Hello! I’m Kelley, Ashley’s best friend (because in the words of Mindy Kaling: “Best friend isn’t a person; it’s a tier.”). I’m also her resident psychologist and spiritual advisor, even though I have no official qualifications other than life experience and a lot of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday episodes under my belt. I wrote this list upon reflection of my 20s when I turned 30 last November, and when Ashley asked me to share it for her 30th, I was more than happy to. So without further adieu…
2. Sometimes leaving someone is the biggest demonstration of love.When it gets to the point when a relationship isn’t really serving either person, walking away can free you both.
3. Be the person you want to be with. When making your “wish list” of qualities of the love of your life, make sure that you stack up to all that you’re asking for.
4. There’s more than one great love of your life. I’ve had at least one great love in my life and I’m certain there is more to come. In different stages of life you might be accompanied by a different person to help along the way. At least that’s my hope.
5. There’s no such thing as failure as long as you learn a lesson. Every encounter in life can be an assignment. As long as the lesson is learned, even experiences that seem like failures can become wins.
6. Soul mates aren’t strictly romantic relationships. Friends, siblings, mentors can all be soul mates and lifelong support system. Soul mates take on lots of shapes and sizes.
7. There are significant people and significant instances both are equally as purposeful. A chance encounter or a seemingly random experience can be just as pivotal as a long term relationship. Be alert to every opportunity that crosses your path.
8. You don’t have to fight so hard, or at all. Fighting or forcing usually means you are going against the flow of life. Instead of fighting, try letting go (it’s scary, I know) and trust that somehow your greatest good is always at the center of everything.
9. You can’t want something for someone they don’t want for themselves. I learned this the hard way and I still get gentle reminders of this lesson on a regular basis, but it’s 100% true. Everyone has their own path and timeline. You can’t speed it up or change it and to think you can is a pretty egotistical stance.
10. Seek to see the real truth. No one has lied to you more than you have lied to yourself. The truth starts with you in both speaking it and seeing things as they really are. It can be harsh, but it’s real.
11. Your parents are just people who did the best they could. Still working on accepting this, but it’s true. In most cases they did the best they could with what they had.
12. Timelines are fiction. Create your own paradigm. You really only have to answer to yourself. Don’t base your self-esteem on other people’s Facebook pictures or relationship statuses.
13. No one can complete you. If you think another person can make you whole, you’re going down a co-dependent path. All the loving yourself stuff Whitney Houston sings about is pretty right on.
14. The only way to beat fear is to face it head on. If you let it linger it will really keep your from manifesting your true potential.
15. There is more than one right answer. We are so used to right and wrong – yes and no – often there is more than one “right” solution or choice.
16. Forgiveness. It’s probably the biggest key to happiness that is the hardest to embrace. A lot of times the toughest part is forgiving yourself for selling yourself out.
17. You don’t have to know everything right now. Being OK with not knowing is the hardest thing for me. But everything reveals itself in due time. Being OK with where you are is when the grace comes.
18. Enjoy being with yourself. This was an acquired taste for me, but it’s very important to enjoy your own company by choice. After all, if you can’t be with you why should anyone else want to be?
19. Music is an antidepressant. This is true for me, but find what brings you joy and enjoy it.
20. There is a lesson in everything. If you are aware of how you are behaving, there is literally a lesson in every interaction you have, every tribulation and even every moment of joy. To me, this is literally what life is all about.
21. Listen to understand not to respond. When you really listen and hear someone you create a safe place for them to express themselves. You are allowing yourself to be present with that person instead of crafting a response and often when it’s time for your response your answer will be more honest and inspired.
22. Stop trying to run from sadness. We live in a world where everyone tries to attain happiness through escapism. Don’t run from sadness. Experience it, process it and let it go.
23. Everybody hurts, sometimes. Amen, R.E.M. Instead of getting pissed if someone is rude to you take a step back and realize this person is probably in a lot of pain, just like you are. Take a beat before (mentally) beating someone up.
24. “Bad” things happen to good people. I’ve witnessed this recently more than ever. “Bad” things will happen to you and to good people around you. Somehow it’s part of this unexplainable journey we are on.
25. You are not in control. As much as you want to be, there are some many factors at work to get you from point A to point B that you can never control all of the variables. You can only control your outlook and what you learn. (See #20)
26. Worry is poison. See #25. Someone told me that worrying is praying for the worst to happen. Focus on what you want to happen, not what you don’t.
27. You are the common theme in all of your problems. It’s instinct to blame other people for almost everything. But you are in all of your interactions. It really doesn’t matter what he or she said or did, how it sits in you is what matters and the lesson you draw from it.
28. Make sure people are better for knowing you. Just like camping – leave the grounds even better than when you arrived. You are also a teacher.
29. It’s better to have loved and lost. Another old adage that’s true for me. I love love. I love hard. Even if it hurts when it ends, I never regret going there in the first place.
30. Fill your life with those who support your vision. Haters suck. Some people won’t truly “get” you right away, but those making you feel like shit for your choices should get the boot. End of story.
Read more of Kelley’s life experienced and inspirations at Sunny Side Up.