometimes people will tell me to avoid all the foods that interact with my stoma but that is impossible because anything can react to it and even if I could avoid all forms of sugar which what typically interact with my stoma that is no way to live life!
Stop taking things so personally- As a blogger you may experience more negativiely and trolls than someone who only uses social media for personal reasons. People online sometimes say the rudest things that they would never have the guts to say in real life. You can write comment policies and set comments for moderation to have a better control of trolls but you can’t totally get rid of them. If there is one thing that I have learned about hate comments while blogging it’s that you can’t let the trolls win and take it personally. If my sister starting leaving me hate comments I would see that as personal attack but if it’s from stranger I’m like “cool that’s your opinion.” It takes a special kind of person to make an impact on someone’s life and zero skill to say something mean. I am not saying that you can’t be a little upset when someone tells you how horrible your posts are but you have to try to not take it personally. Trolls want a reaction and if you give to them they will keep it doing but if you don’t they will move on to someone else.
Skipping meals creates more stoma issues- An ACE can give you the independence that you never thought you would have but it can also be very frustrating at times and be the reason for mulitple bathroom trips. The first couple of years I had my ACE I struggled with finding the right balance for less stoma issues and didn’t make the best choices. At one point I got so frustrated that I decided I was going to basically starve most of the time because you can’t have accidents if you aren’t eating anything to make them happen. Technically that is not wrong and you won’t have stoma issues if don’t eat anything but you can’t do that forever and eventually, you will need to eat to survive. When you do it’s going to be bad and the bathroom trips will be much more frequent than it originally would have been because your body isn’t used to regular meal schedules and will be like “whoah what is this food and not know what to do with it. If there is one thing that my stoma has taught me the hard way it’s that starvation is not the solution to less stoma issues but not eating is part of the problem. Nutrition is so important for less stoma issues because although you probably shouldn’t eat cookies every three hours you shouldn’t starve either because you need to keep your blood sugar stable for less stoma issues.
Fitness can be fun- Some people don’t work out because they don’t like it and can’t motivate themselves to do something that is not fun. When I first started working I hate it so much because I was doing a form of exercise that I hated and it wasn’t until I started working out differently that I learned you can make fitness. If you don’t like running no one is forcing you to because there are tons of other ways you can do cardio. Find a form of exercise that you can stick to and enjoy because you will get the best results when you are consistent and enjoy what you are doing. I learned to love fitness not because I am a weird person that loves to make myself sore but because I stopped doing workouts I didn’t like and changed my whole exercise mindset. Fitness isn’t just about getting your body in the room but also getting your mind in the right place because you will never stick to anything if you constantly tell yourself how awful it is. I hate strength training but I still do it because it’s good for you and the way I trick myself into doing it is by telling myself that this is fun when it’s totally not. Fitness can be fun if you find the right kind of workout and you don’t need to force yourself to Pilates when you hate it!
Some people you cannot change- I had a friend that would call me every day and talk for hours about her dream wedding when she was not engaged which bored me to tears and how I can cure myself. It didn’t matter how many times I told her my disability was incurable she did not care because all she wanted to do was talk about herself. I tried to educate and change her but it never worked because to this day I am convinced she thought that curing yourself is as easy as they make it look on Grey’s Anatomy. You can try to change people but some people are set in their own ways and you cannot change them no matter how hard try . The only hope you have for change is if they find it themselves because even if you are the one living with a disability and know more about it some people just won’t listen.
Stop trying to please everyone- We live in a world where people are so sensitive and can’t disagree with someone and be civil about it. Some people I think try too hard to please everyone which makes a lot of content online fake because people are only saying what they know their followers what to hear. Stop trying to please everyone because you won’t please everyone and there will always be that one person who thinks everything you write is incorrect and that is okay for someone to have that opinion. Focus on the people you know will read every single post because losing a few followers is no big deal! Some people unsubscribe because you stopped creating and people aren’t sure if your blog is still alive or your blog has changed and people don’t like the changes. If you see a major dip in your follower count and are concerned about it you can always make changes but you shouldn’t change your blog because one person unfollowed you and it’s going to happen!
