Yesterday, I clinked glasses with my husband and a couple of close friends as I turned 32 (for those of you also with a late Dec/early Jan B-Day -- I feel ya)!
I've never followed a conventional path and that's probably my favorite thing about my life so far. I've done most things on my terms and believed early on in setting my own agenda -- even if that means making really difficult decisions. I've moved countries multiple times, left a lucrative job to work for myself, gotten married and divorced then married again and I consistently goal myself to do new things that I'm totally "unqualified" to do. Fear, uncertainty and change have been my biggest, most constant teachers.
As I remain humble and open to many more, today I'm sharing with you 32 life lessons that I've learned so far:
1) There has never been a better time in history to live an extraordinary, unlimited life.
2) Don't listen to others when it comes to making big decisions. Your inner voice has the answers.
3) How good you look is a reflection of how good you feel inside. The woman who taught me this is the incredible Rupa Mehta, founder of Nalini Method, here in New York!
4) We're all connected. As Mark Nepo says, "being human is looking so deeply into the other person that you recognize yourself."
5) Life is better when you're in it (not on the sidelines, watching).
6) Take your desires seriously. They're all you've got. Deepak Chopra teaches, "Inherent in every desire is the mechanics for its fulfillment."
7) You don't have to work in a corporate job. It's not safe anyway, despite what they tell you. There's much more fun and money to be had if you can handle a little uncertainty (warning -- most people would choose misery over uncertainty, but you don't have to be one of them). Doing work that you truly love is the best gift you will ever give yourself.
8) Laugh often. People who laugh vs. get offended or get upset over small stuff have way healthier lives.
9) Ask for a raise when you feel it's due. Always. It adds up to more than you believe.
10) Kindness counts above all else. It does not matter how good looking, educated or interesting someone is. It all means nothing without kindness.
11) Worry less. As happiness researcher Shawn Achor says, "Adversities, no matter what they are, simply don't hit us as hard as we think they will. Our fear of consequences is always worse than the consequences themselves."
12) Visualize! Picture your ideal life daily and consistently take small steps towards your vision. Each small step adds up to a life.
13) Always be de-cluttering! Closets, paperwork, unsupportive friends, apps, inboxes. Simplicity is heaven.
14) It's never about where you start. I come from a small town, a broken home, an alcoholic father and no money. If you hate your situation, I guarantee you that you can change it. Your current circumstances are always temporary (both good and bad).
15) Qualifications mean less than you think. Knowledge is only potential power. Doing/creating/building is what counts (and it's where you gain the real knowledge).
16) The best way to do it is to do it. Take risks. You'll be dead soon. As my friend Sean Behr says, "don't die wondering."
17) Read like a maniac -- biographies especially. All mistakes that can be made and lessons that can be learned have already been experienced by someone else. Reading is like a Cheater's Guide to navigating your life.
18) The biggest regrets come from pleasing other people. A Buddhist monk said if you meditated for 20 years the final message you would arrive at is, "Be yourself."
19) Live where you want to live. Despite what you might think -- you are NOT stuck! If your dream is to live in London, Paris, San Francisco -- go!
20) Love yourself. Especially when you don't "deserve" it.
21) Forgive others no matter what they did to you. This is like inner-peace on a platter. BUT you don't have to be friends with people who've hurt you.
22) Success isn't passive. Elizabeth Gilbert nailed it when she said, "Participate relentlessly in the manifestation of your own blessings."
23) Talk to new people. All opportunities come from the people you meet. It's humans who make things happen, nothing else.
24) Time cures heartbreak. Nothing else. As Regina Brett says, "Give time time."
25) It's OK if people don't like you. Truly. I love what Paulo Coelho says, "Haters are confused admirers who cannot understand why everyone loves you."
26) Say no and don't feel guilty about it. Martha Beck put it best, "When it comes to saying yes or no to something or someone, choose the answer that feels like freedom."
27) No one is ever ready. Just begin, baby!
28) Focus on your strengths, always. Crafting your strengths will get you much further than improving your weaker areas. Let your strengths shine and don't apologize for them!
29) Everyone is scared.
30) As Ricky Gervais says, "No-one knows what they're doing either." We are all just doing our best as we go along. Let this make you feel free, liberated and tolerant of all others who are just doing their best, too.
31) Love is stronger than death. When we lose our loved ones all that's lost is their physical form.
32) You are going to be OK.
What life lessons have you learned so far?
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