10 Nuggets of Wisdom from 36 Years

Today, I am 36 years old, AKA four years from 40, which means I’ve got approximately half my life left. I love growing older, even though my white skin wrinkles and betrays me. Okay, okay, it’s totally not my skin. It’s all the years of slathering myself in baby oil, laying out for eight hours, trying to get tanner than all my friends. Because in high school, and the first half of our twenties, everything is a competition. Now, I am unbothered. Pasty white is how I’m living. Anyway, besides that I should have worn SPF 70, I wanted to share 10 other valuable lessons I’ve learned over my young life, with you. First a freebie, in the form of a GIF.

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Sweetheart, most days life is just like this cake. Sweet, messy, kind of confusing and potentially on fire. Do your best. 

Lesson #1: Most people are doing the best they can, so use your words, and your life, to encourage and lift others. We all have issues and problems and pain – no one’s exempt from that. Love well, and be kind.

Lesson #2: Do less. Be more. Work harder on your character and integrity and your relationships, than you do on your achievements and your to-do list and your career. I promise you, that when stuff hits the fan, the latter will not comfort you, hold you close, or pull you out of the pit. But people will, especially when you’ve bravely invested into authentic, reciprocal relationships.

Lesson #3: Say, “I’m sorry” and “I was wrong”. Forgiveness is the key to thriving in friendship, family and marriage. You know why? Because people are annoying, but guess what? So are you, and so am I. We’re all fallible humans, and we can’t help but disappoint each other. Do your best, and when you can’t, or you don’t, or you won’t, say you’re sorry. And when someone else apologizes, forgive them too.

Lesson #4: Don’t waste your time on people who will not, and do not want to, change. Oh friend, the years I wasted, trusting that some folks I loved genuinely, wanted to change. Safe people grow, and change, and are comfortable with their own brokenness. They don’t blame and shame their way out of change; they take personal responsibility. These are the folks to spend your life with.

Lesson #5: In the words of Kenny Rogers, in one of the worst songs ever written, there lies a gold nugget of wisdom: “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em; Know when to fold ’em; Know when to walk away; And know when to run.” Sometimes you’ve got to walk away. Sometimes you’ve got to run away. Sometimes you have to cut your losses. And sometimes you’ve got to stay. Let God, and your good friends, help you see which one, and once you know, don’t wait. Act. Do what needs to be done. We don’t have time to waste dear friend.

Lesson #6: Justice is not a trend; it is the heart of the Father. I break this down (the short version), starting with the 10 Commandments in my YouVersion Devotional, on one of the final days. Immersing myself in the mess and chaos and margins of people, culture and cities has changed me for good. I’m less judgy. I speak out when I would otherwise be silent. I advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. I receive and give more grace. My entire faith shifted, and I will never stop thanking God for giving me the help and the privilege of loving Him, myself and others.

Lesson #7: Marriage is my favorite. Oh gosh, the punk fools I’ve dated. Good Lord, y’all… Let’s go for wine (I’ll have a soda, since preggo), and I will tell you all the lessons I’ve learned here, but the short version is: You are not helpless. You can change. It’s not too late. There’s nothing wrong with you. And wonderful men actually exist, who are healthy, and rooted in incredible male friendships, and they are capable of love. I would literally die without my husband, I am pretty sure. He’s loved me so well, and in our friendship and lovership (not a word), I am continually set free to be the woman I was created to be.

Lesson #8: GRACE SISTER, GRACE. Lean into grace. You’re doing better than you think you are.

Lesson #9: You’re beautiful. You’re worth it. You have a brilliant mind, an incredible capacity to love and be loved. You are an agent of change. If it’s a hard day, I promise, it won’t last forever. There’s life on the other side of your pain, and people on the other side of your obedience. You can do it. Don’t give up now. Your future is secure, complete freedom is possible, and you are not alone.

Lesson #10: Our end goal is not perfection; it is wholeness. I’ve been a perfectionist most of my life, but my life keeps growing, and I can’t hold it all together anymore. A few years back, I stopped caring. Oh well, I dropped a ball. No one died, and I learned what was most significant to me, and now, I have been swallowed up by grace. My relationships are richer and sweeter. I enjoy myself and others more. I’m less critical and judgmental. I no longer think I am better, can do better, or should be better than others. And I no longer want to be perfect. I want to be whole.

 

@AshAbercrombie

20 comments

  • Oh man has #4 been a hard, hard lesson for me in the last year or so. Seriously. It sucks sometimes. But knowing that I am not in control of other people is so freeing. And choosing to not waste my time on people who are chronically stagnant in their spiritual and day-to-day lives is even more freeing!! Loved reading these words!

  • What does it mean that I want this cake!?!? I hope New Orleans is throwing down an epic second line in honor of your birthday!

    Thank you for this wisdom; I literally needed all of it.

  • Grace, grace, grace! I love it, I need it, I want it, I need to learn to be an instrument of it!

  • I seriously look forward to your birthday blog every year! I miss you so much sweet friend I wish I would have had more time to spend with you while you are on this side of the planet. New York seems A Million Miles Away. I hope one day I can come and visit you and we can swap stories about all the goodness God has given us in our lives and all of the amazing things He’s done. I wish you the sweetest birthday and I love that your joy is so completely contagious even on the other side of the country.

  • I honestly just don’t know what in the wide world of sports I’d be doing without your mind or thought pattern in my life. Thank God for you, you’re just so damn special.

  • Sorry, last comment…What freaking planet are you and Cody from? I mean really? Blows my freaking mind.

  • Hi Ms. Ash Mrs. Abercrombie, wishing you all the best! Happy happy birthday!🎂🎊 🎈 I’m one of your fan! Secret admirer or wannabe friend or sista in Christ, and so on and so forth! I met you in Oasis church and all I know your one of the Saints! Blessed one! I thank God for the goodness of meeting you even it for a short time but he mean the whole point your one of the good one to follow. Thank you so much always for your amazing wisdom thoughts of sharing loving kind holy word! Me myself not so good in words but in summary you teach me! And again I’m so grateful and lucky! Hope to see your beautiful face again in the future! Amazing grace truly you are! More power! God bless and good luck my dear…lovingly yours…

  • Minus marriage we must be leading parallel lives ha! This was so well written and resonat d with me on so many levels. The only thing that makes me a little sad is that it took me into my 30s to learn these valuable lessons much of which I learned over the last 2 years. But this year is the year of grace. So here is hoping ❤️ Thank you so much for sharing

  • Happy Birthday my fellow Aquarian! I just found your blog a few months ago and I’m so glad I did. I love how just “yourself” you are. And as someone who just turned 41…if you’re unbothered now, you really won’t have a care in the world when you get to this age! Keep doing your thang!

  • Happy Belated Birthday! I recently found your blog and I absolutely love it! I just turned 41 and I must say, if you feel unbothered now, in a few years you’re really going to be worry free. LOL! Keep doing your thing, your authenticity as a Christ-Follower is needed.

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