Melanie Lentz

Former U.S. Secret Service Special Agent - Writer - Speaker - Lady

33 Things I Learned by 33

33 Lessons I Learned by 33

I’m not the brightest bulb in the tanning bed, and I’m not an expert at anything. But one thing I’ve learned, especially in the past couple years, is that life is guaranteed to clobber me with plot twists. They’re bound to mess with my carefully laid plans. Accepting and adjusting is the tough part because it’s easy to dwell on the past. It was a healing day when I realized that if I kept looking back while trying to move forward, I was either going to turn into a pillar of salt (Wait, that was Lot’s wife, right?), or I was going to run into something and hurt myself again.

In my 33 years on this planet, I’ve learned a few things, most of them the hard way, and some of them because I was in the right place at the right time.

So, if anyone aside from my family (Hi, Mama!) reads this, here are 33 good things I’ve learned thus far in my life.

1. Walk if you can. Drive if you must. Kierkegaard once said: “I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.” 

2. If it’s not meaningful, don’t do it, say it, or get into a relationship with it. It’s not worth it.

3. Your “goal weight” is probably not your “happy weight.” 

4. Rescue the dog, especially the ugliest one. They do, in fact, kind of rescue you, too.

5. Shut the hell up and listen before running your mouth. If you put your foot in your mouth, leave it there. It’s rude to talk with your mouth full. 

6. Your worth is not determined by anyone’s opinion, so his or her opinion is worthless.

7. You’re hardest on those you care about the most. Sometimes you need to give them a break. 

8. Anger is rarely a productive means of resolution.

9. Selling your wedding ring after divorce is hard, but it’s a lot easier when you buy butterfly style Chanel sunglasses with the proceeds and wear them everywhere to remind yourself that you’re a caterpillar emerging from the damn cocoon. (True story.)

10. Your heart can be too emotional. Your mind can be too reasonable. Balancing the two is a necessary bitch. 

11. Time is more valuable than money. (A shout-out to the Secret Service for teaching me that one)

12. People remember how you treated them.

13. Forgiveness does not minimize the wrongs. Forgiveness gave me peace despite the wrongs.

14. Life’s too short for unnecessary restrictions.

15. Allow yourself to have a preference. Don’t always default to what everyone else wants, or you won’t ever know what you want.

16. Negligence will eventually overtake resilience. The body is an amazing machine, and it cranks along for a long time despite neglect. But if you don’t maintain a machine, it’s going to gunk up and seize up eventually.

17. Dogs are better than most humans. No offense to cats. 

18. Sometimes the most hurtful statements are the most honest.

19. Who cares if you get a little Botox? If you’re over 30 and have zero lines or wrinkles, then you haven’t lived. Or maybe you’re a unicorn with great genes. Either way, lines from laughter and crow’s feet from smiling are beautiful, so don’t go crazy and freeze your whole face because you’re having a mini mid-life crisis. I’m not preaching here. I’m speaking from experience. I spent a few months unable to raise my eyebrows. That’s an awkward feeling. God bless the temporary-ness of Botox. Whew…

20. Friendship is essential in marriage, but being a spouse is different than being a friend.

21. Revoke access to toxic people.

22. A good pair of running shoes is probably a better investment than the Louboutins. But, physical health aside, I strut much better in shoes with red bottoms (I think).

23. Appreciate a good family. Sometimes biological family doesn’t act like family. When they do, be grateful. Not everyone has that luxury.

24. Diffusing an argument is easier than resolving it. But doctors don’t put Bandaids on arterial bleeds, so deal with it before you’re dead.

25. Nothing truly extraordinary happens within comfort zones.

26. If you can sing, don’t say you can’t.

27. Ask questions or you might look like a soup sandwich.

28. Dehydration is the cause of 99% of my headaches.

29. Silence is not a “no” in business, but it usually is in a relationship.

30. Self-respect is not selfish, but the selfish will tell you it is.

31. Material possessions are just “stuff.” Experiences are memories, so cherish those more than the stuff.

32. When you’ve hit rock bottom, sometimes the best move is to go where you last felt home.

33. Try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes before you pick an argument. At the end of the day, you often want the same thing.

Just learning as I go! Comment YOUR life lessons! Let's learn from each other.

xo, Mel :-)

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