33 Things to Appreciate About Turning 33

Happy Birthday to me!

I was so excited to turn 30 a few years ago. My 20s were a lot of fun; I spent my evenings carousing in Chicago and New York City and working one exciting project to the next, and I was ready for my 30s because I was ready to be taken seriously by the rest of the world now that I was “old.” This year I’m turning 33, and I’m happy to say I’m seen as a serious person and I still feel like a kid – best of both worlds!

Check out my list of 33 things I appreciate about turning 33, and let me know what you appreciate about being exactly where you are in life.

  1. I exercise 3-5 times each week. (Unless you’re my trainer reading this, in which case, it’s definitely daily!) I never thought I would say this or even have it at the top of my list, but my fairly gentle movement routine is a huge contribution to why I look and feel good every single day. If I ever wake up to an ache, I know I just need to work out.
  2. I’m a really great cook. I didn’t grow up cooking, and I was definitely that millennial in the grocery store doing an image search for leeks because I had no idea what they were, just that they were in my recipe. Eight years later, I love cooking my meals, and I’m at the point now where I don’t even need a recipe to know what works and what doesn’t. Best of all – it tastes so incredible!
  3. I’m happy to pay for high quality make-up, skincare, and hair care. I don’t care what that article you read said about generic brands, many times it DOES make a difference.
  4. I have more time to read. I thought when I left NYC I wouldn’t read anymore because I didn’t have a subway commute, but I’m so happy that’s not the case.
  5. I wouldn’t take back a single year. A lot of times I hear people wax nostalgia about their younger years: “Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be 22 again!” HA, no way, I did it already, and my life just keeps getting better.
  6. I know anything is possible. I have some crazy stories. I have seen things that should not have happened, both good and bad. My biggest takeaway is that life is not that serious. And if I decide I really want something, I’ll get it. I don’t know how, but I know it’s just a matter of time.
  7. I choose happiness – and happiness is a skill just like anything else. Once I was riding home on the subway. I was miserable. I hated my job, hated my home life, and I just wanted to escape. I realized everyone around me was just as miserable. So were the people I was thinking of visiting. That was the day I decided I was going to be happy, no matter what. That day changed my entire life, even though it took me a bit longer to make some of the more massive changes.
  8. I love talking to strangers. Seriously, people are great. Everyone is trying their best, and everyone just wants to be loved. I love going places where I don’t know anyone because I could potentially talk to everyone in the room and find out something new and fascinating.
  9. All the balls I think I’m juggling are merely an illusion to keep me unhappy. I’m a control freak so this lesson was the hardest one. Last year was rough – I ended up losing my job and my apartment and two really great relationships. The only thing I can control is me, and even then, I’m still working with a lot of subconscious programming. It was only when I just gave up trying to force things to happen that the world started moving around me again.
  10. I can’t change anybody else. This seems like common sense, but it’s definitely something I ignored for the longest time. I thought if only people could see a better way, surely they would be inspired to change… but that’s definitely not the case. Now when I meet people, I take them as they are or I leave them alone. Changing for the better is merely a perk.
  11. I can’t change myself, especially for another person. I think a big part of your 20s is all about exploring who you are as a person. I tried on a few personalities that were definitely not for me. But I also tried to shrink myself to make others feel better about themselves, and I’ll never do that again. I’m sure my personality will continue to evolve, but at my core, I know who I am.
  12. Being kind and choosing to say nothing is always better than blunt honesty. I don’t have a filter, and many times I say exactly what’s on my mind, and this can be a huge advantage. There’s also a time and a place for that. I’ve learned not everyone is ready to hear what I have to say. Furthermore, just because something popped into my head doesn’t mean I have to say it. I’d rather be kind than cause unnecessary harm. (Note: This is different from being nice and letting someone walk over you because you don’t have boundaries.)
  13. Sometimes people are cranky and want to argue. I choose whether or not to engage and/or let them go. I was raised by some very cranky and argumentative people. When I was younger, I would get really defensive, my fight or flight instincts would kick in, and I thought I needed to defend my position or be destroyed. Now I know that it has nothing to do with me, and I can let those baited sentences float right past me.
  14. I can’t make people understand something. They either get it or they don’t. I spent so much time explaining myself when I was younger. I didn’t realize that I could just walk away. It’s not my job to explain the world (or myself) to someone else.
  15. Some people aren’t my people, and that’s okay. I can tell within a few minutes of conversation if I want you in my life. It’s nothing personal, and I’m sure you’re great. But not for me.
  16. I don’t try to fix other people’s emotional problems anymore. This is such a key point for me. If someone would get upset, I thought it was a good idea to soothe them into a better place. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s a great idea to help. But ultimately, it’s not my full time job to manage someone else’s emotions.
