36. The first thing that comes to mind is that I am truly happy.  I like the person I have grown to be.  It has taken a lot of reflection and changing and seeing things I did not like to get here, but Im here.  I am able to look at life through rose colored glasses because I choose to.  Not to say there isn't more work to do, or that there won't be days that I disappoint myself.  But that is part of the process and I am ready for it.

The inevitable part of life is that you will not be here forever.  For me getting older means I got to spend another year making art, learning, and spending time with those I love.  Here are a few things I have learned in my 36 years on this planet.  I am by no means an expert on any of this.  It all comes from my own personal experience.  But hopefully some of you can relate. 

Be present.  Time goes fast and time goes slow.  Try to savor everything. 

Be unique Be authentic.  Keep marching to your own own drumbeat.  It's ok to care what people think, but don't change the way you think if you truly believe in something.  Do what you like because you like it, not because it is what you think you are supposed to do.       

Find your passion.  What gives you butterflies?  What would you do if you could do anything?  What are you good at?  Find a way to do that as much as possible.  Don't give up until you do.

Success is subjective.  Sometimes that means making a lot of money, but sometimes it means making a lot of art that costs you money.  Either way, as long as you are happy, doing something that fulfills you to the core, then I would consider it a success.  You cannot compare your idea of success to anyone else's.  It's the quickest way to feel like shit about yourself.    No two people are the same, so no two people's goals should be the same.  Be proud of you, and what you do.     

 If you don't like it change it.  The longer you wait, the more you sell your self short.  You always have a choice.

Sometimes things you think are going to last forever don't.   Everything is constantly changing, even people.  The love you feel today may be the deepest most awe inspiring thing you have ever experienced, it doesn't mean it will be that way forever.  Then again it might.  Both the happiness and the pain you feel from loving someone is part of your journey.   When a relationship is good, cherish it.  Remember what makes it good.  When it's is bad, make the changes you need to make it better.  Sometimes that means moving on, and that is ok too.  But, don't be afraid to love again.  Learn and grow.       

Manifest your own destiny.  Believe in yourself, push yourself, don't be lazy when it comes to you.  You can do anything you want, it's not bullshit.  But, it takes a lot of dedication, sacrifice, and very hard work.  Hard work is rewarded, though sometimes it takes a while for you to notice.     

Be empathetic instead of judgmental.   It's good to have an open mind, but even better to have an open heart.  Don't judge people based on your beliefs.  Everyone is different, we all have our own baggage we are sifting though.  Im not saying everyone deserves your respect, there are still shitty people in this world.  But go into situations as a friend instead of an enemy.  Put yourself in their shoes.  Be understanding.  You might be the learning experience or smile someone needs.  And they might be the lesson you need. 

Learn to be selfish without being selfish.  You are the most important person in your world.  It is not selfish to believe that.  But you are also part of something bigger than you.  Take care of yourself,  then take care of the world by sharing with others what you have learned on your journey.   All of the walls we put up to protect ourselves actually keep us from seeing.  You can learn by seeing yourself though other people.  This doesn't work if you don't let people in.

Negative thoughts breed negative reactions.  Problems are challenges that need to be figured out.  Don't dwell on bad thoughts or negative thinking.  Find a solution or let the problem go.  It seems so simple, but it is something I have to regularly remind myself to do.  Think positive.

Take Risks.  Just do it and see what happens.  Fear has been my worst enemy.  Once you break through, it doesn't matter the outcome.  You either learn something or hit the jackpot.  With either, you tried so you won. 

Let nature heal you.  Whenever you get a chance, disconnect from your computer, your job, or whatever stresses you and enjoy a little nature.  Get lost in the clouds, study the trees, watch the birds, listen to the bugs.  Notice how perfectly everything flows together.  Notice how beautiful it all is.  You are part of that beauty, remember that.