The One with the 26th Birthday



Photo from here.


In honor of my 26th birthday, I thought I would write a list of 25 things I’ve learned thus-far in life. Almost every time I tell someone my age they look at me funny. I always felt like it was because I look insanely youthful and they were wondering how a 16-year-old could lie and tell everyone she was 25…or maybe it’s the married-with-a-kid-and-a-couple-businesses thing. I’m pretty sure it’s the youthful thing, guys.


(just say it’s the youthful thing…turning 26 and being on the other side of 25 is giving me a bit of a panic attack)


So! Without further ado:


1. “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?” -RuPaul, the most wise drag queen to have ever had a reality TV show. But this is number one for a reason. Learn to accept yourself and your mistakes. Every. Single. Embarrassing. Mistake. And I’m not talking about the little ones. I mean the massive, life-changing, what-in-the-hell-were-you-thinking mistakes. The second you accept them as lessons, the closer you are to loving yourself. Without that, you’re just dragging unsuspecting souls into your own inner turmoil.


2. Compliments are key. And I’m not talking about meaningless ones. I make it a point to find one thing about someone else that I like, the second I meet them. And then I compliment them on it. Don’t fake it. Mean it. You’ll be surprised at what a small compliment can mean for someone elses’ day, as well as your own.


3. Keeping a kindness to yourself, once you have thought it, is selfish. And will feel selfish the longer you hold on to it. Put it out into the world. Don’t just imagine giving the compliment, giving that jacket you just bought away to someone who liked it or needed it, etc…actually do it.


4. Money isn’t a measure of success. I still struggle with this one. As much as I have accomplished in my blogging career, I am hard on myself for not living in a McMansion, flying in a private plane loaded up with my Birkins and sending my child off to the best school a money can buy. But on the days of clarity, I realize successes are meant to be smaller, almost weekly. My child slept through the night & we went grocery shopping without a meltdown? SUCCESS!


5. Make important memories. Don’t always document them. This is probably strange coming from a blogger who documents things on SnapChat, Instagram, YouTube, the blog…(damn) but I really mean it. When I sometimes want to pick up my phone to take a video of what’s happening or even a photo of my food I think to myself “what will I use this for? Will I even look at it again?” If the answer is no, I put it down and just enjoy the moment.


6. Consider the backstory. I do this SO much when dealing with anyone else. It will help you with patience


7. Do not place unnecessary blame or vent your frustrations on anyone trying to do their job when you’re frustrated that your laundry in a hotel is late, your package didn’t arrive properly or on time, the cashier at the grocery store. This is important especially within the service industry. Accept that there is a hierarchy to their work and you are complaining to the wrong person. It is, in fact, a bit cruel to make their lives more difficult.


8. Travel. Spend your money for travel. I realized this after I’d thrown far too much money into handbags. I need to sell my purses and travel more with my little family.


9. “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be someone who hates peaches” -Dita von Teese. Preach it, Dita.


10. Read. Even if they’re mindless books, read them. I stopped reading for a long time, and once I discovered that iBook could change the background of your book to black (less strain on my eyes), I ALWAYS have a book I’m mid-way through to divert to when I have a spare minute.


11. Stop comparing. So hard, but so necessary.


12. Friends are a luxury, not a necessity. How many you have does not reflect how loveable you are. I would venture to even say that the more you have, the more of yourself you’re hiding. You actually shouldn’t appeal to SO many people. You should be an acquired taste if you’re truly being yourself. I’m actually a very acquired taste. I’m the durian fruit of people.


13. What other people think of your mothering/parenting is insignificant. This applies to your family as well. Our parents and their parents and their parents made their mistakes. We’re allowed to make ours.


14. This brings me to: accept advice graciously. Sometimes our parents and their parents and their parents before them have lots of advice for you on everything life related. Accept it graciously because it can actually be life changing.


15. Spend the most on your PJs and loungewear. No, I’m not kidding. You actually will wear these articles of clothing more than anything else you own. I didn’t realize that until this year and I came to the conclusion that if I dress nicely but VERY comfortably at home (where I spend the most time) then I actually feel so much better about myself and the day ahead of me.


16. If you’re still in school/university, do not stress to the point of making yourself sick. I did this. In retrospect, I wish I had taken that extra hour I spent nauseated and freaking out about my grades and actually taken a nap or watched a YouTube video. (Extra: watch grav3yardgirl. iloveher)


17. Have an idea of what marriage is going to be like? Forget it. No seriously. Forget it. Come in to your marriage with no assumptions. Start it fresh. Or else you’re set for a fun, thrilling, rollercoaster-esque first year. Can you sense the sarcasm? Good.


18. Newlyweds: the first year sucks. Don’t be deterred. You go from the single-life to suddenly living with a boy and coming to terms with everything that comes with that. Make it through the first year, and make it through by laughing at your arguments later. Ahmad and I still laugh at our first-year fights. Man, oh, man they were hardcore.


19. Don’t diet. Diets are silly. Cut certain things out of your life for good, and you’ll never really need to diet. I backtrack on this every once in a while, but cutting most MSG, Aspartame and chemically processed foods has drastically increased my energy and overall well-being. Thanks for that info, Dad. It’s been about 9 years now!


20. Be nice to your body. Everyday I struggle with wanting to be happy with my curves and then also wanting to be a Victoria Secret model. But my body grew a baby! My body got me through 26 years now. Why am I so freakin’ mean to it? This isn’t a tip on laziness. Don’t be lazy! But don’t grind your body down to bare bones by thinking 4 hours a day in the gym is going to make you Adriana Lima. Those are her genes. And also her jeans. And also some photoshopping of those jeans. (I met her. She’s actually stunning in person…so it’s definitely not all photoshop)


21. Go outside. The best memories are made outdoors. No lie. My favorite memories have been with my brother, brother-in-law, sisters-in-law and of course Adam and Ahmad at a random farm in Kuwait, or at a market with them in London.


22. Get dirty. No matter what you’re wearing or who is watching, get messy with your kid. Kuwait is a very small country, but that doesn’t stop me from being covered in stains almost constantly thanks to my toddler. Who cares. I’ve even had people remark on what a mess I look (thanks girls!) but when I got home that night, put my child to bed and realized what a good day he had…I just took out the stain remover and reflected on my great day.


23. Do not become overly attached to things. I am not attached to my furniture or my things. They’re pretty much all replaceable. If Adam ruins them, I will eventually replace them. Learn to let things break and not give a rats patooty about them. Seriously, it’ll help your day.


24. Don’t go to bed angry. Solve it before sleep. Even if it’s half-solved and not really-solved but you concede to a little bit of solving for the sake of peace. Otherwise you’ll be ruining two days instead of one.


25. Cry. Seriously, cry. People who say it’s a form of weakness are bullshitters who internalise everything and are passive aggressive or just plain aggressive. Cry and let it out. I get told A LOT by family (ouch) and friends (meh) and strangers (who cares) that I’m too sensitive. Good. I’m proud that I’m sensitive. It makes me nicer than most, kinder than some, and once I’ve had a good cry I’m ready to tackle the rest of my day or even the world. Cry. Put it out into the world, handle it, then move along.


Love you guys!