With another birthday looming and being three years short of the big 30, I decided to write a list of things I’ve learned so far during my time on this earth. Instead of freaking out about a number and binge-eating birthday cake, I’m going to take this opportunity to be thankful I get to age and live, because life doesn’t come with guarantees. So here are my 27 lessons for turning 27. Of course, you don’t have to be as old as me to use them.

1. Always, always remove make-up before going to bed. Apart from being bad for your skin, it makes your pillow resemble a clown. I know late-night face-washing sucks. One word: wipes.

2. Invest in one nice staple item, rather than a bunch of throwaway items. You can buy a ton of cheap shoes that won’t make it through winter or one expensive (but REALLY good) pair that will last you for the next 10 years.

3. Never underestimate the power of an afternoon cat-nap, then the night is yours.

4. Fight cynicism. It’s easy to be a pessimist, especially as we get older, it’s harder to see the brighter side of life.

5. Spend time without your TV, phone, laptop. Embrace the stillness.

6. List all the books you want to read. So many books, so little time.

7. Stop the glorification of busy. Let’s be honest, we can always make time.

8. Find a doctor, dentist, hairdresser, therapist who GETS YOU. We all need our life coaches.

9. Be productive on days off by establishing a morning routine. Sleeping in feels so good, but getting up and doing something you wouldn’t do during the week is even better.

10. Cherish good friends, they are rare gems and the older we get, the smaller our friendship circles become.

11. Tea and coffee are nectar from the heavens.

12. Have high expectations of people you date, and put a premium on kindness and respect.

13. Stop buying into mass media that sends negative messages about your self-worth.

14. Don’t forget to be silly and laugh and play. A day without laughter is a wasted day.

15. Don’t compare yourself to people on the internet or TV. Comparison is the thief of joy, and if you embrace what makes you special, you’re gong to be one step closer to being the best version of yourself.

16. It’s OK to want to love your job, or aspire to have a job you truly love.

17. Start saving money, even just a tiny bit. Expenses sprout all the time and you need a nest egg. Having a little bit of savings is like having an escape hatch when you need an out.

18. Get in touch with nature. Breathe in sea air, watch the stars, lie in grass, smell the roses.

19. Have a clean work space. It just makes sitting down and starting into a project so much easier.

20. The older you get the more you understand your parents and grandparents. Call and visit. You won’t ever regret the time you spend with those you love.

21. Make self-care a priority, even if it means spending a little extra time getting ready in the mornings, you have to be good to yourself.

22. Keep a gratitude journal, Count your blessings and what you are thankful for. It really helps keep things in perspective.

23. Stop trying to make people like you. Everyone is different, and you don’t need universal outside approval to know you’re awesome.

24. Be present. It’s the hardest thing to do and the simplest. Just be aware of your surroundings and don’t get dragged down by past concerns or future worries.

25. Focus on your health, don’t take your body for granted.

26. Try a totally different type of food you’ve never tried before. We forget so many of the meals we eat. When you eat something for the first time you create a cool new memory.

27. Wear whatever the heck you feel like wearing. There are no fashion rules.

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