Another Trip Around the Sun

Another Trip Around the Sun

A lot of people don't like to celebrate their birthday. They don't like acknowledging the new gray hairs on their head...or lack of hair, the spots and wrinkles that grow on their cheeks, the continuation of the mundane, the passage of time. 

I love my birthday because it means I've made it another year. I've made another successful celestial orbit around the sun. This week I am finishing my 33rd orbit and I am grateful every single day I made it this far. Not everyone I know has. Maybe you feel the same?

As I reflect on my 33 years, there is nothing I would change. Everything I have done got me to the amazing place I am today. I have zero regrets. I think this is because I live my life to the fullest and always have. When I moved to Africa at 20, I told my parents not to worry, that if anything happened, I had lived a full and happy 20 years. No regrets. At 24, when I moved to Alaska, it was the same story. I accomplished everything I wanted by 24, I'd be ok if a grizzly bear took me. (Little did I know the moose were more dangerous.) I even wrote a will outlining who got my dog, my paintings, and my meager savings, got it notarized and handed enveloped copies to each parent.

Now, at 33, I can honestly say I'd feel the same. I've accomplished everything I wanted to by my early 30's and then some. I've lived in 4 countries plus Alaska, traveled to over 30 countries, seen amazing places, am blessed with great friends and family, have had a successful career thus far, found my life partner, made a home with him, made a positive impact on the people around me and in the world. I'm fulfilled. Yes, there are things I look forward to doing if I live more years, like live in another country again, make more art, write a book, cage dive with great white sharks, maybe start a family... all things that will probably come.



Until then, it's fun to look back and think of all the things done and lessons learned.  I once heard that true wisdom is learning from other people's experiences. So, what are the biggest lessons I've learned that got me here? Maybe by sharing them, some will resonate with you, reaffirm your lessons, and help in your own solar-orbiting journey. Here are 33 in no particular order:

1. Golden rule #472: Don't take yourself so damn seriously. Laugh easily and often. 

2. Be kind and helpful to others. Everyone's just doing the best they can and figuring it out as they goWhen you go, people won't remember what you did, they'll remember how you made them feel along their journey. 

3. Feeling imposter syndrome is a waste of time. You deserve to be wherever you are. Acknowledge the feeling and then tell it to get lost.

4. Every once and a while, blow your own damn mind. Work hard, play harder, and do something every once and awhile that scares you. 

5.  Parents are just big kids trying to raise kids. Their word is not gospel and sometimes they need to be parented.

6. Your vibe determines your tribe. Be authentic and honest about who you are and you will find your community. Anyone who doesn't like your true self isn't worth your time. It's their loss. 

7. Prioritize the things that bring you joy. Life is very short. Spend it wisely. 

8. Travel early and often. Travel when you're young, explore the world, and find out who you are in it. Exploring new places makes you more empathetic to others, realize that you don’t need much to be happy, and grateful for anything extra. There are also so many amazing places to see. 

9. Don't settle in love. It's the biggest commitment you make in life. Choose someone who is kind, makes you laugh, and who you love talking with. Looks fade but these things last. Life is hard enough and these 3 things will make everything easier.

10. Make your health a top priority. It's the best insurance for a long, happy life. This includes your body, mind, and spirit. Build healthy exercise, learning, and relationship habits as early as you can. And always prioritize good sleep.

11. Start saving for retirement as early as possible. Even just $10 a month when you're in high school can go a long way decades later. 

12. Wear sunscreen. Skin cancer is no joke. Also, the more you take care of your skin early on, the less you'll spend on skincare products later. 

13. Don't get into drugs early. You can always experiment with anything you want later after you've "made it," but drugs derail people and their dreams often.

14. Pets are expensive, in money and time. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise. Don't get a pet unless you're absolutely sure you can pay for anything that comes down the road. 

15. Say yes to new experiences more than you say no, but say no when you need to.

16. You can't take it with you when you die. Live for the day, plan for tomorrow. Save consistently, but don't be so frugal you miss out on the joys of life.

17. Invest in quality products to save money. They will last much longer so you don't have to keep replacing them, and you'll like them more so you'll actually get use out of them. 

18. Time is the only resource you can never make more of. Spend it wisely. You can always make more money, but you can't make more time. If feasible, use money to buy back your time. 

19. Be careful about who you spend your time with. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Choose people that help you grow in positive ways. This includes your work-life. Don't waste time in toxic environments. Life is too short. 

20. If something is scary in an exciting way, you should probably do it. It will likely become one of your biggest sources of growth, confidence, and pride.

21. Grit is the #1 predictor of success. Not money, not IQ, not who you know, but how willing you are to show up every single day, even when you don't want to, to achieve your dreams. 

22. Your integrity is all you really have in life. It is more important than anything else. Act accordingly. 

23. Be adaptable. Be a generalist. Generalists out-survive specialists, especially during times of scarcity. This means always being curious and willing to learn. 

24. You can choose whether or not to have a relationship with your parents. Not everyone's relationship with their parent(s) is perfect. You are not alone. If it's toxic, it's ok to let go. The choice is yours. 

25. Read a lot of books. You only get one life, but in books you can live thousands of lives, see thousands of places, and your learning will be limitless.

26. Attitude is everything. If you think you can, you can. If you think you can't, you won't. 

27. Ask for help when you need it. It not only helps you, but gives other people the opportunity to feel needed and fulfilled. This means you also have to accept help when help is offered.

28. If you have to make a choice, make the choice you'll regret the least

29. If you're upset, wait before sending anything in writing. Seriously. Wait. Eventually you'll calm down and write something that brings solutions rather than more problems. 

30. A rising tide lifts all boats. Collaboration over competition. Supporting others will payoff in so many more ways than by competing. 

31. Trust your gut. It's almost always right.

32. Put value on experiences, not material things. You will ultimately be much happier.

33. The quickest way to feeling fulfilled and finding purpose is in helping others. If you're feeling down or lost, go help someone else.

Did any of these resonate with you? Which ones? Which ones would you add to this list, change, or remove? What wisdom would you want to share with others and would be on your own life-lessons list? Let me know at or DM me @sage_leaf_studio. I'd love to learn from you!


P.S. Have a sage day and don't forget to take some time for you today.

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