31 Things I’ve Learned in My 31 Years

As of today I’m thirty-one years, one month, and one day old, and I’m ready to pass on:

31Things I’ve Learned in My 31 Years

1. Family members can be friends and friends can be like family members.
2. Laughing until your stomach hurts should happen at least once a day.
3. Being alone does not have to mean being lonely.
4. Dreaming is essential to living.
5. When what others want and what you want differ, trust your instincts.
6. Dogs are woman’s best friend too.
7. Sometimes love really isn’t enough.
8. Broken hearts should be worn with pride; it means you dared to love.
9. Peanut butter goes with everything.
10. Fireplaces, books, and blankets rule, especially when enjoyed together.
11. Inclement weather and important appointments are like peas and carrots.
12. Trying new things and meeting new people keep life interesting.
13. You can’t control what others do, but you can control how you react to them.
14. Stepping and/or kneeling on tacks hurts. A lot. Avoid it.
15. Love can be found in the wind.
16. Trust is a choice.
17. Innards for dinner do nothing for me.
18. The shower is a good place to cry.
19. Living simply helps others simply live.
20. Being wrong isn’t failure, it’s human.
21. Everything happens for a reason.
22. Sleeping, particularly napping, is underrated.
23. Being the bigger person isn’t always easy, but it’s always rewarding.
24. The sound of someone’s voice can be the most beautiful music in the world.
25. You don’t need to meet someone in person to develop a close relationship.
26. Success and happiness are best defined individually, i.e., by each person.
27. Appreciating small, good things makes dealing with big, bad things easier.
28. Homemade is always better.
29. Being accessible 24 hours a day is annoying.
30. The best way to learn a foreign language is full, painful-at-times immersion.
31. Moving ahead is easier if you understand where you’ve been.

Feel free to make your own list and let me know where to find it.

30 days of thanks

Today I’m thankful for:

Rainbows. We had a mini-rainbow a couple weeks ago, just a splash over the sea:

rainbow, calabria, southern italy

And then this one yesterday:

rainbow, calabria, southern italy
They’re always pretty, of course, but I just can’t think of a better way to be reminded that even when things are dark and dreary, something beautiful can come of it.

50 Beans of Wisdom to “31 Things I’ve Learned in My 31 Years”
  1. sognatrice

    P.S. Thank you all for your kind comments and emails; I’ll be responding shortly. This is being posted from the internet cafè but Telecom insists I’ll be back up and running at home later today.

    We shall see….

    Thanks again for stopping by!

  2. alyndabear

    Very wise words, from a blogger I’m happy to have stumbled across. xo

  3. My Melange


    I so agree with so many thngs you have learned. I especailly agree with #17. No innards for me either!

  4. chris & erin

    beautiful post! I love the “live simple” and the broken heart with pride one as well…actually I really love them all. Thanks for brightening my day 🙂

  5. grace

    I am turning 31 in a few days too. I love this list. #13 is my mantra for years.

  6. Anonymous

    You have come along way! #3 is especially good, I have found that to be true over the past few years.

    teeth whitener

  7. Ann

    Wonderful post! I may have to make a similar list, but think I’ll wait unitl my next birthday so it’ll be a round (and whopping!) 50 Things. 🙂

  8. witnessing am i

    This is an amazing list, Sognatrice. One to cut out and frame. Or staple to your heart. Such wisdom in those 31 years, such humility.

    I like how some comments have pointed out different numbers as ones they especially liked. Shows you how good a list it is.

    Lots to be thankful for, most definitely.

  9. Sandy

    Your view of the world is so refreshing. Love them all. I don’t do innards don’t do anything for me either.

  10. Stefanie

    That’s a fantastic list. I may have to do this myself on my next birthday.

  11. Figs Olives Wine

    I love this! Lots of good stuff in here. I just had to take a 2 week break because I’d been too available for too many hours a day. And controlling reaction is such a key thing for me – I’m getting much better, but I still need to remind myself all the time.

  12. -R-

    Happy birthday!

    Why were you kneeling on tacks?

  13. Karina

    What a fantastic list! I too have learned many of these things, among them my biggest one is that yes, unfortunately, sometimes love just is not enough, but then, thankfully, being alone does not mean being lonely.

    Really great list. Oh, and that first picture of the rainbow over the ocean is gorgeous!

