36 Things

36 Things To Know By The Time You Turn 36


Have you ever learned things later in life and realized that you may have been among the last to know about what you learned? Growing up, I didn’t learn many things that people my age should have known. If you want to read my story, click here.

So, in honor of my birthday, which was yesterday, (when you read this), here are 36 things I learned that I should have probably learned sooner. (Yay for trauma, right?) 

Some topics are funny, about life, and others are more serious.

So, without further ado, here are 36 things I have learned in the last 36 years of my life.

Funny Things I Learned In Life

In honor of making light of some of the funny things I learned, again a little late, let’s start with the 12 funny things I learned.

1. Most Likely, The Electrical Fence Is On

Sibling rivalry is a real thing. Growing up, I believed my brother EVERY TIME he said the electrical fence to our neighbor’s farm wasn’t on.

He would quickly touch it to prove that “it wasn’t on,” so when I grabbed the fence with all of my ten-year-old fingers, I learned it was on!

So, if I have any young readers reading this, the electrical fence is most likely on, and don’t believe anyone when they tell you it’s not. Just err on the side of caution.

Don’t be like me and go all in with the whole finger grip.

2. Never Swallow An Insect

Riding bikes is always a fun time for the most part. And to a 10-year-old kid, it’s a ride of a lifetime.

So, when you sing, laugh, or talk when you bike, things can fly in your mouth, like an insect.

That happened to me. I then didn’t know what to do, so I swallowed it. I physically wanted to get ill, and it’s a memory that will last a lifetime, unfortunately.

But if you are ever in this type of situation, don’t swallow the insect, but do try to get it out.

3. America’s Most Wanted

I used to watch America’s Most Wanted and knew that it was a show where they were looking for criminals.

I always knew I had family members that have criminal records, but one day I was told, a certain family member wasn’t “that type of criminal.” So when a curious 8-year-old child asked, “Will he be on America’s Most Wanted?”

It’s a logical question to ask.

So, just because someone is a criminal doesn’t mean they should be on America’s Most Wanted.

4. The Rapture & Jesus

If you grew up in the nineties, you have heard of the Left Behind Series for kids.

In the book, the rapture (when Jesus comes back) happens at night.

As a kid, I always thought Jesus had to return at night because it happened in the book.

So, every morning, I would wake up and say, “Jesus isn’t coming back today.”

Jesus is Jesus and can come back whenever he wants. But just because it happened in a book doesn’t mean it will happen in real life.

A solid lesson learned from my 12-year-old self.

5. When You Get To Heaven, You Will Find Out

As a kid, when I would get into trouble, and knowing I didn’t do it, I would say to myself that when my family dies or whoever was punishing me, when you get to heaven, you will find out.

Jesus will tell you!

I was sure he would defend my honor and tell them the truth.

6. Noise In A Sentence

Recently, talking to my co-workers about life and heard one of them say, “F* that noise.” I then looked at my co-worker and asked if it was noisy. Let’s just say she wasn’t talking about the noise. So, if anyone ever talks to you about the noise of life or “F

Noise in life or F*** that noise, it does not mean it’s noisy.

It actually means nonsense. You don’t need that nonsense.

If you didn’t know that, like me, now you do!

You are welcome!

7. Purewick

There are things about healthcare that will be forever ingrained in my brain, and one is a purewick.

If you are like me and think that sounds like a wonderful-smelling candle, think again.

It is not a wonderful-smelling candle.

It is a pad to suction urine, like a pad for females, attached to a tube that works in a bucket.

I know I was shocked, too!

8. Call Collect

As a kid, I would call my biological mother to collect. I didn’t know what it meant, but I knew I could call her for free, so I did.

I called collect more than once.

But what happens is the other person gets the charge.

She never complained, but that must have been one expensive bill.

9. Twins Aren’t The Same People

As a young kid, I thought my sister and I were the same people.

Like to the point I went to Kindergarten (I can’t remember which year because I completed Kindergarten twice!), but I definitely thought we were.

I also used to say my name was Courtney because I genuinely thought we were. It was when my guidance counselor told me we weren’t the same people.

My little 5-or-6-year-old heart was so devastated.

So, if you have twins, please remind them they aren’t the same people.

10. PK-Means Pastor’s Kid

During one of my stents in foster care, I was a pastor’s kid, also known as PK, for anyone who didn’t know this.