  17. Naps are pretty great. I never napped until this past year of my life. I’ve been missing out.
  18. I have no shame. Look, I have a code of conduct that I follow and I try to be my best self at all times. But sometimes I trip and fall. Sometimes I get mad when someone talks down to me. Sometimes I’m just having a really off day. It happens. I did what I did, and I said what I said.
  19. I have food allergies. This seems like a weird thing to appreciate, but it’s true. I was officially diagnosed with 2 different allergies in June, and it’s cut out a lot of food and restaurant options in my life. But honestly, I feel SO MUCH BETTER than I have in my entire life. Turns out I don’t have a sensitive stomach so long as I avoid certain food items.
  20. I know what I know, and I can speak with authority. For the longest time, I was the youngest person in the office with the least amount of experience. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have great ideas, but that I didn’t have the authority and knowledge to filter through them and back them up. Now I know what ideas are great and how to voice them.
  21. Life isn’t scary anymore. I was so afraid of something terrible happening to me. And you know what? It did. Many times. I’m sure many more terrible things will happen to me, but I know how to deal and how to cope and that, just like the good times, this too shall pass. And if it doesn’t, hey, I’ve lived a really great life. Anything more is just icing.
  22. I trust myself. You know how you hear about something that sounds really exciting, but there’s a tiny gnawing in the pit of your stomach that says maybe this isn’t a good idea? I’ve learned to listen to that gnawing. I always know the right thing to do; managing my denial is key.
  23. Duality is exciting. There’s good and bad to everyone and everything. And it’s necessary. You can’t have happy days without sad days. If the sun only shined, you’d be in a desert; rain is necessary for life. Not succumbing to despair is so key because it’s all temporary anyway.
  24. I know what I’m willing to do and go through. Part of experiencing life is gaining experience. Do I want to go out tonight? Do I want to listen to that person rant for an hour of my time? I love that I can check in with myself and answer anything quickly and truthfully – and know that my answer isn’t coming from a place of anxiety or feeling stuck.
  25. I have a solid belief system. I have tried on many different belief systems throughout the years because I was always looking for something that worked with me and felt right. Now I can tell you exactly what I believe, and more importantly, I can tell you why I believe it.
  26. I’m comfortable being alone. I don’t need that mediocre friend or relationship to give me a buffer or keep me company. I’ve always been comfortable being alone in my apartment, but it’s just been in the last year that I’ve really started to love going to events and restaurants and even bars by myself.
  27. I understand how I should be treated, and I’m not willing to accept any less – and that includes how I treat myself! I have a long list of different ways I’ve been mistreated in my life, but none of that really compares to how I treated myself. Why didn’t it bother me to hear criticism of my work? Because I had already ripped it to shreds in my own head. I’m now my biggest advocate – if not me, then who?
  28. I know the differences between acquaintances, associates, and friends. Confusing the three groups of people has caused a lot of pain in my life, but I’m at the point where I’m happy to see and accept what is and not try to change it.
  29. I love my “old” voice. I’m normally fairly cute and bubbly, but when I bring out the more mature version, those young kids straighten up, apologize, and call me ma’am. As they should.
  30. I’m okay with being selfish. I struggled for many years with the opposite problem – I gave way too much. To the point where I lost sight of who I was as a person because I really wanted everyone around me to be happy. Learning to speak up for myself and my desires over the last year has been incredible.
  31. I keep it fresh. Hanging out with kids and animals is so much fun. They inspire me to look at the world with a new set of eyes, to ask questions I never would have dreamed of, and to take my time and do what feels fun.
  32. I’m a whole person. There’s a lot of nonsense out there about finding your other half or “fixing” your traumas. In the last two years I’ve stopped looking to other people to help me or give me anything. It blew my mind when I realized I can give myself anything I want, and also the more I rely on myself, the more people are willing to help.
  33. I never know as much as I think I do, and I’m sure this list will be really funny to me in another 5-10 years!

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4 thoughts on “33 Things to Appreciate About Turning 33

  1. Audrey Reply

    Happy birthday! I resonate with you on so many of these things. Especially #11. I think I’m still changing/evolving as a person… but it’s definitely not for someone else. It’s just because I’m maturing and growing wiser 🙂

  2. Tamieka S Reply

    Happy birthday!! How awesome. You have a great list. Definitely don’t take back any years. Great post.

  3. Kait Reply

    I love this! I turn 30 in a couple months, and so I love seeing so many on this list I can relate to, especially number 15. It’s so great to understand who are the people I’m meant to be around. Happy birthday!

  4. Albany Reply

    What a great way to turn 33! This is a really good idea on how to share your birthday with others. May have to think about doing that myself for my 32nd birthday.

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