  14. A Novelist

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I hope you have a beautiful day! 🙂

  15. The (Mis)Adventures of a Single City Chick

    Happy birthday, Michelle! 31? Oh, I yearn for that number! 🙂 Wishing you a fabulous day and an even better year ahead!


  16. Charlotte

    Lovely wise words! I think I’m going to do a “39 Things” for my 39th birthday in December.

  17. Poppy Fields

    I love your list, you’ve learned some great lessons in your 31 years. 🙂

  18. Judith in Umbria

    I reckon you’re joking.
    I can’t remember 31.
    I haven’t long enough to live to think of the number of lessons applicable to my age.

  19. Taffiny

    love the list,
    love the photos.

  20. Supersalvo

    I disagree with the peanut butter. Have you tried onion marmelade?

  21. Janet

    such a fantastic list! I particularly liked 3, 6, 8, 9, 13, 19, 21 & 26.

    And about homemade…I was emailing with a friend today and she was bemoaning the fact that she couldn’t afford to spend much on gifts this year and that it was going to be a homemade Christmas. I told her, that’s the best kind to have!

  22. cheeky

    I *love, love* this list and share the same sentiment with all, except napping. I *heart* a good nap. Maybe I’m getting older? LOL
    Love isn’t always enough but it should be, darn it!

  23. Frances

    Great list especially:
    25,7,8,12,23,24 & 26
    Waving at you from New York.

  24. wapentake

    Happy birthday!

    Excellent list – apart from the peanut butter. It’s good, but not that good!

    Long live naps.

  25. katerinafiore09

    Great list amica…Thanks for opening my eyes once again. Love it!

  26. somepinkflowers

    i see you have reached 37%
    of your goal!

    very good, missy,
    and *interesting stuff*, too.


    why am i not surprised that
    ~~qualcos di bello~~
    has been helping you!

    how thoughtful
    how cool that she lives so far away
    and yet can help!

    [ $%*& that internet service! ]

  27. mental mosaic

    Lovely list! And I admire your NaBloPoMo tenacity, good for you. Where there’s a will there’s a way, eh? 🙂

  28. Homebody at Heart


    What a great list. Wisdom beyond your 31 years. I couldn’t agree with you more except for the peanut butter. I made a list of my own, to add to yours over at Homebody at Heart.

  29. Homebody at Heart


    Sorry for the lack of link on my previous post as well as my shameless self-promotion. Will my learning curve on blogging ever peak? Obviously, I need to learn to make a link to my website when commenting on yours. In case I fail again, my webpage is Homebody at Heart

  30. nyc/caribbean ragazza

    This is such an incredible list…such postivity and insight.

    Regarding number 30, that is so true. I have already spoken more Italian in the last 24 hours than during the last 5 months.

    I’m with you on number 17. ha!

  31. KG

    Happy belated birthday! The 30s are the best. 🙂

  32. Gil

    Great list! I can’t believe all of the beautiful rainbows that you get to see and photograph.

  33. sognatrice

    *Alyndabear, the happy-to-have-stumbled-across feeling is quite mutual 🙂

    *Robin, glad to hear you’re with me!

    *Erin, thanks for stopping by 🙂

    *Grace, that one’s a difficult one to practice all the time for me, but I do try.

    *Anonymous, are you saying my teeth aren’t white enough? Hmm. Thanks for commenting 🙂

    *Ann, yes do it! And let me know where it is, please!

    *David, I love these comments too–so nice to know that the list was closely read 🙂

    *Sandy, thanks and thanks for stopping by!

    *Stefanie, please do!

    *Amanda, I’m so happy you took the time to just be 🙂

    *-R-, thanks, and believe me, it was never on purpose (no awful corporal punishment or anything), but for some reason, tacks find me. Or at least my feet and knees. Tacks aren’t as common here. I like where I live.

    *Karina, so glad you enjoyed; I thought that rainbow was extra special.

    *Novelist, well, I did have a lovely day, thanks 🙂

    *Christina, please, you can’t be much past there!

    *Charlotte, yes, yes!

    *Meredith, thanks 🙂

    *Judith, you can do installments, right? 😉

    *Taffiny, thanks…hope NaNo continues well 🙂

    *Supersalvo, you don’t have to agree–I didn’t say they were universal truths 😉 No, I haven’t tried onion marmalade, but I’d probably like it.