It was only a few years ago I learned of this term. And when someone told me they heard I was a PK, I gave them a confused look, like what’s a PK?

So, PK means pastor’s kid, just in case you are also married, dating, or maybe coming into a family with a pastor.

The more you know, right?

11. Effect & Affect

Effect and affect still get me until this day, even at 36. In fact, I have tried so hard to understand them, to the point that if any English grammar teachers read this, I may even carry flashcards around to understand the difference.

So, of the 36 things I learned, I still need to do this.

But I do understand the difference between then and than.

That should mean something, right?

12. Sleep Overs Aren’t Two Nights

During my late youth, age 12 or so, I learned that sleepovers aren’t for two nights.

See, while you are in foster care, you go on respite, which is when another foster family takes you in, which, most of the time, is for the weekend.

So, when I got older, I didn’t understand why sleepovers were only one night.

Having an extra child to look after, even for one night, seems exhausting, I couldn’t imagine two!

Life Things I Have Learned

There are things in life that you just need to know or should know to save your sanity and money.

Here are 12 more things from the 36 things I learned about life.

13. Rental Insurance

Always get rental insurance because you never know when you will need it.

Rental insurance isn’t expensive and saves you money should something happen to your apartment or a place you rent.

Your landlord won’t cover the cost of your damaged items, but your rental insurance sure will when you have it. (I’m sure there are some fine-line exceptions, though.)

14. Dryer And The Lint

Before putting another load into the dryer, always check the lint. I never caught my dryer on fire, but I have been close.

So, always check the lint and throw it away. You don’t want to keep it even if you think you do. There is no reason for that.

But you can use the lint to make a fire outside. So, you should keep it if you are a camper.

15. Dishwasher & Dish soap

If your kitchen looks more like a bubble bath, try using dish soap in your dishwasher.

It works every time.

But, seriously, don’t do this; it’s not the space where you want to rub a dub in a tub.

Always buy the dishwasher soap.

Don’t be like me.

16. Don’t Turn Off The Heat In The Winter

Unfortunately, I didn’t know this, and I turned my heat off to save money when I was young. Well, you know the rest.

I couldn’t understand why I heard gushing from my walls, but I thought it must be outside.

Well, after my landlord came, I learned my pipes burst.

This will happen in the winter if you turn your heat completely off.

So, you can turn it down, but not off!

My landlord did have to replace my floors and part of the wall, though. Yikes!

17. Caved Ceiling

I’m no architect, but a caved ceiling is never a good sign.

When I noticed my ceiling caving one day, I told my landlord, and again, I’m not an architect, but I don’t think it’s supposed to be that way.

My landlord got the roof replaced really quickly before more leaking happened.

So, if your ceiling starts to cave in, you should get it looked at.

18. Scrambled Eggs and Milk

I was in college when my dad (previous foster parent) came into the kitchen and told me I could use milk with the scrambled eggs that I was attempting to make, but they weren’t turning out so fluffy. 

Really, they looked like yellow pieces of something I didn’t want to eat.

So, to make your scrambled eggs fluffy, you can use milk. It doesn’t matter what kind, either.

Again, the more you know?

19. Credit Card Payments

When I was young, probably around 18 or so, I got my first credit card through my bank.

I went to make my first payment, and when they sent me my credit card, they also sent my checks.

Thinking that the checks were from the same account as my checking account, I made my first payment with one of the checks they sent me.

I then cried to the friendly customer service lady, telling her my credit was ruined.

Don’t be like me. Just because your credit card might be from your bank or another account associated with funds you may have, that doesn’t mean they are always linked.

20. You Can Never Have Too Many Blankets

Regardless of what anyone tells you, you can always have more blankets.

They can use you to keep you warm, decorate, and hide things from your dog.

So, you can always have a few.

21. Never Put Toys In Your Dog’s Crate While Away

When I first got my dog, Jake, I decided he needed something to do while I was at work, so I would leave toys for him to play with in his crate, AKA his house.

Let’s say I came home on my lunch break to let him out, and he had a tennis ball in there, and then when I came home for the day, the tennis ball was gone.

A phone call to the emergency vet, then an urgent visit to my vet’s office, and one special diet later (mashed potatoes and popcorn), I have never left a tennis ball in his crate again.

Jake ate the tennis ball but chewed it so finely that he didn’t have to have surgery.

So, if you are a new pet owner, wait to leave the toys in your dog’s crate. They may eat it like Jake did.

