28 Lessons for My 28th Year + A session with Terri Hofford Photography | With Lola Gilbert


I turn 28 today.

Admittedly, it’s a bit scary teetering on the edge of my twenties. In just two short years I can no longer be grouped in with all the bright, young minds finding their way in the world. Although I feel young (as I’m quite certain most people do despite the number attached to their life) the next decade of life looming looks a little intimidating.

But, until then, I have 730 days before I need to worry about any of that. Plus, age really is just a number. So I plan on making the most of it through travel, work and most importantly, spending time with family and friends. And maybe this year, I’ll actually fly on an airplane (but probably not).


To celebrate, here are 28 life lessons I’ve learned in 28 years.

  1. Very few people truly know what they’re doing in life.
    It’s an illusion that most people have life figured out. If you sat down and really talked to people at any age, you’ll discover they’re just as insecure or unsure of themselves as you feel.

  2. Fake it till you make it.
    If you don’t know how to do it – learn it. We’re all capable of learning as we go, so if you don’t know, be resourceful and find ways to figure it out. When I started The Babetown Collective, I had no idea what the fuck I was doing. Now, I have a lot more clarity but still have unsure moments. If you have the passion for something, Fake it until you can make it. 


3. Devastating moments (rejection, break-ups, loss of loved ones) make the joyous moments that much more sweet.
Not everything in life is going to be easy and wonderful. Although the tough moments are never enjoyable, they make you appreciate those moments when things are going good.

4. You make your own opportunities happen.
People aren’t always going to hand you what you want on a silver platter. You need to step up and speak out when you want something. But remember, you can’t get where you want to be without putting in the effort. Take up space in the word and make your dreams happen. 

5. Putting in the extra effort will get you further.
Some days it may not feel worth it, but I guarantee putting in the extra effort will benefit you. You’d be surprised who notices and will remember in the future when it matters. Answering those emails, picking up the phone, sending a package - those things speaking to your passion. 


6. Wear the damn shorts.                                                                                                                  I I want you to wear the damn bikini.. or the shorts... or the dress. Embrace the body you are in RIGHT NOW. You are stunning. You are worthy. You are smart. You are passionate. You are all the things. None of which is defined by the number on the scale or the number on the tag of your clothing. 

7. Friendship is on a spectrum: sometimes you give, sometimes you take and sometimes you split it right down the middle.
Friendships are give and take, but sometimes one friend needs more. Understand that people’s lives fluctuate and sometimes they need your friendship a bit more and sometimes a little less. The most valuable friends are the ones who understand and respect this.

8. Say “Yes”
In order to grow and learn you need to say yes to opportunities and experiences. More than likely, these will be the moments you remember most.



9. That nervous feeling in the pit of your stomach – that’s a good thing. It means you’re growing and learning.
It makes you squirm, but that nervous feeling is a physical reminder that what you’re about to do is going to make you a better person.

10. It’s less about the places you see and more about the people you see those places with.
You can be doing the most amazing thing in the world, but if you don’t have anyone to share it with, you won’t enjoy it as much. My best memories have been shared with others, connecting over an experience or place.

11. No one else is responsible for your happiness but you.
Don’t depend on others to make you happy – that’s not their responsibility. You are the only one who can make choices and do things that make you happy.


12. Know what makes you unique and capitalize on it.
Whether it’s something you’ve done or something you can do, capitalize on what makes you stand out. There are enough people out there trying to be like someone else, so make the choice to be You.

13. Change your perspective when things go wrong.
Worst day ever? Take a deep breath and change your perspective. Focus on what did go right and see if you can fix what didn’t. Write it down if you have to – I guarantee it will make you feel better.

14. Don’t change yourself for someone else.
It’s important to acknowledge your shortcomings, but don’t change who you really are or what you desire for someone else. At the end of the day, your life is yours alone and you need to make choices that will satisfy you.


15. Everyone plays the game of life differently.                                                                        There’s nothing wrong with not wanting to buy a house, get married, have babies or do all the other things your adulting friends are doing. Don’t compare your chapter 27 to someone else’s chapter 42.

16. Tears don’t mean you’re weak and they aren’t a bad thing.                                                They can represent happiness, joy, suffering, empathy, care, and so much more. Don’t let someone tell you that you are too emotional. Feelings are to emotions, what waves are to the ocean.

17. A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.                                                            When women support women, incredible things take flight and mountains are torn down.


18 & 19 Budget your fucks wisely. 

This is one of the harsher lessons I’ve learned about bettering myself and my life, but honestly, it’s one of the more important ones. 

Essentially, you only get a certain amount of fucks. Every fuck you give to something you don’t care about or to someone who drains you is well that you can’t give to something or someone you truly value.

Life is short – don’t do the things you don’t want to do and don’t spend time with people you don’t want to. Simple as that. Budget wisely!

20.  Accept people for who they are regardless of their differences.

Between racism, sexism, homophobia, and classicism some of the world is constantly judging and being cruel to others for no good reason. Accepting someone for who they are is so simple yet so kind. Embrace them. Celebrate them. Fight for them. 

21. People will judge you no matter what for the rest of your life, stop caring or worrying about them. Odds are most of them are irrelevant to your life anyway.

Post as many damn selfies as you want to or wear your favorite outfit that may seem unstylish to others. Speak up about whats important to you or change your mind a million times.

“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” ― Dita Von Teese


22.  Status is a misnomer.                                                                                                         Similar to “success,” our culture places an extraordinary emphasis on material wealth as a sign of true wealth, and yet I know too many people of supposed “status” who are miserable. They don’t seem wealthy to me. One’s true worth is not determined by his or her net worth.

23.  Be on the mountain.                                                                                                                    I use this term as a metaphor for living in the moment. When you climb to the peak, don’t immediately plan your descent. Enjoy the view. Be on the mountain. Just be.

24.The past does not equal the future.                                                                                           My words are my words, and I can’t take them back. You can’t change the past, so it’s important to focus on the present. If the past equaled the future, then your windshield would be of no use to you: you would simply drive with your eyes glued to the rearview mirror. But driving this way—looking only behind you—is a sure-fire way to crash.

25. Your childhood matters, but don’t let it control your adulthood.

Don’t let the things that happened to you as a kid control the rest of your life.  Shit happens to all of us.  Use it to your advantage, learn from it, and focus on gratitude and giving.


26.  Jealousy is a wasted emotion.                                                                                    Competition breeds jealousy, although we often give it prettier labels like “competitive spirit,” “stick-to-itiveness,” or “ambition.” Jealousy is ugly, though: it is never a way to express that we care—it’s only a channel through which we broadcast our insecurities.

27. Surround yourself with people smarter than you

The only way to grow is to play against harder competition in business,  life, or hang out with smarter people than you.  I’m almost always the dumbest person in the room, and I intend to keep it that way.

28.  Give back

I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of countless people.  The support I’ve received from family, friends, teachers, coaches, mentors and so on is overwhelming. Find a way to help others and give back as it’s the best form of gratitude.



lola gilbert