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Hello!

I’m Tammy Strobel. Welcome to my digital home!

I'm a writer, photographer, and cat lover. I'm also obsessed with CrossFit and coffee.

Hope you have a nice stay!

Hello 35!

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Today is my thirty-fifth birthday. It’s hard to believe I’m already in my mid-thirties! I keep wondering where the time goes. Time seems to go faster as I grow older.

Yesterday, while I was eating coffee cake and drinking coffee at Mt. Shasta Pastry, I wrote a list of lessons I’ve learned over the last thirty-five years.  Today, I decided to share my list with you:

1. Treat yourself like a best friend. Be kind, compassionate, and don’t forget to spoil yourself.

2. Empowerment is not for sale. You can try to buy your identity, shape your body through plastic surgery or the latest diet, but those behaviors won’t bring you happiness. Happiness comes from loving yourself.

3. Writing a book is hard, but it’s worth the effort. Buy journals, good pens, and other paper products that will aid your writing practice.

4. Go on mini-adventures to maintain your creative energy. Take road trips, cycling adventures, and weekend getaways.

5. Create a life that is rooted in flexibility. This flexibility will enable you to be resilient, even when loss makes life difficult.

6. Keep a journal. Journaling is a tool that has helps me find clarity and happiness, even when life seems to be falling apart. The pages in my journal are a place I can always retreat too; a place where I can record the good and bad events of the day.

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7. Slow down. Notice your surroundings. Exhale.

8. Express your love and gratitude to friends and family members.

9. Read often. Find authors that interest, challenge, and resonate with you.

10. Remember, it’s okay to be sad and to grieve. As Alain de Botton said, “Illness, death, and other nasty human experiences are part of the human condition.”

11. Pursing happiness requires vigilance. Eizabeth Gilbert said, “You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”

12. Don’t forget to talk about the hard stuff and to ask for help when you need it.

13. If you feel stuck with work, go outside and take a walk; a twenty minute walk can transform your day.

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14. Learn to be at ease in your own company. Connecting with others is part of the human experience, but it’s important to learn how to be alone.

15. Take lots of photos. Document the magic in your everyday life and share what you see with others.

16.  Send letters, care-packages, and postcards to friends and family. Email is awesome. But a thoughtful note, written from a place of gratitude, love or concern, is much better.

17. Boycott perfection. It doesn’t exist and it won’t serve your aims in the long run.

18. Ask questions and listen.

19. Start a blog. Share a little bit of your creative work everyday. You never know where it will lead you.

20. Take naps.

21. Let go of old narratives when they no longer serve you. Life changes constantly and your story will too.

22. Listen to your intuition. It’s usually right.

23. Busyness for the sake of busyness won’t give you the space to focus on creative ideas. Instead, fuel your creative ideas by getting enough sleep and by doing nothing.

24. Believe it or not, you aren’t always right.

25. You never know who you will meet, so stay open. {I found true love at a bar.}

26. Have fun! Laugh often, smile more, and give hugs.

27. I wholeheartedly agree with Susannah's comment about belief: "Believe in something. Whether it’s science, nature, god, spirit, kindness, gratitude, politics, the universe, atoms or love, believe in something."

28. Wear comfortable clothes and say no to high heels.

29. Savor good food, good wine, and outside spaces.

30. Failure is part of life. Failure sucks, but there are many beautiful lessons that come from falling horribly. Think about what you can learn from the experience and apply those lessons to your next project.

31. Savor your morning view, while drinking coffee.

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32. You are worthy, you are enough, and you have a story to tell.

33. Tiny pleasures are the secret to a happy, joyful life.

34. As my friend Dee Williams said, "Take a moment and think about what thing you want to hold in your arms as you die. What favorite room in your house or space could accommodate that last breath?"

If we asked these questions more often, I think many of us would stay out of the mall. Remember that stuff is replaceable, people aren't. Shift your attention toward the people you love and the experiences that make you happy.

35. You only get one shot at this thing called life, so live it well, be generous, and practice gratitude.

Be well,

Tammy

P.S.This post was inspired by Susannah Conway's essay "Hello 40."

Happy Links: From Letters to Wildwood

November Photography Project: Gratitude