34 Going on 35

4 Dec

I turned 34 on Thanksgiving which means that I spent a lot of time reflecting on my life, the solution to the gun problem in America, and what it means to be human. Just kidding! I ate too much turkey, and did a number of regrettable dances in front of my family members.

Another passing year can only mean more wrinkles, more cases of not giving any fucks, and more time spent contemplating my strong eyebrow game. It also means it’s time for my birthday lessons post!

As some of you may remember, I thoughtfully stole this idea from a friend of mine. I didn’t ask him permission because anything you put on the public domain is up for grabs, and I was “inspired,” and [insert other excuses that will prevent him from suing me] (he’s a lawyer).

Without further ado, here are a few tidbits I’ve picked up in my 34 years of life.

  1. Keep your friends close, and your enemies as far from you as humanly possible.
  2. There’s no such thing as “the right person at the wrong time.”
  3. The only people who survive internet dating are hopeless romantics and masochists.
  4. Sometimes the strongest foundations are built upon a place where everything burned to the ground.
  5. Feeling sorry for yourself is like junk food- it’s okay in moderation.
  6. Never feel regretful if you gave of yourself and were taken advantage of. Purity of heart is meaningful no matter what the outcome.
  7. While being single feels lonely at times, you’re actually closer to a meaningful and loving connection than someone stuck in a bad relationship.
  8. Be cautious of people who claim they hate drama. They’re usually the most dramatic.
  9. Your health (emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually) is the backbone of your existence. Stay healthy.
  10. “There’s no such thing as perfection, only perfect effort. -Mark Divine
  11. Don’t worry if you’re not on the same path as everyone else. You ‘re just taking the scenic route.
  12. Forgive without receiving an apology…
  13. …but don’t keep people in your life who don’t respect you enough to give you an apology.
  14. Don’t wish for someone else’s life. You don’t know what you’d have to give up or change to have it.
  15. A genuine smile is a person’s best accessory.
  16. Be mindful of the way someone speaks about others when they aren’t around. It’s likely how they speak about you when you’re not around.
  17. Nobody’s opinion of you matters more than your own.
  18. Don’t hoard your knowledge and expertise. By sharing what you have, you open the door for others to share what they have. Everybody wins.
  19. Nobody knows what the hell they’re doing. We’re all on our own personal runaway trains.
  20. With our culture of distraction, there are fewer gifts more meaningful than the gift of your undivided attention.
  21. If you can’t enjoy your success you aren’t really successful.
  22. There is no greater woman than one who is an ally to other women.
  23. Letting go of expectation allows you to see what is rather than what could have been.
  24. You’ll never regret a single cent or a single second given charitably.
  25. Knowing why you do the things you do is just as important as what you do.
  26. Honesty is important, especially when it comes to self-honesty.
  27. Worrying is a habit worth breaking.
  28. Failure will haunt you less than a “what if?”
  29. Educate yourself. It doesn’t have to be in an institution, but you should strive to know as much about the world as possible.
  30. If you get knocked down, get back up. Repeat as necessary.
  31. If you have a negative reaction to someone, ask yourself why. Sometimes we hate in others what we see in ourselves.
  32. Always mind your manners. Always.
  33. Don’t argue to be right or to prove a point. Argue for clarity and resolution.
  34. The life you’re living is material for your eulogy.


And there you have it, another year in the books. If you’re jonesing for even more wisdom, you can read my previous attempt at this, or head over to Gillian’s blog where she has done her own life lessons posts.

Until next year…

51 Responses to “34 Going on 35”

  1. beckysaysthings 01/14/2016 at 9:36 am #

    Soooooo I turn 31 on Monday…. and if I were to, say, be INSPIRED by your birthday list (which I totally am, particularly by no. 27 and no. 32) and maybe use that inspiration to do my own birthday list (with the appropriate acknowledgments of course), would you, say, SUE ME????
    On another note, doing a ‘series of regrettable dances in front of family members’ is the funniest phrase I’ve read in a long time and for that, I thank you. 🙂

    • Jen and Tonic 01/14/2016 at 4:54 pm #

      Please, be inspired. However, get ready to receive a certified notification that I will sue you for all of the stick drawings you’ve used in your posts. I will hang them proudly in my house and tell people I drew them.

      So happy to be reading you again, by the way! You always make me laugh so hard that strangers think something is wrong with me (there is).

  2. mariner2mother 01/08/2016 at 5:14 pm #

    Brilliant! I was wondering why I hadn’t read your blog in a while and then I realized I hadn’t subscribed *blush*. Error rectified! And just in time to read this really quite excellent list of wisdom; so many gems. Happy New Year!