    *Janet, ooh homemade Christmas is the best! And thanks for reading my list so closely 🙂

    *Cheeky, no naps are *underrated* meaning we should have more of them!! I love naps too 🙂

    And yes, love should be enough, darn it.

    *Frances, thanks so much for your comment…and wave 🙂

    *Wapentake, we all have different degrees of love for peanut butter; I can live with that 😉 I’m so thankful I don’t have a nut allergy!

    *Katerina, hey! Nice to see you around here 🙂

    *SPF, yes, almost halfway…and Qualcosa is just the best isn’t she?

    *Tui, Go NaBloPoMo!

    *Homebody, can’t wait to see your list! Don’t worry, things will become second nature before you know it. Or not, but it’s always fun in the long run 🙂

    *NYC, good for you–you’ll be so ready for Roma!

    *KG, thanks, and I like the way you think 🙂

    *Gil, I’m certain I’ve seen more rainbows here in four years than I had seen in my entire life before that. Truly amazing 🙂

  34. bella

    This was just beautiful. I loved it, and I will be making my own list tonight. xo

  35. sognatrice

    Bella, can’t wait to read it!

  36. Anonymous

    Ever try peanut butter & jelly on torlilla chips?! Awesome.

    Thanks for remembering me today – that was really sweet very and thoughtful!

    Ciao, ciao,

  37. qualcosa di bello

    lots of wisdom in this post…& after yesterday’s italian class i will give a shout out to #30 for sure!! 😀

  38. Sharon

    I rushed right over to see your rainbow pics. I wish we had more of thes here. Florida is a great place to view rainbows. Thanks for letting me know.

    The whole list says you are a person all and any of us would like to know!

  39. Wanderlust Scarlett

    You know, I don’t need to make a list, you made it for me. I sincerely agree with so many of those things.

    The rainbow over the sea is breathtaking, and the other rainbow just proves what I believed all along, there’s gold in them there hills… but it’s on the outside, and it’s so beautiful.

    Thank you tremendously for sharing.

    Big hugs, and Happy Thanksgiving sweet friend.

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

  40. Live From Tuscany

    Happy birthday Sognatrice!!

    Your list shows you are a wise woman – and thanks for the uplifting rainbow comment on the end, it helped me after a stressful day with crazy Italian bosses!

  41. sognatrice

    *WD, why no I haven’t but it sounds like something I’d like. Hope you had a lovely day 🙂

    *Qualcosa, yes! Immersion! Woohoo!

    *Sharon, thanks for your kind words, and also, if there’s a rainbow over Calabria, you’ll be sure to see it 🙂

    *Scarlett, hah, gold! I love that 🙂

    *Live, I hope the Italians don’t drive you too, too crazy (although I can understand the dilemma) 😉

  42. Erika of Sweet Pea Blog

    I always find it suprising how someone I have never met, can share such similar feelings & experiences. Thank god for blogs, they make the world smaller. So pleased you shared this with us. xxx

  43. Confessions of Cleopantha

    l can certainly relate to many of those. It was a great list. And, those rainbows are beautiful.

  44. sognatrice

    *Erika, I hear you! I’ll be over to visit you soon 🙂

    *Cleopantha, thanks for commenting; glad you liked the list and rainbows 🙂

  45. Shameless

    What a great idea. Great list! 🙂

  46. sognatrice

    Shameless, glad you enjoyed; so nice to see you here 🙂

  47. elena jane

    happy belated birthday…..i love these sort of personal posts but have never done one of my own. great idea 🙂

  48. Erin

    I’m sorry this is such a belated happy birthday comment, but my internet at my mom and dad’s hasn’t been letting my comment on your blog…I read it almost every day, but can’t comment. FRUSTRATING!!! I love this list. It was so true. Well done : )

  49. sognatrice

    *Elena Jane, thanks, and you should give it a try–they’re fun 🙂

    *Erin, no worries; glad you enjoyed the list 🙂

  50. 11.05.2010

    In this house, we do cook “innards” once a month –
    sustainability eating.

    I actually like liver (especially grilled), but tripe disgusts me (my OH loves it). In any event, whatever we don’t eat, I boil for our dogs to enjoy…nothing goes to waste 🙂

Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

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