22. Even numbers On The Interstate Go East/West & Odd Go North/South

I never knew this information. If you are not so great with directions, now you know numbers on even numbers on the interstate go east/west, and odd go north/south.

I know when I learned this, my whole life was changed forever, too!

23. You Can Feel Two Emotions At Once

I used to think you couldn’t feel two emotions simultaneously, but you sure can.

You can feel two emotions at once.

You can know you made the right choice but still feel sad, angry, etc.

24. No Is A Sentence

No/ It is a sentence.

You can say no and not feel bad.

You can say no whenever you want. It’s amazing!

25. Your Work Can Survive After You Leave

Leaving work at work was hard for me, but only for some jobs.

You can leave it there and still have this thing called a life!

It’s freaking fabulous!!!!

So, start living your life and leave work at work.

Serious Things I Learned About Life

Here are 12 things I have learned that are serious that they need their own spot on the 36 things I learned.

26. Abuse Is Not Normal

As a kid, I thought that abuse was normal. If you want to read my personal story, click here.

It wasn’t until one day, social workers came to my school to interview my sister and me that I realized it wasn’t.

No one should be hurting you physically, sexually, or emotionally, regardless of whether you are an adult or a child.

27. Damaged Goods Is A Feeling, Not Who You Are

On the same line that abuse isn’t normal, feeling like damaged goods is a feeling that creeps up after abuse.

I won’t share the details here with you, but if you want to read my personal story of how to heal from sexual abuse, click here.

I will tell you that I felt like damaged goods because of the abuse, especially initially when I started processing it, but I no longer feel that way now.

So, if you feel that way, feelings can inform but are not fact, and you aren’t damaged goods.

28. Sin From The Sinner

Separating the sin from the sinner is something I learned a few years back.

Everyone sins, but just because everyone sins doesn’t mean the person is terrible.

Yes, people do bad things, but sin is a sin in God’s eyes.

29. Boundaries Are Good

I used to think boundaries were terrible. For example, if I said something about someone’s behavior, it was a direct reflection of me and not them, but in the last 36 years of life. I have learned otherwise.

Boundaries are good.

I heard that once we teach people how to treat us, I couldn’t agree more.

So, when someone is disrespecting you, set a boundary with them.

30. Not Everyone Deserves A Seat At Your Show

You can walk away from someone who has hurt you, but remember what it taught you.

You can respect them and wish them well but not give them a seat at your show.

Only some deserve access to your life, AKA your show.

31. You Aren’t Destined To Be Terrible

Your past can inform you but doesn’t have to control you.

Yes, the past can hurt, and the wounds can be profound, but you aren’t destined for terrible things or even to be terrible because terrible things happen.

You are destined for more, and you can be more.

32. Hurt People Hurt People

Hurt people hurt people. I just heard of this saying a few years ago. People who are unhealed and suffering from hurt can hurt other people.

Just because they were hurt doesn’t give them the right to hurt; however, it does give context to why they hurt.

33. Your Peace Matters

Your peace matters more than you know.

If you don’t have peace, your world will feel shaky, uneasy, and rocky.

Collect your peace, and if you don’t have it, ask God to help you find it. God has helped me countless times to find my peace in my last 36 years of life.

34. Your Disability Doesn’t Count You Out

Just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you can’t do it, and you should not be counted out because of it.

Yes, disabilities are complex and sometimes even sad, but don’t let a disability count you out.

God’s not counting you out, and neither am I.

35. You Aren’t Hurting, You’re Healing

You aren’t hurting. You’re healing. You are healing your hurts, and yes, sometimes it sucks, but don’t let that stop you.

On the other side of hurt is healing, which is beautiful.

Don’t stop healing because you feel you are hurting.

36. God Can Heal Open Wounds

God can heal open wounds. 

He can heal the wounds that seem so deep that they will never be healed. He can also heal the open wounds. The ones that seem to never heal.

Trusting and building a relationship with him is one of the first steps I took to heal my open wounds.

Will you allow God to heal yours?

Conclusion About 36 Things To Know By The Time You Turn 36

Well, folks, those are the 36 things I learned in my last 36 years.

Some are funny, some are good to know, and some are serious, but they are all true.

So, if you feel you have yet to learn everything you should know, know that you aren’t alone. As my life goes on, I probably could add at least 10, if not 15, more to this list.

What are some of the things you have learned in life?


Ashley Marie

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