    • Jen and Tonic 01/13/2016 at 3:45 pm #

      What’s most important is you’re here now! Here’s to a positive 2016! Happy New Year 🙂

  3. prettytrippy 12/08/2015 at 7:05 pm #

    GAH! I’m finally catching up on all my blogs (no internet is HARD – especially when you semi-work for the government and 10349% sure they’re tracking you so you don’t do ANYTHING personal at work)!

    I always love your life lesson posts. Especially the nods to single-dom, apologies (HOLY SHIT THAT ONE), and undivided attention (YAS). Quality time is clearly my love language.

    GAH you’re so giving with this knowledge sharing line. I’m just a selfish biatch and want others to work at least half as hard as I did to figure something out. Only child problems, I’m sure.

    31 is really interesting and one I will have to mull over. For instance, my father drives me crazy (for many, many reasons) but I know I’m a lot like him. Your question also causes me concern because I’m very much an all or nothing kind of girl…Probably some self-loathing issues I need to work out with a therapist…

    Anyways, I love your wisdom as always. Glad to have you back even for a bit. I hope you’ll consider coming back FOREVER!


    PS – Thanks for the nod, honey. MUAH!

    PPS – I CANNOT WAIT FOR YOUR CHRISTMAS CARD. I sincerely hope there are light sabers and kittens in Christmas sweaters. (Feel free to use this as an idea for next year…)

    • Jen and Tonic 12/11/2015 at 12:15 am #

      Are you without internet? What did you do in a past life to deserve a life without internet?

      The singledom quote is something I owe my best friend for. He’s always dropping truth bombs around here.

      I think as we get older we look at different pieces of our own puzzle. I have had some serious, “Holy shit, really?” moments in the past couple of years. It makes you wonder how you never saw it before!

      I promise I’m back. For realsies. I really appreciate the support you’ve always given me ❤

      • prettytrippy 12/21/2015 at 4:19 pm #

        Yes, I can only get AT&T at me new place and I’m convinced it’s the company from hell. Ugh.

        Truth bombs – ha! I love that!!!

        YOU’RE BACK! YAY!

  4. Jana 12/07/2015 at 9:18 pm #

    Jen! I haven’t seen you forever! I love this list – LOVE it! I have a new whiteboard in my office and I am trying to put a new, positive, life saying on it each day – partly to encourage myself, partly to encourage others, and partly to give people a reason to make the hike to my new office (which is rather inconveniently located) so I’m not so lonely in here! I’ve stolen several of these to use!

    • Jen and Tonic 12/11/2015 at 12:00 am #

      Yes, I’ve been away, but the things that were keeping me away no longer exist so I should be writing more regularly. I’m so happy that some of these items can be used in that capacity. Please steal away 🙂

  5. John W. Howell 12/04/2015 at 4:06 pm #

    Good advice for even us old folks.

  6. Psychobabble 12/04/2015 at 12:19 pm #

    Happy Birthday! Dropped some serious wisdom.

    • Jen and Tonic 12/10/2015 at 11:55 pm #

      Thanks! Also, I owe you an email. We should get together after the holidays.

  7. Dawn Quyle Landau 12/04/2015 at 10:56 am #

    Happy belated birthday Jan and thanks for sharing all your jams! There’s some great wisdom here; i’m not sure I could get through the 52 that I’d have to come up with! But oh to go back and be 34… With my current wisdom. 😉 Quite simply, it’s just great when you show up in my inbox!

    • Jen and Tonic 12/10/2015 at 11:55 pm #

      Thanks, Dawn! And I’m sure you could certainly make a wonderful list. Your blog is always full of nuggets of wisdom. Hope you’ve been well!

      • Dawn Quyle Landau 12/12/2015 at 8:57 am #

        Whoa! Talk about delayed reaction… I thought you might be 35 before I got word back from you. 😉 I could use more Jen and Tonic! Thanks Jen… I’m not sure my nuggets are as clever or wise (now there’s a loaded statement) but I’m touched that you think so. xo

        • Jen and Tonic 12/12/2015 at 11:28 pm #

          I don’t move as quickly in my old age 😉

          And everyone has something to say, Dawn! That’s the beauty of blogging- everyone gets a chance to speak.

  8. geekcoupletab 12/04/2015 at 10:22 am #

    I love all of these! They are so true!

    • Jen and Tonic 12/10/2015 at 11:54 pm #

      Thanks! Just took a look at your blog and followed 🙂

  9. The Cutter 12/04/2015 at 9:56 am #

    30 – Total rip off of Chumbawumba!

    • Jen and Tonic 12/10/2015 at 11:53 pm #

      Is that why I wrote this while drinking a whiskey drink, while drinking a vodka drink?