Surgery is not always bad- Surgery can be frustrating and often people associate it with someone bad but it can be something good.. Surgical procedures often make you feel awful for weeks or even months temporarily but medical advancements change and save lives for the better even though sometimes the process to seeing those positive results can be hard. Before I had hip replacement surgery I could barely move without severe pain and with hip replacement surgery being an option I would have been stuck living in pain. There may be some instances where doctors make a mistake and ruin your life but for the most part, it can be a good thing. Some of the surgeries I have had I got to make my life easier but other ones were medically necessary and if I didn’t get them I would have died so it’s definitely not always a negative.
Your pain is still valid even if people don’t believe it’s real- Chronic pain can be hard to understand even by doctors because it’s invisible and sometimes you get so good at faking being well that people don’t believe your pain is real . Your pain is not any less because someone has it worse than you or accuses you of faking pain that is difficult to see. If people don’t believe your pain that doesn’t make it any less valid and that is not your problem but an issue that they need to deal with. It’s not a disabled person’s job to convince you that our pain is very much real and should believe pain that you have never experienced.
No one know your body better than you do- You should listen to your doctors because they are the ones that spend years in school learning studying a disease and can treat it but doctors should also listen to their patients. A doctor may spend years in school studying a condition and can give you a better chemistry lesson about your disability than disabled people can but don’t let any doctor dismiss your pain because of all the school they went through. You can spend years in school studying a condition but you don’t know more about someone’s disability than someone living with it does.
You don’t have to love everything about your disability- Acceptance is helpful for disabled people but even though someone has come to terms with their challenges that doesn’t mean disabled people have to love everything about their disability. Some challenges you face as disabled person you are going to hate with passion but are stuck with and that is okay to not like it. It is toxic positivity and harmful to disabled people when you tell them they must love and embrace everything about their disabilities because some things we don’t embrace but learn to cope with.
Age is just a number- Some people get depressed on their birthday because some people view old age as something negative but age itself should not be something you get depressed about because even if it’s so far off everyone ages will one day be old. Instead of getting sad on your birthday because you are older embrace it and think about what amazing things this next year will bring. I can understand why some disabled people may get depressed on their birthday because if you are in your thirties and still live at home it can be a painful reminder of all the things abled people have that you don’t but age itself shouldn’t make you depressed.
There are some things you life you cannot control- If there is one thing that my disability has taught me it’s that you can’t control every stoma problem or surprise health issue that may come up. You can sure try to control everything but sometimes life throws unexpected not so great surprises and your only option is to deal with them because you shouldn’t stress over things you cannot control. The unpredictability of life is what makes it exciting because in my opinion if you knew every situation you would face throughout life and the outcome it would make it very boring and there are some things in life I would rather not know.
Weight loss doesn’t have to be everyone’s fitness goal– When you hear about people’s fitness and nutrition goals the thing I hear people talk most about is their weight loss goals. If you need to lose weight there is nothing wrong with making that as a goal but everyone seems to have this idea that weightloss is the only fitness goal out there when it’s not. What about strength goals? After I graduated high school I needed to start a weight loss journey because I did not have good nutrition when I was going to school and gained some weight but after I reached my target weight I didn’t need to have that as a goal. Some people need to lose weight but some people don’t and diet culture is just convincing you that you need to be the smallest person you can be. I strive for improving my strength because I don’t need to lose weight and am not going to make a goal that can potentially become unhealthy.
There are a lot of lessons that you can learn throughout life and some of them are best taught by disabled people because our experiences matter while other things are better taught by abled people. I have learned a lot of things up to now and will continue to learn more over the next thirty years because you never stop learning. I have faced a lot of challenges through life and some of them I have learned the hard way but I don’t think of those things as failures but as a learning experience because it’s those hard situations that made me stronger. The struggles I have had with friends has been hard but it has taught me the importance of communicating with your friends and having standards for yourself because saying no is a form of self-care. If you liked this post make sure you check out part two to get the rest of my life lessons that you should learn before thirty. What life lessons have you learned so far?
I read all comments but you must be kind and keep all comments relevant to the post you are commenting on. You don’t have to agree with everyone but you must be civil when you do disagree because hateful comments towards me or any other commenters will not be tolerated. If you see that someone it’s struggling it’s okay to offer support but please do not attempt to diagnose anyone in the comment section of my blog because it can be dangerous and I can be held liable if it’s bad advice. The comment section of my blog is not for promoting yourself and any links that are dropped without me specifically saying it’s okay to do so will be deleted. If you violate my policy your comment will be edited or completely removed from my site.
Thanks for understanding!