  10. rollergiraffe 12/04/2015 at 9:45 am #

    You’re both wise and sexy. Happy belated birthday.. 35 was the year where I started to feel seriously adult-y, in a mostly good way.

    • Jen and Tonic 12/10/2015 at 11:52 pm #

      My teachers laughed at me because, while other kids wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer, I wanted to grow up to be wise and sexy. NAILED IT.

      I have one more year to get my act together, is that what you’re telling me?

      • rollergiraffe 12/13/2015 at 8:07 am #

        What I am telling you is that I have low reading comprehension. May as well just give up grammar altogether and start typing in caps and shit. Your act is fully together. I wouldn’t worry one bit about that.

  11. rarasaur 12/04/2015 at 9:04 am #

    Happy birthday! xo! Also, ally is a weird word. But I like the concept. ❤

    • Jen and Tonic 12/10/2015 at 11:51 pm #

      No joke, I had to look it up because I wasn’t sure it was right. It is a very odd word.

  12. Firewaves21 12/04/2015 at 8:36 am #

    Great lessons. I liked the one about not keeping people in your life that aren’t willing to apologize. I have never put much stock in apologies, I value what people DO more than what people say. I look for accountability and change in behavior. We all screw up, but if I don’t see evidence of genuine remorse they’re out of here. lol Happy happy belated birthday Sweet Jen.

    • Jen and Tonic 12/10/2015 at 11:51 pm #

      I completely understand where you’re coming from in regards to that, Dani. I think an apology is a “do” so for me it’s really important. But you’re right, an apology without action is useless.


  13. She's a Maineiac 12/04/2015 at 7:54 am #

    Such wisdom at your age! all of it is spot-on. Happy belated birthday to you!

    • Jen and Tonic 12/10/2015 at 11:50 pm #

      Thanks and thanks! I NEED to sit down and catch up on your posts. Be warned that you are going to get 10000000 comments in a row from me.

  14. Julie Burton 12/04/2015 at 7:26 am #

    Happy Birthday! We are only days apart in age! I turned 34 on Nov. 27th. I dread having a Thanksgiving birthday. Maybe I should try dancing in front of the family. Love the list 🙂

    • Jen and Tonic 12/10/2015 at 11:48 pm #

      Dancing terribly in front of others is the quickest way to alienate others. Ask my family…and friends…and ex-boyfriends…and former coworkers. Happy belated birthday!

  15. Fat Bottom Girl 12/04/2015 at 7:16 am #

    #34. I want mine to be a good one! Happy Belated Birthday!

  16. Carrie Rubin 12/04/2015 at 6:55 am #

    Enjoyed reading through your list. #20 is spot-on. We don’t like it when people use their phones while we’re talking to them so we should grant them the same courtesy and not use ours.

    Happy belated Birthday! Mine was one day after yours. Every seven years we get to cook a huge meal on our birthday…

    • Jen and Tonic 12/10/2015 at 11:47 pm #

      Exactly. I’d like to believe that when I look back on my life I’ll remember the amazing conversations I had, and not how I had to give up 30 minutes of Candy Crush.

      I like to tell myself that Thanksgiving was created to help celebrate super awesome people like us. Happy belated birthday!

  17. thedancingrunner 12/04/2015 at 6:54 am #

    Great list!! Happy Birthday and cheers to you!

  18. Holly 12/04/2015 at 5:52 am #

    Happy belated birthday. I would have a few more to add to the list to get to my age, but I like the start you’ve given so far 🙂

    • Jen and Tonic 12/10/2015 at 11:45 pm #

      I encourage you to do it. Please send me the link if you do.

  19. totallytk 12/04/2015 at 5:41 am #

    That line about hating in others what we see in ourselves stopped me right in my tracks. I’ve definitely some thinking about that to do.

    Also, happy birthday!

    • Jen and Tonic 12/10/2015 at 11:45 pm #

      People can be like mirrors, and sometimes we don’t like what we see.

  20. Elyse 12/04/2015 at 5:37 am #

    Happy birthday, Jen! Great list.

  21. 1jaded1 12/04/2015 at 5:37 am #

    Happy Belated Birthday, Jen! Great list. I hope we don’t have to wait a year to read your words.

    • Jen and Tonic 12/10/2015 at 11:44 pm #

      Thanks, Jaded! And no, you won’t have to. Promise. I mean it.

  22. MamaMickTerry 12/04/2015 at 5:04 am #

    This is a fantastic list, Jen!
    Huge fan of the runaway train and scenic routes.
    SO good to read you again. Happy Friday!

    • Jen and Tonic 12/10/2015 at 11:43 pm #

      Mama Mick! So good to see you here. I have a lot of catching up to do, and your blog is up at the top of the list.

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